Jay’la is a member of the AF Amistad High Class of 2019. Below is the speech she shared at Senior Signing Day.
I was told that I was to go to college, succeed, and be grateful for life regardless of the circumstances. I stand here today to tell you that life is unfair.
My single mother works 16 hours a day to provide for my family – UNFAIR.
Prison stood between me and my father for the majority of my childhood- UNFAIR.
However, I was always reassured that there was purpose behind my trials and tribulations by my family’s constant “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve often wondered why God decided to give me SO much and have even doubted if I could really handle it. Within a span of two months, I received college rejection, acceptance and devastation blurring the vision of “why college” in the first place. Shortly after, those doubts were cast away when I received an acceptance to my dream school. I, the girl who was unsure of herself, was chosen as one of the 520 admitted students out of over 6,000 applicants.
Weeks later, my life changed again. On April 28th of this year I rushed home from work to find out that I lost almost everything my family worked for instantaneously in a house fire. Walking through the skeleton of my childhood I struggled to grasp why again I had been placed on such a trying path. Displaced and hurt, I realized that my house was gone either way. BUT I still had the opportunities created by my hard work and thus I had one of two options: ONE to give up and allow the disaster of the moment to define my life or TWO weather the storm and make everything my family worked for meaningful again.
I chose the second option and I couldn’t be more proud to open new doors and weather ALL storms that come my way in the fall of 2019 when I attend DAVIDSON COLLEGE!