Student Spotlight of the Week

Name: Jeremi Smith

Grade: 12th Grade

School: Therrell High School- STEMS

Jeremi Smith is a 12th grader at Therrell High School STEMS. Jeremi’s teachers describe him as an exemplary student in his engineering classes. He is highly dedicated to his work and shows great leadership as a member of Therrell’s Technology Student Association chapter.

“Jeremi has been a member of the TSA chapter for the last two years, where he has  served as an officer,” Carline Mastin, a teacher at Therrell, explains. “He has also participated in several architectural competitions, where he represented the TSA chapter.”

Jeremi enjoys playing football and creating architectural 3D models in his free time.

“Architecture is my true future profession in life; I have a passion for creativity and designing houses and buildings,” Jeremi explains.

According to Jeremi, his passion for architecture started when he received a special gift for Christmas.

“When I was younger all I got for Christmas was a large box of Legos,” Jeremi said. “And everyday, instead of going outside to play, I was in my room building things from Legos.”

Jeremi says his next step is to enroll in the architecture program at Southern Polytechnic University next Fall.  When asked what inspires him to work hard in his field, he explains that his inspiration comes from his family, friends, his past, and knowing that the good decisions he makes now will lead to a bright future.

“My motivation is knowing that I have the gift of creativity and mathematics,” he explains. “My motivation is knowing that I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college, despite the obstacles I’ve faced in life.”

Name: Tony Wilborn

Grade: 11th Grade

School: Grady High School

Tony Wilborn is an honor student at Grady High School, and also a track star who participated in the 2012 AAU Junior Olympics.  The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the largest, national, multi-sporting event for the youth, with approximately 15,000 participants from around the country. Tony ran in the 4×4 Relay with his AAU star track team at Lakewood Stadium and came in 2nd place to qualify.

Tony started running in 8th grade, as an alternative to basketball. He continued to win many races and became serious about the sport.  His record time for the 400 meter run is 51.8 seconds, which is only 8.6 seconds behind the current men’s world record by American Michael Johnson of 41.2 seconds.  This summer, Tony’s AAU track team ran at 5-6 meets on a weekly basis and continued on towards the Junior Olympics in late July.  Tony’s training routine consisted of lifting weights at 8 a.m. every morning, water aerobics 5 times a week, and running track in the evenings. He continued running and training everyday even when he had a pulled hamstring. “It made it worse, but I pushed through it,” says Tony.

Unlike many high school students, Tony actually enjoys school. He is always willing to take unrelated classes, even though he may not have any interest in the subject initially. “I like being thrown into random classes such as engineering, sports writing, film making, and engineering, because I still enjoy those classes and it actually helped me settle on a career,” Tony says. As a result of his sports writing class, he has decided to pursue a career in sports writing or sports medicine. He is a high performing student with an attitude and determination to succeed in everything he does.

“Tony is the paradigmatic Renaissance man,” says Willie Vincent, academy leader at Grady High School. “He always accepts challenges with humility, optimizes the new experiences, and performs at an exemplary level. He is an awesome young man.”

Name: Sulayman Jallow

Grade: 5th Grade

School: Heritage Academy

Sulayman Jallow is a fifth grader who has his eyes cast far in the skies. On a deep space and interplanetary scale. That’s because Sulayman is very interested in the planets that are within our solar system. Venus, the second planet away from the Sun and Earth’s closest neighbor, is Sulayman’s favorite planet. “I really like math and science. With math and science, you can do a lot of projects. We studied about the planets and I really like all of them but my favorite is Venus.” Asked why he likes Venus in particular, Sulayman goes into NASA candidate slash planetary explorer mode. “If I were to go Venus, I could fly around in space and stuff because Venus is so small.” Back here on Earth, Sulayman also likes to write and loves art.  Sulayman’s aptitude for science has won him praise. “Sulayman is a high performing student here at Heritage. He has a broad understanding of concepts and good use of practical concepts” says Sulayman’s fourth grade teacher Mrs. Shani Jackson. Mrs. Jackson continued: “Sulayman is an A and B student who excels in math and science. I think Sulayman can do anything he sets his mind to doing. He really applies himself to his subjects and always completes his tasks.”

In his spare time, Sulayman likes to play games and football.  Playing professional football is also an aspiration for Sulayman. “I want to be a football player when I grow up and play for the New England Patriots”, Sulayman said “I want to go to college in Ohio.” Asked where he wanted to graduate, Sulayman said Canton. He did not know it at the time but when informed that Canton, Ohio is where the Football Hall of Fame is located, Sulayman nodded his head in positive approval. Sulayman’s older brother has been coaching him in football and Sulayman’s chosen position on the gridiron is that of safety. Sulayman has a keen sense of discovery and a seemingly explorer’s passion for boldness.

Name: Jovanay Carter

Grade: 10th Grade

School: Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSK) High School

Some might say that students like Jovanay Carter are a rarity these days–smart and talented, athletic, yet graceful, with more discipline and focus than many adults. Jovanay is more than just a debutante, she is the essence of the CSK girl.

Ranked number one in her 10th grade class, Jovanay acknowledges that maintaining the distinction requires considerable effort.  She says she must study daily and routinely practice problems and review concepts that challenge her.

“For me, practicing the problems is really the key to high test scores,” she says.  “There are a lot of things I don’t understand, and I don’t always get every problem right.  But I always ask myself why I got it wrong.  And once I understand where I made the mistake, I practice as many similar problems as I can, until it’s like second nature.  Then I don’t get that kind of problem wrong again. “

It is that sort of persistence that has allowed Jovanay– a student in CSK’s Engineering, Science and Technology Academy– to excel in everything she does.  She is one of CSK’s top featured dancers, and as a cross-country runner, she wakes up extra early every morning to train with the rest of the school’s cross-country team.

The 10th grader’s grace and dexterity have helped her become one of CSK’s most featured dancers and an experienced cheeleader.  She is also a member of several other school organizations, including the the Junior Beta Club. And in an effort to get others to ‘go green’, Jovanay submitted a proposal to APS to begin a recycling program at CSK.

“Our motto at Coretta Scott King is ’empowering every girl every day’,” says CSK principal Termerion McCrary.  “Jovanay is a great representation of this.  She is well rounded, well spoken and a natural leader.  And even though she is involved in several after-school activities she has figured out how to balance all of this with her school work–she’s just  a true ‘Coretta Girl’.”

Jovanay is passionate about the arts and self-expression.  She enjoys reading and creative writing–especially poetry.  But more than anything, Jovanay loves to dance.  In fact, her passion for dancing is so intense, she is considering dancing professionally when she completes her education.

“But I have plenty of time to think about a career, and plenty of options, so I’m not very worried bout that right now,” she says.

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