May 25, 2018

Jaina Wilson

Jaina L. Wilson, 2018 salutatorian, George Washington Community High School.

Like the female “Star Wars” Jedi Master she was named after, Jaina L. Wilson is extremely skilled — but not in the art of sword-wielding and fighting. The 2018 George Washington Community High School salutatorian shows her mastery in the classroom, as well as in music, photography and the culinary arts.

“I not only thrive in academics, I also have an aptitude for music,” said Jaina, who has been a member of the band since eighth grade and a drum major for three years. She also plays the trombone.

Jaina is hoping to take these combined skills to the next level when she attends Ivy Tech Community College, where she will major in culinary arts and photography.

“My career goal is to become a pastry chef and photographer. I’d like to own my own restaurant and maybe eventually own an event center where I can do all of it,” she said.

Similar to some of her valedictorian and salutatorian peers, Jaina didn’t set out to secure the salutatorian spot in her class. But once she realized that’s what she had achieved, she did everything necessary to make sure she remained in that position.

“It was important to me because I wanted to make my parents proud.”

She credits IPS teachers with helping to push her to be great — both in and out of the classroom. One such educator is music teacher Alex Warren, who Jaina said believed in her and taught her about music and life.

“He listens and is there when you need him,” said Jaina. “He has taught me what it means to be a leader. He has taught me what other teachers didn’t — that life can be hard, but it’s what you do about it that determines what will happen next.”

Jaina is prepared for the next phase in her life, which she describes as “the real world.” She knows it will be a lot harder than life was in high school, but she’s ready for the challenge and believes it will all be worth it in the end.

As she prepares to leave IPS, she has some sage advice for current and students: “Get involved in school. Go to sports games, join a club, become a band member. High school isn’t meant to last, so make the most of it. You’ll have memories that will last a lifetime.”