The YWCA Northcentral PA recognizes that Women of Excellence begin serving their community with dedication and selflessness at a young age.
This year, the YWCA invited each local school district to nominate a young woman who embodies the virtues of integrity, strength of character and leadership to be named the first Young Woman of Excellence.
For nearly a decade, the YWCA has named a Wise Woman of the Year. That group of women, which includes professional scholars, artists, business leaders and volunteers poured over the nomination forms to select Jennifer Jackson, a senior from South Williamsport Area High School as the 2013 Young Woman of Excellence.
Jackson is actively involved in sports, academic and service clubs, her church and supporting other students according to her nominator, Verna Correll, Counselor at South Williamsport Area High School.
"I have known Jen Jackson for six years and in that time I see her as an exception and exceptional," Correll wrote.
"Students recognize her strength and fairness and wish to emulate her in the classroom, on the basketball court and beyond. Teachers respect her academic dedication and honesty. Coaches appreciate that she is even-tempered, hard-working and a team player."
With a grade point average of 98.294, Jackson is the fifth ranked student in her class of '85 with goals of attending college to receive her doctorate in physical therapy.
Jackson understands the importance of therapists and how important therapy can be.
In ninth grade, Jen suffered a severe concussion which impacted her health, attendance and concentration in school.
But after months of perseverance, she "became a stronger person for the months she was debilitated," Correll wrote. Jackson has played soccer and basketball since ninth grade, and has served as soccer team captain for two years.
A member of the National Honor Society, Jackson is a member of yearbook club, student council and key club. She serves as a Teen Contact "based on her kindness, fairness and willingness to listen and not judge," Correll said.
The current president of Teen Contact, Jackson organizes tutoring groups and orientation activities for seventh grade students. She serves as a representative in the Youth Leadership Programming, learning about her community and how to make a positive impact.
Jackson is a member of the Messiah Lutheran Church Youth Group, a Bible school youth leader and a youth representative on the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
She has also been named a Good Citizen by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The daughter of Michele and Brian Jackson and sister to Jillian, Jackson enjoys kayaking, running and watching college basketball.
Three other outstanding young women were acknowledged by their schools for fitting the description of a Young Woman of Excellence:
Mallory Sluhocki, grade 11 - Williamsport Area High School Nominated by Counselor Carole Heckel, Mallory Sluhocki is active in many school based clubs including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Government Association, Model UN and the school beautification club.
She is a junior Rotarian who holds a part time job in addition to playing flute in the school band and competing in track and field.
Imani Reeves, grade 12 - Williamsport Area High School Nominated by school counselor Phyllis Sieber, Imani Reeves has a spirit of volunteerism that extends through her school, church and community.
She Is an honor student who competes in track and field and lends her singing abilities to sporting events, funerals, weddings and school functions.
She spent a portion of her junior year on mission trips to Africa and German while maintaining a balance of academics and volunteerism.
Alexa Martin, grade 12 - Loyalsock Townships High School. Nominated by school counselor Diane Stanzione, Alexa has been giving of her time and energy since she began high school.
She serves as president of the key club, Leo club and Student Government and is a member of choir, SADD, track and field, Spanish club, the prom committee and the National Honor Society.
She has been instrumental in creating the LTHS Honor Code and sits on the student-run Lancer Round Table, which reviews issues regarding academic integrity.