Tyeshia Grant and Jaden Carpenter are members of the J.Z. George High School’s Ladies of Excellence. The group was started in 2016 by Principal Coretta Green. Green also started a male group called Men of Excellence. With the two groups, Green holds the youths accountable for how they carry themselves and how they handle adversity.
Membership is open to any high school student, but to be eligible, certain criteria must be met.
“Your grades have to be good, you can’t have any referrals, you can’t have any major things,” Grant and Carpenter said.
The Ladies of Excellence and Men of Excellence mentor students in the sixth through eighth grades. They said Green selects each member for the group from the pool of applicants that have applied.
“It felt good to know that she chose me,” Grant said. “It meant I’m doing something right.”
“We’d have to be if she chose us,” Carpenter added.
They said the ladies meet with Green every other Thursday. They said she also holds meetings with the girls and their younger mentees to see how things are going.
“We teach them the importance of being a young lady, and how they should conduct themselves,” Grant said.
Grant said the group provides bigger opportunities and helps members and mentees live up to their fullest potential.
“She meets with us to see how things are going, and if we need to make any improvements,” Grant said. They said Ladies of Excellence help them keep their heads on straight because someone is watching them.
“We can’t slip because if we do, then we disappoint our mentee and Mrs. Green,” Grant said.
She said not only does Green hold them accountable and they hold their mentees accountable, the mentees hold them accountable, as well.
If one falls, the whole group falls. Grant said if someone does falter, they may have to apologize to their mentee for disappointing them.
“We can’t make any mistakes, we have to stay positive,” Grant said.
“Her standards are held high for us,” Carpenter said. She said in return, they hold themselves to a higher standard as well.
The girls said they are involved in community projects throughout the year.
“We did Donuts with , and the mentees will be going to the nursing home in Winona to adopt a grandparent. We adopted a grandparent last week,” Carpenter said.
Grant said they also take trips to bond with each other and their mentees. They both think the group is a great opportunity for them and they’re thankful to be members of the 20- to 30-group.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Grant said.
“It means that I can succeed and learn how to become more successful,” Carpenter said.