Hey Man, Screw It

Catch him in the spotlight.

Jason Wood

More stories from Jason Wood


The man without a specific plan. The piano king. The comedian. The actor. The movie-lover. The student. The best friend. Senior Jeff Horton is the jack-of-all-trades.

While he is traditionally known for his witty, realist sense of humor, his oddly articulate way of speaking, and his stellar performances as Eugene in “Grease: The Musical” and Mal Beineke in “The Addams Family” by many more than just his close friends, he wasn’t always that way.

“I’ve had a good time,” Horton said. “Freshman [and] sophomore years were basically still middle school. They weren’t very fun; I didn’t have many friends. Looking back, I know why—I was so boring as a person. Junior year I finally started to do things, so that got less boring. So, I didn’t have a good time freshman and sophomore years, but I got good grades. That’s not really important to me anymore—I’m doing very poorly in all of my classes. But, I’m having such a grand time that it doesn’t really matter to me anymore. Junior and senior years have been the time of my life.”

Horton grew up as a quieter kid, focused solely on doing well in school and watching the occasional movie. That was all he looked forward to—his movies. Now, rather than watching the actors on stage, he’s the one performing.

“The theater is an amazing place,” Horton said. “It’s not always filled with amazing people, but I think that we do have amazing people in the department here.”

Horton owes a lot of his enjoyment of his junior and senior years to his experience in the theater department.

“My least favorite group of people are ‘theater kids,’” Horton said. “But we don’t really have those people here, because our theater department is really small. You bring in people from band, orchestra, sports and then from academics, and it’s like theater is not the only thing. Because of that, because it’s not just theater kids, it is a really close relationship that we have with everybody. Some of my best friends now I’ve just met in the past year because of getting into theater in the spring.”

Because of his involvement in the world of theater as an upperclassman, Horton plans to continue with this passion in college. He plans on studying comedy performance at Columbia College in Chicago. Horton wants to be a comic—not a dramatic actor or a musical actor—specifically a comedic actor.

“In Chicago, they have Second City and [this] major is connected directly to Second City and for a semester you work with them,” Horton said. “Now am I up to that? I don’t know, probably not, I guess we’ll find out.”

His way of telling it how it is and his wide vocabulary is what makes him funny. He’s the nerd, the dissapointed dad and the guy who will just be talking normally and makes it hard not to laugh.

“I’ll just be talking and people will be laughing and I’m like, ‘well they might be laughing at me but, at least they’re laughing and I’ll take that,’” Horton said. “But we’ll see if I’m up to it. Because I do enjoy that. I enjoy performing.”

Horton’s final advice is short and sweet, but worth taking to heart.

“What I tell freshmen a lot is, ‘screw it,’” Horton said. “You don’t need school to be your way to be happy. Most of your happiness comes from outside of school anyways. … if I get mad about something, I stop doing it because I don’t enjoy it anymore. So I just close it and put it away. It’s not worth it—it’s not worth your time.”

It’s this mentality that has changed his high school experience. From a focused, academically-driven student, to a carefree, happy actor, Horton’s shift was a result of him consciously deciding to just say, “screw it.”

“I’m having fun and I am content,” Horton said. “I’m typically overjoyed, but sometimes not. I typically have a lot of energy, but sometimes not. I’m happy where I am. I have no complaints about where I’m at and where I’m going, so I am content.”

He doesn’t want to be the Ivy League scholar. He doesn’t want to be the king of the school or the most popular. Horton is happy just being himself.