HHS senior Jessica Bradley is wasting no time in serving the community in multiple ways.
Jessica Bradley wants to change the world, and no one will be surprised if she does someday. At a time when some teenagers are pressing the cruise control button on their high school careers, this Hoover High senior is still pushing the gas on her way to graduation, grabbing new achievements as she goes. (Guess who was voted Most Likely to Succeed in her class?) But while her plate is full of academic endeavors, leadership opportunities and business ventures, it’s her service work that shines brightly in the community.
Since middle school, Jessica has worked on multiple projects and even started her own service organization for young girls interested in STEM. She created her own organization, Hoover Girls Code, to encourage primary school girls to be themselves and learn more about STEM opportunities and projects. The monthly workshops helped her win the Prudential Spirit of Community State Honoree Award that is presented to high school students with a passion and dedication to helping others. In May, she will be honored at a gala event in Washington, D.C., where she is looking forward to collaborating with the other honorees. “I was surprised that she actually won such a prestigious award because keeping up with all that she is involved with is a challenge for me,” her father, Jimmy Bradley, says. “Yet, I knew she expends much effort and energy on worthy causes for her school and the community.”
She’s also a member of DECA, an organization that prepares students in high school and college for futures in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, as well as being the previous Alabama State Vice President. With this organization, she helped implement three service projects in collaboration with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Her DECA advisor, Shelley Pewitt, has worked with Jessica for three years and speaks highly of her efforts in all aspects of DECA. “In addition to creating and presenting workshops, handling social media for the state, making chapter visits and encouraging students to participate in the more challenging parts of the program, she successfully collaborates with her team members,” Shelley says.
Another achievement bestowed upon her is the President’s Volunteer Service Award based on the amount of time and effort she puts into her volunteer work. She is also in the running to be named one of the 10 National Honorees during the gala ceremony. However, the trip to the nation’s capital isn’t all play; she will still be volunteering by delivering donated books and reading to elementary school children.
While the amount of achievements and notoriety could get the best of a teenager, Jessica remains humble. She does her work to change lives and impact the world around her, not to win awards and popularity. “Whether it be the girls a part of Hoover Girls Code, students taking advantage of events I have helped plan, or maybe even a family being affected by a Habitat for Humanity construction project, nothing is better than seeing the smiles on the faces of people who your service has affected,” she says.
Beyond her extensive community work, Jessica is heavily involved in school life as well, resulting in scholarships, honors and leadership opportunities to give her a jump start into her future. Her two businesses, Inspired By Jewelry and Tolly Photo (jewelry and photography businesses, respectively), are “side hustles” that fill up her time and résumé but still benefit the Hoover area. “At times, it can be overwhelming, but life is like that; I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have now,” Jessica says.
She finds role models in her parents and teachers, who have become a second family to her. Her mother, Angela, inspires her with her entrepreneurial spirit, and her father sparked her love of computers and technology. From her teachers, she lists leadership, humility and service as traits she will take with her when she leaves Hoover.
With graduation around the corner, Jessica hopes to attend the Georgia Institute for Technology or the University of Texas at Austin to continue her study of business and computer science. She has goals to create a business that does something great for the world, combining her passions with her desire to help those who need it. “I want to work against injustices,” she says. “I want to give back to those who helped me get there. I want females to never doubt themselves. I’m not exactly certain of what or where I’ll end up, but I am excited to accomplish my crazy dreams. Basically, I want to change the world.”