St. Joe Scoop: Jessica Smith, helping her community one project at a time


Leah Clark, Co-editor

Last month, The Bear Facts reported that three St. Joe seniors were named by Portico Jackson Magazine to their annual list of “25 Students Who Will Change the World.”

Senior Jessica Smith was one of the three honorees. The Bear Facts had the chance to catch up with her this week to file this report on her service to the metro-Jackson area. She will be the last of the honorees to be featured.

The Bear Facts: What does an important honor such as being featured in a local magazine mean to you?

Jessica Smith: It means so much to me that I was even considered. Hearing about the selection process by Portico made me realize just how much of an honor it is to be selected. I hope that I can use this opportunity to reflect positively on all those that have had an impact on my life including my teachers, coaches, and friends at St. Joe. I also want to use this recognition to inspire those coming after me to be the change they want to see in the world.

The Bear Facts: Being that this is feature about students changing the world, what are causes and issues that you are most passionate about?

Smith: An issue that I am passionate about is helping the needy. I have volunteered for years in a local Food Bank and I recently established a Bubble Bank there so that the needy can get hygiene and toiletry products as well as food.

Another issue that is important to me is advocating for those with learning differences. One thing I love about St. Joe is that here everyone is nurtured to be their best—not in spite of, but because of their God given differences.

The Bear Facts: What are a few things that you personally wish to change in this world?

Smith: Personally, I want to show love and compassion to others so that all humans realize their worth and value. I believe that no matter what the question is in society, love is the answer. We know that God is love and personally, I want to share God’s love to others in need.

The Bear Facts: How has your community inspired you to make a change in the world?

Smith: From an early age, I have been taught by my family, my church family, and my school community about the love of God and that I could make a difference in my world. Also, as a Girl Scout, I gained much experience taking action to address needs in my community. I have seen examples of leaders in the community that inspired me to step up. For example, through Mayor’s Youth Council, in Scouting, and the Parkway Pantry. I came to realize that one person can make a difference if they truly care.

The Bear Facts: What are some activities and programs that you participate in on and off campus?

Smith: On campus, I am on the Softball team, and I am a part of the Colorguard. While off campus, I am in Mayor’s Youth Council and Junior Auxiliary Madison Crown Club. I volunteer at my church’s food bank, and I am involved in the music and children’s ministry. I am a member of the Mississippi All State Choir, and also was a youth volunteer at St. Dominic’s hospital.

Jessica Smith

The Bear Facts: How has St. Joe encouraged you to participate in your community?

Smith: St. Joe has a long tradition of fostering a spirit of service among the student body. This, of course, encouraged me to participate in my community. Also, at St. Joe we learn about the importance of being the hands and feet of Christ to the community.

The Bear Facts: While making a change in your community, have you ever faced any hardships that caused you to doubt yourself?  How did you get over those hardships?

Smith: When I was establishing the Bubble Bank, it was really a challenge to balance my school workload and extracurricular activities with the long hours and hard work needed to make my vision a reality. To overcome this, I set up a detailed project plan and work schedule. I also carefully managed my time and incorporated all of my responsibilities into a master schedule which I followed diligently. At times, the schedule was very hectic and the workload was heavy. I learned to squeeze the most out of everyday and that it is ok to get help from others who shared my concerns for the needy. After crunch time was over, I learned that I was stronger than I thought and that with God’s help anything is possible.