May Student of the Month: Jaylin Bowens
MAY STUDENT OF THE MONTH
Name: Jaylin Bowens
School: Philadelphia High School for Girls
Nominated By:Megan McNamara, Joseph Marchetti, Louis Austin – Teachers
Some people just seem to have it all – the talent, skills, personality, the works. It’s easy to assume that these individuals came by it all naturally and easily when in reality, having it all is almost always the result of extremely hard work. Jaylin Bowens is the full package – someone who seems to have it all – and the epitome of grit, work and perseverance.
When we say, she has it all, we’re not kidding. For starters, Jaylin has 8 younger siblings. She attributes her winning personality to a combination of nature and birth order. “Though I’ve grown up under a little bit of pressure, I try to remember that I’m not doing everything I’m doing just for myself,” Jaylin explained. “I’m also teaching my siblings that they can do it all too if they have the same commitment and drive. They look up to me, but that responsibility has never felt like too much. It’s not always easy and I’m far from perfect, but I’ve tried to accept the role with positivity and awareness. I pride myself on being the best example that I can be.”
Being the example all her life and developing innate leadership skills from a young age clearly laid the path to her long list of high school successes. Jaylin holds herself to a very high standard in everything she does, from school work, to extracurriculars to volunteering. Whether she explicitly asked for the responsibility or not, Jaylin is a caregiver, a skill that she has honed through her volunteering pursuits. At Girls High she is a co-founder of the Surviving Girls High Club, which helps prepare underclassmen for the rigors of high school and a Girls High education. She is the president of the College & Career Readiness Club, which supports fellow students as they pursue their various post-high school plans. Jaylin, driven by the pride she has for her school, is also a Girls High Ambassador – leading school tours, alumni meetings and distinguished daughter events in her “spare time.” Spare time is hard to come by – because she’s also a co-leader of the Girls High Service Club, a member of the Girls High stage kroo, and captain of the Girls High Debate Team.
On top of all of this, Jaylin is a stellar student. She is a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the Science, Spanish and Math Honor Societies. She’s also an International Baccalaureate student, earning top scores in enriched, college-level classes. Not content to hoard the knowledge and maturity gained by the IB experience, Jaylin participates in the IB Council, teaching other students about the value and challenges of the IB program. During the summers, she volunteers as teaching assistant with the summer transition program, supporting incoming freshmen who are receiving academic remediation in math or science before entering high school.
“Jaylin just simply takes care of everyone and everything,” her nominator Ms. McNamara admitted with admiration. “Whatever is needed, or whoever is in need, Jaylin is the first to step up. She is the compassionate student leader that we lean on as a school community.” Added nominator and teacher Mr. Marchetti, “She does it all with high energy and positivity, I don’t know where it comes from. She’s always ready to work and always ready to help…always with a smile and a good mood, always kind and supportive.”
When asked what motivates her, Jaylin admitted: “I don’t really know. I’ve tried to figure it out. The best thing I’ve come up with is using the analogy of a puzzle. I see holes that need to be filled – either in my own personal or academic life, or in the lives of others – and I can’t help but to figure out how to fill it. Whether it’s a practical need, school work, or other people’s challenges…I just want to help.”
Jaylin’s parents are equally impressed with her, perhaps not giving themselves enough credit! “People gravitate to her, I think because she is an active listener and a fixer,” muses Jaylin’s mom Comfort. “No matter who you are, if you come to her with anything, she’ll help you feel complete. Most of that is innate, but I like to think some of that comes from watching us, her parents, as we’ve persevered and overcome through life. I think she’s learned the importance of kindness, compassion and integrity in survival – maybe too well. Sometimes we have to remind her that we’re the parents and we can take care of things too!”
We sat with Jaylin after she was selected as Senior of the Month. Here’s more of what she had to say:
1. What does being named Student of the Month mean to you? It’s certainly an honor, knowing how large SDP is. It means what I’ve done will continue to have an impact on anyone that hears my story. I’m glad that now my voice can be amplified.
2. You were nominated by Ms. McNamara, Mr. Marchetti and Mr. Austin Explain your relationship to them? I met Ms. Mac my freshman year, but it was sophomore year when I applied for the IB programs that we truly connected. She was the one that helped me through that process. She’s a ball of energy that tells it to you straight but will do anything for you. I believe she has my best interests at heart and she’s always there for me, and all of us.
Mr. Marchetti and I met at the IB info session when he talked me out of dropping the IB program because I didn’t want to do art. He’s the one that tells me, “there’s no such thing as can’t, you just won’t.” He’s my pusher, he never lets me give up.
Mr. Austin is the one that helps me calm down when everything gets crazy. He has a special way of relating to students – he’s so down to earth, understanding and level (and always brings us pretzels). That demeanor is perfect for someone like me.
I just love all these teachers and will miss them greatly. They go to bat for us no matter what, and that’s something that all students need and deserve.
3. What do you enjoy most when you are not at school?In my free time, I love video games. I love Mortal Kombat, and Detroit Becomes Human. I’ve also recently discovered that I love going to the movies and I’m a big Marvel fan!
4. In your opinion, what is the best thing about attending school at Girls High?As an 8th grader, I didn’t want to come here to an all girls school. But since then I’ve seen the value in being here. I have a renewed sense of confidence in myself and my abilities. Girls High offers us an opportunity to overcome the biases about boys being better than girls at certain things. Girls High avoids that stigma and really helps level the playing field. Also the typical everyday issues between boys and girls can take up a lot of mental space and energy. Eliminating that in the school environment makes for a better experience. I think I’ve been able to develop a strong voice and a confidence and autonomy to be able to pursue and accomplish anything and everything I want. That will serve me well when I get to co-ed college.
5. In your opinion, what is one thing that the School District could do to improve our service to students?The District-wide Surveys are taken every single quarter, it’s always the exact same questions. We answer, but then I don’t see any changes based on the surveys. I would like SDP to actually use the feedback to make changes – take our voices into consideration.
Jaylin has been accepted to 29 colleges. “Accepted” may be a misnomer, as she was “pursued” by many of these institutions. Drexel University was so impressed that they visited Girls High to present Jaylin with their prestigious Liberty Scholarship. As a Dragon, she will study criminology and justice on her way to law school and eventually a judgeship.
Yes, it may seem like she has it all. But her power is that she’s willing to share – her wisdom, knowledge, experiences; her time, effort, compassion; she uses it all to help others.
Says Ms. McNamara: “I have literally never seen a student with more positivity, more drive, more hope, more commitment to her communities and fellow students. Jaylin is indispensable to every aspect of school and extracurricular life at the Philadelphia High School for Girls.”
We expect that will continue at Drexel and beyond! Congratulations Jaylin!