JAG students advance to state conference

Published 10:30 am Sunday, February 11, 2024

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Members of the Lowndes County Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Program traveled to Prattville to compete in the South District Career Development Conference on Jan. 29. 

Two students emerged as winners during the event and their stellar performance not only showcased their exceptional abilities but also shed light on the impact of the JAG Program on their lives and futures.

Chantrice Morrison, JAG specialist, led members of the program as they competed against other participants from the south district, showcasing their talents in various disciplines. The competition provided an ideal platform for the students to demonstrate their abilities learned through the JAG.

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Morrison, who is leading the program for the second year, said that she is grateful to be the JAG specialist. 

“I am beyond proud of the courage and strength it took for all of the competitors to step out of their comfort zones and to compete. This is my second year as the JAG Specialist and I love the students I work with,” Morrison said.

Students were accompanied by Morrison and Shameka Baker, the JAG manager, to the competition.

Tramya Knight, a sophomore student, said that she is thankful for the program and the things it has done to help better her as a student and overall person.

“JAG has helped me with time management and setting goals for my future. The program is helping me prepare to take those next steps,” Knight said. “I also love the competitions. It’s fun meeting new people and learning how to be a leader.”

The JAG program equips its students with essential life skills, career development tools, and opportunities to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential. 

Demontavis Thigpen participated in the Prepared Speech Competition and answered the question, “How has JAG supported you in looking towards and preparing for the future?” In his speech he spoke about leadership skills, critical thinking and how JAG is an absolute necessity. 

The event was Thigpen’s first time competing on an area level and he came out on top, placing second to advance him to the state competition in March.

Shawnquarius McGhee participated in the Financial Literacy Competition and took a test as it relates to finances of all kinds. The topics consisted of banking, credit, money management, and more. This was his second year participating in this area and he also placed second, which also advanced him to the state in March. 

McGhee said JAG has been a vital part of shaping him into the student he is now. 

“I love JAG because I’ve learned how to be a leader and to focus more. It has taught me not to play around and to pay attention when others are talking,” McGhee said. “I’ve learned how to engage in the conversations by asking questions about the professions of speakers like how they got to where and who they are today. JAG has helped me to be more business minded and has helped me decide on the career I want when I graduate high school.”

Morrison expressed pride in the students’ accomplishments and said she looks forward to what the program will bring in the future. 

“I am very proud of the improvements the students are making,” Morrison said. “To see the confidence in Demontavis as he walked boldly into the conference center and to watch Shawnquarius study tirelessly to ensure he knew everything he could for the test warmed my heart. I’m very thankful for the chance to work with such awesome students.” 

The group said they are looking forward to traveling to Birmingham on Mar. 5 to participate in the JAG State Career Development Conference where Thigpen and McGhee will compete with six other JAG/NCA members against other members of other programs for a chance to win a scholarship and participate in the National Career Development Conference in St. Louis Apr.18-20.