Lorissa Francois has been a mentor and teacher to many though she is only 17-years-old. Spending time as a student teacher, an older sister, and teacher assistant, the now alumnus of Henrico High School plans to continue a life long journey of constant learning and teaching.
Graduating high school with a 4.03 GPA, Francois says excelling academically was one of the ways she showed her parents that their work and sacrifice wasn’t done in vain.
She credits her parents and younger sister as her motivation to excel academically as well as personally. Francois’s mother is originally from Guyana. She says her mother used to tell her stories of her three mile trek to the library just to catch the school bus. “If she can do that, there is no way for me not to succeed,” Francois said.
Francois says her mother always told her, children are supposed to be better than their parents and that is one of the main reasons she works so hard. She also says having a younger sister makes her want to be a positive role model and example for her. “I know she’s going to look up to me as a role model… if she sees me doing well then she’s going to know that I expect nothing but the best from her,” Francois said.
While in school Francois was a member of the French honor society, robotics team, field hockey team, basketball team, step team and class secretary in the Student Government Association sophomore through senior year. Francois was also a member of S.O.D.A (Student Organization for Developing Positive Attitudes). S.O.D.A is a mentoring program through Henrico High that visits Wilder Middle School once a month to mentor the 6th graders on the transition to middle school and onward to high school. As a mentor in S.O.D.A, Francois says seeing how open the children are to what she and her fellow mentors have to say is a great thing to see. “Sometimes they don’t have siblings at home or older brothers and sisters that they look up to, to give them that advice. So it was just great to realize we can make a impact,” Francois said.
She has also taught children in other ways by participating in her church’s, Faith Landmarks Ministries, mission trips. Francois traveled to Singapore, China for two weeks and facilitated various workshops and evangelistic work with a local group.
Through these experiences with teaching and mentoring, Francois truly knows that she wants to be a teacher. In the fall, she will be attending Oral Roberts University, an interdenominational Christian liberal arts university, located in Tulsa, Okla. She will be majoring in education with a concentration in English and minoring in French. Francois says Oral Roberts fits her perfectly because they focus on developing and fostering the “whole person: mind, body and spirit.”
Francois wants to be an educator and to one day teach English in France as a second language. She says this is one of her career goals, but she is also thinking of other long term goals. Francois says she wants to continue to learn and to teach others.
“I know that mediocrity is not an option. I know that in order to excel or succeed I have to make sure that I build a foundation now and whether it’s networking or just laying down the fundamentals,” Francois said. “And just the desire to want to learn more because you don’t want to grow up in a world being ignorant because then it will just eat you alive.”
By Laquita Jacobs