Jasmine Jackson, NCSSM Online ’16, has spent her high school career seizing every opportunity that has come her way. “I think your experience is what you make it,” she says.
Jasmine Jackson is the living embodiment of the phrase “carpe diem.” The NCSSM Online senior has seized every opportunity placed in front of her, and has done so quite intentionally. THe last two years she has taken classes at her home high school in Warrenton, NC as well as through NCSSM Online.
On a typical day, Jackson moves between seated classes on site at Warren New Tech and the Online Lab, where she works on her online coursework. Jackson is dual-enrolled, meaning she gets credit for her NCSSM Online classes both through NCSSM and her home high school. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. The coursework is challenging, and Jackson has tapped into resources through both schools.
“She’s a rock star,” says Kelsey DeChant, assistant principal at Warren New Tech, which has 180 students in grades 9-12. DeChant works with students who are interested in NCSSM Online. “It’s been great for her. Being at a small school, there are only so many honors and AP classes.” Students like Jackson, who is one of the top students in her class and extremely motivated, are able to enroll in classes such as AP Environmental Science and International Relations, Jackson’s favorite class.
Jackson is quick to tell you that she knows what she wants and where she is going. Her chosen field is political science—and she isn’t afraid to create her own path to get there. Online classes let her “learn at your own pace,” she says, and dig deep into topics that interested you. Her instructors were helpful and available to help, through phone calls or even text messages.
Jackson is also involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities. She plays tennis in the fall and plays on the men’s golf team in the spring. Jackson and her best friend were the first females to play on the men’s team, which means they tee off from the same location as the guys, rather than the shorter holes that women golfers usually play. At first they were the only female golfers in the conference, but they seem to have started a bit of a trend. “We’re seniors now, so I think because the other schools saw that girls are allowed to do that, now more girls are doing that from other schools,” Jackson says.
She also participates in a number of NCSSM Online clubs, including the International Food Club, where students visit different restaurants and write reviews on their food blog. Jackson has even helped create some new clubs, including one called Goalies, where Online students from around the state set goals and then encourage each other and hold each other accountable. The group is entirely self-driven. Students use Google Docs to collaborate and Skype each other to check in and motivate each other. One month their goals centered on volunteer work; another month they focused on encouraging each other to complete scholarship applications.
She also served as an Online Ambassador, working with the Office of Admissions at events such as Discovery Days and open houses to help recruit new students. This was one of her favorite activities. “To talk about the online program and let other people know about it, because it could be kind of confusing… and I like to talk! So we get to be on stage, talking all the time, and that’s fun.” Jackson is passionate about the program; she says she wanted to apply to NCSSM since she was in elementary school, and she wants to make sure everyone knows about NCSSM Online.
Activities like these have allowed Jackson to create a true community both at NCSSM and Warren New Tech. In April, Jackson attended NCSSM’s prom with her best friend, a fellow NCSSM Online student from Duplin County. They met through online classes and have been best friends for a while now. “I’ve FaceTimed him every single day for like two years,” Jackson says. Next year, as a freshman in college, Jackson hopes to room with some of the other friends she has made in the program.
NCSSM Online offered her the best of both worlds. “It was perfect for me, honestly,” she says. “It’s like you’ve got two ice cream scoops. Instead of just one, I got two. I got two schools, two sets of friends, two transcripts… you just get double. It’s great!
“I think your experience is what you make it,” she says. “I’ve tried to do everything. As a rising junior, I did Summer Accelerator, I did Summer Leadership, and then we do orientation for Online. Then as a rising senior, I did Summer Mentorship and Internship [six weeks of research on NCSSM’s Durham campus].” Jackson worked with an NCSSM instructor on campus, researching the role of African women in politics in Africa and in the United States. This research experience and an internship, in which she conducted research on young voters at her local county commissioner’s office, made a big impression on Jackson and helped point her towards her next steps. Jackson will attend UNC Chapel Hill this fall, where she will double major in political science and psychology. After that, wants to be a district attorney.
Her ultimate goal? “To be governor.” We think she will.
Jasmine Jackson, Warren New Tech ‘16
Best tip for balancing it all
You’ve got to make an agenda!
Favorite way to spend Saturday afternoon
Saturdays spent in Durham as an Online Ambassador. “I get to go up there and talk, and it’s fun!”
What book are you reading right now?
A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley