Senior Feature: Jailyn Smith

Fleet Wilson, Editor in Chief

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Some may recognize her for her stellar performance at Class Day, racking up scholarship after scholarship, while others know her for her infectious smile and unmatched work ethic, but no matter the circumstance, it is evident that Jailyn Smith is one of the Class of 2018’s most exceptional students.

In her years at RJR, Smith has maintained an overflowing list of leadership positions, and I literally mean overflowing, as her resume took up an entire page of notes on my iPhone. So take a deep breath, because here they come. She was on JV and Varsity Cheer, Co-President of Senior Council, a Co-CEO of Curls for Girls, participant in Young Ladies of Virtue, founded the Student Advisory Council at the Career Center with the help of Dr. Nichols, and was the 2017-2018 District 5 President of HOSA-Future Health Professionals to top it all off.

Are you impressed? So was the selection committee of the Cheatham-White Scholarship at North Carolina Central University. In its inaugural year, the scholarship awarded nine outstanding students out of 200 applicants, making Smith’s accomplishment all the more admirable, considering an acceptance rate of 4.5%.

“Receiving the Cheatham-White Scholarship meant that all my hard work paid off,” Smith said regarding her award that covers full tuition, room and board, student fees, books, a laptop computer, supplies and personal expenses, along with four summer experiences. “At first I was a little sad that I wouldn’t be attending UNC Chapel Hill like I had planned but I am so grateful that I will be attending NCCU in the fall and will be graduating from college debt free!”

Despite her outstanding achievement, Smith acknowledges that her great success did not come without overcoming substantial obstacles.

“The biggest trial was getting past stereotypes because of my skin color,” Smith said. “I feel like I had to work extra hard to prove to people that I wasn’t just a stereotype and that I wanted more for myself.”

“My best memories at RJR are having friends and teachers that are supportive” Smith said in reference to how she was able to overcome such racial barriers. “The teachers are caring and compassionate, and being able to spend senior year with my friends right by my side has been amazing. From Friday night lights, loud basketball games, Class Day, and soon graduation, we have stuck together.”

Jailyn also added an emphatic shoutout to her mother and her favorite counselor.

“She is my biggest supporter and I love her dearly,” Smith gushed in regards to her mother. “Also, shoutout to Ms. Cristen Wiley for nominating me for the Cheatham-White Scholarship!” (The following quote should probably read as a impassioned declaration considering she texted them to me in all caps).

As her high school years come to a close, she offered a poignant word of advice for those who come behind her.

“Don’t be afraid to fail when trying new opportunities. I feel like everyone makes failure seem as though it’s a terrible thing but with each failure comes a lesson, and with each lesson comes a step closer to success,” Smith shared. “Also, don’t stress the small things.”