RLMS student carves out destiny

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 12, 2012

Destinee Schoby, 12, recently attended the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. The Robert Lewis Middle School student is also a cheerleader and a member of the Beta Club.

NATCHEZ — When most 6-year-old girls were thinking about Cinderella and coloring books, Destinee Schoby was dreaming about law and order.

Now a seventh grader at Robert Lewis Middle School, the 12-year-old has steered toward the same goal she’s had for six years: to someday become a lawyer.

Schoby caught the legal bug around the time other kids were learning to tie their shoes when she visited her cousin in law school at Southern University in Baton Rouge at age 6.

“I wanted to experience going to college,” Schoby said of her week visiting cousin Jaymeski Gorham.

And while Schoby must first tackle high school before going pre-law at her dream school of Louisiana State University, her hard work to keep up her As and Bs has already started to produce rewards.

Schoby’s teacher, Toni Martin, recommended Schoby to represent Robert Lewis in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in October.

Schoby said she and her family members hosted a bake sale, a car wash and took a collection at church to afford to trip to Washington, D.C.

“I learned a lot,” Schoby said.

In addition to gleaming through the wrought iron gate for a close look at the White House — her favorite site — and viewing the newly revealed memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. — “It was awesome,” she said — the trip served as a character-building experience, she sad.

“Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside to help someone else,” Schoby learned.

For example, Schoby said she was anxious when she arrived in the capital city without a family member, friend or even a familiar face.

“My roommate was scared, and I was kind of scared too, but I just put that aside to talk to her to (make her comfortable),” Schoby said.

After her initial anxiety subsided about staying in a dorm setting with strangers at the five-day conference, Schoby made friends with her roommates from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

“I have their phone numbers, and we talk on the phone,” she said.

When she’s not studying or doing homework, Schoby is a cheerleader, member of the Beta Club and sings in the choir at Smithville Baptist Church.

Schoby said her parents motivate her to stay focused, but she said she’s hard enough on herself to stay on top of her studies.

“I focus on what’s best for my future,” she said.

Her grandparents, aunts and uncles also encourage Schoby to do well in school, and her cousin, Gorham, inspires her to reach her goal of going to law school, Schoby said.

And additionally, knowing she can be the one to inspire someone else, like her little sister, Taylor, who is in second grade, pushes Schoby to do her best to focus on her future.

“I want my little sister to see how I help other people,” she said. “I want to be a role model for her.”

Schoby is the daughter of Pamela and Barney Schoby.