I’m a Tulsa Kid: Jenny Carmichael

Winner of a Coca Cola Scholars Foundation scholarship

Jenny Carmichael, 2012 graduate of Holland Hall.

No matter the pressure of academics or sport, Oklahoma University bound Jenny Carmichael always has a smile on her face. Jenny was recently named one of 52 finalists nationwide to win a four-year college scholarship of $20,000 from the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation recognizes young people across the nation who are helping shape a better future through civic engagement, community service and enlightened leadership.

Q: You were recently selected as one of 252 high school seniors nationwide to receive a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. How did this scholarship opportunity come about and what does receiving the award mean to you?

A: This past November I applied for the Coca-Cola Scholarship, and as one of 84,000 other high school seniors across the nation who applied, I did not expect to advance to the second phase of the selection process. After pressing the submit button in early November, I didn’t tell anyone that I had applied and didn’t think any more of it — because what were the odds that I’d be a semifinalist? Therefore, when I received an email from Coke in mid-December, I was completely humbled to learn that I was selected as one of the 2200 semifinalists. From there I completed the second phase of the application feeling honored to have made it that far, and once again I didn’t think anything of it because I thought there was no way I would become a finalist. I didn’t say anything to my parents, teachers, or anyone else because I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.

A month later I opened the spam folder of my email to find another email from Coke. As I opened the email, the only word I could see was congratulations!

I was in complete shock and tried to calmly ask my parents to come into the room. I couldn’t keep my smile contained and finally told them about the scholarship process, that I was selected as a finalist, and that I would be traveling to Atlanta for the scholars’ weekend.

Attending the scholars’ weekend in Atlanta was surreal, and the fellowship with the other scholars inspired me. I came home with a renewed hope and restored passion for serving others, and I hope that I can use this experience to help touch our community one person at a time.

Q: Outside the classroom you are a track and field stand out in the discus and the shot put. How did you happen upon becoming a thrower in track and field?

A: Originally, I signed up for track and field in seventh grade because I loved running and wanted to get a good workout during practice, but it quickly became obvious that, aside from winning the warm-up, I was the slowest athlete on the team. Thankfully, my coaches treated me the same as they did the most talented athletes, and their support made me want to stay on the team and allowed me to discover another event in which I was successful. They suggested I try the shot put, and after a couple meets I picked up the discus as well. Then, my coaches gave me the constant support I needed to develop event specific skills, increase my strength levels, and acquire a passion for the sport. From then on there was no turning back, and while I still ran for fun, my heart was with the throws.

Q: How has your journey through athletic competitions helped you in the classroom?

A: Athletic competitions have benefited me tremendously in the classroom because the lessons I learn through competing directly relate to my academic performance. For example, before I compete I will sit by myself or tune everything else out so that I can focus on how I want to throw. Then, that focus translates to self-motivation, higher standards, and improved performance in the classroom. Also, due to the nature of athletic competition, I have learned how to accept defeat and use that disappointment to fuel my drive to improve, which has helped me to use poor grades in the classroom as an incentive to work harder at the next topic or subject. Finally, competing has allowed me to experience the satisfaction of success — not the success of championships, medals, or records, but instead the success of knowing that you gave it everything you possibly could and surprising yourself by performing better than you though possible.

Q: How has your family, teachers and coaches played a role in your classroom and athletic achievements?

A: When it comes down to it, these people are the reason that I am who I am today. My family has always been so supportive of all that I’ve wanted to achieve, and they continue to inspire me daily to live according to a higher standard. I am so blessed to have them. Similarly, I don’t know where I would be without my teachers. From opening their offices to staying after class to delve deeper into the subject matter, they have constantly given of themselves in order to enrich my academic experience. I have fallen in love with learning because of their enthusiasm for their classes, and I am inspired to forge ahead in my education because of their influence. Additionally, my coaches have contributed so much more than just my athletic achievements. While their influence began as encouragement on the field, it has transformed into inspiration for the person I want to become. Finally, I owe all of my success to Christ. He has given me everything, and whatever I have accomplished has been because of him.

Q: What major will you pursue in college and why?

A: I will be majoring in Chemical Engineering/Pre-Med and minoring in Spanish. I want to help people and have always wanted to become a doctor. The Spanish minor is because I also love Spanish and want to use my Spanish to offer medical assistance to Hispanic patients and Spanish-speaking populations. I have always had a hard time consolidating my interests, so this major allows me to use a little part of every subject I love.