• The Friendly Hamster

Way To Go, Justin!

Justin attended St. James School – the school Audrey helped to found in North Philadelphia. In the fall he will move on to Ursinus College on a full four-year scholarship. You can “meet” Justin in the following interview reprinted with permission from St. James' weekly email update. Justin's answers show that the school is living up to its promise of empowering students to gain the knowledge, skills, confidence and inner strength to forge their own upward path to the future they imagine. Listen in:

We hear you won a full scholarship! Tell us about that. I will be graduating from The City High School this spring. Then, I will be attending Ursinus University in the fall as an Abele Foundation Scholar. It's an honor to know that award goes to high-achieving students who live the values of integrity, persistence and empowerment, and understand the importance of paying it forward to others.

How has the quarantine affected you? My high school graduation – a moment I have looked forward to since freshman year – is pretty up in the air. They are trying to arrange something in July. I was supposed to go to Guatemala for the month of June on a Study Service Theology Trip, but of course that has been cancelled.

That’s a lot of disappointment. How are you coping? I keep going by the thought that students all across the world are going through this with me. I am also a future thinker; I am not a worrier. I am focused on all that awaits me at college. I also feel an obligation to stay strong to inspire my classmates. I check in on them all the time to encourage them.

What are your ambitions for the future? I plan to attend medical school. I want to be a doctor and work for FEMA so that I can travel all over the world to help people.

So a life of services is important to you? It definitely is. That’s why I am a Junior Volunteer Firefighter at Yeadon Fire Company Station 16 and Barren Hill Fire Company Station 29.

Did St. James School prepare you for high school? ABSOLUTELY! I transferred in as an 8th grader when my mom could no longer afford the school I was at. I was incredibly sad and angry at first, but then I got so much attention and love that I loved St. James. I took advantage of being able to stay after school to get help with anything that I was having trouble with. I attended the Saturday Academic Clinics and I became very close with my teachers. All these things prepared me for high school.

Is there one thing you will never forget about 8th grade? Until I went to St. James, I had never left North Philadelphia. I loved the field trips. My favorite was a trip to NYC, where my teachers made a huge detour to take me to visit Rescue 1, a legendary NYC fire house. I will never forget meeting the firemen and getting a tour.

Has our Graduate Support Team been helpful to you? YES! They don’t let you go when you graduate. If they call to check on you and you don’t pick up, they keep calling you until you do. I am the first St. James student to go to Ursinus. I am hoping to be a connector between Ursinus and other St. James graduates.

St. James School has been such a blessing in my life. My sister, Skylar, is a 4th grader there now. She loves it, too! I know that the Graduate Support Team will be there for me while I am at Ursinus and I plan to use them to help me find the right medical school. I can’t wait to be able to give back by donating to St. James School and mentoring students!

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