Jada Harmon ’21, YWLS Member, on Peopling

Jada Harmon has the kind of smile that lights up a room. You can instantly tell that she loves people and that she happily beats to her own drum. Like most sophomores in high school, she is reserved at first. She sits across from me at a table giggling nervously. The conversation gets real – fast!

“People would describe me as weird,” says Harmon. “I make weird noises and do weird things like thinking about what it would be like if people were like animals and animals were like people.” When pressed for examples she replies, “Well, what if fish were like people and had to go fishing – except it would then be called going Peopling?”  We both let out a huge laugh and the cloud of un-assuredness in the room evaporates. I’m struck by the depth that this simple, self-proclaimed exercise distills about Jada and her ability to think critically and make intellectual associations. My mind races forward 20 years and I see Jada in her industry quickly diagnosing issues and coming up with creative solutions. Her team loves her, the board respects her, and her colleagues know that her knowledge is thick and her mind quick. She has the charisma and leadership style that all types of people are drawn to.

Jada chose Chicago Tech Academy as her high school of choice because her best friend and her brother told her about the project-based learning curriculum. This appealed to her creativity and her sincere need to make things with her hands. Jada had the option of going to Whitney Young, but ChiTech was closer to home and offered her a chance to put her learning into practice through internships, project-based learning, and social networking from the time she stepped inside the school. “I can do the work and take notes anywhere and in college. I’ve never been in a school where you are told to do it on your own, the way you want, to show the evidence of what you’ve learned,” Says Harmon.

So back to Peopling… It is no doubt that Jada is drawn to biology, Greek mythology and hybrids of people and animals. She is artistic and has a knack for remembering details. Jada likes the book, Percy Jackson, because it is a modern version, from her perspective, of how the Roman and Greek Gods controlled different aspects of life. Again – she’s quick to draw fantastic associations.

When I asked Jada what her idea of an ideal internship would be during February, when Chicago Tech Academy asks students to take on month-long, paid internships she simply states, “I’d like to be on the inside of a smaller tech company where I can see the different roles involved and help out where needed.  like to help people. It makes me feel good like I’m here for a reason.”

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