Jessica Henry used her passions to thrive in high school



It’s something that a lot of people strive for in life; they want to have something that thoroughly interests them every single day. For senior Jessica Henry, her passion was found in NHS. Jessica was able to showcase her leadership in NHS this year by planning multiple events that have to do with one of her passions: making a difference.

Throughout her involvement in NHS Jessica has been able to raise money for congenital heart defects, send glass to the Dominican, and raise money for countless other organizations. Jessica was able to lead some of these projects because she was elected as public relations director by other NHS members.

“I had to give a speech, and I talked about how I wanted to change communication,” Jessica said. “We mainly used Facebook last year and people are kind of moving from that to Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. [The NHS members] heard all the speeches, and I got voted on. It was exciting; it was just cool to see that I could relay my ideas and that people understood what I was saying and believed that I could make good changes on the NHS board.”

As public relations director Jessica runs the NHS Google Classroom and Instagram page. She wants to make sure everyone stays informed, and running those pages is the way to accomplish that. With Instagram and other social media platforms flourishing, Jessica took that opportunity to plan important events surrounding her passions.

“I initiated the Google Classroom this year and the Instagram page to try and get more people involved,” Jessica said. “I’ve planned a couple of events; I organized beach cleanups and we did an eyeglass cleaning to send to the Dominican. Right now, we’re doing the coin wars fundraiser.”

As Jessica continues with her passions in NHS, she also explores a strong enthusiasm for business in DECA. She decided to join sophomore year because the idea of creating her own business and presenting in a professional format excited her.

Jessica, along with other DECA members, decided to use their business skills to commemorate Lucas Van Sprange by selling candles and giving the profits to the Live Like Lucas foundation for pediatric cancer.

Jessica found that running her own business comes with its hardships, and she had to work around a few obstacles to make sure the candles were being sold at the right price to get the most profit.

“I had to get fundraising to make the candles,” Jessica said. “Selling them and trying to get the cost down so I can donate more money to charity [was difficult]. It was interesting to work with all of those things.”

DECA provided Jessica with a more professional atmosphere and another way to cement her passions.

“It was cool to have to present in a professional format,” Jessica said. “It was also interesting to kind of learn how to run your own business. The first [competition] I learned the aspects that were a part of it and the second time I actually had to run a business.”

Jessica also liked having more friends in school through DECA because her main extracurricular is dance, which is outside of school. Having danced for fifteen years at Ada Dance Academy and West Michigan Youth Ballet, Jessica found an even bigger passion: ballet.

Jessica has immersed herself in all the “genres’ of dance throughout her life and has found that ballet is her preference. With a strong historical background and complicated choreography, ballet is Jessica’s favorite aspect of dance.

“I really like the technical aspect of it,” Jessica said. “I also like the history involved; ballets are very well-known and they’ve been highly specialized. Since [West Michigan Youth Ballet] is a youth company, I get to dance special roles; I’ve danced Sugar Plum and Black Swan this year, which was a really cool experience. It was cool because it’s very difficult choreography and if I were to continue dancing in the future, it would take me probably ten years to get to play those roles because you have to work your way through the company. Being able to play them as an 18-year-old is really special.”

Although Jessica has appreciated the fifteen years of dancing experience, she plans on taking a different path after high school. She is going to the University of Michigan for pre-law, which was a recent decision.

Jessica was originally interested in going into the medical field but after a sudden interest in government studies, she has decided on pre-law.

“Just recently I’ve been thinking about how I want to make a change in the world,” Jessica said. “The best facet for me to do that is [pre-law]. Originally, I was thinking something along the lines of medicine but I’ve been liking a lot of government-type things recently. I’ve taken APUSH and AP world, and I regret not taking AP Gov this year; I wish I would have taken it.”

With a set future ahead of her and four years of exploring her interests, Jessica can confidently say that NHS has been her favorite way to dig deep into her passions.

“I get to decide what a large group of people [are] going to set their mind towards,” Jessica said. “By being able to organize events, I get can take the things that I’m passionate about and have people work on them with me. [My biggest passion] is wanting to help provide education to a lot of groups of people because I feel like, in a lot of countries that are struggling, the main issue is that people aren’t being educated; it’s kind of this continuous loop where things aren’t moving on. When you can teach people to behave differently in the future and use their skills to get better jobs, learn, and improve technology they can find a better future for themselves and their families.”