Scholar of the Week
Natasha Coleman of Thomas Jefferson Community High School
By Janeal Downs
One thing Natasha Coleman really cherishes is education. Through financial struggles, decease the loss of her grandmother and her father figure, Natasha always felt education was her way out. Growing up in a small Virginia county, her mother had to drop out during her junior year of high school for a full time job to support her grandparents. “I’m so different from her, how she was as a teen, but she encourages me and she wants me to do better for myself than she was able to,” Natasha said. “I think that’s been a very influential voice in my life and has made me keep going even when I felt like giving up.” As a first generation student going to college, Natasha wants to use this chance to make a difference for her family.
Growing up seeing the compassion her mother had for others as a personal care nurse and also seeing the compassion her mentor, who is a nurse, has are two of her inspirations. Natasha always knew she wanted to do something in the health field and plans to become a nurse practitioner. “The relationship piece is so important to me. I want to be able to impact people when they’re not feeling well or if they’re just coming in for a checkup,” Natasha, who always felt closer to her nurses over her doctors, said. “There’s plenty of value to doctors, but I feel like they come in and they tell you what’s wrong with you and then they give you some medicine.” She described nurses as people who are there to help patients prevent certain illnesses by being personal. This past summer, Natasha had the opportunity to do an internship with the Richmond City Health District in the family planning clinic. She was able to work with nurses and nurse practitioners, prepare a lab sample and give blood pressure checks.
Currently with a 4.7 GPA in high school, she plans to continue her education in order to accomplish her dream of working in the health field. While they may change, her top three choices for college are Howard University, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University. She already prepares for a life caring and helping others through volunteer work, one of her favorite things to do. From the summer of her 8th grade to the summer of her 11th grade year, Natasha worked with Church Hill Activities and Tutoring. During the school year she was a tutor, and during the summer she was a counselor. “I really liked it because I was able to connect with students that were in my community,” Natasha said. “I would say that I was a positive role model to them because in my specific neighborhood students struggle to just get through high school graduation and so we’re reaching them at an early age.” She enjoyed the relationships she built with the students and other people involved with the program. Another volunteer opportunity she had was with her church’s program, Student Leadership Admission. She was the leader of her Church’s youth group and she helped plan activities and games with six other students.
While some may look down on Richmond City Public Schools, Natasha wants the community to know, “I’m just one of the very many people that are examples of how bright and passionate we are.” With the support of her family and education as her way out, her main goal in life is to have happiness and prosperity.”