Highland Home JAG WINS county’s 2nd consecutive national title

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Four Highland Home School (HHS) Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) members recently returned from Orlando with the proud distinction of having brought home the county’s second consecutive national title.

The students competed in the JAG National Career Development Conference in April. Graduating senior Dayana Acosta, rising senior Amber Majors, and rising juniors Savannah Edgar and Cheyenne Kinman emerged victorious among teams from across the nation in the National Career Association (NCA) Knowledge Bowl event. 

Flowers expressed immense pride in the team’s hard work and their ability to overcome any nervousness and effortlessly demonstrate their knowledge in what is, according to Flowers, one of the most challenging of all JAG competitions. 

“It was a slightly intimidating scenario, but the students were confident in their ability,” Flowers said. “They simply stepped up their game, stayed determined to be No. 1 and then won by a large margin. I am so proud of them, and their hard work and I’m pleased to say that they did their jobs and did them well.”

The event challenged the student’s knowledge of job readiness skills, workplace ethics and professionalism. The team, led by HHS JAG specialist Leslie Flowers, familiarized themselves with around 300 pages of information and became highly fluent in approximately 300 less common vocabulary words in order to recall facts about JAG’s 40 plus year history, policies and procedures, parliamentary rules, national statistics, founder and board information, and various other operational areas. 

Over the course of the school year, the Highland Home students dedicated countless hours to studying and preparing to answer a massive number of short-answer and long-answer questions, showcasing their superiority by defeating their opponents with substantial leads ranging from a minimum of 33% to an impressive 88%.

Majors, Alabama JAG President, distinguished herself by earning the privilege of participating in the JAG/NCA National Officer Selection Committee. Majors, who arrived at the conference a day early, was one of only three students nationwide selected to serve on the committee. 

This opportunity showcased the recognition that Highland Home’s JAG program has garnered at the national level due to its students’ commitment to success and the program’s exceptional training. Majors aspires to become a national officer in the coming year, showcasing her ambition and leadership and furthering her commitment to JAG’s mission.

Other Highland Home JAG members made their mark at the national conference. Graduating seniors Haley Burrage, Troy Kelley and Wyatt Garrard, along with rising senior Skyler Stokes, participated in the Lifting Our Voices for Equity (L.O.V.E.) project, which  encourages youth to identify challenges in their community and work collectively to make change, ultimately working toward creating a more inclusive world, securing an impressive sixth-place finish in the nation. 

Additionally, HHS JAG was one of only three schools nationwide to receive a certificate of merit for their outstanding efforts in the National Service Project, which involved contributing 349.50 volunteer hours and a $500.00 donation to Pike County Habitat for Humanity.

As a token of recognition for their outstanding accomplishments, the State of Alabama sponsored a day at Universal Studios for the team during their time in Orlando. Travel expenses were mostly covered by an anonymous state sponsor, with additional support from the recently released HHS JAG Cookbook.

With two consecutive national titles, it’s clear to Flowers that these students are prepared to take on any challenge that comes their way.

“Achieving two National Championships back to back was surreal for both me and the NCA Knowledge Bowl competitors,” Flowers said.  “The students displayed an incredible amount of dedication to JAG, as well as dedication to their own success.  Whatever they choose to do will be equated with the same passion and I know they will reach their personal goals quickly. Highland Home JAG is searching for a few special students with the drive to continue the legacy of the seniors that are leaving us for bigger and better things.”

Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates (JAG) works to identify and provide educational support and success strategies for Alabama students. JAG partners with their educational specialists who mentor, equip, and provide the support needed to graduate and succeed after high school.

For more information, visit https://jag.org/