Much has been made of the layered, multi-dimensional initiatives of Gamma Xi’s Journey To Success (J2S) program. This column highlights the Internship Program, focusing on three college bound high school students, Junior Brazille, Nakeisha Georges and Gabriella Stafford, standouts who have distinguished themselves in high school as they ready themselves to enter a new phase of their young lives.
Junior Brazile is a senior at Southeast High School in Bradenton. Nakeisha Georges is a junior at South East High School in Sarasota, and Gabriella Stafford is a second semester junior at Sarasota High School in Sarasota. All three are outstanding high school students making a conscious contribution for the betterment of their community while simultaneously preparing for the next phase of their lives as college students. Particularly noteworthy is that these three high school students have maintained very strong academic records while working part-time to help defray the cost of their secondary education. Each also manages to include time for a range of sports and extra-curricular activities.
These three students are a testament to the worth and value of the time, energy and resources that Gamma Xi is investing in our young people through its J2S initiatives.
Academics have played a large role in Junior Brazile’s high school experience. While carrying a part-time job workload of 8 to 20 hours a week at a local Winn Dixie supermarket, Junior maintains an overall grade point average (GPA) of 4.2 on a 5 point scale. Junior said the following in a recent interview about several failed attempts by telephone to get a job interview at Winn Dixie supermarket, “I decided to go there in person. After a very brief interview, they hired me and told me when to start work and how much I’d make.” With access to transportation, his own 2010 Toyota, Junior is now mobile with his own “wheels”. He went out and made the Bradenton High School baseball team, which was impractical, until now, because of transportation issues. Though late in his high school career, Junior is upbeat about playing inter-school athletics, despite his team’s overall losing record this season. A college education is high on Junior’s list of priorities, and Florida universities have the most appeal for him. Junior is submitting applications to SEF, USF and UCF. With guidance from his high school advisors and well meaning others, he has applied for financial assistance and scholarship support. To date, Junior has been awarded a “Take Stock in Children” scholarship, a local non-profit organization grant, to attend USF; and as it stands now, he plans to attend USF. As the oldest, with two school age siblings, Junior is well aware of the financial burden that the expense of a higher education will place upon his family, with his mother as head of the single family household. Keeping that in mind, Junior has that extra push to do well enough to earn the financial aid and scholarship support that is critically important. At this point, with his dreams of career and life goals in a formative stage, Junior is a role model for success at a young age and an inspiration for his two younger sisters, eleven and sixteen, respectively, as well as many others.
Nakeisha Georges is smiling at you from the photograph in her website. She is dressed in her uniform as a nurse’s assistant. Nakeisha’s mother is a nurse and her father is studying to be a Certified Nursing Assistant. You would be safe in saying that Nakeisha’s passion for nursing comes naturally. Her family’s interest and career paths in health care have a lot to do with Nakeisha’s interest in the nursing profession. Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Nakeisha has never been to Haiti. With the current global strife and political turmoil in the small nation state, a visit is not imminent or likely in the near future, but Nakeisha says that a contingent of aunts and cousins are still there. In no small way, their predicament undergirds Nakeisha’s drive to help others. Among those in need of help, Nakeisha feels that young girls, not much younger or older than she, face life’s greatest challenges. The part-time work as a nursing assistant is an easy fit with her academic schedule. Nakeisha fully appreciates the importance of community service and how her part-time work is a significant contribution in response to a critical community need. When asked about it, she had this to say, “Serving people is very important to me. Serving others and showing myself in the best way is important to me. Hopefully, this form of giving back makes this a better society”. With a strong academic record of a 3.4 GPA on a 4 point system, Nakeisha has higher education aspirations. She is enrolled in college preparatory programs that include courses in foreign languages and math. Nakeisha readily admits that mastering French is an ongoing challenge, but a host of French speaking family members and friends in the US and Haiti are an incentive to do so. It was through a career counseling session that Nakeisha was able to narrow her focus on career opportunities in nursing. Initially, she was interested in the possibility of being a medical doctor, but the long-term learning and educational prerequisites were a disincentive. Nakeisha is convinced that health care and nursing are her calling. This is a professional area where there is a need, and Nakeisha feels that she can be impactful.
The third student we want to recognize is Gabriella Stafford. She is a 17 year old junior at Sarasota High School. An introduction to the J2S by a high school counselor turned out to fit well with Gabriella’s interest in the theater. While in the 6th grade, twelve year old Gabriella was a stage hand in the play Hairspray, which has a history of movie and box office success long before Gabriella was born. Gabriella admits that her initial involvement in the theater was motivated by wanting to be a part of the “in-crowd”. As it turned out, Gabriella enjoyed working behind the scenes with set designs, a variety of props and all of the extras that help make performances possible and often memorable. She added stage productions of the Lion King and Mary Poppins to her list of credits while still in middle school. Gabriella says emphatically that she is not interested in performing as an actor on stage or screen. The thought of memorizing long or even short scripts is beyond her comprehension, ability or desire. She adds, “I am never afraid of a challenge. I am all-in for theater as a career. But I know what parts of the theater I do best.” The challenge of doing well in class was emphasized at home when Gabriella was a young girl. It became her personal mantra in her earliest school days. Often the only Black student in many of her classes since elementary school here in Florida, Gabriella faced teachers who assumed that she was going to be slower than the white students. She believes that she continually proved them wrong. With hard work and drive, Gabriella boasts of a 4.2 GPA on a 5.0 system. Admittedly, among her studies, math demands an extra effort. Gabriella has her sights set on FSU in Tallahassee, but her fail-safe alternative choices are NYU and UCLA. Her plan is to concentrate on production as a major, which she believes will well equip her for a career in either the movies or theater. As their brief profiles suggest, these three Black Floridian high school students are exemplary. They stand out among their peers and are an inspiration to those who follow them. Eventually, they fall easily into that cluster of Black men and women who W.E.B. Dubois called the “Talented Tenth”. From what they have said about themselves and the greater society, we should feel confident that they will make a contribution to society that will make all of us proud.
Akila Davis Shaw 2018-19 Herald Tribune
We are extremely pleased to update you on one of the Boule' student interns. Ms. Jasmine McDaniel is a junior at Southeast High School in Bradenton. Jasmine was in the first class of student interns at Southeast for 2020. She was employed as a Foster Care Resource Assistant by Ms. Susie Bowie, Executive Director of the Manatee Community Foundation. Jasmine began her internship in February. Attached is a photograph of her first day on
the job when Ms. Bowie and her staff welcomed Jasmine with a cake. We had a total of 9 student interns for the Spring semester. However, due to COVID 19, Jasmine was 1 of only 2 students who were able to continue their internships while working remotely from home.
Jasmine was given a project to develop a Foster Care Resource Guide. Please visit the following link to see Jasmine's experience at the Manatee Community Foundation and to download the Foster Care Resource Guide that she researched and prepared. Jasmine is credited with its authorship.
These internships can make a tremendous difference in the lives of many youngsters providing them with real world, on the job experience in the workplace. Often, opportunities such as these can mean the difference between youngsters making good and bad life choices.
The Internship Program began in 2016 with 10-12th grade students from Booker High School in Sarasota, FL. The program provides students with hands-on work experience, employment readiness skills, team-building and socialization skills in professional business environments. The students participate in meetings, tour office facilities, work on projects under staff supervision, and interact with staff members and executives. Prior to beginning their internship, students participate in a mandatory business etiquette workshop to learn resume writing, interviewing skills and the do's and don'ts of how to be successful on the job. The workshop was developed and conducted by Archons of Gamma Xi.
"The relationships and trust that was built during the internship are invaluable. It is so important for the police and students to interact in a positive environment. The students gained life and law enforcement experiences which will certainly benefit them in their future endeavors. They assisted us just as much as I believe we helped them!"
- Police Chief Bernadette DiPino
Interns are currently working for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Media Group and the Sarasota Police Department. Chatoria White and Kevin Beard intern at the Sarasota Police department.
Student interns earn $10 per hour and may work up to 10 hours per week during the school year. Fifty percent (50%) of the student’s earnings are paid by the Foundation.
"I just wanted to say thank you so much for my opportunity and getting the chance to have my internship. It was so much fun and I got so much experience. I really appreciate the fact that you and the rest of your fraternity are so passionate about helping out young people, especially young black kids who want to succeed in life. You don't know how much this has impacted my life and you guys have been such a huge support to me, you don't know the half of it! I hope I get to see you soon and talk.
Hopefully in the near future we get to work together again!
The Herald Tribune:
The Herald-Tribune is pleased to participate in the Boulé Internship
program. Our experience was nothing but positive, with laudable goals,
strong commitment, communication and follow-through from the organization,
a diligent and eager intern in Maicy Powell, and results. Maicy was able to
shadow and work with Herald-Tribune journalists, gained experience and confidence and wound up with published articles in the Herald-Tribune. We look forward to having another Boulé intern in the coming year.
- Victor Hull, City Editor
Ms. LaShaughn Waiters is a student at Booker High School and one of Gamma Xi Boule's interns.
This is the first article she has written under her own byline. The Herald Tribune Media Group is a committed partner in our Journey to Success program. The student internship program is one of our initiatives to provide students with real world work experiences. Our Foundation pays 50% of the student's costs.
If you would like to help support a student intern you may contribute send a check to Gamma Xi Boulé Foundation, Inc at PO Box 20117, Bradenton FL 34204. Or Donate online.
Check out our intern's 2nd article with the Herald-Tribune-
A Booker High School student talks about how active shooter drills have forced a sense of mortality onto today’s youth