Jaaber looking to spring into Division I competition, boosting the family legacy

Fred Jeter | 2/22/2019, 6 a.m.
Of Chesterfield County’s 11 comprehensive public high schools, Carver College and Career Academy is by far the newest — it’s ...
Carver Academy’s Mikael “Mick” Jaaber goes in for a basket during Monday’s regional playoff game against Appomattox Regional Governor’s School. Photo by James Haskins Richmond Free Press

“Love the Orange,” he said with a wide smile.

Carver Academy is much like other schools, but there are differences. For example, in addition to the regular curriculum, students can have majors. Students from all over the county can apply to attend, regardless of where they live within Chesterfield.

Jaaber’s specialty is carpentry construction. His projects included building a chicken coop at school going by blueprints.

Some history is needed. The academy is located in the same building that housed George Washington Carver High School, an all-black school from 1948 to 1970, during school segregation.

Carver Academy’s athletic rivals included Southside High School in Dinwiddie, Gandy High School in Ashland, Russell Grove High School in Amelia, East End High School in South Hill and Virginia Randolph School in Glen Allen.

Later, after full integration of state schools, the building became the home of Carver Middle School, then Phoenix Academy, followed by Chesterfield Community High.

Sports teams at Chesterfield Community were known as the Eagles. But Carver Academy has gone back to the original Carver High mascot, the Wolverines. The basketball team plays in the same gym used decades ago by Carver High School, one of the last schools to play in the former Virginia Interscholastic Association.

The gym has a first class wooden court, but has bleachers only on one side, with a seating capacity of about 200. There is some additional seating in the raised end zone that also serves as an assembly stage.

Carver High School produced many athletic standouts, most notably pitcher Jesse Jefferson, who went on to enjoy major league stardom. Old Carver’s last basketball teams featured All-State VIA Theophalis May, who was among the state’s premier players at the time.

VIA schools were split into three divisions based on enrollment. Carver was a perennial Division 2 power.

Now a half-century later, not much has changed. The young athletes at Carver Academy can play some ball, albeit in relative obscurity.