Helping people has always been on the mind of high school graduate Ajr-Rai Barker. Through mission trips, volunteering, and extracurricular activities, she’s serving others and plans to continue doing so as the years go on.
Barker graduated from John Marshall High School with a 4.0 GPA and ranked third in her class overall. She strived to excel in her schooling by making it her top priority. “I know where I want to be in life. I want to be somebody great,” Barker said. “My parents always told me, to be somebody great you have to have your education. You have to show the colleges that you want to get into, that you’re worthy.”
Barker was a four year participant in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program while attending John Marshall. She said after hearing what the program was about she thought it would be great preparation for a career as a doctor.
While in high school, Barker was heavily committed to her academics, thus leaving little time for other activities. However, she served as president of the National Honor Society (NHS) for two years straight and was a member of the cheerleading squad. On the cheerleading squad first, Barker says she was looking for more leadership experience and joined the NHS.
She has participated in several community service opportunities through cheerleading, NHS, and church. Her biggest community service project was a week-long mission trip to Guatemala. “It was really great for me because I got to witness what other countries are going through. I never thought about that, I always thought about just us, our country,” Barker said. “But when I visited their country I was like ‘Oh snap!’ It was a reality check.”
While in Guatemala, Barker participated in fellowship, food and clothing drives among other activities with the local community. She says community service to her is simply about helping someone else.
“It helps out the people that are in need. Everybody needs help, its just not a lot of people willing to help them,” Barker said. “Community service shows that you care about something, that you aren’t just here just to be here. It shows that you care for a cause, that you care for other people rather than just yourself.”
Next spring, Barker will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University. She plans on majoring in pre med as well as psychology. Her ultimate goal would be to become a doctor. Initially, she wanted to be a pediatrician but now she is leaning towards general practice. Barker says she would like to one day have her own practice in Virginia or California.
“I love helping people,” Barker said. “I love how my pediatrician treated me when I would go to the doctor. I want to give that joy to some other kid. So I was like ‘Hey I want to be a doctor.’”