(Pictured above is Sophie(my sis in law), My brother Jimmy and his beautiful daughter who is my niece, Jessica)
My beautiful niece Jessica graduated from South East High School in Bradenton, Florida night b/f last. She has accomplished so much and I am so very, very proud of her for all the great accomplishments she has made and most of all for making the RIGHT choices she has made all these years.
When Jessica was barely 8 years old, her biological mother whom she lived with, took her own life in the very room with Jessica. My brother Jimmy, who is her biological father, and his wife Sophie who has become nothing but MOM, not step mom to Jessica, have had custody of her ever since. She is their only child.
Jessica started making Honor Roll in grade school at that time and has ever since. She was senior class president and presided over the graduation Ceremony the other night, introducing all the speakers and giving the welcome speech at the begining of the Ceremony. Jessica was state and Divisional weight lifting champion as a senior this year!!
In her Freshman year, Jessica was on drill team, volleyball team,was vice president of her class and was crowned the Freshman Princess that year. As a Sohomore, she was on the Sophomore advisory board and continued her weightlifting and sports participation, earning medals in weightlifting. Her Junior year she was again on the advisory board, was junior class secretary and helped plan the prom. Also she joined the National Honor Society which requires a 3.5 grade point average or higher, she made it to state finals that year in weight lifting and placed with a medal, She was the Manatee County Champion for her weight class.
Jessica said her dream the first three years of high school was to become class president of her senior class.. and YES she accomplished that!! She won, she was elected Senior Class President!! Woot Woot!!! She was crowned Miss Senior Court in the pageant, placed in a talent show where she choreographed her own dance.. was awesome! She joined many clubs as a senior such as "Noles for Christ" (the school mascott is the South East Seminoles, thus Noles), Seminole Pride Club which was basically community service, National Honor Society again and Senior Advisory Board. In addition she joined Drill Team and says she enjoyed spinning that 9 pound rifle and marching. Her Drill Team went to the State finals and brought home trophies! Jessica also joined track team and of course continued in weight lifting, she went to state finals again placing 5th in the ENTIRE STATE for her weight lifting this year in her weight class doing 135 pound bench press and 155 pound clean and jerk lift, winning medals again!! She also became a Senior Notable which only 16 students are selected for this honor by teachers, her grades were in the top 10% of her class.This is why she got to wear Orange cap and gown at graduation instead of the blue gown.
Jessica has joined the United States Navy and will be shiping out July 19th. She is going to be an Operation Specialist, which is radar tracking on the ship. Jessica wants to do Power Lifting in the weight lifting after joining the Navy! She has BIG plans for her future and I don't doubt she will more than conquer and accomplsih anything and everything she sets out to do.
I am so very, very proud of her. Instead of falling prey to bad choices and lame excuses, she has stood tall and acccomplsihed so much. Jessica, her dad Jimmy (my brother) and (step) mom live below poverty level and have struggled desperately to get by month to month all these years, yet Jessica has not let any of that stand in her way of being a great success so I just can not and will not ever accept excuses I hear from these kids and adults who commite horrific crimes and use thier poor poverty stricken life or a tragedy as an excuse for rolling over into bad choices and drugs or for being a failure. Jessica has lived with a very low income level all these years and also has overcome the worst tragedy a child could possibly face, seeing her mother take her own life in front of her, yet Jessica chose to push forward full force and turned her life into great success and accomplishments! But I will say she did have one great advantage.. she has a mom and Dad who love her very much, support her in all she does, encouarge her and have led her to the church doors and shown her what it is to be not only a church member but to be active in the church and community in spite of their great financial struggles. She has been a great example for us all and my brother (her dad) says Jessica is his Hero! And through all this she is the most down to earth and humble person, has never been a 'Click" or snob and even just for that I am so proud!! I love you Jessica!!! So very proud. May God be with her, protect her and bless her all the days of her life. Go Jessica!!!!!!!!!