Unlike some Largo High School students, graduating senior Jasmine Green, 18, won’t be seeing her parents when she and her classmates graduate May 29.
That’s because her father died while undergoing heart surgery when she was 8, and her mother died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when she was 12.
“But I know they’d be proud of me, their little baby girl,” said Green, who despite her losses is graduating in the top 10 percent of her class with a GPA of 3.375 and going to Towson University in the fall to major in forensic chemistry with the goal of one day working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Green, whose mother died halfway through her sixth-grade year, lived with one aunt in Waldorf for a little more than three years and then another aunt in Upper Marlboro for three years before moving in with one of her sisters in Upper Marlboro a few months ago. Green, who has four sisters and two brothers, is the youngest.
Green was one of two Largo High seniors to be recognized at a school awards ceremony May 15 for overcoming adversity, said her school counselor, Chyla Carter.
“I admire her,” Largo Principal Angelique Simpson-Marcus said about Green. “She’s had some difficult things to overcome, but her attitude inspires me. It’s her energy; she’s extremely resilient.”
Early in high school, Green said she thought about becoming a fashion designer. She knew how to sew and to draw, and one of her sisters had gone to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and gotten a job with fashion design company Chanel, she said.
But her sister also mentioned how selective the field is, so Green said she began thinking more about pursuing her other main interest.
“I love doing science,” said Green, who sees mixing chemicals in the lab as being as creative as designing a dress.
President this year of Largo High’s Biotech Club, she is also interested in biology and environmental science and especially likes hands-on lab work.
“She’s curious, asking a lot of questions and asking for clarifications,” said one of her science teachers, Anupama Mahajan, who taught Green microbiology during her junior year.
But Green said it wasn’t until the summer between her junior and senior year that she knew for sure she wanted to go to college after she and nine other Largo High students went to a four-day workshop at Trinity University in Washington, D.C..
Hosted by the College Summit program, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., that helps low-income students prepare for college, the workshop was a chance for students to learn how to fill out applications, write essays, apply for financial aid and learn about other aspects of going to college.
“It was a big eye-opener,” said Green, who met other students, some of whom had been homeless or in foster care. “It made my story seem like nothing,” she said.
Green said she also met students at the workshop who had gone on to succeed in college, which inspired her to pursue the same path for herself.
“At the workshop, I saw that I can live out my dream,” said Green, adding that she has assembled a package of loans and grants that will cover four years of tuition at Towson University.
After the workshop experience, she and the other College Summit peer leaders also encouraged other Largo High students to make a plan and think seriously about going to college, a vocational program or the military.
“It was like at boost,” she said. “You realize that there is more out there than it seems like to you.”