Meet the winner of our $1,000 Black History Month scholarship, Jada Lesothebe! Jada is a student at the Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) in Tacoma, Washington. Her application caught our eye because of her work on a screenwriting team in her community that is producing a student-led Black Lives Matter documentary. We reached out to Jada to learn more about the experiences she wrote about in her scholarship application, and how Tallo has helped her prepare for her next steps.
Jada is a newer student at WAVA. She previously attended a traditional brick-and-mortar school, which she felt wasn’t as good of a fit for her. Jada shared that WAVA is much more organized when it comes to online learning, and allows her to thrive as an independent learner. As a junior in high school, Jada is involved in lots of extracurriculars in her community. One project that stands out is her involvement in producing a Black Lives Matter documentary with other local students. The film focuses on “the experiences of systemic racism in schools and the issues that the Black youth are constantly facing.”
Jada says, “I was recruited by a classmate who wanted to start a documentary and I decided to help out with my writing expertise because I liked creative writing at my school and I had experiences with some racial tensions.” Jada will be working with seven other students to help with screenwriting, research, and production of the documentary. The documentary’s goal is to “amplify the message of Black Lives Matter through a Gen-Z led documentary.” Follow the progress of the documentary through their Instagram account here!
Jada is also very involved in her previous brick-and-mortar high school’s Earthbound Club. She is on the board of this club and started a series where she presented a new Black historical figure and their importance to sustainability during Black History Month. She also works to educate her fellow students on topics such as intersectionality in sustainability. And the hard conversations don’t stop there. She is also using her research and lived experiences to initiate difficult conversations with friends and family and her personal life. These changes have motivated her to dig deeper into the history behind systemic racism and use that to educate herself and those around her.
When Jada decided she wanted to pursue an education and career in STEM, she was at a brick-and-mortar school and was participating on the school’s FIRST robotics team. She loved participating and learning about STEM, and that experience sparked her desire to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Jada was also motivated by the low percentage of Black women in the STEM field.
Looking forward to college, she says, “I am considering applying to Howard University… because I like their communities and the commitment that they have to social issues.” Jada is also interested in finding a school in the Northwest region (to be closer to family) and where there’s widespread support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
According to Jada, the whole college application process has been so much easier for her since finding Tallo. “I found Tallo through an Instagram story post while I was just scrolling. I thought it was really interesting because previously I had a lot of anxiety about post-high school graduation and Tallo helped me figure out where to start.”
Now, she uses Tallo to gather all of her experiences into a resume format, keeps track of her grades and GPA, and lists academic accomplishments (like honor roll). “Sometimes you can struggle with your identity as a teenager, but I feel like I was able to put my priorities into a few sentences, and that was really clarifying.” Tallo also helps her outline her next steps post-high school and helps her organize her college applications. We’re glad to help, Jada! Good luck with the rest of high school, and congratulations on winning our $1,000 Black History Month scholarship!