Catching up with Hillcrest: Jennifer Okechukwu


Aman Brown, Staff Writer

Jennifer Okechukwu, 18, is currently a senior at Hillcrest High School. Number one in her class, Okechukwu has shown exceptional academic capabilities and has proven herself to be a strong-minded individual on multiple occasions. But, as smart and mature as she is, Okechukwu is still a normal young adult with her own fair share of struggles. Last week, I sat down with the future valedictorian and asked her a few questions for some insight into her regular everyday life. 

Tell me about yourself.

“Well, my name is Jennifer Okechukwu. I am currently number one of Hillcrest, Class of 2022. I do a couple of sports like softball, volleyball, and bowling. I am also the president of Hillcrest’s National Honors Society and participate in a few other extracurricular activities as well. But yeah, that’s basically it.” 

Interesting. Would you say your extracurricular activities interfere a lot with your academics?

“I mean, yeah because it means I have to stay up later to finish all of my homework correctly and on time. It’s a drag sometimes, but I stay up late in my free time a lot anyway so it’s not like I’m losing a lot of hours.”

What’s a typical day of school like for you?

“Well, I feel like we all do the same thing but I come to my first class which is FCCLA, I go to AP Psychology, go to AP Calculus, then Honors Anatomy, then to AP Lit. The more in depth details of my school day go towards talking and making jokes with my friends or going out to eat with them after AP Lit. After school, depending on the season, I’m participating in either volleyball, bowling, or softball.”

Really? So, do you enjoy your time with your friends in and out of school?

“Oh, of course! I enjoy our little lunch outings. It can be a little hectic trying to figure out what we want to do after we’re done with school but we typically always end up having a good time.”

Being Class of 22’s Number one has to be stressful at times. How would you say your academic lifestyle has affected you?

“Well, homework wise, it certainly stresses me out at home and sleep wise. I usually stay up until about 1:00 in the morning doing work. I can definitely say my sleeping pattern is a little out of whack at the moment. My AP Calculus work takes up most of my time. I still have a social life if I try.”

Going from teenager to adult is a strenuous process. What are some ways you deal with the tougher parts of adolescence?

“Mainly by hanging out with my friends. Between seventh and eighth period we go out to eat almost everyday and it helps deal with a lot of the added stress from school. Aman, Tiyana, Javoi, Mica, Grace, and the rest of my friend group are a big part of making life easier.”

What are your plans for your future? College? Career?

“I plan to, hopefully–fingers crossed, major in biology and get my bachelor’s degree at Duke University. Then, get my PhD to become a pediatrician.”

So, what made you choose pediatrics as a career?

“Well, I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor in any specialty. There wasn’t really a set idea before now. But, I chose pediatrics because I really don’t like dealing with adults nor old people. I know that sounds a little bad but I just genuinely do better with children, so that’s why I want to do pediatrics.”

If you had the chance to go back three years in the past, what would you tell your freshman self before she came to high school?

 “I would tell her to have fun because these years go fast.”

To end, being one of Hillcrest’s top students, what advice do you have for the future scholars of Hillcrest?

“To just do your work, communicate to your teachers, and try to complete all of your assignments to the best of your abilities.”