Jillian Herman – Texas Nomination & Photography by Angie Read Photography Issue 62 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Jillian Herman desires to help others in the highest degree. She has logged hundreds of community service hours in the Houston area since she was 11 years old. She has helped feed tens of thousands of people at food banks, provided for hundreds of homeless and widows, and kept a great attitude through all of it. On top of this, she is also the president of Technology Students Association, a 4-year Tiger Bell dancer at KCHS, an active NHS member, a 7-year member of KUMC Youth ministry and choir, and will graduate high school with her Associates degree! Jillian is the future we should strive towards!
Photography by Angie Read Photography
Tell us about your community service hours and how you got started. Most of my service projects were through my church, KUMC. I have attended this church since I was three months old. We start group services in the sixth grade and continue through our senior year. What has been your favorite service project? My favorite service project was when we surprised a long-time church member. We had built him and his family a new fence around their backyard. He had served many hours alongside our youth and spent multiple hours putting others' needs before his.
Which service project have you spent the most time with, and what did it entail? My lengthiest project would be the previous one I mentioned. Building an entire fence took our teams about three days to complete. We hauled fence boards, posts, and other needed tools and materials. We had multiple teams rotating jobs; some were cutting fence boards and leveling posts, and others were assembling all the parts. Finishing the fence took about three days, from 7 am to 2 pm.
What leadership opportunities have you had through volunteering? I have been on our leadership team since I became an upperclassman. As the name implies, I lead our younger kids, such as the middle schoolers, in small group discussions and bible studies. Throughout our summer, we have service camps where I have been paired up with groups of middle schoolers to help lead them through our team's service projects.
Photography by Angie Read Photography
What are your responsibilities as president of the Technology Students Association? As president of the TSA, I have many responsibilities. We compete in February, so we must register for our competitions before Christmas break. Since TSA is entirely student-run, I am responsible for all students' registrations, payments, and hosting meetings, socials, and fundraisers. I have a team of officers that help me in many ways, but I am currently trying to rebuild the club to be as big as it used to be before covid, so I am teaching the other officers so they can take over smoothly when I graduate.
What has been a favorite accomplishment with this organization? TSA is a nationally recognized organization, so there are a lot of competitors when it comes to competing. Our robotics team had competed at the regional level and been able to advance to the state level. Our robotics team got very close to the semi-finals in the state competition but was just barely knocked out. They ended up placing 13th out of 58. Supporting my robotics team and seeing them advance was a huge accomplishment for our organization.
What has been a favorite activity you've participated in with the NHS? My NHS branch is very active in our school and community. I was given a chance to volunteer at our end-of-the-season baseball banquet. This activity was my favorite because I got to serve a team that does so much for our school. Also, celebrating their victories from the past season was a fantastic ending to an excellent season.
What is your favorite memory with KUMC Youth Ministry and choir? Every year the KUMC youth choir goes on tour to sing. We have been to many different states and visited many fabulous places. My favorite experience was my first tour; we went to Missouri that summer when my older brother graduated from boot camp in Missouri! Our whole choir could come to my brother's graduation and surprise him after the ceremony. Seeing my brother in shock from everyone who attended just for him was heartwarming.
What are you loving most about your senior year? My senior year has been an adventure; even though I'm only halfway done, I already have many fun memories. My favorite thing would be going to football games with my dance team. The games were so much fun, and cheering on my team was uplifting.
Photography by Angie Read Photography
How did you find and why did you choose Angie Read Photography as your senior photographer? Angie Read was also the photographer for a friend a year older than me. My friend had referred a few other girls and me to Angie before the end of our junior years. I love Angie's style and how she can adjust to fit what others want to see. Angie is genuine and supports all of her seniors through our decisions.
What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? My experience with Angie's team of seniors has been excellent. I love being able to take pictures with old friends and new friends; also, being able to volunteer with them brings me joy.
What is the best part of being on her team? The best part of being on Angie's team is how much effort she puts in. She spends so much time finding places for us to take pictures, getting us partnerships, and helping us feel comfortable. She also gives us her all when taking pictures and also editing them.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? My most inspiring action would be to complete my associate's degree while still in high school. While starting that venture at a young age, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity. Obtaining a college degree while still in high school, alongside extracurriculars, has been one of my most challenging achievements. Having this degree will help me continue with my education ahead of my peers and be able to contribute to the community through my work sooner.
What else would you like to talk about? I would like to talk about my experience on my dance team for the past four years. While on my dance team, I have been supported by my directors, teammates, and admins. My director once shared how she wanted to be a teacher and was told that she would never change someone’s life, and I can firmly say that is false. My director has been there for me since day one of being on the team. She is an absolute inspiration to me and many other young dancers. I could not be the strong young woman I am today without her.
Image by Jamie Bautista
Tell us about your dance career. When did you get started, what types of dance do you study, etc. I started dancing when I was four years old. I took a short break to do cheer but shortly got back into dance in middle school. When freshman year came, I tried out for my school's dance and drill team. I have been a member of the Tiger Belles for four years now. We perform at football games and are transitioning into contest season.
What is your dance team like at KCHS, and what do you love most about being part of this group? Being a part of the dance team has made me not only a better dancer but also a better person. My director has worked hard with our whole team to build us into a strong, independent woman. My director has supported me through all four years on the team, through all my tough decisions and struggles. My teammates are like sisters, they are great supporters, and we love to hang out outside of dance.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be and why? I would love to talk about my future with my peers. My future is a topic I have spent many nights thinking and dreaming over. Whether that be college, work, or my family goals, I could go on for hours. I have huge dreams for my future career, and I share those plans in hopes of my friends and family upholding me to my goals in the future. Having my peers know about my goals helps keep me in check with myself and keeps me motivated during hard times.
3 Things on your bucket list Three things on my bucket list are, visiting the Choctaw cultural center, getting my doctorate, and traveling to South Korea. Since I am a Choctaw native, I would like to see our cultural center and learn more about my ancestors. Graduating with my doctorate has always been a dream of mine, and traveling to South Korea would be a fun and educational experience. It would allow me to learn about cultures other than my own. Look for Jillian in issue 62 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!