Graduate Spotlight: Talmadge (TJ) Vaughns Jr. at W.W. Samuell High School

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Graduation season is happening May 29–June 7, and in honor of Dallas ISD graduates, The Hub is spotlighting a different senior each day as the Class of 2015 takes their anticipated walk across the stage.

Today we spotlight Talmadge (TJ) Vaughns Jr. at W.W. Samuell High School.

Awards/honors, involvement: Deloitte scholarship recipient ($20,000), Plus Fellows (UNT-Dallas scholarship/Ambassadors program), ranked third in senior class, works full time (40 hours each week), featured as CW 33 Class Act, Founder/CEO of the nonprofit GEELYFE (Greatness evolves eternally, let your freedoms explore)

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in school: I’ve learned that hard work always pays off at the end. No matter how good you are at something, once you get comfortable and begin to slack off, a harder working individual will swoop in and take your place.

The teacher who inspired me the most: Ms. Fairfax, my AVID teacher, has inspired me a ton. She is a strong, hardworking woman, one of the most down to earth individuals that I’ve met throughout my entire high school career. No matter the situation, Ms. Fairfax attacks it with honesty. She is the teacher behind the success of many AVID students, and she continues to show appreciation for my work ethic, motivating me to continue on my route toward success.

Who/what motivates me: My mother is a huge motivational factor in my life. She is a single parent, raising me and my two sisters, and she works hard to make sure each and every one of our needs are met. Watching my mother work has motivated me to chase dreams and build a foundation for my family. I look forward to the day when I can tell my mother she doesn’t have to work nor worry anymore, because I’ll take care of everything.

What’s next: I am attending the University of North Texas-Dallas (full scholarship), where I will major in entrepreneurship. I aspire to be an innovator for my community and later my country. I want to build youth and teen centers to give younger people the opportunity to chase dreams at a young age, because growing up in my neighborhood, the opportunities are extremely limited.

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