Graduating senior Jasiah Washington is a young woman with big aspirations. Big city aspirations, that is. Siah, as she is known to her family and close friends, is headed to the Big Apple this fall to pursue a future career in screenwriting for film and television. Her long-term goal is to become an entrepreneur with her own production company focused on producing thought-provoking films. “I want people to walk away learning a different perspective of life through [my] stories,” she says. “I want my films and TV shows to have a global impact and to bring awareness to issues that happen around the world.”
This route has long been a dream for Siah. She has always been a writer, focusing on poetry and storytelling from a young age. When she was in the eighth grade, Siah wrote a play that advanced to the state-level of the National History Day Competition. She was also accepted into an internship at The School of the New York Times to study journalism as a freshman in high school. But it wasn’t until her sophomore year that Siah created her first film, bringing her stories to life. From there, she’s never looked back and loves every aspect of movie-making. “I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she shares.
Siah is well on her way to reaching her goals. After acceptances at Wellesley, NYU, Loyola Marymount, and Columbia Chicago, she has decided to pursue Film and Television at New York University, where she was awarded the prestigious Tisch Scholarship ($295,600 over four years). Film and business majors have the unique opportunity in their freshman or sophomore year to apply for a double major within both NYU’S Stern School of Business and Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. Within five years, Siah plans to graduate with both a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.
Facing challenges head-on has become second nature for Siah, after her six years of intensive participation in the C5 Georgia Youth Foundation program, which is built on the five principles of being character-driven, college-bound, committed to a better future, community-focused, and challenge-ready. During her seventh-grade year, Siah’s English teacher nominated a group of top students to apply for the exclusive program. Since her acceptance to C5 Georgia, Siah has participated in leadership camps, wilderness survival treks (including 30 mile treks while camping in the woods for a week), a Road to College tour, more than 250 hours of community service, and a senior capstone project focused on improving mental health for high school students.
Her experiences and leadership training through C5 Georgia have enabled Siah to develop a desire to try, to accept new challenges, and to value education. She says of the program, “It was a new challenge, and no one I had known…had ever been accepted into a program similar to this. I felt that it would be a unique experience. I had never been away from home with strangers, without my phone, and only contacting my family through letters seemed crazy to me. I was interested in seeing what this experience would be like, and I’m forever grateful that I did.”
Siah learned valuable lessons from her C5 Georgia experience: how to work with different types of people, what working to help communities can lead to, that education is important, and that dreams of going to college and having what seems like wild dreams are, in truth, attainable. “C5 gave me the confidence to aspire to be more and to help people along the way,” Siah says. “I value community, education, any hard challenge that comes my way because of all that I have participated in at C5. I can be in a room full of strangers, and I feel comfortable speaking to any and everyone. I feel confident in my abilities and feel qualified accepting the opportunities that come my way because of the positive group of people I have been surrounded by for the past five years.”
Jennifer Hale Holman, Communications and Development Director for C5 Georgia, shares of Jasiah, “[W]e are especially proud of her incredible transformation over the past five years with C5 Georgia Youth Foundation.” There will be a graduation night celebration in the near future to celebrate Jasiah’s years of leadership and service. Jasiah says, “I would not be half the person I am today, with the confidence, the character, or the acceptance into my dream school (NYU), if it had not been for all that C5 has done for me.”
Of her time at MPCS, Siah says she has been most impacted by the school’s commitment to each students’ faith walk. “I have attended Mount Paran for two years. It was the first time I saw a private school that actually devoted quality time to help their students’ relationships with God,” she says. “I will miss praying with my teachers before class. Coming from [another Christian school], that practice was foreign to me: never did a teacher pray, let alone ask us if we had anything specific on our hearts. Prayers can go a long way, and I value the time teachers take out of their classes to check in with us.” She continues, “My favorite memory as an MPCS student was my junior year retreat. [It was the] first time I saw students from school really open up and be vulnerable about their relationship with Christ. It was very moving, and I saw how blessed I was to be able to transfer to a school like Mount Paran.”
Siah played basketball all four years of high school - two years at her previous school and two years at MPCS. MPC Lady Eagles Basketball Coach Stephanie Dunn says, “Jasiah led the way in positivity on and off the court. She was a leader for her young team in every sense of the word. She had a voice in the locker room that offered maturity and sound advice on all topics. She was respectful, never complained, and never offered an excuse. She came to practice and games with the mentality of leading the way in work ethic, loyalty, and a winning spirit. I can’t explain in words what Jasiah has meant to building a foundation for a successful program. It is much more than hard work and hours spent on the court; she has contributed immeasurably to the growth, the foundation, and the academic and athletic success of the girls’ basketball program at Mount Paran Christian School.” Indeed, Siah had many D1 schools interested in her for basketball. And, she may still choose to play at NYU. But, for now, her focus is on her future in film and television.
The MPCS Family is proud of Jasiah’s relentless effort and pursuit of excellence. The entire Eagle family wishes Jasiah the best as she heads off to the Big Apple to follow her dreams.
More About Jasiah Washington
College Acceptances: Wellesley, NYU, Loyola Marymount, and Columbia Chicago. She was awarded the NYU Tisch Scholarship, the Dean's Scholarship and Honors College acceptance at Columbia Chicago, and the Arrupe Scholarship to attend Loyola Marymount University.
Extracurriculars: President/Founder People’s Club, Co-Founder Speak On It, Varsity Basketball, National Honors Society, French Honors Society, French Club, C5 Youth Foundation, Elite 31 Mentoring Program
Awards: Elite 31 Entrepreneur Award, Best Film Editing Award, Bryan Cameron Foundation First-place Poetry Award, French IV Honors Award, Geometry Award, French II Award, Fundamentals of Drama Award, AP Scholar, MVP Holiday Classic, Second Team All-Region, First Team All-Region, Georgia Positive Athlete Award, Headmasters’ List
Church: Word of Faith Family Cathedral - Bishop Bronner
Favorite Bible Verse: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)