WENDELL — Shayna Jones is as quick with a word as she is with her studies.
The East Wake School of Integrated Technology’s Class of 2013 valedictorian hopes to be able to parlay that gift of gab into a career in journalism, either as a reporter or as the host of a television news show.
She’ll get an early start on studies at East Carolina University where she’ll major in communications and minor in business. After graduating from East Wake High School in just three years. She is one of two EWHS valedictorians graduating this year in just three years, joining School of Health Sciences valedictorian Daniel Duttman in that category. Jones says she hopes to eventually transfer to New York University, close to where her father lives.
Jones, the daughter of Sonya Columbus of Wendell and Christopher Jones of New York City, says she knows she’s going to miss out on some of the fun aspects of high school, but she says she’s also ready for what the future holds.
“I think I’m ready. All my peers will be helping me and I’m not shy about asking questions,” Jones said.
It would be hard to use the word shy to describe Jones. The outgoing valedictorian finished atop her class with a 4.375 grade point average. She has embraced classes that made her step out on her own a little. She points to a virtual enterprises class that required students to work in teams and develop business plans for a start up business. The students then had to present those plans in a series of competitions, including one her team won in Virginia.
“I really enjoyed it. It was so hånds on. It was really a proud moment. We were the underdogs. Because of where we were located we weren’t among the favorites. No one knew anything about us. It ended up being very nice.
Even classes that challenged her academically made her want to do better. After she got a C in Algebra II, she decided to retake the class to do a better job mastering the concepts.
That kind of competitive spirit also helped propel Jones when it came to vying for the top academic title in her school.
“After I heard it was a possibility, I started working toward it. Other than that, I wouldn’t really have been looking for it,” Jones said.