Setting a standard of excellence

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019

As a community, we need to encourage young people to pursue excellence in their lives. For Jasmine Myrick, that means setting an example for other girls through community volunteerism and STEM-based opportunities.

Jasmine is a 14-year-old rising freshman at Lakeland High School. I recently interviewed her after she participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum Explore STEM Program, which was held July 6-11 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

NYFL Explore STEM is designed to help students build the confidence and skills they need to excel in high school, college and their future careers. This particular session was organized with a “Mission to Mars” theme that divided the students into different galaxy groups, each with a different STEM focus for this challenge.

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Jasmine and her group built a Mars habitat for their project. This cardboard model represented their design for Mars colonists to survive on the red planet, with both necessities and leisure activities for their extended stay.

She said it took a lot of teamwork to get this model built. There were disagreements and compromises made on the design, but they got the job done. She also enjoyed making new friends during her time at Wake Forest while experiencing hands-on robotics, medicine and other STEM lessons.

The various problems she solved in the program fit nicely into her aspiring career as an engineer. She said she wants to make an impact in the world, and engineering will open the door for her to do just that.

“I can be an influence for other girls to get into engineering,” she said.

That’s the sort of trailblazing attitude we need to foster in schools and in the community — the drive to be active, to learn and improve yourself and to set a goal that’s a cut above average.

Jasmine’s resume already includes a number of outstanding credits. She’s a member of the Youth Choir and Praise Dance Team at Metropolitan Baptist Church, as well as president of the Youth Ignite Missionary Ministry and vice president of the Young Developers Youth Ministry at the church.

She’ll start her first year at Lakeland High School as an Archonette in the Youth Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, as a Girl Scout of four years and counting and as a competitor on the school’s junior varsity tennis team.

Angela Myrick, Jasmine’s mother, said her daughter doesn’t sit still for anything.

“She will jump in and help anybody with whatever is going on,” Myrick said.

Kudos to Jasmine for staying active and setting excellence as her standard, and also to her friends, family and church community for supporting her efforts.

Let this be an example for others to follow: pursue excellence, and encourage others to do the same.