Jessica Hurd may have graduated from Hernando High, but her heart is in Brooksville Elementary. And she wants to go back there.
Jessica clocked nearly 600 volunteer hours helping at Brooksville Elementary as part of her commitment to Hernando High's Future Teachers of America Club.
FTA is a national organization that encourages students to enter the field of education.
For her boundless energy and able assistance in JoAnn Summerall's kindergarten class at Brooksville, Jessica was recently named Cadet of the Year by the Hernando chapter of FTA.
"Jessica is just a dynamo," Summerall said. "She tutors, she tests and makes the most beautiful bulletin boards. The children just love her."
The energetic 18-year-old also initiated several projects that involved the school community. In just one week's time, Jessica organized a campaign around the Christmas holidays that collected 1,952 stuffed animals and toys for needy children. Then, inspired by the Relay for Life Race, she collected almost 2,000 hats for cancer survivors. Small wonder that Jessica has a cheering section behind her as she pursues her dream.
"I've always wanted to be a teacher," said Jessica, "and I want to go back to Brooksville Elementary because that's where I volunteered, and I knew some kids who went there from the neighborhood."
Jessica is getting help to reach her goal. She received several scholarships totalling more than $3,000 for her education as she starts classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College.
Later she plans to transfer to St. Leo University near Dade City, majoring in Early Childhood Education.