Jon-nita Blake is a sophomore at Lincoln Park High School who boasts a 3.5 GPA. Her key to success is studying… a lot. She studies after school, takes a break, and then studies into the night. Her favorite subjects are American Literature and U.S. History, and for geometry, her most challenging subject, she has a tutor at school. Another factor in her success is her mom, Almetha. “She pushes me to do my best,” says Jon-nita. “She encourages me… She’s always there.” Hard work plus a great mom is a good combination!
In her junior year at LPHS, Jon-nita hopes to run track and attend nursing class. She will have to pass a test in May to be accepted. Participants go to different hospitals throughout the year and spend their last semester in practice at Northwestern University earning $35/hour. This class lines up well with her career aspirations to be a mortician, a pediatrician, or a nurse.
Jon-nita became interested in mortuary science as a young girl when her mom would take her to funerals. She remembers, at 10 years old, going to her aunt’s funeral and being fascinated by the body and the service. Her interest in pediatrics comes from being a kid and recognizing fear and distrust of doctors. She remembers her brother being very scared to go to the doctor for a routine checkup. “A lot of pediatricians aren’t nice,” she says. “They make kids scared.” Jon-nita believes her positive attitude would be a welcome force in the field.
She would like to move to Atlanta or Florida for school, but she still loves Chicago. According to her, the best part is the food. She loves tacos and personally recommends Allende on North Lincoln Avenue. She doesn’t know exactly which college she wants to go to, but she does know that she will have to attend graduate school. “I think I’ll be able to handle it… I’m prepared, but a little nervous at the same time.”
Jon-nita heard about Cabrini Connections from fellow Thursday night mentees Ashaunti Roby and Melissa Young. This is her third year in the program and her mentor is Brandy Kimminau. “I’m real comfortable around her,” says Jon-nita. “For any advice, I can call her. She’ll stop whatever’s going on… She’s like a friend.” They have meet off-site several times – girls’ night out, bike riding, bingo with senior citizens – and they always have fun. Jon-nita’s tips for mentors are to “be open” and “don’t be so worked up about work.” It can be impossible to finish everything in two hours, but, by simply getting to know each other, you can grow your relationship into something more.
This summer, Jon-nita looks forward to swimming a lot and finding a summer job. In her spare time, she likes to dance and hang out with friends, so she’ll be doing plenty of that, too. All of her escapades will surely get documented in her journal. She writes, on average, three pages a day about how things are going. “It calms me down,” she says. Thanks for being a calming influence at Cabrini Connections, Jon-nita. We are eager to see your progression over the next few years.