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Jayden Braxton

2525

Bold Points

10x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Growing up is hard and growing up black is even harder. With each additional disadvantage, the probability of defying the odds of life seem impossible. Not only was I racially disadvantaged, I had a teenage, single mother—a child herself. I later saw that none of the men in my family were adequate role models: my dad and two of my uncles all went to jail. These dilemmas led my mother to move us from a rural Alabama town to the growing suburb of Douglasville, GA. Here, I realized who I wanted to be and a place where I could forge my own path. This was only possible because of the increase in opportunities, primarily from educational efforts. Although these setbacks are numerous, they have motivated me to overcome all adversities, stay determined and ambitious, and use my platform to inspire other minorities to do the same.

Education

University of Georgia

Master's degree program
2023 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Education, General

University of Georgia

Bachelor's degree program
2019 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Education, General

Chapel Hill High School

High School
2015 - 2019

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Educational Administration and Supervision
    • Economics
    • Education, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Education

    • Dream career goals:

      High School Administrator/Athletic Director

    • Student Teacher

      Gwinnett County Public Schools
      2023 – 2023
    • Substitute Teacher

      ESS
      2022 – 2022
    • Summer Camp Counselor/Inclusion Counselor

      Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Brand Associate

      Old Navy
      2021 – 2021
    • ASP Counselor

      Clarke County School District
      2019 – Present5 years
    • Brand Ambassador

      American Eagle Outfitters
      2018 – 20191 year

    Sports

    Track & Field

    Varsity
    2014 – 20195 years

    Awards

    • State Champion
    • Coaches' Award
    • Most Valuable Jumper Award
    • Best Male Freshman Award
    • Region Champion
    • Most Outstanding Field Performance

    Swimming

    Club
    2013 – 2013

    Arts

    • Independent

      Photography
      2020 – Present

    Public services

    • Public Service (Politics)

      Student Government — Member; VP; President
      2015 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Mark A. Jefferson Teaching Scholarship
    Winner
    I would not be who I am without a teacher. I do not take for granted the positive influence on youth we teachers are blessed with. My name is Jayden Braxton, a college senior at the University of Georgia. I am enrolled in a combined undergraduate/graduate program majoring in Social Studies Education where I am set to graduate in May 2023. Scholastically, I am set to complete my MEd in Social Studies Education, through the Double Dawgs program, next fall to be the second person in my family with a graduate degree. While completing my Med, I plan to teach high school social studies (specifically Economics, U.S. History, or African American Studies). Within my program of thirty-three students, I am the only Black student in my program and one of three minority students. However, being the only Black student has brought on more isolation than I have previously known due to a professor/faculty member’s comments and racial insensitivity. This circumstance and my service initiated my goal to restart the student organization, Minorities in Education (MIE). MIE serves as a space to network with and support minority students studying education. This experience showed me how to advocate and assemble; I do not want any MFECOE student after me to walk the path alone in their quest to create or find inclusive spaces. One quality I have been praised for during student teaching is my authenticity. Whether I share my true emotions, passions, values, or reflections, I remain true to myself. Students nowadays are taught that “fake ‘til you make it” is the only way; however, my genuineness has opened more doors for me. Being a teacher to heavily online students requires you to be fully and unapologetically yourself. Honoring and recognizing that rewrites a narrative that may not be as practical anymore. That is why I stand out; that is why I will succeed. The school system surrounding UGA (Clarke County School District) is predominately Black. During my time working as an after-school program (ASP) counselor and a substitute teacher, I saw the power I had as a Black male educator. Four students in particular—two Black and two biracial—felt very comfortable with me. They listened to what I had to say, whether it was getting to know them, joking with them, or disciplining them. Being the only Black student in my program has also given me experiences that my classmates do not have in student teaching. In both our middle school and high school placement, students of color gravitate to me and are personable quicker. During my K-12, I have only had six Black teachers with only two of them being Black men. I learned in an educational psychology class that students of color feel more comfortable with teachers of color and in my opinion, the research holds true. I anticipate being one of, if not the only, Black male educator that my students will have. For some, I may be one of the few Black men they get to experience in childhood and adolescence. That bears a lot of weight and pressure; yet, I am aware of the predicament I was stepping into. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
    Durham-Dodd Dreams Scholarship
    My mother is one of the best examples of how a parent should be to their child and is the person I admire most in this world. My mom has taught me from a very young age to defy the odds and to never be a negative statistic. My mom’s morals, values, and determination has led her to where she is today, and she has poured those same principles into me. Last year, my paternal sister lost her mother in a tragic natural disaster. My grandmother died when my mom was only ten years old, so she spent half of her childhood without her own mother or a motherly figure. Although my sister was thirteen at the time, my mom did not want her to have a similar story, so she stepped in to be a motherly figure for her, showing how giving and genuine my mom is. My mom started her parental journey as a single, teenage mother. I know she may have felt overwhelmed, wanted to give up, or fold under the pressure. However, my mom never portrayed any of those parental struggles to me. She has remained steadfast in her selflessness, morals & values, and her relationship with God. They are all intertwined into the mother—and woman—I see and respect today. She is the reason why I am the person that I am and have achieved what I have achieved thus far. If it was not for her, I would not be where I am today.
    Giving Back to the Future Scholarship
    My name is Jayden Braxton. I am a college junior at the University of Georgia; I am enrolled in a combined undergraduate/graduate program majoring in Social Studies Education. Inspiring/mentoring is my passion and educating puts it to use. While teachers are underpaid and undervalued, shaping future leaders is unmatched. I am a product of public schools; I intend to work in that sector throughout my career. Public schools have a substandard representation of academic excellence; however, many talented children—who may also feel uninspired or unmotivated—are enrolled in public schools. In addition to my passion, my mother instilling a love of reading into me at a young age and having my teachers serve as role models for me influenced my career choice, and I have not looked back since. Giving back is highly important to the Black and African American community. A great number of people in our community are not able to partake in the same resources that I was able to in my youth. Sometimes, giving someone an opportunity to experience more than their socioeconomic status would allow could unlock passions that the other person may not have been privy to. In our community, giving back is a core principle in our lives. Many of us acknowledge our communities for their role in our successes, whether personal or professional. Without the love, support, and wisdom from those in the community, high levels of achievement/success may not be as easily attained. The popular saying “it takes a village” is highly regarded in our community. Its impact is physically represented in the futures of those we help along the way. I plan to give back to my community by being in a profession that has the second-most influence on children: teaching. Now, I currently work as an After School Program (ASP) Counselor at a local elementary school. I also plan to become a track & field coach once I start teaching. To make that goal more attainable, I have volunteered with a local track team in Athens, GA to gain coaching experience. Towards the end of my teaching and coaching career, I would like to start a non-profit organization that mentors and supports Black children. Throughout my life, I have always intended to be a role model for the younger members of my family. Starting a non-profit would allow me to widen that intention to other Black children who may feel uninspired, unmotivated, or lost. With what has been given to me throughout my life, it would be a disservice to not pass that to others.
    Larry Darnell Green Scholarship
    On October 24, 2000, at the age of sixteen, Marquita Rawlins became a mother. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy who she named Jayden Antwoyn Braxton. Little did she know, his father—and her then on-and-off boyfriend—would not be the attentive father that he should have been. At the age of sixteen, many children are looking forward to getting their license, getting their first job, and maybe going to prom. Nevertheless, my mom was preparing to give birth to a child. The stereotype of teenage mothers is that they are more than likely to not graduate high school or pursue further education. My mom has taught me from a very young age is to defy the odds and never be a negative statistic. She focused on her studies and graduated high school, ranked number seven in her high school class, and graduated from college four years later. Through her example, she taught me her important lesson. She taught me to defy all stereotypes because two things will happen: 1) those trying to demean my accomplishments will fail; and 2) it will inspire other kids like me to defy their stereotypes as well. She taught me that someone growing up is always watching. After my mother's college graduation, we moved back to our hometown for a year. Yet, But, when I was six years old, we moved to Douglasville, GA—approximately one hour from our extended family—just the two of us. She made the move to put me in positions and grant me opportunities that she did not have growing up. Some of those opportunities included: Advanced Placement classes; International Baccalaureate program; racial diversity; various Career, Technical, Agricultural Education programs; being academically gifted; educational and personal support, etc. As a young child, my mom stressed the importance of reading and academics. Throughout my schooling, my mom has taught me the importance of work ethic and hard work. I have been the most determined and ambitious when it comes to succeeding in my goals. I plan to give back to my community by going into a profession that has the second-most influence on children: teaching. Currently, I am enrolled at The University of Georgia, majoring in Social Studies Education; I am set to graduate in May 2023. I also plan to become a track & field coach once I start teaching. To make that goal more attainable, I have volunteered with a local track team in Athens, GA to gain coaching experience. Towards the end of my teaching and coaching career, I would like to start a non-profit organization that mentors Black children. My mother started her parental journey as a single, teenage mother. I know she may have felt overwhelmed, wanted to give up, or fold under the pressure. However, she never portrayed any of those parental struggles to me. With the disadvantages she was dealt, society would say that she was more likely to fail and struggle in life and as a parent. Nevertheless, her selflessness is why I am the person that I am and have achieved what I have achieved thus far. I have been able to achieve high academic success that correlates to my influx of postsecondary and professional resources. If it was not for her, I would not be where I am today. If it was not for her, I would not be as capable to give back.
    Theresa Lord Future Leader Scholarship
    The person that I have evolved into today is not always the pattern of those with my background. I was born to teenage parents, with my mom being a single mother. I was born in a rural Alabama town where absent/uninvolved fathers were normal. Then, my mother moved us to the growing suburb of Douglasville, GA at age seven. I had no adequate male role models in my life until I was fourteen, and I transitioned myself from boyhood to manhood. However, the move from Anniston to Douglasville proved to be the best factor to my success. I became to more resources academically, socially, and culturally in the Atlanta suburb. Here, I realized who I wanted to be, and I could forge my own path to get there. During my freshman year of high school, I concluded that I wanted to become an educator. I received hesitation and slight disappointment when others learned of my career plans, going as far to say I was “too smart to become a teacher.” Nevertheless, I have chosen to follow passion rather than money. My educational goals include graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Studies Education in December 2023 through the University of Georgia’s Double Dawgs program. I plan to graduate with honors, specifically magna cum laude; as of now, I am on track to meet that goal. Next, I would like to attain a Specialist degree in Educational Administration. Nothing could have prepared me for the year of 2021. It was undoubtedly the hardest year for me to overcome. I am the oldest of my father’s three children and we all have different mothers. In March 2021, I received a heartbreaking call from my dad—my youngest sister’s family was involved in a tornado. There were four of them in the house (my sister, her mother, and my sister’s grandparents) and my sister was the sole survivor, sustaining severe injuries. Her mother and I had a relationship and even now, I do not believe I have allowed myself time to grieve because most of my time has been focused on my sister and her emotional and physical recovery. After that tragedy, my family dynamic changed dramatically. My father was in a tumultuous custody battle with my sister’s maternal aunt. My mother stepped into a “stepmother” role for my sister since she also lost her mom at a young age. Yet, during this time, unforeseen issues with my father crept to the surface pertaining to my childhood. My mom was no longer as available to me. I felt underappreciated because the attempts to hold my family afloat during the first two months of our “new normal” were overlooked. Then, my family gaslit me because I needed my time to process everything. Truthfully, I am still moving forward and learning from this experience of 2021. A recent lesson that I have learned is that family is important. I have always had a complicated relationship with the idea of “family,” but with me almost losing my sister, that changed my entire outlook. Another main lesson from this ordeal is to process your emotions and give yourself time. Whether it is time to be heal, time to be angry, or time to reflect, we all need time. If we do not allow ourselves time, we will bleed on those that do not deserve it. Where I am today is best summarized by the scripture Isaiah 40:29: “He giveth power to the faith, and to those with no might, He increasedth strength.”
    BIPOC Educators Scholarship
    Before I graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Georgia, I knew that education was the industry for me. Yet, it was not until I worked as an After School Program (ASP) Counselor for Clarke County School District that I knew—without a doubt—that I wanted to work with children. Working with the Clarke County children brought me genuine joy. Although they were elementary school-aged children and I strive to teach high school, they were great. I got to a point where I was anxiously waiting to go to work. The happiness and delight I felt from interacting with the students at Barrow Elementary School could not be matched by my academics, friends, extracurriculars, etc. Out of all the kids, I grew close to one third-grader named Antonio. After working there for roughly two to three weeks, he started talking to me a lot more. We bonded as he reminded of my younger cousins: he likes jokes, plays around, asks many questions, and enjoys being a kid. Our counselor-student bond evolved to learning about him and his school. I learned that he was so much of a talker and jokester that he often got into trouble during class, similar to my days in elementary school. Therefore, sometimes on the playground, I would try and talk to him and give him some advice (or motivation) to not get into trouble during class. It affected his behavior greatly enough that his mom thanked me when she was signing him out of ASP one day. Lastly, during my time in primary and secondary school, I have only had four BIPOC teachers. I have noticed through my schooling and educational psychology class that minorities feel more comfortable with minority teachers. At ASP, the only consistent workers that were BIPOC were me and one other person (we were specifically black). At that specific school, there were not that many Black teachers, so the only Black “teacher” they came into contact with was us. The Black students felt more comfortable with us counselors than they did with Caucasian teachers who helped out in ASP. I would not be who I am without a teacher. I do not take for granted the positive influence on youth we teachers are blessed with. My first experience working with children—this experience—was everything I expected it to be and even exceeded my desires.