When Jamie Shelton looks back on her four years of high school, she says, “I wouldn’t change anything.” Shelton is a member of the Halifax County High School Class of 2020.
“I had a great four years of high school,” Shelton said. “I look forward to going to the University of Virginia and getting involved there and just seeing where life takes me.”
Shelton says she is “super pumped” to attend college at UVA, where she plans to study neuroscience and biology. Her career goal is to become a doctor, and she is off to a strong start. She has already earned not only her high school diploma but also her associate’s degree.
Shelton has not yet decided whether she wants to become a neurologist, pathologist or oncologist, but she has wanted to become a doctor from a young age.
“I can’t imagine being anything else,” Shelton said. “I used to carry around a little doctor’s bag.”
Shelton attributes her ambition to do her best in school and achieve her career goals to her family. She is the daughter of Michael James “Jamie” Shelton, who she is named after, and the late Monica Shelton, who passed away in 2017. Shelton’s late maternal grandfather – Dr. Enrique Urueta – also was a doctor.
“My mother would be the biggest influence in all of this. Mom got me interested in becoming a doctor when I was a little girl,” Shelton said. She added, “My family is the most supportive group of people ever. They taught me that you do what you have to do to get where you want. I’m so thankful for that.”
Shelton definitely pushed herself in high school, by taking the hardest Advanced Placement classes, playing multiple sports and getting involved in various clubs and organizations. She said she “loves being involved” but also had the goal of being accepted into UVA.
Shelton was a member of the National Honors Society, Young Life, Future Business Leaders of America and did 4-H. She also played soccer, swam and ran cross-country. One of the disappointments of her senior year was not having an opportunity to finish out her last season playing soccer, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had the mindset of leaving everything on the field. I feel like I was kind of robbed,” Shelton said. “I gave everything I had in that sport. I played soccer from the time I was 5 or 6.”
She missed out on other things the spring of her senior year because of school closing in the middle of March – classroom instruction instead of completing online assignments and spending time with her friends.
“I had some of my favorite teachers this year,” Shelton said. “I’m kind of sad it got taken away. I wanted to see my friends and teachers every day.”
Shelton also was looking forward to sitting next to her friends on graduation day while her family cheered her on from the stands and getting pictures with her friends after the ceremony. While her high school graduation will be different than what she had in mind, Shelton said she is thankful that she will get to participate in a graduation ceremony. The “Comets in Cars” graduation planned for Saturday has graduates walking across a stage in front of the high school and receiving their diplomas while their families cheer them on from inside their cars.
The soon-to-be high school graduate has some advice for the incoming freshman class at Halifax County High School: “I would say push yourself, take the harder classes, get involved and push yourself, and you’ll be on the right path.”
That’s exactly what Shelton has done, and why she is on the right path to achieving her dreams.