OXON HILL — Mykala Jones is something of a social butterfly in the halls of Potomac High School, but unlike stereotypical high school socialites, Jones does not have popularity in mind. She wants to help people.
“I’m not a stranger to leadership. It’s like throwing yourself out there with a different attitude to bring everybody together, learning stuff about each other that you don’t know, getting closer to people you wouldn’t talk to on a regular basis,” she said. “It brings you more close to people, and now you see them in the hallways. It opens your eyes to the whole school instead of being trapped in a little bubble.”
She has a passion for getting to know people and finding ways to help them. She is a class president, a member of the student government, the national honor society and the art honor society. In her time at Potomac, she has participated in the poetry club, dance, the junior varsity basketball team, JROTC, and has taken advance courses throughout her schooling. She is also a student manager for the girls’ basketball team.
She seeks rigor, taking classes a grade level above hers as well as honors and advanced placement classes. This year, she is taking college-level math and science classes.
“Everything was always one step ahead of where I was supposed to be, and I just kept moving,” she said.
She is also captain of the school’s auxiliary dance team, volunteers at a Washington, D.C. food kitchen and holds down a weekend job at a movie theater in Virginia – all while maintaining at 3.5 GPA.
“It’s a lot. It gets busy sometimes, it's a little stressful, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because its fun at the same time,” she said.
Jones’ school counseler, Rachael Taylor, describes her as a self-motivated, hard-working student who always sees the positive side of life. Every time she sees Jones, there is a smile on her face, and Taylor calls her joyful, pleasant and “a diamond in the rough,” who she knows will go on to do great things.
“She’s going to be successful, no matter what she puts her mind to,” Taylor said. “She’s going to be the student who accomplishes her goals.”
Right now, those goals include getting into North Carolina A&T, though she does have some backup options like Bowie State University, Morgan State and Virginia State. She has applied to half a dozen colleges with the intent of following the social sciences.
Although Jones is not quite sure where her future career lies, she knows she wants to help people. Fields like criminal justice, forensic science, nursing, social work, education, and psychology all sound appealing to her.
“Something to make a change in my community, in my environment, in the world today, because it could always be better,” she said.
All she knows right now is that she wants to instigate change and make a difference in and for her community, especially for minorities.
“I want to understand it and then do something about it,” she said. “I never want to be that person that sits around and complains.”
Taylor knows that Jones’ intentions are genuine and sees her desire to help people. Those are qualities she admires, and she can not wait to help Jones figure out how to combine all of her passions into a rich career.
“A lot of students at this age really don’t know exactly what they want to do, but when she says she wants to help people and she cares about people, that’s genuine. That’s not for the moment, that’s who she really is,” Taylor said.
And while her career path may still be uncertain, Jones sees a clear future for herself.
“I’m traveling, and I’m helping others. I feel like I’m in Asia or somewhere in Africa, helping children, giving them water supplies or teaching them. Anywhere help is needed or where people want to change,” Jones said.