Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jade's Journey

Seventeen-year-old Charged with Beating Motorist
Teen Arrested in the Death of Stepfather
Seventeen-Year-Old Arrested for First Degree Murder

Headlines like these occur too frequently in newspapers all across the nation. Teens like these face  difficult journeys in their lives because of the choices they make. We learn about their arrests, trials, sentences, and sometimes their repeat offenses.

Unfortunately, we don’t see enough good news, which is why I wanted to write about the journey of a special 17-year-old young lady. Jade’s journey over the past 17 years has been filled with goal setting, achievements, and opportunities. She is actively involved in her high school and in her community:
  • president of one of the foreign language culture clubs
  • teacher’s aid
  • peer tutor

Jade is also enrolled in a dual high school and college program and has already set goals for her upcoming senior year:
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority program for high school girls
  • National Honor Society

One of the highlights of Jade’s journey is being one of the 18 winners of the Palazzo Strozzi High School Renaissance Award. She will travel overseas to study the Renaissance--its history, science, art, language, and literature. Family and friends gathered together today at a local park to celebrate her triumph.

Jade’s journey goes beyond the immediate future. Her long-term goals include college in which she will continue her foreign language study along with environmental design. Eventually Jade would like to help educate children in environmental science to encourage them to become involved in the environment.

Jade attributes her success to being responsible for her own destiny. She doesn’t have a problem saying no when the consequences could be undesirable, and Jade believes saying no is not hard. If people threaten to break off a friendship because you would not give in, she affirms that they weren’t your friends in the first place. Jade believes you have power over yourself. No one can make you do anything. She has been inspired by her dad, who has encouraged her to pick good friends—people who aren’t followers and to think independently.

Jade is aware of the serious challenges teens face today. Many, she says, don’t know who they are, so they hang out with people who have gang mindsets. Someone will be the queen bee—the controller, but Jade warns, “Don’t follow the crowd.”

What other advice does Jade have for teens?
Surround yourself with positive people who have goals.
Establish your own goals, and focus on them.
Stay away from people who might negatively influence you.

Jade’s dad has been a positive influence in her life. She says he is positive even when she doesn’t do as well as she would like to do on a task. Her dad says, “You can do better next time. Tomorrow’s a new day.” With enough negatively in the world already, Jade embraces her dad’s positive advice. 

Jade, we wish you success on your journey overseas and beyond.

Who has been an inspiration to you? This is the story in you. Share it.


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