After four years of hard work, Jillian Taylor never thought the dreaded senioritis would hit her. But Northeast High School’s class of 2019 valedictorian found herself pushing hard for the last few months of school.
“I kept seeing the end of the tunnel, and I was like, ‘I need to finish strong because I tried hard for all three years before this,’” Taylor said. “I knew there was a possibility I could be salutatorian or valedictorian, and I wanted to accomplish that if possible.”
During her four years at NHS, Taylor stayed busy. She was both vice president and president of National Honor Society, and president of Spanish Honor Society. Her senior year, Taylor took two classes at Anne Arundel Community College. She was also part of the scholars program at Northeast, which put her in a few classes with the same group of students all four years.
“It’s been really nice to have all those classmates to study with and bounce ideas off of because they have similar goals to me and are very academically dedicated,” Taylor said.
Outside of school, Taylor was involved in her competitive dance team through Edna Lee Dance Studio, and she went on summer mission trips with Arundel Christian Church.
Taylor has been dancing for 14 years, and her dream is to become a Rockette. This summer, for the second time, Taylor will participate in the Rockettes Summer Intensive.
“That has been such a cool experience for me,” Taylor said. “It was really fun, but also painful. But it was really amazing to get to learn from the Rockettes.”
With the mission trips, Taylor has traveled to Buffalo, New York, and to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This summer, she is participating in a mission trip in South Carolina. On her mission trips, Taylor has helped refugees seeking asylum, sorted recyclables at a city dump and dug a trench to replace a water line.
“It’s taught me so much about teamwork and persistence,” Taylor said. “I’ve learned so much about myself through those experiences and how much I can really handle with the help of others. It’s definitely made me so much stronger as a person.”
In the fall, Taylor will start school at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She earned seven scholarships total from the following groups: Pasadena Business Association, Masonic Charities of Maryland, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Brian McDevitt, Fort Smallwood Optimist Club and Ravens Roost 129. At UMBC, she will be part of the Linehan Artist Scholars Program and in the Honors College.
Taylor plans to double major in dance and engineering. Though she hasn’t decided on a specific aspect of engineering, Taylor is interested in environmental and sustainability engineering.
“Pasadena has definitely helped me get to where I am and will help me with the next chapter by giving me these scholarships,” Taylor said. “I’m so grateful. It’s been really cool growing up in this area.”