“School, practice, school, practice and throw in some time to sleep, that’s my routine,” says Jessie Welch, a senior at Strong Rock Christian Academy. Jessie keeps a very busy schedule balancing a 4.37 GPA with cross-country running, baseball and basketball. Just minutes after we spoke, he was heading out of town for a two day basketball tournament. Yet, not everything is about Jessie’s school and sports activities. Community matters immensely to him.
Along with spending time with family and friends, he also helps others at a homeless shelter in Forest Park, GA, in a ministry founded by his grandfather. Every other Wednesday, 250-300 people are served meals and enjoy an uplifting program. Jessie feels that he receives the greater blessing by helping the thankful people. “The food we provide them is fine… but showing them love is more important,” declares Jessie. On top of school, ball, and community service – Jessie also helps out at home with his four younger sisters and says he would not have it any other way.
Jessie was home schooled by his Mom, Micki, from kindergarten through seventh grade. Since attending Strong Rock, it has been his goal to make the most of his education while excelling every step of the way. This dedication has paid off. Jessie has been selected by Mercer University for the Presidential Scholarship and is also a finalist for their Stamp Leadership Scholarship. If selected, he will receive a full scholarship…not to mention the prestige of earning the award.
Jessie plans to become an engineer. It is rare to see a 17 year old young man be so clearly focused on his goals for the future. Yet, he is unsure where he wants to attend school. Mercer is his Mom’s Alma Mater and they are offering him a unique opportunity; however, Georgia Tech is where his Dad became an engineer and he has always dreamed of going there. All the same, Jessie is committed to do his very best wherever he decides to attend college. Location will not lessen his desire to excel and be successful.
Success is very important for Jessie. But his view of success is seen through a wide lens. He attributes his role models in life for his achievements and his outlook on life. “Success is more than money, it’s what you do for your family and the community. Success is happiness and not the amount of things you have,” explains Jessie. In a time when many teens look up to athletes and pop culture celebrities, Jessie looks to his mother and his father: Micki and Stacey. “Dad has always been a hard worker. I want to be that way and provide for my own family like he has for us,” says Jessie. He credits his Mom with being his very best teacher and the inspiration for his academic achievements. Jessie also praises Mr. David Mann, President of Strong Rock, as someone he wants to emulate. “Mr. Mann never has a frown on his face and is always available to everyone in school. He is genuine, loving, and has a servant heart.” That is how Jessie wants to be remembered, also.
Jessie is determined to be successful and continue helping others. Our community is better off and our future is in good hands because of young men and women like him.