JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- First Coast News is teaming up with Andrew Jackson High School. As a news organization, we’re always looking for ways to make the First Coast a better place to live. That sounds like a slogan, but it’s actually something we often talk about in our approach to news.
We’ve chosen Andrew Jackson High School as a partner because of its history and its potential.
The high school was once ranked the lowest ‘F’ in the state. A movement is already happening on campus. it’s recently become a magnet school and its ranking is now a ‘B’. Over the next year, we’re going follow the students and teachers of Andrew Jackson High.
Jahmesha Brinson is the valedictorian of her graduating class. She's a young woman with a lot of ambition. Brinson is graduating with a 4.5 GPA from Andrew Jackson High School and going to the University of Central Florida to study information technology.
"I would love to work my way up to a network architect to help figure out the best way to build networks so that they're more efficient, so that communication is smoother,” she said.
First Coast News saw a sign posted at the school that reads "never settle for less than your best" and that's really the motto these students follow.
"You know knowledge is the key to everything and it really just helps you get where you want to be," Eunice Cineus explained.
Cineus is salutatorian and will attend Howard University after graduation, a private university in Washington, D.C.
"I'll be a part of the architecture program hoping to graduate in five years with a master’s degree," Cineus added.
Also, Cineus has earned about $340,000 dollars in scholarships.
"I've made sure that I do the work,” she said. “I don't slack off. I'm not trying to cheat. Just make sure I get the best out of it. Education is for my benefit."
Principal Tracolya Clinch says Andrew Jackson is on track to have one of the highest graduation rates in school history and these young women have done their part.
"If I had to vote on most likely to succeed for a superlative, those two individuals would definitely be the first to come to mind because I know their hard work, their grit, their perseverance will definitely pay off for them in the long run,” Clinch said.
Brinson and Cineus are two young women who have let nothing stop them in their path to reaching their dreams.
"I would just say persist, don't give up," Brinson said.
First Coast News will be working with the school district to add mentors. We’ll be leading a massive building cleanup this summer. Many of the employees of First Coast News will dedicate time each week at the school.
In our newsroom, we’re calling this the "do something" project. We want you to "do something" too.
First Coast News will be reaching out to you for help along this journey.