Jackson wins region, state WBL student of the year titles

Bishop Jackson Brandi Miranda

A Thomas County Central High School Class of 2023 graduate’s exceptional skills within the workplace recently promoted him to a state title. 

Bishop Jackson earned the Southwest Region Work-Based Learning Student of the Year and the Georgia WBL Student of the Year awards. He received these honors during the annual Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education summer conference.

Jackson knew about the region award but was genuinely surprised to collect the state title, too. He garnered various academic accolades during high school – including salutatorian, National AP Scholar, and acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – but said awards like those for WBL have special significance.

“The recognition truly means a lot,” Jackson said. “During my four years in high school, I received lots of tangible awards for my academic achievements. However, there is nowhere near the same amount of recognition for students who take traditional course loads or place more emphasis on CTAE.”

TCCHS WBL Coordinator Brandi Miranda nominated Jackson for the region award and expressed pride in his state accomplishment. According to Miranda, what sets Jackson apart from other WBL students is his ability to adapt and excel in real-world environments.

“Employers and mentors have consistently praised Bishop for his outstanding work ethic, quick learning, and exceptional problem-solving skills,” she said. “He goes above and beyond to deliver quality results, significantly impacting the organizations he collaborates with during his WBL experiences.”

The youth’s road to WBL began after he completed the Audio-Video Technology and Film pathway and passed the industry certification exam his junior year. His broadcasting teacher, Kristy Faucett, asked him to consider WBL for his senior year, and he agreed.

He spent two hours daily at Cross Creek Elementary School under the supervision of Forrest Love. Previously, the school had a weekly scripted news and events show; however, with Jackson as the producer, they changed to a more flexible format and experimented with content. For example, Jackson created and sang in original music videos, performed ongoing science experiments, acted in character skits, and featured student-led interviews.

Love has nothing but praise for Jackson’s talent and dedication. 

“We would come up with ideas, and then he would film and edit all on his own,” Love said. “His zeal and interest in creating new content each week, all while performing at the top of his class in academics throughout the year, was truly amazing. He never let on that his load was too heavy or he needed more time.”

Jackson puts his all into everything, not just academics.

“For some of the Cross Creek videos, I worked at home or during first-period broadcasting class to record songs in the studio or film in front of the green screen,” he said. “I did not get paid for those hours; I just wanted the videos to be the best they could possibly be for the students and teachers. Winning this award shows me that the effort did not go unnoticed.”

Currently taking classes at MIT, Jackson said he’ll continue utilizing the skills he learned through WBL in life after high school.

“The Work Based Learning program really emphasizes soft skills that are useful in all aspects of life,” he said. “Both my work at Cross Creek and the classroom component of WBL required me to stay independently motivated to get tasks done on time. 

“While Mrs. Miranda gave students ample opportunity to succeed, she mimicked college and the workforce by putting the responsibility on us to be accountable for deadlines. I will use the soft skills I learned and continue to stay independently motivated as I go to college.”

Miranda calls Jackson an exceptional WBL student who’ll succeed at whatever he tackles.

“He is hardworking, diligent, and possesses a strong sense of responsibility,” she said. “Bishop's determination and dedication to his WBL pursuits were evident in his consistent commitment to learning and growing in the professional world. 

“These skills are not limited to a single job or academic institution; they will continue to benefit him throughout his life, enabling him to thrive in a rapidly changing world and make a positive impact on his future career.”

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