Looks Bright: Science enthusiast eyes future career working with animals

Published 12:15 am Saturday, April 22, 2017

LAPLACE — Jody Duhe of LaPlace enjoys looking at the world in different ways.

That is why the LaPlace Elementary School eighth grader enjoys science.

“It’s interesting,” Jody said. “It makes you look at things different from how you would normally look at it. I like learning about space. Space is so big. It’s this huge place, and we’re just a speck of dust in it.”

More than that, it’s not math, which Jody doesn’t particularly care for.

“It’s about more than just numbers,” she said. “That’s the good part. You get away from the numbers. Somehow they put numbers in there, though. Why would you put numbers in science?”

Jody Duhe jokes around while posing with some toy animals. The eighth grader says her love of animals may lead to a career as a veterinarian.

It’s a legitimate question from the young woman who was selected as the school’s eighth grade student of the year.

“It’s a big honor,” Jody said. “You get to represent the school in a good way. You go through the school year having been able to guide students. It’s a good way to go throughout school, to pay attention in class and have an idea where you really want to go.”

Her parents are proud, she said.

“My mom brags about it a lot,” Jody said. “We’ll see friends at (the store) and the first words out of her mouth are, ‘Well, my daughter got student of the year.’
I’m like, ‘Mom, they don’t need to know that.’”

Jody, a stellar softball and basketball player, is also a member of the archery club.

“She’s an all around humble, wonderful young lady,” LaPlace Elementary School principal Patty Forsythe said. “She’s always respectful, always pleasant. Very little rattles her. I’ve watched her softball games. Even on the mound she just smiles and does what she has to do.”

As part of the nomination process, Jody, the daughter of Christina and Gregory Duhe, wrote an essay about her family and how they helped her to get where she is today.

She said her family helps her see the world a little differently, in part because her older sister, Alexis, was born with special needs.

“It made me realize a lot,” Jody said. “It takes more time for her to be able to talk and pronounce her words. It just made me realize, (for) some people, you have to have patience and it doesn’t take a lot, just a smile or a couple of words, to brighten their day.”

Despite her young age, Jody has taken on part of the role of caretaker for her sister.

“I see her struggle and it worries me a lot,” Jody said. “She goes to a normal school, but she’s in a different kind of class. You don’t know who’s there to take care of her during the day or be there to help her with the needs she has. Everywhere we go, it’s ‘do I need to stay with her? Is there someone there who can help her with the bathroom?’ It’s different. It’s definitely not normal. It just makes you realize how many people are out there who actually have some type of need.”

Jody plans to use her caregiving skills in other ways. She wants to be a veterinarian.

“I’m an animal lover,” she said. “My mom fears I will bring home a stray animal every day I go out. She thinks when I’m older she’s going to walk into a house with just random animals, like, ‘There was a squirrel and it just fell out of a tree. I’m sorry.’

Jody plans to own her own animal clinic, one that won’t solely be for medical treatment.

“We could train them or (have), like, a big rescue center along with it,” she said. “From a young age, people would ask me what I wanted to be. I think I’ve always said a veterinarian.”

Forsythe can definitely see Jody owning her own clinic, with Alexis right by her side.

“She’s talking about how she’s going to have this, and I’m thinking, ‘yes and she’s going to have her sister there with her,’” Forsythe said.