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Alumni Spotlight (Featuring Oprah)

Written by Caroline Reed 9/21/21

Today’s spotlight is shining brightly on alumnus, Jaylen Ware (Class of 2021), who was selected as an Oprah Winfrey Leadership Scholar in August. Oprah Winfrey launched a new scholarship program to benefit students who displayed both academic excellence and leadership within their communities. Jaylen was chosen as one of fifteen students from across the country. According to Jaylen, the application process was “rigorous and well worth it.”

While attending New Century, Mr. Ware was in the engineering pathway and participated in Beta Club and Robotics. He completed engineering classes like Scientific Payload Design, Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering & Architecture and more. Off campus, Jaylen was involved with James A. Lane’s Robotics team and was also selected as the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for the state of Alabama.

In an exclusive interview, Jaylen emphasizes leadership.

How did you feel when you found out you were selected as an OWL?

I was in utter shock.  Hearing the words “You’re already in!” took me a couple of seconds to process.  Those words will stick with me forever.

What advice would you give to anyone walking down the same path?

Be yourself and never be afraid to help others.  Learn from as many people as you can.  Even if you are a leader, you can still learn from others. 

How do you plan to create a better world?

As a leader, I want to inspire others to follow their own paths, while simultaneously ensuring that they understand what it means to truly help people and communities.

How did your high school experience prepare you for this opportunity?

High school really exposed me to different types of leaders.  I learned that not every leader needs to be bombastic and loud.  You can be a leader who is still able to sit back and learn from others.  I have met so many varying types of leaders thanks to New Century.

As an OWL, what commitments will you fulfill in the future?

I am committed to ensuring that I help my community as well as others.  I know that I cannot do this alone, so I will recruit as many potential leaders that I can.

Who’s your favorite superhero?

My favorite superhero is Ben 10, because of his multitude of powers and character arc from selfish to selfless.

Jaylen is among several other high achievers in his graduating class. NCTHS continues to stand out as a Magnet School of Excellence, official Blue-Ribbon School and the 2nd best high school in the state. He would like everyone to know that “Anyone can be a leader. Your character defines who you are. You alone are in charge of your character.”

Visit this article to read more about this story and watch the announcement video.