The students of Jeff High have many inspirational teachers, celebrities and other adults in their life to look up to. This Black History month, Jeff High students talked about the importance of role models, and the people of color who have inspired them.
Tara Cofie, a former member of student council and debate team, says her mother inspires her most. “She’s a really hard worker, and I respect the things she does for me,” she says. Cofie and her mother were first-generation immigrants to America from Ghana. Her mother encouraged her to do things she liked and that she was good at, “and I guess I thought I was good at arguing with people,” says Cofie.
Will Loving-Watts, a basketball fan and player, says that Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant inspire him to work hard. Loving-Watts talks about how the persistence and hard work of Bryant and Durant inspired him to do the same. For example, the day before the state championship, he spent three and a half hours at the gym. “When we won, I felt like they would’ve been proud of me.”
Raquel Lopez is a soccer player, member of Jeff ’s Chefs and yearbook co-editor and she says her parents inspire her most. She wants to be a chef when she’s older and says it’s because of her parents. “My parents poured their hearts into every meal they made and you could always tell who made the food,” Lopez says. “Their food made people happy, and it made me want to do the same for other people.”
Azarian Bacon, a chess team player, says that Mr. Washington and Mr. Willis inspire him most. “The times they’ve been really proud it is when progress is being made, for me it happened at a rapid pace,” Bacon says. “The first time I played chess I hated it. My eighth grade year I signed up for impacts that didn’t have chess, but I was forced to play it anyway,” he says. Bacon thinks Washington and Willis are proud of him and the improvements he’s made while playing on the chess team.
The importance of seeing yourself in people around can make all the difference. The inspiration provided by teachers, celebrities and even your own parents can inspire you to pursue anything. As Raquel Lopez says, “For people of color, representation is really important to us. It’s really rare to see ourselves portrayed in TV shows and movies correctly. We often look for people who are similar to us for inspiration, because we desperately want someone to relate to.”