Senior Jakini Ingram is known for her outspoken advocacy for social justice. She is a member of Students for Progress, the Feminist Coalition and the Webster Challenge Initiative.
However, Ingram started her freshman year at Nerinx Hall, not Webster Groves High School.
“I don’t think that I had a voice. I think that there were a lot of issues going on that I wanted to voice my opinion on or that I wanted more knowledge about, but I didn’t have the right sources,” Ingram said. At Webster, Ingram felt she could speak up on issues she cared about and join clubs with which she could actually accomplish something.
Besides a location change, Ingram’s politics have also shifted significantly.
“The biggest thing is becoming more open-minded. I remember being very closed-minded, very conservative. I only had one way of thinking, and I didn’t want to hear anyone else’s way of thinking. I knew what I believed was right so you couldn’t tell me that I was wrong, but I also hurt other people with that mentality that ‘this is right, don’t question me,’” Ingram said.
Nevertheless, Ingram educated herself inside and outside the classroom, and she is now a forward-thinking, open-minded individual.
English teacher Lindsey Ross, who along with Sarah Gray nominated Ingram for the Eagle Award, echoed this growth.
“Jakini is really special, especially in class, because she is two things. She is simultaneously extremely passionate about her own thoughts and opinions while being open and receptive to others’ opinions. Usually you only have one or the other in a student. Even last year, Mrs. Gray could tell that she had this unique ability as well,” Ross said.
Ingram’s greatest accomplishment at WGHS has been “changing people’s mentality against black, female students.” Ingram said the stereotype about these students is that they are “incompetent, ghetto, ignorant, loud.”
“I’m pretty ghetto and pretty loud, but I’m intelligent as well. We’re not a stereotype,” Ingram said.
Ingram has left her mark at the high school, building relationships with peers, teachers and other staff.
“It didn’t have to be extensive. It could just be a daily, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and I think people remember those things,” Ingram said.
Next year, Ingram plans to attend Ohio State University, majoring in political science and Spanish. She will also enroll in a United Nations program offered through OSU, which will allow her to study abroad as a freshman.
“As long as I continue to educate and teach others about the world and the ‘isms’ that are personal to me then I’m good,” Ingram said.