JAZMYN LIKES TO SHARE LIGHT.
“The light booth in the Fine Arts Building is my domain,” the high school senior said. “I’ve been doing tech forever.” She’s the lighting technician for the Boys Ranch High School One-Act Play, which advanced to regional competition for the first time in several years. Jazz – her preferred name – was one of seven seniors involved in the production.
“We were Mrs. Kemp’s freshman class,” Jazz said. “It’s cool being with the same director throughout high school.”
When Jazz sits in the light booth at the Ned O. Miller Auditorium, ready to flip the switches and illuminate the stage, she remembers the week before the One-Act Play began competition, when no one in the cast or crew thought the play was going to be ready in time.
“Now we’re three competitions in, and we’re one step away from state,” Jazz said. “We’re all thrilled. Right then and there, I’m feeling just pride, because we did this.”
Though the One-Act Play season ended at regionals, Jazz already went to state competition through Family Career and Community Leaders of America this year. She competed in state cupcake presentation, which required her not only to bake the cupcakes but to present them to the judges – a challenge that her theater experience helped her accomplish.
“I say, ‘I’m Jazz from Boys Ranch High School,’” she said. “I’m presenting Jazzy’s Java Cupcakes. It’s also the name I’ll use when I start my own coffee business, Jazzy’s Java. This summer, I learned how to roast coffee beans and wanted to combine my passion for roasting coffee beans with baking, so I created my cupcakes. They are chocolate-coffee cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream. When you take a bite of it, I wanted you to feel as if you were sitting at your house drinking a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.”
Jazz lives in the world of “we.”
Her main Experiential Learning Program was at the Dippel Activity Center, where Jazz’s favorite activity was helping with the after-school program, interacting with elementary age children.
“Our ages range from 6 to 12,” she said. “I’ve been able to watch those kids grow up. I love those kids. It’s probably my favorite thing about the ELP.”
Youth Activities Director Shelli Miner noticed Jazz and her initiative on one of Jazz’s first visits to the Dippel.
“She came over and said, ‘Can I help you run a game?’” Miner said. “She started running games, and I thought, ‘I have got to have her.’”
As soon as Jazz turned 14, she became a staple at the Dippel, so much that other residents ask for her when she isn’t there.
Jazz’s face shines when after-school children arrive, and she focuses on them entirely. That interest in children extends to teaching Sunday school, first at Finch Home and later at Fischer Home.
“I love it. I primarily work with elementary kids, because I’m great with that age group,” Jazz said. “They all know me from (the Dippel), so that helps out a lot.”
Relationships are important to Jazz, and they are her favorite part of Boys Ranch. It’s something she didn’t expect on her first tour of the campus.
“There’s brown everywhere,” she said of her initial impression of the ranch. “I’m originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, where it’s green. But I fell in love with the place right off the bat. Everyone was so welcoming. Everyone was smiling, waving. I didn’t realize how big a family we are until I’d been out here (a while).”
She needed family when she arrived.
“I’m adopted,” she said. “I lost my adoptive parents at a very young age. It was hard on everyone. I wasn’t in a good place with my family or in general. My aunt found out about Boys Ranch, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Jazz plans to attend Amarillo College then follow that up with a degree in psychology – possibly child psychology – a career she
has been excited about since she took her first psychology class in ninth grade.
“I really appreciate the opportunities I’ve had out here,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being on my own and saying I did it, but I’m dreading leaving everybody (at the ranch).”
It’s a normal feeling for seniors, but just as college students across the United States will be able to call home, Jazz will be able to call for support from Cal Farley’s Alumni Support Services. For Jazmyn, Boys Ranch has been a place where she has been able to let her inner light shine.