After a storied career in Track and Field at Lawrence High School, Jahmir Anderson is attending the College of New Jersey majoring in Exercise Science, where he plans to continue his track and field career. Despite his classes and ambitions, Jahmir has still carved out time in his schedule to assist the younger children at Every Child Valued where he helps children with homework. Most importantly perhaps, he is a role model who shows young people that they too can achieve their dreams.
He wants to give back to the children at ECV because he remembers that, when he was an elementary school student, there were people at ECV to help him be his best during his early years. Things were “kind of a blur in elementary school,” he reminisces, but three people stood out to him. Ms. Courtney, Ms. Lori, and Mr. Dillard from Every Child Valued were the names he quickly cited when asked who had influenced him most. Why? He does not hesitate in saying, “because they cared about the children. Everyone was kind and caring.” Now that he has graduated, it is clear that this foundation of caring, forged first at home and then at ECV, is what connected Jahmir to the teachers in Lawrence who would impact him most throughout his school career.
Later, when he was struggling academically at the Lawrence Intermediate School, he remembers his 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Van Turen. “She showed me that I could do it, and she always called my mom,” he says with a smile that bears witness to how important the parent-teacher partnership was to him.
"She called me all the time. She knew he could do the work and she would not let him do less than his best. If it meant calling me every night, then she did it." - Jahmir's mother, Shamara Thompson
Jahmir’s mom agrees, “she called me all the time. She knew he could do the work and she would not let him do less than his best. If it meant calling me every night, then she did it.”
That success carried over through the 6th and 7th grades. “I had my best year ever in 7th grade,” Jahmir recalls. “Eighth grade was hard. I was having trouble at home but I remember my Language Arts teacher, Ms. Minero, worked hard with me. I went for extra help after school and brought my grade from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ in that class.”
At Lawrence High School, Jahmir describes himself as a pretty good student but was a class clown during his freshman year. Again it was his Language Arts teacher, Mr. Lehnert, who helped him mature. “Mrs. Schneck was great, too,” he recalls. “She would sit me down and talk to me. One time she even sat me next to her desk.”
Finally, he remembers his track coach, Mr. Nathan Jones. “He was really helpful in my college application process and helped me evaluate what school was the best choice for me and wrote the recommendation for my JAHMA scholarship. It is funny how things work out. When I started playing basketball at 9 years old, at the courts in the village, it became my first love. But as I got older, the athleticism was more useful in other sports, which is how I fell in love with Track & Field.”