Valencia Jacobs-Brown has seen friends and family members struggle and she readily admits that she does not want to follow in their footsteps.
“I have motivation to not be a failure in life,” she said. “[I want to] be able to help my family out when they really need it.”
Thus far, Jacobs-Brown is on the path to success as a standout senior at Dorchester Academy who is thinking of getting her degree in early education at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth next fall.
“I like to work with the little kids,” Jacobs-Brown said. “I want to teach them good things.”
When Jacobs-Brown takes a look around her neighborhood, she is not pleased with what she sees. She said it is common to see children as young as 5 years old with no manners, and swearing and fighting on the streets. One of her missions is to help change that.
Without somebody showing these children the way, “they’re not going to be able to show their full potential,” she said.
Jacobs-Brown has a lot of potential and refuses to let anyone tell her otherwise. She has had a number of people in her life that have helped show her the way including her mother, grandmother and a high school math teacher. But her work ethic and inner source of determination have also played a role in her triumphs.
The 17-year-old honor roll student has a 4.0 GPA and a full class load consisting of two Advanced Placement courses — biology and English — as well as pre-calculus and world history.
For Jacobs-Brown, the most difficult part of high school is the daily grind of completing homework assignments. However, it is the desire of wanting to graduate at the top of her class and get an A at the end of the semester that keeps her motivated.
In addition to her studies, Jacobs-Brown has started as a guard on the varsity basketball team for the past three years and is poised to take on a leadership role this season. During her tenure at Dorchester Academy, she also participated on the cheerleading squad and the math club.
Not only is Jacobs-Brown a conscientious student and skilled athlete, but she also finds time to work a part-time job at AJ Wright. Lately, when Jacobs-Brown is not on the court playing basketball or working, it is likely that she has locked herself in her bedroom and is completing school work or finishing college applications.
She credits Bottom Line, a nonprofit agency dedicated to supporting low-income students achieve academic success, with helping her get a head start on college applications and financial aid forms.
Jacobs-Brown has already received the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship and is hoping to obtain others.
She says she is looking forward to going to college and being on her own. She is also excited to meet new people and expand her inner circle. She said that she thinks her AP classes have prepared her well for a college curriculum and realizes that the professors do not wait on and babysit you in college.
Though the professors may not be keeping close tabs on Jacobs-Brown, she said that she will most definitely be checking in with them, especially when she needs help.
Determined, hard working and outgoing, Jacobs-Brown said that she will not shy away from challenges that may arise in college because giving up is not an option.
Four years from now, Jacobs-Brown envisions herself with a bachelor’s degree and giving back to the community.
No matter the adversity, Jacobs-Brown said, “Just get up and do it. Hard work always pays off.”