STUDENTS | June 14, 2021
While it wasn’t always easy, Farragut Career Academy senior Jessica French says her high school experience was an enjoyable one. She views being part of the school’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program as a highlight, which led her to become the captain and commander of Farragut’s color guard team. She also started a dance team as a sophomore with one of her best friends.
The latter half of her time in high school was marked by several challenges, including missing out on face-to-face learning experiences during the pandemic and losing a close family member. Still, she continued to persevere and even participated in a dual credit African American Studies class this year with students from other CPS high schools on top of a full course load.
In the fall, she’ll be attending Malcolm X College to work toward a degree in nursing. Eventually, she’d like to go to medical school to become a pediatrician. Here’s what she believes other students can learn from her journey:
What are some of the ways you’ve grown over the past four years at Farragut?
I’m not a really talkative person and am definitely an introvert. However, I put myself out there more in high school by talking to different teachers and students, embracing the diversity within the school, and getting to know everyone. I feel like I’ve grown a lot within school.
How were you able to stay on track when facing so many obstacles over the past few years?
At first, I really thought remote learning would be better for me because I am an introvert and, even with my growth, still am not always comfortable communicating with others. However, with all my different subjects, it did hit harder not being able to see my teachers.
I got through it by constantly reminding myself that this is my last year and that I can get through it. I came too far to stop trying to succeed academically.
If you could go back in time to your freshman year, what would you tell yourself knowing all that you know now as a senior?
I would tell myself that things are going to get hard within life, but, as long as you stay motivated, have the right mindset, and keep positive vibes around you, you’ll be alright.
What encouraged you to take an after-school dual credit course this year?
Since the topic was African American Studies, I really liked the class and felt like it was a great opportunity to learn about my own culture in a way that schools don’t usually teach. Even though I didn’t do as well as I could have near the end because of some of the loss I was dealing with, it was still a good experience.
How did you determine your next steps?
I actually wasn’t planning on going to Malcolm X at first. I was split about 50-50 with going to a school out of state, but with everything going on, I thought it was best that I stay in Chicago for now to get a feel for college. Malcolm X does have a good nursing program, so I’ll be there for two years and then transfer to a university.
How has your time at Farragut prepared you to succeed in college and beyond?
Farragut has taught me to strive for what you’re going for and get through it without looking back. When times are difficult or you need help, make sure to reach out because there will always be someone there for you who is ready to help you accomplish what comes your way.