Jackson & Bailey strive for excellence: Student athletes make impact at WSJ

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

EDGARD — Behind West St. John’s powerful athletic programs are successful student athletes who lead their peers in games and in the classroom.

Two examples are seniors D’Kyri Jackson and Myles Bailey. Both rank near the top of their graduating class academically. Skilled in science and math, they are considering pursuing engineering careers after high school.

Jackson is a recently inducted member of West St. John’s Beta Club, and he also competes in relay runs and long jump on the Rams’ track and field team. However, his first love will always be football. He picked up the ball at age 7 and has run with it ever since. Running back, cornerback and slot receiver are among the positions he has played, but he considers himself an overall athlete willing to cover any position needed on the field.

“What I like most about football is the people you are around,” Jackson said. “In these three years I’ve had at West St. John, I’ve had a lot of fun because I’ve created a lot of bonds with people that have left and people who are still here.”

Future plans for college have always been a “Plan A/Plan B” situation for Jackson. Plan A was to secure a football scholarship to continue his athletic dreams on a collegiate scale. He’s received an offer from Louisiana College to play football. Yet, he could also see himself hitting the books at Villanova University in Pennsylvania or Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to go play football, but I’ve always wanted to do engineering, too,” Jackson said. “I’m really good with my hands, and I like math and science. I think Howard would be a perfect fit for me, and Villanova is a good place for the major I want to go into.”

To Jackson, being a good student means staying on top of classwork, being an active participant in class and assisting his peers.

“I’m a down to earth type of person,” Jackson said. “If you need me, I’m there for you. I’m always willing to help.”

Jackson said his mother inspires him to work hard and helped him push through a difficult junior year.

Myles Bailey also draws inspiration from his family, especially his parents and siblings. Since he was young, his uncles have also played a great role in his life by reminding him to make the right choices.

“They always told me that when they were in high school, they had the chance to do this and the chance to do that, but their grades weren’t there, so they went down the wrong path,” Bailey said. “I don’t want to be like that. They taught me you have to do your work so you can go somewhere.”

Bailey is a cool and collected guy who tends to put others’ needs above his own. When he isn’t making moves on the basketball court, he can be found working hard at Winn-Dixie or volunteering at St. John the Baptist Parish Church.

Faith has been a great part of his life, and he gives back to the church as an altar server.

Basketball has been a passion since he was about 6 years old.

“I just like the environment that comes with it and the people that you start to meet,” Bailey said. “You become a family; a brotherhood.”

Even though he isn’t a captain on the team, Bailey tries to take a leadership role and resolve issues before they spiral.

Like Jackson, Bailey could see himself attending Howard University or Villanova University next fall. Baylor University in Texas is another strong consideration.

“My sister goes to Howard,” Bailey said. “When I graduate from high school, she’s going to be graduating from college. She always says how it’s a good school and environment. I would like to try it, too.”

Bailey plans to study either mechanical engineering or business management. He’s a hands-on learner who sees the growing trend of STEM careers.

“If I’m not a mechanical engineer, I want to be at the top of a successful business or own my own business,” Bailey said. “I like helping people and being a leader.”

He’s doing his part in the classroom to prepare for college by staying on task and maintaining a spot on the honor roll.

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