High School Attended: Denton Ryan High School
College: Spelman College
“I look at my older brother as he nods, to say I knew you could do it, he has always been one of my biggest encouragers. My younger brother sits there with the biggest smile on his face, the same smile he has each time he tells me how proud he is that I am his big sister. My mother’s face shines like the sun as tears roll down her face because this day marks the day that I have beaten all the odds.” – Jacquelyn Willis
Jacquelyn has dreamed of her moment walking across the stage, at Spelman College, since the fourth grade. Her mission to turn her dreams into reality comes with a heavy price tag that includes sacrifice, accountability, and focus. Jacquelyn made her deposits early and when the opportunity to attend Spelman College presented itself, she showed up prepared with everything she needed.
Growing up in a single-parent home with two brothers, one older and one younger, Jacquelyn had an amazing woman to look up to. Her mother. “I watched my mother, through her faith, face every giant set before her with a gladiator attitude and a poise of steel.”, Jacquelyn states. Her mother asked them in return to always give their best in all that they set out to accomplish and encouraged them all to strive toward excellence.
Rarely allowed to spend ample amounts of time outside playing, Jacquelyn and her brothers had to be prepared for school the next day. Early bedtimes and 5 am wake-up were essential due to their two-hour commute to school every day. Not just any school at that, but the Walt Disney Magnet School. Which was located on the Northside of Chicago, far away from their home on the Southside of Chicago. Quite the commute I’d say! At a young age, Jacquelyn was diagnosed as a Chronic Asthmatic. After repeated admissions into the hospital’s ICUs and dropped attendance rate, the school assigned her a homebound teacher that would be there for her when she couldn’t make it to school. Schoolwork in-between respiratory therapy and breathing treatments became the norm but due to the violence in Chicago, her mother relocated them to Arizona for a few years then later made their way to Denton, Tx!
After the move, Jacquelyn noticed how her family bond strengthened learned the importance of being supportive in others time of need. With her Asthmatic journey, she has learned to have compassion for others. Being the first in her family to attend college, Jacquelyn is proud to know that she is setting a new course for her future family. Setting her goals on becoming a Pulmonologist, she looks to establish free and low-cost clinics in underrepresented communities. In addition to becoming a doctor, Jacquelyn aspires to be a driving force in the medical research field and devote her efforts to conducting groundbreaking research and contribute her perspective to the treatment, prevention, and eradication of lung disease.
Jacqueline’s final words for her winning essay stated, “Receiving the SasserNation Scholarship will help to lessen my family’s financial burden and contribute to making my dream a reality.”.
Thanks for your time and I sincerely hope Jacquelyn’s story touched your heart like it did mine. If so, please email us about future partnerships or gifts you may want to give in order to help SasserNation continue to turn dreams into reality with our scholarship award.