Diboll’s Student of the Year doesn’t have many leisure activities. And it’s easy to see why after going down the list of her school, club and volunteer efforts. She simply doesn’t have time to just lounge around.
Jessica Skipper received the Student of the Year award at this year’s DHS Academic Banquet. She has been a student in the Diboll schools since moving from Houston after third grade. Her family consists of her mother, Kelley Skipper, her grandmother, Carmeleta Gray, and her brother, Jonathan Walsh.
“The award was the biggest honor ever,” Skipper said. “It’s the biggest thing at the banquet. They always save it until last, and it’s very exciting.”
Even though she is one of the very highest ranking students in this year’s senior class, Skipper indicated that she did not expect that she would receive the award.
“Everybody started looking at me when they were reading the activities and accomplishments,” she said.
A description of Skipper’s various activities would fill quite a bit of space. She has been in National Honor Society for two years, has participated in FFA four years, is a Drug-Free All Star, and has been involved in S.M.A.S.H., Interact Club, Spanish Club, and FCCLA (Family Community Career Leaders of America).
Skipper has also been in band since sixth grade and has been drum major for the last two years. She plays trumpet and says she will probably continue to pursue music as a hobby in the future.
“Some of my favorite activities in school have involved band and FFA trips,” Skipper said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to go to different colleges and competing in various contests.”
Her involvement in FFA has had her participating in all kinds of events including leadership, demonstrations, speaking and quizzing.
As a volunteer, Skipper has also stayed very busy. For example, the Drug-Free All Stars have participated in the Walk for Alzheimer’s, passed out water at the Walk Across Texas event, produced numerous public service announcements for radio, and carried out the Sticker Shock campaign against underage drinking.
One of the activities that has made a huge impact on Skipper’s life was originally initiated by her church. Members were recruited to adopt an elderly person who was physically unable to attend services and provide them assistance and companionship.
“I started when I was in junior high taking elements of communion to a lady,” said Skipper. “The church actually abandoned the program after a year, but I continued on my own. After a time, the lady asked me if I could mow her grass. Then, I began washing dishes. Then, it was doing some house-cleaning. Eventually I was spending a great deal of time helping her. My mother was glad when I was old enough to get my drivers’ license so that she didn’t have to drive me there all the time.”
Skipper continued her service until her sophomore year when the lady died. “She was the first one I had ever lost who was close to me, and it had a big effect on my life,” she said.
Besides band, Skipper’s favorite course is math. And she said that history teacher Terry Johnson has been a strong influence on her.
“He’s a good teacher, but I heard him share his testimony one year at church camp, and it changed my life,” she said.
Skipper’s plans for the future include attending Texas A&M University where she will major in biomedical science. She plans to follow that by becoming a medical doctor.
“I haven’t settled on a particular specialization yet, but I hope I can come back to this area to practice,” she said.
Skipper says that she couldn’t have achieved anything she has done without the help of God. Also, she acknowledges the support and the “push” from her mother.
Her advice to other students is, “Anything you find to do, do it with all your might.’ That’s the motto I’ve tried to live by.”