Meet Jefferson Skinner
“The Model of a Responsible Global Citizen”
If someone was to ask Jefferson Skinner if he would rather be successful as a student, masterful as an artist or exceptional as a global citizen, he would probably ask why he has to choose. After a distinguished high school career, this Cross Creek Early College High School (CCECHS) senior is about to start his adult life with a two-year mission in a developing country.
As an eighth-grader, Jefferson was interested in attending the Cumberland International Early College Choice Program for its emphasis on language studies. However, during a student-led tour of CCECHS, he says the administration’s and students’ warmth instantly made him feel like a member of the ‘Cross Creek family,’ and he knew that was where he belonged.
“I highly encourage eighth-graders to physically visit the Choice high schools and high school seniors to visit universities. School environment is extremely important and can only be experienced for one's self,” advised Jefferson.
That tour and revelation was just the start of Jefferson’s school and community involvement. As a CCECHS student, he participated in the school’s Science Olympiad program and served as a member and president of the Student Government Association (SGA). He notes how valuable the opportunity to fulfill leadership roles, network with other student leaders, and develop academic skills has been for his development.
“The SGA Advisor, Mr. Kenneth Huffman, has made a lasting impression on me,” said Jefferson. “He demonstrates how to effectively lead meetings and motivate individuals. I learned how to delegate work. I also learned how to graciously listen to people and compassionately reject ‘ridiculous’ ideas. These skills will certainly aid me as I continue to serve and lead in my community, church, and profession.”
CCECHS encourages volunteering, which Jefferson says opened his eyes to the needs of the community and motivated him to serve. Outside of school, he served as co-president of his church’s youth council and found volunteer opportunities through his position as the Concertmaster and a soloist of the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra’s string and full orchestras.
“Jefferson is humble and generous and extraordinarily distinguished,” said CCECHS School Counselor Gina Hickle. “He is a true stand out amongst his peers — motivated and mature with an exceptional global outlook and perspective.”
A community-based accomplishment that Jefferson is particularly proud of is earning the rank of Eagle Scout after serving as a senior patrol leader, completing his Eagle Scout project of building park benches at Carvers Creek State Park and accruing over 200 community service hours.
Even though Jefferson dedicates his time to school and community service, he also works as a team leader at Chick-fil-A while pursuing additional educational opportunities. He is a student of the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center’s ‘Teaching Excellence for a Career in Healthcare’ (TEACH) program, a nine-month pre-professional health enrichment program, and has studied Biochemistry Research at Fayetteville State University.
After graduation, Jefferson will complete a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mendoza, Argentina. When he returns from this mission, he will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he earned the Brigham Young University Academic Scholarship, and complete his degree in chemistry. Ultimately, he wants to pursue a career in primary care, optometry, family medicine or a related medical field.
Ultimately, Jefferson has this message for future high school students:
“Get involved! There are extraordinary opportunities available through student organizations, sports, and volunteering. You can meet incredible people, learn essential leadership characteristics, discover your interests, and build a resume by pursuing membership/participation in groups and events. Seek leadership, volunteer, and educational events outside of school. Opportunities abound through churches, businesses, theaters, and non-profit organizations.”