Goode Senior Earns Certificate through the Princeton Prize in Race Relations
STUDENTS | April 1, 2022
Goode Senior Earns Certificate through the Princeton Prize in Race Relations

Jalyn, a senior at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, says that his school is known for having an active student body. And he is no exception. From volleyball to debate to serving as his school’s LSC student representative, he has gone above and beyond to involve himself at Goode both inside and outside of the classroom. He is also part of the District’s Office of Student Protections and Title IX’s student advisory board and has spearheaded a pantry at Goode called the Knights Den.

“The Knights Den serves to provide students with material necessities, the small things that they need but might not be able to afford or be too ashamed to ask for,” he said. “Sometimes, asking for help can come with stigma, so I’m attempting to lift that burden off of students so they can thrive as learners.” 

His efforts have led him to be recognized as a certificate winner from the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. He is one of four winners selected throughout the Chicagoland area and will be honored at a special Princeton University reception where he will be able to network with Princeton alumni.  

“When I first got the call, it came at the perfect time. I had actually been having a pretty tough week and was feeling down on my luck,” he said. “It feels nice to be recognized for my efforts and be awarded the certificate, and this opens doors for me since I’ll be able to pick up skills from Princeton alumni and former award winners.” 

Though Jalyn’s time as a student at Goode is winding down, he’s determined to develop a foundation for other Goode students to follow in his footsteps in terms of advocacy and activism. He explains that his time on the debate team has helped him develop his voice and become more comfortable collaborating with others, two skills that he believes are cornerstones of being a student leader.

“When it comes to getting more involved at school, my biggest piece of advice is that you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks. Risk-taking is a natural part of life, and you should always apply yourself fully and consistently in everything you do,” he said. “Power is applied knowledge, and setbacks will happen because they happen to all of us. It’s up to you to analyze those setbacks so you can learn from them.” 

Jalyn also encourages students to follow their interests while in high school. If they’re interested in something their school doesn’t currently offer, he says the best approach is to work with other students to start a club or extracurricular program related to their passion. 

As he looks toward college, his passion is cybersecurity. Because his school is an early college high school that focuses on technology, he has had many opportunities to take advanced courses and learn from experts in various STEM fields. He is also interested in philosophy and sociology, and he believes that maintaining our infrastructure through cybersecurity is a huge part of ensuring that our society runs smoothly. 

And, beyond his potential career prospects, he plans to continue advocating for others in everything that he does. 

“You don’t have to look too far back in history to see how race and other factors have been used as tools to oppress. Even today, the disparities are still there,” he said. “This oppression has been embedded deep within America’s values. It’s only when we analyze the structures that exist that we can understand the ongoing violence against people of color. Confronting this reality may be uncomfortable, but it is also enlightening.”