December Grad Jasmyn Countee Counting Down


Francisco Acuna, Reporter

Probably every senior is counting down the days until graduation. 119 as of this publication.  But not for senior Jasmyn Countee.  Her magic number is 30.  Countee has chosen an alternative path to graduation. When the majority of seniors walk down the football field in May 2017, Jasmyn will have already have been given that precious piece of paper and finished boot camp.  “She did crazy hard work,” says Calista Tovar, a senior and close friend of Jasmyn Countee. Countee is currently enrolled in two math courses, and has taken numerous classes over the summer and online. As exhausting as this may sound, Countee wants everyone to know that it is do-able. “It’s not that hard. Anybody that wants to can do it as long as they’re determined,” says Countee.

Countee has decided to graduate early so that she can jump start her time in the Air Force. Her swear-in date has been set for January 24th. Her main reason for joining the Air Force is the G.I. Bill. Countee says, “I wanted to be able to further my education. I have good grades, but not full-ride scholarship grades. They pay for a really good amount, so I thought I’d do it.” She feels that had she waited to graduate until May, everything would have been delayed by three months for her, from her job in the Air Force to her education in anethesiology.

Many feel that Countee will be missing out on milestone events, such as prom and walking with her class on graduation night. “I know she wants to start her life already, but she’s going to miss out on prom with me!” says Tovar.  Countee’s family is very excited for her early graduation, but her mother isn’t as excited about Countee joining the Air Force. The two are extremely close.  Countee admits she will miss her family a lot, but she looks forward to her exciting future in the Air Force.

So she’s smart, she’s driven, she’s beautiful, and she is always dressed fashionably, like during this interview she’s in suburban-bohemian prints and gladiator sandals.  Her youthful and spontaneous curls go perfectly with her outfits. When you see her on campus, she has a certain aura of self-assurance and independence. Though this confidence may seem birth-given, it wasn’t always so.  As a child and early adolescent, Countee dealt with low self-esteem and many insecurities. She wrote and performed a profoundly deep spoken word about her experiences with bullying, prejudice, and the power of words.  So, add poet to her repertoire.  Her Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Lange, gushed, “I want Jasmyn to video herself performing this and put it on youtube so everyone can hear it.  It’s incredibly powerful and empowering.”

Little Black Girl, A Spoken Word by Jasmyn Countee

I want you to know I’ve been there little black girl/ When they called you too dark and teased you about your complexion I’ve been there little black girl /When you were singled out because you had that rich melanin in your skin and everyone else had none/ And that time the boys made fun of your big lips that matched perfectly with that wide nose of yours/ I want you to know I’ve been there/ Standing in the mirror, thinking what if you were a few shades lighter… just a few though… just a few because light skin is better right/ that’s what youve been taught right /Going back to school with bone straight hair because your curls were too black and too wild for the public and the barrettes in your hair made you look a little too ethnic/ that’s what you were taught right/ I know I know/ I’ve been there Looking down hoping that the teacher wouldn’t call on you/ And your class mates calling you a monkey because the pigment in your skin matched that cartoon of Curious George over there/ and When the boy you like is white but you know you have no chance because you are just that little black girl /And when you have both of your parents, but no one believes because social media’s single mom perceives/ That you are just that little black girl/ that from elementary school to middle school praying that stuff will get better /But in the back of your mind you have your doubts /And those doubts were right because the first week you filled out a bully report/ And doing so just made the bullying even worse/ Walking past a group of people hearing the whispers/ I guess she’s cute for a black girl/ And yes I’ve been there too /Where you think that black is okay but it’s never going to be good enough because your brain- washed into thinking you are less and unworthy and will never be enough/ School to school you try and find your place and so broken you enroll in home school,/ yes I’ve been there at that time of relief you thought everything was better /Sitting at home alone no one to call you names or you to feel insecure and to feel shamed /You’re mom says you’re moving to a different side of town and deep down you’re happy you can start a new life /The first day of your new school you vow to not be that typical black little girl anymore/ So you throw on some eyeliner, mascara and blush and hope that everyone can see your big heart past that cocoa brown skin that is/ You walk down the hallways of school and /People are staring at you and you look down because you know they’re judging you they can’t be saying anything nice /No way no possible way /You walk into your class as that little black girl and sit at the seat in the back because the front is too seen/ And you already know people can be cruel and mean /The teacher starts talking about herself and you feel a tap on your shoulder/ it’s a girl with fair skin and she whispers you are super pretty/ And that’s when your insecurity kicks in thinking why would she say that/ You go home that day with tingles in your cheeks/ Too shy and too meek /This can’t be happening because  you’ve only heard a compliment from the ladies at church or your family because to them you’ll always be beautiful/ And this has to be a joke/ And she has to be lying /But your second day at that new school the girls are calling you pretty and you’ve made a lot of friends little black girl /I’ve been there little black girl when every thing  gets better /Because everything will get better because you are really pretty and /You are really beautiful and/ Your nose isn’t too big and your lips are perfectly sized and/ You’re complexion is just right /And the melanin in your skin is just as rich as your beautiful soul/ I’ve been there little black girl but I’m no longer there crying in the bathroom/ Because I wouldn’t be standing here with the boldness in my shoulders and the ability to look each one of you in the eyes/ Something I used to despise/ But now the The little black girl with a big smile has arised with goals to achieve and God on her side /The little black girl who’s no longer teased /The little black girl has became a black young woman /The little black girl has not resembled a monkey but a lion of power /The little black girl knows how to not let show what she’s been through/ The little black girl who’s not only cute for a black girl because really what is that even really supposed to mean/ And in the end they find it hard to believe/ Because your looks deceive/ And I want you to know this is not where I started this is where I begin /Little black girl know your beauty and know your worth/ Little black girl soon you’ll see /And in the words of Ernestine Johnston you and me can say, I am not the average black girl I can only inspire to be me.