High School Graduate: Reaching Out For Himself and Others
Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Jaquay Cole who has just graduated from Loy Norrix High School
A CIS alumna and Kalamazoo Promise Scholar, Jaquay plans to attend Southwestern Michigan College this fall, with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatrician. “I’m passionate about helping others,” he says. And he has put that passion into practice throughout his high school career. In addition to his studies and school sports—Track and Field and Bowling—he’s carved out time to serve on the Loy Norrix Link Crew, mentoring freshmen to help to foster a positive transition to high school. Jaquay has also kept an eye out for other students who might need additional support. “CIS is a really good program for kids who are struggling in school,” he says. When he sees somebody in need of help, he reaches out and encourages them to connect to CIS. “CIS can provide mentors, tutors, or help with any problem that you might have. Problems in schools or any problems. I tell them to sign up!”
He’s going to miss CIS Site Coordinator Montrell Baker who has a knack for “helping me feel comfortable even when I was struggling.” But he’s also looking forward to his bright future and using the Kalamazoo Promise to ultimately position himself in a career that he can best help others and give back.
We met up with Jaquay over Zoom.
Alright, Jaquay: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
Thinking over your years in Kalamazoo Public Schools, who has been one of your favorite teachers?
Ms. [Cindy] Van Lieu. She was my art teacher at Norrix. I was struggling a bit and reached out to her and she helped me during lunch and sometimes after school. And even once I didn’t have her class anymore, I could still go and get help from her. She also does Travel Club and we were going to go to Paris, but then we had this pandemic.
That is a bummer.
Yes. And another one of my favorite teachers has been Ms. [Erin] Rolfe. She taught U.S. History. She saw I was struggling and she offered to help me. She’s now transferred to Maple Street Magnet School [serving as Assistant Principal].
What has been one of the most surprising things about learning remotely?
That it can be stressful at times. But if you continue to do work, ask question, and stick with it, things go by easier.
What’s your favorite word or phrase right now?
If you don’t do it, then who will?
What’s a question you’ve been asking a lot lately?
What is pushing you to succeed?
Behind every successful student is a caring adult. Who has been one of your caring adults?
My mom. She really supports me. She will help me get my homework done. She reminds me to make sure I ask teachers for help so I can keep getting better.
Anything else we should know?
If I were just to give up, I wouldn’t be a senior. There will be hard times and you have to keep going. You have to reach out, ask for help when you need it and keep going.
Thank you, Jaquay, for hanging out with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids.
Tags: CIS, Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS), graduating high school, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Loy Norrix High School, Montrell Baker