Nominated by Rod Sandlin
“Justyce is an exemplary student, captain of the step team but more importantly a strong community leader and an amazing leader and supporter of her friends and family. Justyce is a selfless young lady who is always trying to help others.”
My Black Colorado Interview
What school do you attend and what grade are you in?
I’m a senior at Cherry Creek High School.
What do you think others would say they like about you most or what they value about you?
Probably how I like to put others first no matter the circumstances or who it is. I want to help people and make people smile. Even if I’m not feeling up to it myself because to me it’s more rewarding to help others instead of being selfish because you don’t know what other people are going through.
When you’re not in a class, what are the things you enjoy being involved with?
I am the captain of the step team, a leader of the Black Student Union at my school, a member of the English Honor Society. I tutor some of my friends after school for a couple of hours if they need it. I also volunteer to help like coach dance or cheer, and I help feed the homeless.
How did you get into the step team at your school?
When I first went to Cherry Creek last year, there wasn’t a lot of diversity there because it’s a primarily white school and the only dancing I knew of was poms. I wouldn’t say I like to cheer myself because it’s not my style of dance but I learned that they have a step team there and wanted more people so I joined. They needed more help so I was the one doing the routines and everything and uniforms too.
What’s your role in the Black Student Union?
I’m one of the leaders because the club president is one of my friends and she’s been the president since she was a freshman. The BSU at our school is not just an invitation for other black students to be in. Anyone can be in it if they want to learn more about the culture and enjoy what it’s like to be an African-American in today’s society and other things.
What led you to become a tutor for your friends?
I know my other friends are smart but they don’t get specific lessons and our school is fast-paced. So if you don’t get it, you’ll get left behind the teachers. They don’t care that much because there’s a bunch of other students. I got into tutoring because one of my close friends started failing some classes and they were too prideful to ask for help, so I just offered. Ever since then, I’ve been helping other people and their work like I did the other day with helping someone with their essay. It just makes me feel like they know that they’re not dumb and everyone needs help sometimes. It’s not wrong to ask, especially from a friend.
Do you also volunteer in the community?
During the holidays if we have leftover food we go and give it out to the homeless, and we’ve been doing that for some time now. I also volunteered to coach girls in cheer and dance since I used to both a long time ago.
What is the best advice that you have received recently?
I was having trouble with school and home together because now it’s combined and it’s not there’s nowhere to get away or like take a break. So my sister gave me the advice to do my best and try not to feel stressed because it won’t help anyone. We’re all here to help each other, and if I need anything, she’s there for me. She also said if I’m upset, not to let it ruin my day because it’s just not beneficial.
What is one thing you want to get better at?
I want to get better at putting myself first sometimes because I like to step down and let others be first, but there are times where you know you need to come first, and I don’t do that a lot.
What advice can you give adults to help them connect better with the younger generation?
I think they need to be a little bit less judgmental of the younger generation because everyone has their struggles that we’re all dealing with. Now the youth age is coping with Covid and school at home and other stressors but I hear some adults talking like this isn’t stressful or like kids need to get over it. They need to listen for a second and take it in and try to put themselves in other people’s shoes because although they’re older that doesn’t mean they know everything.
What accomplishments or awards are you the proudest of and why?
I’m the proudest of achieving the Delta Sigma Award. The award is an achievement award for students selected from about 50 nominations and had an average of 4.0 GPA for more than two years. You are also a part of the Delta Sigma Honor Society. That was a proud moment for me because I strive to be the best at school with my grades and it was nice to gain recognition for that.
What impact have you made in the community that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of my tutoring, helping others, and putting the knowledge out there about the black community and what we’re struggling with that people need to understand.
What do you think you want to do for a career?
I am set on being a psychologist because of course I am enthralled by helping others and it makes me happy to see other people happy. I also find it interesting to learn how others feel and why they feel the way they do. I think that’s the right profession for me to be in because I’m doing it now, except I’m not getting paid for it.
What role has your family played in helping you mature?
My parents, my role models, and my older sister have played a significant role. They strive to do the best for us and do anything that they can to make sure that our lives are good. Even if they’re not having the best day or if they don’t have a lot of money or time, they always try to put it in for us no matter what. So it helped to instill in me that I’m not here by myself. There are other people around, and I don’t need to do everything by myself. They allow me to speak my mind and talk to others without holding back or being scared. So they just developed me into a leader.