Jamila Epps, Major at Glades Central High School

Editor’s note: The Palm Beach Post publishes the profiles of the 2021 graduates of the traditional high schools managed by the district. Read them all here.

Raising awareness and treatment of mental illness is the goal of Jamila Epps, Class Major at Glades Central High School.

“A lot of progress is happening. We have a lot more treatments for mental illness. But we have to be more tolerant and less critical, ”said Jamila, 18, a longtime Belle Glade resident.

Jamila plans to major in neurology and neurosurgery at Florida Atlantic University. Neurology includes the study, diagnosis, and treatment of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and central and peripheral nervous system.

Following:Class of 2021: Palm Beach County High School majors

Following:Sometimes the Palm Beach County Major and the highest ranked senior in the class aren’t the same person.

The involvement of the family and the community in mental disorders is Jamila’s motivation to enter the field. She wants to do research on schizophrenia, a disease with which she has a lot of experience.

“Too many people think that if you have a mental illness, you are sick and there is nothing you can do. People just want to get away from you. This has to change, ”Jamila said.

She is the first in her family to enter the medical field. Her sister, Camilia, majored in public relations at the University of Florida. Her mother, Elizabeth, is a retired supply teacher. Her father, Jeff, is a US Army veteran and construction worker.

Jamila’s cumulative grade point average is 5.0. The lowest grade she has ever received is a “C” in grade 10. She upgraded that to a “B” the next semester.

“At the time, I couldn’t keep up. It has been a difficult year, ”she said.

Jamila credits her desire to help her family and community for making her want to become a valedictorian.

Research to improve the lives of people with dementia is its long-term goal.

“Living with people with mental illness has given me inspiration to help them improve their lives. I want to do research to flesh out the trouble and make a difference, ”Jamila. noted.

Who is your hero?

Definitely my dad, who goes above and beyond for my family, despite the many mental and financial challenges he faces. He’s one of the main reasons I keep going.

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is “Booksmart”. He approaches the toxicities of certain aspects of high school from a comedic, self-aware point of view.

What are your hobbies?

Read, write and play games.

What do you do to get away from it all or take a break?

Between reading digital books or writing songs and poetry, I also like to play games. Sometimes it’s puzzle games, or management games, or simulation games. Sometimes it’s more intense than relaxing, but it’s a much needed refreshment after a long day.

If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?

I would have dinner with Claudette Colvin. Her insight and struggles during the peak period for civil rights would be an informative dinner conversation, especially since she was a teenager at the time.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

An old teacher of mine once said that you don’t have to lose your senses to become balanced, and it’s something I refer to in times when I feel like letting go of who I am for something. thing that requires it.

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book is the “Bloodbound” series from the writers at Pixelberry Studios. It’s a nontraditional book since it’s more of an interactive graphic novel, but I find it sticks with the substance and expertly crafted traditions that reinvent the struggles of our society.

What is your favorite memory?

Playing dominoes with my dad and his friends when I was 7. It was a rare opportunity given that he often worked a lot.

How do you feel about having a virtual graduation ceremony instead of an in-person event?

Hosting a virtual graduation ceremony is not ideal due to the opportunity offered by an in-person event. It’s like my own family reunion. This year, I could have seen my best friends for the first time in person, and I could have seen my dad, who I see less often. A virtual degree would rob me of this opportunity and have less emotional value.

How do you feel about spending your last year of high school mostly isolated from your friends because of the coronavirus?

It’s a little odd, but it doesn’t sound as overwhelming or bittersweet. I don’t have a lot of friends in person, just two, and it’s pretty refreshing to spend time with them at home and being able to video chat with them during class as if they are actually there.

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