In this week’s I am HISD, which features HISD students, graduates, and employees, class president and Jordan High School junior Zykkia Webb talks about who inspired her to learn cursive by age six, what convinced her that Jordan was the right school for her, and the how she came to be an activist against human-trafficking.
I understand you and your sister were very close growing up, and she helped raise you. How did she influence your education?
My mom worked super-long hours, so my sister was the face of the house – she was cooking, cleaning, washing, grocery shopping. My sister continued my education at home when I got home from school. She would leave sticky notes on stuff. If I wanted some juice, she would tell me to spell it. I would go and study in my room on my Leap Frog, and then go and spell it for her. By doing that, I was able to write cursive in the first grade.
Jordan High School wasn’t your first choice, but now, I hear it’s exactly where you want to be. What happened to change your mind?
It was my teachers who really convinced me that this was the place for me. My freshman year, I was supposed to take health science classes, but I ended up in business courses and I met this teacher named Ms. Repko. She was very hands-on, and I really loved the class. My sophomore year, I moved to health science, which was the original career track I was supposed to be on, and even though I missed the whole freshman year, Mr. Cash caught me up on everything.
And the students! They’re awesome! Everyone is friends, no matter what race you are, where you come from, what you’ve been through. If you need help, you can call on more than one classmate.
You are part of a community-based organization called Mademoiselles. What has that experience been like?
We are volunteer-based and do a lot of community service. The people who are part of the group are a family away from home. In high school, there is a lot of peer pressure, but being in an organization like this, it gives you a better outlook. If you don’t have any friends, you can go to the organization and let them know what the problem is or what you need help with. It helps me stay focused.
I used to think community service was a waste of a Saturday – but it made me realize that other people don’t have the means to do certain stuff. And the minor things that you do for them can make their day.
You just recently participated in a walk-a-thon (pictured) to raise awareness of human trafficking. How did you get involved in this cause?
I am part of an organization called the International Youth Friendship and Development Program. We meet every second Saturday and our goal is to raise awareness about big issues in youth : human trafficking, homelessness and hunger, genocide, and HIV and AIDS. We do projects, reports, and community service projects on the topic we are talking about. We take trips to learn more about these issues, too; this year, we are raising money to take a trip to the Netherlands and South Africa.
With all of the work that you have done in the community and all the organizations that you work with, what do you see in your future?
I plan to be a neurosurgeon. When I do make it, I plan to invest my money in things like International Youth—things that show minorities and younger individuals that you can make a difference, that you can help, that you can change things if you just look or try. That the option you are taking is not the only option. Not just here in the U.S., but in other countries, too. I want to help people fulfill their dreams.
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