Seniors everywhere are wrapping up high school and preparing for college. And though they all persevered to get their diploma, one Detroit student is inspiring a whole new generation of her peers, through her strength.
This week, our All Star is an incredible 17-year-old from Martin Luther King Jr. High School who is overcoming so many obstacles and now, she has big dreams for the future.
“Humble, humility, sunshine, light, all positivity,” Principal Dr. Deborah Jenkins said to describe student Jana Goodwin.
At just 17, Goodwin’s struggles began at the very beginning.
“I was born premature,” she said. “The doctors really didn’t think I’d make it past age five and now I’m 17 so that was really a blessing.”
She says her high school years were filled with tragedy.
“At the end of my 9th grade year, I lost my uncle,”Goodwin said. “Actually, I found him dead in the basement and from there a month later my brother lost his arm.”
But that was only the beginning.
“A month after that my mother passed,” Goodwin said.
She says her mother was her best friend and her inspiration.
“Six months later I lost my grandmother to heart malfunctions, so from there I was just kind of lost for a while,” Goodwin said. “I used my challenges and grief as motivation to do better in life and to do great things.”
And great things she has done, keeping her promise to her mother and grandmother to go to college.
“When I was growing up they always told me, Jana you’re gonna be somebody, you’re gonna break this curse, you’re gonna break this chain,” she said.
That chain has been broken as Jana heads to Hampton University in Virginia on a full ride scholarship.
“I won the Gates Millennium Scholarship, a $600,000 scholarship that pays up to your PhD,” she said. “That scholarship- ohh Jesus, that’s been the best thing that has happened to me in life.”
She plans to become a child psychologist with that continued determination and perseverance she learned from her mother.
“If anything, I know she’s very happy, she’s shining like stars up there.”
We want to know who’s going above and beyond in your school. To nominate someone for Ann Marie’s All Stars email firstname.lastname@example.org .