A scholar's pursuit of her dreams is rewarded

NEIGHBORS

March 28, 2000|By Pamela Woolford | Pamela Woolford,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THIS MONTH, North Carolina State University named Long Reach High School student Jessica Cory Modeen one of its Park Scholars.

Jessica, 17, a senior, received the award for her academic achievement, leadership qualities, character and community commitment. In applying for the scholarship, Jessica wrote personal essays and went through rounds of interviews, traveling to the university for final meetings.

But she didn't let the pressure get to her.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "I met a lot of nice people. It was pretty cool."

She plans to attend the university in the fall and major in biological sciences and business management. Her Park Scholarship will cover her university expenses for four years, including the cost of a personal computer.

The Park Scholarship is named for North Carolina State alumnus Roy H. Park, who died in 1993 and was president of media company Park Communications Inc. Of 860 applicants for this year's awards, 60 were granted scholarships.

Jessica became interested in biological sciences in her junior year when she took a molecular biology class at Howard County public schools' Applied Research Lab in Ellicott City. There she experimented with DNA technology.

She said she soon became intrigued by "the opportunity as far as finding cures for diseases and genetically altering food to get more crop production -- the ways it can help the world."

Jessica is a member of the National Honor Society and the French National Honor Society at Long Reach High. She has received four varsity letters in volleyball and one in lacrosse. The 17-year-old is also a published poet.

Last year, Jessica's English teacher, Katie Edwards, sent a poem Jessica wrote for a class assignment to a poetry contest sponsored by the Anthology of Poetry in Asheboro, N.C., Jessica was one of three winners nationwide and was published in "Teacher's Selection: Anthology of Eleventh Grade Poetry." The poem also was published in an anthology by the International Library of Poetry.

Jessica has a strong commitment to volunteering and plans to work with the Girl Scouts. A Scout since the first grade, Jessica is working on her Gold Award for community service.

"I think being involved with that kind of organization keeps my life centered around service and giving to community," she says.

Poetry reading

John Patrick Acevedo of Kings Contrivance will read from his self-published book of poetry, "Spirit Healing," at 7 p.m. Friday as the featured poet at the Barnes & Noble open mike night.

Acevedo, who focuses on the theme of unrequited love, describes his poetry as "love poems with a tragic spin."

The poems have a moral subtext. "I use metaphor within the book to reaffirm traditional values," Acevedo said.

One of his poems begins:

"I'm blinded by a person I'm seeing now

My emotions for her never quite spent

I feed off all of them to set her free

Like the hunger that came and went."

The poem is titled "The Missing Rib."

"I use `missing' as an emotional longing in the poem," Acevedo said. "We all have an incompletion within our soul."

A 17-year resident of Columbia, Acevedo graduated from Boston University's College of Communication in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in public relations.

Barnes & Noble is at 4300 Montgomery Road in Ellicott City.

Information: Lori Sellers, 410-203-9001.

Essay winner

The African American Republican Club of Howard County granted its third Black History Month High School Senior Essay Contest award to Daniel Jeremy Hill.

A Hammond High School senior, Daniel will receive a certificate of achievement and a $500 U.S. savings bond from the club at the school's awards ceremony in May.

He was honored March 5 at a reception sponsored by the Republican Club at Amherst House in Kings Contrivance.

The contest was open to Howard County high school seniors. Applicants wrote 500-word essays on Maryland state Del. Robert H. Kittleman's civil rights work.

Daniel wrote about Kittleman's involvement in desegregating Howard County public schools in the 1960s. Oakland Mills resident Diane Tolson, president of the county's African American Republican Club, served as a contest judge along with Janet Cornick, a Hammond High School teacher, and Boyd Rutherford, a Kings Contrivance resident.

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