There are many multi-talented students at Jesuit High School. Musicians garner Superior ratings at the State competition. Athletes sign with colleges every year. Scholars earn amazing academic recognitions. And, of course, there are many who have a strong dedication to service.
Jackson Shembekar '21 is such a Jesuit student – a musician (violin, piano), athlete (pitcher who has signed with the University of Tampa), scholar (Principal's Honor Roll), and servant leader (president of SADD). But even that robust list of characteristics and accomplishments is woefully incomplete when describing Shembekar.
He is an entrepreneur, investing in cryptocurrencies and the Tampa real estate market. He is a pilot, recently receiving his private pilot's license. He is a budding author, with a book in the works. And he is a leader: in addition to currently serving as president of Jesuit's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club, he previously served as the founding president of the newly re-established Jesuit Chess Club.
Shembekar is Jesuit's Renaissance man.
As of late, his entrepreneurial prowess and expertise in cryptocurrency has become increasingly noteworthy. The 17-year-old has become a monthly guest, as a cryptocurrency expert, on The Consumer Quarterback Show, a radio show that airs weekdays at 4:00pm on AM 860 and Sundays at 7:00am on FM 102.5 (click for video of one of Shembekar's radio appearances). The show is hosted by former University of South Florida football player turned real estate agent Brandon Rimes, who queried Shembekar about the rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, how the decentralized digital currency is mined, and how it compares to other currencies like the U.S. Dollar.
"Talking about (cryptocurrency is easy) now because I've been doing this, learning about this, for three years," he said. "It's just become second nature now."
Three years ago, Shembekar was a freshman in the Jesuit orchestra, one of the few sections at Jesuit where freshmen and seniors share class time. There he met Nick Indelicato '18, a senior who befriended the 14-year-old Shembekar. Indelicato told him about a cryptocurrency he had been trading, Ripple, which had blossomed from $0.25 to a value of $3.00 at that time as cryptocurrencies boomed in 2017.
Interested in Indelicato's success, Shembekar immersed himself in cryptocurrency research, buying books and dedicating time online to learn. After much review, he invested in Ethereum and Bitcoin.
"I always give (Nick) the credit," Shembekar said. "I would not know about (cryptocurrency) if he didn't tell me about it."
Shembekar says he started with a $20 cryptocurrency investment in 2017, infusing more capital over time. As of the beginning of April, the value of his cryptocurrency portfolio has grown to more than $500,000. However, he also invests in real estate, the field in which his mother, Dr. Anita Jain Shembekar, thrives.
In August, he made his first real estate purchase, investing in a house with his mom off of Interstate 275 in the emerging Tampa Heights neighborhood. They paid only $54,000, as a fire had incinerated the inside just before they bought it. In less than 90 days, without making a change to the property, it sold for $225,000.
Shembekar is currently focusing more on cryptocurrency, but he can't wait until his 18th birthday in June to start being more aggressive in real estate.
"Once I (turn 18), then it's off to the races for real estate, and I'm very excited," he said. "I'll start acquiring, getting more cash flow on the rental side, and then bigger things will happen in the real estate sector."
Shembekar also is working on a book, titled "Pitching Crypto." It will tell the story of his life, how he got started in cryptocurrency, and the strategies he has implemented to make successful investments and build a portfolio at such a young age.
He also earned his private pilot's license, an endeavor he started with his brother, Preston Shembekar '22. Both are on track to earn their instrument rating this summer. Jackson and Preston also both play violin in Jesuit's orchestra, of which Jackson is the president. A third brother, Colin Shembekar '25, will enroll at Jesuit for next school year, and Jackson says that he will remain "closely integrated with the Jesuit family" after his own graduation in May.
As president of SADD, Shembekar recently invited and introduced Sgt. John Womack of the Tampa Police Department to speak at Jesuit's morning Convocation about the dangers of drinking and driving.
With all that he does, it's a wonder how Shembekar has any free time. And yet he says, "I have so much free time, it's incredible."
"When you're doing something, you need to really be focusing on it," Shembekar said. "If I'm learning cryptocurrency for one hour a day, I have to actually be getting value from that hour.
"In that same aspect, I try to take that same mindset into everything I do."