Big Walnut’s Stayton personifies service above self
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Debating various career paths, Jessica Stayton determined that all her preferences were either related to science or people.
“I really enjoy people. Talking things over, helping to deal with emotions,” the Big Walnut senior said of her decision to major in psychology. And while she has not ruled out the possibility of research, she thinks she would prefer to work directly with people.
Jessica has decided that her college choice is Denison University, followed by Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan universities, both of which have already accepted her.
“I think I started thinking about college in the seventh grade, considering either Denison and Kenyon at the time,” Jessica said. Psychology entered the picture when she began eighth grade, where she began “really talking to people, and wondering how the thought process works.”
It was when she attended a young writers’ program at Denison the summer before her junior year that she knew she liked the environment and professors she met at the school. The writing program sold her on Denison.
While ready to spread her wings, Jessica admits that she is “one of those kids that love high school. It’s a really good environment. I will miss it. College will be a fantastic experience. I will learn who I am, but I will still miss high school.”
“I’ll be that kid that comes back and visits,” she said.
Currently, Jessica is in the midst of play rehearsals. She is head of costumes for the production Legally Blonde.
It is her last production with Big Walnut, her fourth one now as head of costumes.
As much as she enjoys the position, she admitted it can be stressful at times, but then there are a lot of other things on her plate as well.
Jessica is involved in mock trial and has been since her freshman year. The team made it to regionals where they will compete later this month.
“Hopefully, we will make it to states again,” she said, adding that last year was the “first year ever at states.”
She is also president of LEO club this year.
“We do a lot of service,” she said, noting they will hold the first induction since the club came back after the school district’s failed levy.
Jessica is also the school ambassador representing Big Walnut for STAND UP Delaware, a program that reinforces drug free, positive thinking in teens. Through this program, she is also on the drug-free Delaware board as a youth advisor.
She is also president of the school writing club, which was founded during her sophomore year.
“There are 15 to 20 people in it this year. I love all the programs I’m in, but writing is a strong passion of mine,” said Jessica, who helps to mentor others in the club.
Jessica also performs service through National Honor Society where, among other service projects, she helps with Relay for Life each year. She also helps volunteer when needed through her mother’s Rotary Club, has helped tutor elementary students in Spanish, volunteered to help People In Need and generally just picks up volunteer opportunities as she hears of the need.
She currently works at an ice cream shop in Sunbury which will open again in March for a new season.
“It’s nice to work in the community,” she said.
Already in Spanish Honor Society, she expects to be inducted into French Honor Society soon.
“Languages are another of my passions. I’m trying to teach myself Korean,” Jessica said. She plans on taking two languages in college. “I like being very active.”
This year she is taking band; advanced placement courses in psychology, literature and chemistry; French II; ancient medieval history; and sociology.
English teacher Mike Ruark has Jessica in his Advanced Placement literature class.
“Jess is one of my favorite students this year for many reasons,” he said. Aside from being very active in his class, she “is always willing to take a leap or start a discussion. Her attitude is first rate and so is her work ethic. If I had a class full of students like her I could get a lot accomplished. She is a great student and leader.”
Jessica sees traveling in her future. She gets the urge to travel from her aunt, who she hopes to vacation with this summer.
“I’m hoping either Japan or Korea. The Asian culture is the most different from ours so it interests me,” she said.
She offers the following words of wisdom.
“The most important thing is that you push yourself as far as you can go without going over the edge,” Jessica advises others. “Try to reach your potential yet know your limits … and find happiness.”
Jessica is the daughter of Doian and Monte Stayton of Sunbury.