I was born and raised in St. Ann, Jamaica before migrating to the United States in 2003 at the age of 10. The reasoning for the move was easier access to a better education. Having been raised in a single parent home with her mom and sister, I knew first-hand how difficult life was for someone without a college education. That being said, education was always forefront in my life.
Upon arrival to the U.S., I lived in one of South Florida’s smaller cities, Fort Lauderdale. After starting ninth grade at North East High School, me and my family made yet another move further north to Orlando, FL. Here I began attending Maynard Evans High School at the end of ninth grade. Becoming a member of the Trojan family turned out to be one of the most fulfilling experiences as I became engaged in some life altering events.
One of the main ones was getting involved with Elevate Orlando during my Junior year. The Elevate Orlando class itself was unlike any other as it provided an environment free of the complexities of regular high school subjects. The lessons taught there weren’t just the ones that prepared you to take the AP exams; they prepared you for the real world. Doing things like writing in personal journals really made a difference. Having teachers you looked up to read your thoughts and then make uplifting notes about them allowed the Elevate teachers to have a different relationship with the students.
Elevate Orlando was a very eye opening experience and allowed its students to go on endeavors they would never even fathom. My mother was always hesitant about letting her daughter out of her sight but the trusting staff of Elevate Orlando allowed her to slowly let her daughter fend for her own. Events such as camping trips and basketball games made fun experiences that she’ll never forget. However, the most amazing Elevate Orlando trip was that to Denver Colorado during my senior year. Traveling to one of America’s most beautiful land marks would not have been possible for students like me who are worrying about even paying for college. This organization has definitely made an impact on my life as it taught me the importance of having the support of those around you. I have built relationships with Elevate Orlando members that will forever remain with me.
I was selected by my most influential teacher (also with Elevate Orlando), Ms. Jennifer Bohn, to participate in Diane Mieller’s Me and My Community. I was placed in the Health and Fitness group of the program which went on to become the winning team. The team of young ladies went on to present their idea before the Orange County Commissioners. A memorable part of this experience was a conversation with Ms. Meiller in her office where I was inspired to see a woman in such a prominent position. I became aware of just how successful any woman can become if I put my mind to it.
Ms. Meiller later recommended me to participate in one of Junior Achievement’s biggest events of the year known as the Mid Florida Business Hall of Fame. She was to interview and write an introductory speech about one of Central Florida’s most successful businessmen, Mr. Jim Pugh. Mr. Pugh was so impressed by my yearning for success when he met her in his office that he gave me a $10,000/year scholarship towards my college education right on the spot. During my senior year at Evans High School, I was also the President of the school’s Beta Club which published a documentary titled Everyone has a Story to Tell. I was also a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, as well as the recipient or Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award. At the end of her senior year, I graduated among her class’s top ten students and also received the Prinicpal’s Service Award. I am now a proud Gator at the University of Florida where I am a Telecommunication-News major on my way to continue with my love of communicating with others by becoming a television news anchor.