LAUREL — It is hard to believe that one high school can hold so much potential for greatness but Esther Iluyomade and Jessica Davis have proven that Laurel High School is home to at least two shining stars.
For nearly two years now, The Sentinel has gone to local Prince George’s County Public High Schools to highlight outstanding seniors, asking each school to pick just one amazing student to feature. But when two students are excelling so much in one program, exceptions must be made.
Davis and Iluyomade are both part of Laurel’s Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM), a program designed to prepare students for education careers once they leave high school.
For Davis, the program has provided much-needed insight into a something that she was interested in: child growth and development.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” she said. “They pretty much prepare you for being a teacher when you leave the school if that’s what you’re interested in.”
The process of interning with teachers has been eye-opening, she said and has taught her both respect and humility.
Although the program is geared toward creating future educators, Davis is not sure she sees herself as a teacher. When she goes off to Goucher College next fall, with a $39,000 a year scholarship, she plans to study business management and someday she might lead her own business or work in the entertainment industry as a creative marketing director.
“I like the idea of being able to be my own boss,” she said.
The possibilities are endless though, Davis said, and she is still keeping her options open.
While at Laurel Davis took several Advanced Placement and honors classes, studied piano and participated in both track and volleyball. She also volunteers at her church, tutors and previously had a job as well, all while keeping a 3.8-grade point average.
“One thing I never wanted to do was to have all these things going on, and it looks good, but not doing a good job,” she said. “So I had to cut some things.”
Iluyomade sees a different future for herself as well. As an avid lover of chemistry and cultures, she hopes to one-day study science and anthropology in college. She sees a future full of travel and exploration as she strives to understand the world around her.
At Laurel, she sought out new ideas and solutions everywhere. Though she participated in the chemistry International Baccalaureate classes, chemistry is just one of her many passions. She also studies Mandarin, piano, guitar and has taken three Advanced Placement classes. She is in the Bible club, National Honor Society and founded the school’s science honor society.
She also dances ballet and jazz and teaches children ranging from 3 to 9-years-old ballet and tap on the weekends. She jokes that she has not really slept during her high school years, but has managed to maintain a 3.9 GPA.
For college, she wants to attend Stanford, the University of Toronto or Princeton, though she applied to 15 different schools where she will study chemistry and anthropology in hopes of doing cultural research.
“I definitely want to know more about different cultures around the world,” she said. “I want a job that will allow me to travel the world.”
Both Iluyomade and Davis said they want their futures to include helping others, in every facet of their lives, through the field they hope to pursue.
“It’s not all about your own personal success,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, you can be successful but success and loneliness do not go together.”