By Kyle Roberts
You may have seen her play volleyball.
You may have heard her sing in the choir.
But most important to Ruston High School senior Jeralyn Black is any opportunity for her to serve the community.
And her commitment to service was honored earlier this month when she was awarded the Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of North Louisiana.
“Honestly, it’s really a pleasure,” Jeralyn said. “I didn’t expect it; I had been first runner up before, but I never thought I’d be nominated again. But this means so much to me. It means I’m doing something for my community, and representing my community is everything to me.”
Jeralyn’s award is part of the national Boys and Girls Club of America organization, where students like her can compete at progressive from local to state to regional to national.
Jeff Miller serves as the Director of Teen Development for the Boys and Girls Club of North Louisiana and spoke very highly of what Jeralyn has meant to the organization.
“We had a committee of people come together and look at all of the kids involved with the club, and we collectively decided that she would represent our club at the state level. She’ll go to the state in April and will be competing against other organizations in the state. She’s a great person and she will represent our community well.”
Jeralyn’s father, Santoria, praised his daughter’s efforts in all of her endeavors from community service, to academics and the various groups that she has joined.
“My wife and I are really proud of her,” Santoria said. “She has worked extremely hard in all of her academics and has balanced a lot. We have told our kids to shoot for the moon and that we’re going to support you. I was taught that as a kid, and so with our kids, it’s the same thing.”
And for Jeralyn, the award has some significance as she prepares to enter a new chapter of life: attending Grambling State university to major in psychology and minor in theater, all with the purpose of helping others and pursuing another passion, modeling, on the side.
“I plan on modeling more and getting myself out there,” Jeralyn said. “But I really want to be a counselor. That’s like a passion: helping people and seeing that my words can lead to change.”
And any community of which Jeralyn is a part will certainly be all the better for it.