|Jada Wiggleton-Little is Top Senior|
|Senior of year makes time for balance|
|Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013|
Jada Wiggleton-Little lives by the book – a daily planner.
The Post’s Senior of the Year maps out details from exam schedules to study breaks with the planner, which she customized for greater efficiency.
“It was difficult at first until I got this planner,” said Wiggleton-Little, who has been accepted for enrollment at Davidson College. “I take it everywhere and people pick on me because I have it color-coded. Without it I would just go crazy.”
Every detail of the day goes into the book: who, what, where and why of academic, social and personal matters. It can get crowded, but it’s helped Wiggleton-Little maintain a 4.88 grade point average.
“You don’t want to forget the small things,” she said. “Once you forget the small things, they build up on you.”
But everything in Wiggleton-Little’s life hasn’t been so orderly. For seven years, she suffered in silence with migraine headaches, unwilling to share the pain with friends or family. Finally, she found support in Berry’s debate team, which helped her be more forthcoming about communicating.
“It opened me up to take risks more and tell people my problems,” she said. “I never told my mom my medical issues and they were getting worse but because of debate, I could confront the medical issues head-on and I ended up getting the help I needed.”
“Jada is an incredibly passionate and compassionate student,” said Gina Vergata, an AVID teacher and debate coach at Berry. “She’s been our debate president from even before I was the coach, so she’s really a student leader. There’s nothing I’ve ever seen her ask anybody else to do that she hasn’t done herself.”
Debate also helped Wiggleton-Little embrace leadership. No longer confined to being an insecure wallflower, she’s willing to be more expressive in reaching out to her peers and adults.
“It brought me out of my shell,” she said. “A lot of people don’t believe this, but I’m actually very shy. It’s hard for me to be vulnerable to a person and …debate changed my life.”
Wiggleton-Little, whose career goal is to become an obstetrician/gynecologist, leads a busy life. In addition to academics and debate, she’s a member of the Health Occupation Students of America, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society and psychology Club. She’s also been in leadership positions as president of the speech and debate team and vice president of the National Technical Honor Society. Last year, she was a junior marshal and is an AP scholar. To top it off, she volunteered with Big Shots, a Charlotte nonprofit and Berry Academy’s athletic booster club.
“She’s very giving,” Vergata said. “She probably spends more time in different clubs than any other student, and probably more than some of the teachers.”
Wiggleton-Little also has a guilty pleasure – movies. Before settling in for homework, she likes to crank up the television for a night of cinema, which helps her focus on the task at hand.
“In order to do my homework, I have to watch movies – comedies, like on Netflix,” she said. “You get stressed out and go crazy and it affects your work, so it’s not your best work. Your best work is work you enjoy doing and I enjoy (doing work) watching movies.”
The Berry community benefits from Wiggleton-Little’s drive, Vergata said. For all the tasks scribbled in her planner, Wiggleton-Little makes time to help others.
“She’s incredibly organized and she gives selflessly of her time,” Vergata said. “You can talk to any of the students in the clubs she’s involved in. She’s one of those rare individuals who’s capable of giving 100 percent in several different areas.”
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