STUDENTS | June 17, 2020
An Austin College and Career Academy Graduate with Strong Roots in Chicago’s Austin Community
Though Jada Miles can’t help but feel a little disappointed that her senior year did not unfold like she expected, she can’t help but smile when she looks back on her time at Austin College and Career Academy (ACCA). From learning how to play the piano her freshman year to a special “halfway point” celebration as a sophomore to a drive-through graduation this year, each step of her journey at ACCA has been marked by special memories that she knows she will never forget. If she had to do it over again, the Chicago native has few regrets but says she would have tried to come out of her shell a little earlier.
“I’ve grown up in the Austin Community my whole life, so even though I was going to my neighborhood school, I think I could have been a little more bold and gotten out there more,” she said.
Jada built relationships with students, teachers, and school administration through two core extracurricular activities: Working on Womanhood (WOW) and Dream Team. Jada received mentoring through WOW to build her social-emotional skills, which came in handy for activities like Dream Team—ACCA’s version of student council—where students met twice a week to discuss the positive changes they could make to the school environment and plan activities for the student body.
“My time at ACCA has been interesting but also kind of amazing at the same time,” she said. “We had so many opportunities, and with each new opportunity I saw how everyone is different in their own way.”
Budding interests in math and the arts were two of the reasons that Jada decided to attend Harris-Stowe State University to major in business administration and entrepreneurship, with the hope of having her own restaurant or bakery one day. She says she chose to attend an HBCU simply because she thought it would be fun. As she plans to leave ACCA with mentorship having been a key facet of her high school experience, she also hasn’t counted out being a youth mentor herself one day. She’s learned from her time in high school that growth is important, but what’s more important is starting off in a really good place and staying there.
“I would tell future ACCA students to make sure to pay attention in your classes and stay on top of everything,” she said. “Your grades from freshman year will follow you all the way to senior year so it’s important to start off strong and keep challenging yourself.”