Tech Millionaire and Adventure Journalist Garrett Gee Inspires Students to Follow their Passion

 

Garrett Gee (2nd from left) with Jefferson High School students (L-R): Lawrence Angelo, Joshua Natividad, Ryan Adion, Terry Sustal, Saul Molina, and Princess Sembrano. (Photo courtesy of Pia Lopezbanos-Carrion)

What would one do with a million dollars? Or in this case, $54 million? Tech millionaire and travel journalist Garrett Gee was faced with this very question after he sold his app to Snapchat in 2014. The story behind his mind-blowing success, and what he is now doing with his life were the subject of his chat with students of Jefferson High School in Daly City, California, as part of a joint outreach by ABS-CBN International and Discovering Routes.

According to their website, “Jefferson has a reputation for high academic and athletic standards, despite its designation as an underperforming school. The Jefferson Staff encourages students to achieve at their highest potential, developing skills necessary to become life-long learners and productive citizens.”

A Story of Success

As a sophomore at Brigham Young University, Garrett developed the app, Scan, with two other co-designers. Shortly after, legions of downloads followed its launch. This led to a TV feature on Shark Tank where he did not get the funding he sought. But as all great stories have their glorious endings, Scan was later acquired by Snapchat.

“I feel like it’s one of those classic questions: ‘What would you do with a million dollars?’ It was a really cool and humbling experience to be faced with that question,” Garrett admits to the class. And this was his plan, “Let’s sell everything we own, go super minimalistic, and just travel for some time. Let’s learn about different cultures, about different countries, and try to see what brings other people happiness all around the world.”

This minimalist, vagabond-style of exploring the world paved the way for the two of his landmark projects: (1) The Bucket List Family – a social media documentation on Garrett’s family and their travels; and (2) Discovering Routes – an original series from ABS-CBN Global Studios, that follows him and his sister, Miristi, as they return to their ancestral land.

Passion and Hard Work

Garrett’s talk highlighted that through all the positive and fun things happening in his life, “it all goes back to the high school days and the college days when I just made up my mind to figure out what’s right for me; that I need to follow my own passion. As long as I work hard at it, develop the skills, and don’t get lazy, I think I can make it happen.”

The Intro to Robotics class is the brainchild of Principal Mark Beshirs and teacher Joel Bruxvoort. Ryan Adion, a senior at Jefferson High, was impressed by how the class was captivated by their guest speaker. “People who talk here, they come in suits, he’s just dressed casually so I feel I can relate to him.” Junior student Saul Molina chimed in, “It was pretty cool how he split the money equally,” referring to how Garrett nontraditionally decided on dividing the profit from Snapchat evenly with his co-designers.

Beshirs and Bruxvoort are proponents for unconventional teaching methods. “I just see the smiles on their faces and their intent, and the really nice questions they asked. They start to see humanity, to see themselves,” shared Bruxvoort.

(Left) Jefferson High students pull out the Scan app on their phones and show these to Garrett. (Right) Garrett takes a selfie with the students before they parted ways.

On his end, the tech rockstar confided that this was one of his all-time favorite talks. “I spoke at a lot of corporations and universities, but this is cool because when I entered into their classroom, I just saw a lot of people who remind me of myself back in high school, and I saw a lot of potential in them.”

The talk was made possible by Daly City Arts and Culture Commissioner Dorie Paniza, with Jefferson High School Principal Mark Beshirs, and ABS-CBN International’s Global Head of Corporate Affairs and Public Relations Nerissa Fernandez.

 

(L-R) “Intro to Robotics” Teacher Joel Bruxvoort, Discovering Routes Executive Producer Keesa Ocampo, ABS-CBN International Managing Director for North America Olivia De Jesus, Jessica Gee w/ 3-year old Manilla, Jefferson High School Principal Mark Beshirs, Garrett Gee w/ 4-year old Dorothy, Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr, Consul Carlyn Monastrial, and Daly City Commissioner for Arts & Culture Dorie Paniza.

A Beacon of the Filipino American Community

Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr. of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco made a surprise visit to the class. He presented Garrett with a certificate of appreciation for his philanthropy and goodwill. Bensurto expressed his gratitude to Garrett for having “contributed to raising the profile of the Filipino people, not only in his country but the entire world; and for inspiring the young generation of Filipino Americans to discover their Filipino heritage and connect with the country of origin of their parents.

Consul General Henry Bensurto, Jr. (right) tells Garrett Gee (left) that what he is doing for the Filipino community is fantastic. Bensurto stated, “he opens up the beauty that the Philippines is all about – its culture, its people, its cuisine.”

A Quick Trek to TFC Headquarters

Prior to Garrett’s talk at Jefferson High, he visited the Daly City headquarters of ABS-CBN International to film fun digital content for Discovering Routes.  Extending his Philippine experience, Garrett’s learning a bit of the language, still eating the food, and connecting with his roots.

Adventure journalist Garrett Gee sits down with Discovering Routes Executive Producer Keesa Ocampo to engage in a fun Q&A.

 

Garrett interacts with the officers and staff during his recent visit to the TFC headquarters. Clockwise from top left: Garrett greets officers in conference (L-R) Solutions Delivery Head Gilbert Talavera, Digital IT Officer Ria Vizcarra, Accounts Receivable & Remedial Officer Noel Duma, Digital Partnership & Integration Head Connie Lopez, and Global Business Development Head Enrique Olives; with Global Head of Theatricals JohnD Lazatin; talking with Global HR & Organization Development Head Vic Nuguid; with BA Executive Producer Troy Espera.

 

Keep up with this adventurer and follow his journey. New webisodes on Garrett’s exploits in the beautiful islands of the Philippines go live Mondays and Thursdays on www.DiscoveringRoutes.com. The Discovering Routes TV series can be seen around the globe on Myx TV and Lifestyle Network, and in the Philippines via Lifestyle TV.

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ABOUT DISCOVERING ROUTES

Discovering Routes is an original series by ABS-CBN Global Studios that follows people to their lands of ancestry, in search of epic adventures. The series caters to the wanderlust of those who love to explore and travel and immerse themselves into food, music, culture, and adventure. Follow Discovering Routes on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

Media Contact:

Pia Lopezbanos-Carrion

ABS-CBN International – TFC

2001 Juniperro Serra Blvd, Ste. 200

Daly City, CA 94014

pia_lopezbanos@abs-cbn.com

1-650-241-5607

 

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