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Woodlyn Joachim: Student, leader, inspiration

Woodlyn Joachim (right) with her mother, Rose Nerelus
Woodlyn Joachim (right) with her mother, Rose NerelusDiane Hazel

HARTFORD, Friday April 11, 2014: The Boys and Girls’ Clubs of Hartford last night honored their choice of Hartford’s Youth of the Year at the Connecticut Convention Center in downtown Hartford. Miss Woodlyn Joachim, a senior at Hartford Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School, was chosen from a number of well-deserving nominees. They were screened through interviews, an essay, and letters of recommendation. Miss Joachim is now eligible for the 2014 State Youth of the Year interview on April 17. If she is successful, she will compete for the regional, followed by the National Youth of the Year 2014 title with a $50,000 prize and installation by the President of the United States.

The Youth of the Year, the Club’s recognition program for members 14 to 18 years old, was established in 1947. Selection is based on the individual’s service to the Club and its members, service to the community and family, the individual’s moral character, academic success, goals, and poise and public speaking ability.

Miss Joachim is an Haitian immigrant who relocated to the United States with her mother after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. In her four years in the U.S., she has proven herself to be a powerhouse of inspiration, service and academia. In addition to the Boys and Girls’ Club, she volunteers her time to assist new students, especially new immigrant students, in acclimatizing to their new surroundings. She also assists the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher with lesson ideas and planning activities to help students learn English. Miss Joachim also wrote for the school newspaper and tutored elementary students.

Her academic performance demonstrates her phenomenal abilities. She began taking college courses during her junior year and has earned 23 college credits to date. In addition, she came to the U.S. as a fluent speaker of Haitian Creole and French and has since become fluent in English, proficient in Spanish and has a basic knowledge of Arabic. An A+ student, she was a member of the Central Connecticut Conference All-Academic Team in 2011 and earned the 2012 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Keith Johnson Sportsmanship Award as a member of the school’s Varsity Soccer Team. She is in line for a scholarship awarded by Delta Sigma Tetha Sorority, Inc., a Howard University Alumnae international organization of predominantly African American women.

After she was honored with one of nine Jacob L. & Lewis Fox Foundation Scholarships on April 9, her former ELL teacher, Diane Hazel said, “During class, after school, and on the weekends, this curious, joyful, hardworking young JMA student had one focus: learning.”

Recently in a brief exchange, Miss Joachim said to this writer, “For some unknown reason, I have applied to more than 11 colleges. So these past months, I have been receiving acceptance letters from colleges such as Fairfield University, Buffalo University, and Manhattan College where I even forgot the fact that I applied to them…I have been accepted to UCONN…”

Teachers at her school have expressed thanks to Miss Joachim’s mother, Rose Nerelus, for the great job she has done as a parent and for moving to Hartford so that they had the opportunity to be a part of her daughter’s life.

Miss Joachim will collect her High School Diploma at the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School's graduation ceremony at the school on June 11.