I have enjoyed my time at MGCCC so much. I thought it was going to be difficult to stay involved in both high school for my all-important senior year while also attending college, but it has been more fun than anything.”
Ja’Kaylee has a twin sister, Ja’Shaylee, who is also a Collegiate Academy student at the Jackson County Campus. She has two other siblings: a sister and a brother, both younger. “My family has played a large role in my success in school and in the community,” she said. “They promote the ideals of education and service, and my siblings and I are all very active in both those areas.”
In high school, she is a member of the National Honor Society and National Beta Club. She is a former member of the Student Council, and former secretary of her class, SkillsUSA, and PAWS Leadership Ren Crew. She is a three-year varsity cheerleader.
Outside of school, she is involved in her community, with more than 100 hours of community service. She is a member of the Pascagoula Mayor’s Youth Council and The Mississippi Department of Education Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. She also models for local businesses.
Majoring in Business Management and Marketing, she plans to attend either Howard University in Washington, D.C., or Texas Southern University in Houston. Winning the Miss Mississippi HBCU Teen title has offered her scholarships to attend either university. In addition, she is competing for more scholarship money at the national level in Bowie, Maryland, on March 4. More than 100 girls across the United States applied to participate in this pageant, and only about 35 were selected as state title holders.
“The Miss HBCU Teen Pageant provides scholarships, resources, and support to high school girls of color attending HBCUs to ensure they are empowered, excel during their college years, and advance successfully into their careers,” Ja’Kaylee says. “This is my first time competing in a huge pageant like this, which is incredible for me because I am stepping out of my comfort zone, but for the best. I chose to participate in this pageant because I absolutely loved their values and ideas of what they are trying to do for young women of color.
“Since I am the first Miss Mississippi HBCU Teen, I hope to inspire other girls from Mississippi to apply for my position in 2024 in this pageant. It is truly a great experience for girls who want to attend a HBCU,” she said. “I have already learned so much in this pageant and am already getting involved. I must go to online workshops, meetings, rehearsals, etc., for this pageant. I also have to have a ‘platform’ with my title as Miss Mississippi HBCU Teen. The platform I have chosen is the “Importance of Education in the African American Community” and “Financial Literacy.”