Jessica Burdette: Golden girl


Jocelyn Leal, Editor-in-Chief

Jessica Burdette is a student that is used to the spotlight. Not just on the stage as a Sugarcane dancer, but as one of the most decorated girls in school. Burdette has won multiple awards, including the Golden Herald Award for English and Literature, and the Girl Scout Gold Award for her community service. These are only two of the amazing feats that Burdette has accomplished.

Burdette is a high achieving student, a College Preparatory Academy completer who will graduate sixth in the 2022 class. The  president of Mu Alpha Theta and vice president of National Honor Society, Burdette has quite the academic repertoire.

“As a freshman it was a way to meet people and become familiar with the school and then as I got older in the later years of high school I knew what was going on so I knew which clubs I wanted to be a part of, like I really liked math, so once I was able to take algebra 2 I joined Mu Alpha Theta and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the tutoring and stuff like that. A lot of it was to put myself out there,” said Burdette.

Burdette describes herself as an “English/math” person, where people are usually English/history or math/science. These interests are what led her to some of her extracurricular activities, including Mu Alpha Theta and going out for the Golden Herald English and Literature Award.

“There is something cool about math that I’ve always liked. It’s funny because I label myself an English/math person, which I know is really weird…there’s something about math that clicks with me. Science, no,” said Burdette.

She is active outside of high school as well. She has been an active member of the Mam’Selles service club for four years and served as secretary for one. She was a part of Key Club for two years and has been a girl scout for the past 12 years, all feats that show her dedication to the community, especially with the girl scouts where she won her Gold Award that required 80 hours of service.

“It is the eagle scout equivalent, it is a service project where you have to put in a minimum of 80 hours of work and you have to find an issue in the community that needs to be addressed and you create a solution to fix it. Mine was creating a little free library at Stewart Elementary and it was a way for students to have access to books if they can’t go to the library. For example if they have fines and can’t get anything… and a big part of it was that it had to be sustainable so the students would sustain it themselves and it would last a long time,” answered Burdette when asked about what she did to receive her Gold Award.

Shine Like Gold– Burdette and her parents in front of her bio at the banquet where she receives her Gold Award. Burdette has always been a reader, but it was not until her American Lit class that she knew she wanted to be a professor. “I really liked his class because you could tell he was passionate. Like I hated Moby-Dick, but we could have civil debate and I could see why he liked it. I want to have that passion and inspire others like he does,” said Burdette.

She chose to do this project because it was close to her heart. Burdette learned to read at Stewart and wanted to instill her love of books and literature into other elementary school students, hoping to find passion in reading that is not just mandatory for school. She thinks it is extremely important at that age to find books that the students like so they can build a love of reading.

But she also mentioned that Girl Scouts was not all work. Throughout her 12 years of being a part of it they participated in activities that made it fun and worthwhile.

“A lot of it was fun, and we made it fun. We did the badges but then we’d do fun stuff like go to the aquarium. Our troop’s thing was to sleep in really weird places, so we slept at Mote Marine once, we slept at Lowry Park, we spent the night at the Planetarium and watched night at the museum, that’s my favorite girl scouts memory,” said Burdette.

Going on in her academic career, Burdette plans to attend the University of Florida. A fourth generation Gator, she plans to major in English and, eventually, become an English professor.

“It is a top five public university, so it is a higher academically regarded school and it is close to home… I’ve been going to games all my life so it’s kind of a familiar place… I want to become an English professor so I want to really be involved in having people love english and really understand it,” explained Burdette.

But Burdette is not only involved in school and the community, she also as many unique interests, including crochet, watercolor and growing plants, all of which facilitate her love of making things and being artistic.

“I recently got into crochet, I think it’s fun and I’m making a blanket right now!” Said Burdette.

There is no question that Burdette is an extremely accomplished individual with everything she does at school and in the community, and she is proud of that work. Burdette feels that she has left her mark on this school through all she has done and is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life. Hopefully to continue her constant drive to inspire others and do great things.