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Scholar Athlete of the Week: Parents guide E’Keria

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Surrounded by trophies of some of her previous academic achievements, E’Keria Williams, center, studies for a chemistry test with her mother Tammy and father Ernest. Williams, with the help of her parents, currently holds a 4.0 GPA at Natchez High School.

NATCHEZ — E’Keria Williams has at least one trick that helps her maintain the 4.0 grade-point average she has at Natchez High School.

After a busy day of school and basketball practice — along with a number of other extra-curricular activities — Williams will sit down with her parents to discuss the day’s lessons.

But when Tammy and Earnest Williams Jr. listen to their daughter review her schoolwork, Tammy said she’s the one learning from her daughter.

“She explains it to us, and that’s how she gets it,” Tammy said. “Her way of studying is talking to us about her lesson that day.”

E’Keria, a sophomore guard for the NHS girls basketball team, said it’s helpful having another set of eyes when it comes to her studies.

“My mom can catch my mistakes and help me correct them,” E’Keria said.

Tammy, an evangelist at Beulah Baptist Church, is E’Keria’s inspiration when it comes to buckling down and studying hard. E’Keria said her mother will often talk to her about Jesus’ words from John 14:2-3, in which Jesus tells his disciples that he’s going to prepare a place in heaven for them.

“She says heaven is a prepared place for prepared people,” E’Keria said. “I’ve never had to cram for anything, because my mom always told me to do things ahead of time.”

If her daughter is going to be successful in life, Tammy said she would have to make sure her grades are top-notch.

“I just let her know if you want to do anything in this world, you must have an education,” Tammy said. “It’s very, very important. Anything you go at these days, you have to have an education.”

School and basketball are just the beginning when it comes to E’Keria’s activities. She’s also a member of the choir and a junior usher at her church, and she volunteers her time at the Natchez Stewpot. In addition, she has more than 400 hours of community service, she teaches Sunday School and helps take care of her 74-year-old aunt, who is on dialysis.

“When she sets her mind to something, she goes after it,” Tammy said. “She’s motivating me even more to be a better parent and to stay on task. She makes me want to do more.”

Staying involved with so many activities makes for a fun life, even if she is busy all the time, E’Keria said.

“It keeps me on my heels, and makes life that much more interesting,” E’Keria said. “(Not being busy) just seems so boring.

With so many activities, E’Keria said planning ahead with schoolwork is what helps her maintain a perfect GPA.

“I study early,” E’Keria said. “When the teacher assigns something right then and there, I go ahead and do it right then and there.”

That’s made a world of difference for E’Keria, especially during basketball season, she said.

“It’s helpful, because if I have a game and get back late, I won’t have to cram everything into my head,” E’Keria said.

There are nights, though, that E’Keria is forced to stay up late because of so many activities and a lot of homework. But she said those nights don’t phase her the following day.

“I just get up and move on and live the day like normal,” she said.

E’Keria said she enjoys being the daughter of someone involved in the ministry, and that background has helped her mother give good advice on life.

“It’s interesting,” E’Keria said. “It’s like, wow, my mom’s a minister, and she can teach me more from a minister’s point of view.”

Probably the biggest advice her mother has given is to obey all adults and to be yourself, E’Keria said.

“Don’t try to be someone you’re not,” she said.