By Morgan Cook
Leicester – Desaree Braelynn Jennings is proof that the youngest generation is willing to put in the work to achieve their dreams. Desaree was born on June 18, 2001, and she lives in a small part of Marshall that is considered part of the Erwin District.
She was born in Mission Hospital and grew up in Candler. She stated, “I really liked growing up there. There were a bunch of kids my age who all went to the same school. We could walk anywhere and play. I still go back to visit my old house to see all the new changes.”
Growing up, Desaree looked up to most people who were older than her. She looked up to members of her church. She also looked up to her siblings even though they were similar in age, she stated. “My brothers were really brave, and my older sister was someone I especially looked up to.”
At the age of 12 Desaree’s family moved to Leicester and she went to Eblen Intermediate School. When she turned 13, she went to Erwin Middle School and there she learned about Martin L. Nesbitt Jr. Discovery Academy (NDA).
Desaree decided to apply to NDA because “at the time it was very new and like every new thing it sparked my interest. I knew NDA held a lot of potential for me.” Desaree also talked about wanting to take a different path from her siblings, who all attended Erwin High School.
While attending NDA, Desaree moved to her current home in Marshall at the age of 16. She graduated NDA with High Honors and 48 college credit hours. While at NDA Desaree took an extra course called CTE, which was a course that involved participating in an internship. She decided to go to Johnston Elementary School every day for a semester. There she did clerical work, helped in the library, and she was also able to help in classrooms.
One of her favorite spots to work in was the STEM Lab. She explained, “I got to see firsthand how STEM is impacting kids as young as kindergarten and its global teaching impact.” She knew that this class was helping kids learn about possibilities for their future that they might not have known about otherwise.
One of Desaree’s favorite accomplishments outside of the academic world was being able to sing the National Anthem at her graduation this past June. She loves to sing and not many of her peers knew that.
While in high school Desaree held several jobs. Her first job was at Little Caesars as a crew member when she was 15. She worked there for eight months. Her second job was at Krispy Kreme when she was 16. She was a Team Member there as well and she worked mainly at the register. She worked there for another eight months. Her third job was when she was 16 at Ingles. She was a cashier and worked there for six months.
Desaree currently holds a position at Chipotle, a job she started at the age of 17. She has been a Crew Member and specifically worked as a cashier. She is transferring locations currently so that she can continue to work in college.
Desaree will be attending the University of North Carolina Greensboro in the fall. She is going to study psychology, a topic she has been interested in for a long time. She wants to “understand what makes people behave in the ways that they do,” as she explained. Desaree is also interested in child psychology. One of her goals is to work as a school psychiatrist.
Desiree’s life motto is that she “strives to make a difference in the world by inspiring change in individual people.” She can’t wait for the next chapter in her life to continue to pursue her goals.