Booker shares the secrets of his success

Published 11:07 pm Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grandson of long-time resident Jewel Johnson Booker Green, Jackie Robinson Booker Jr.’s secret to success isn’t really a secret at all, he says.

The 14-year-old rising freshman at the High School for Health Professions said anyone, “can be successful if you are willing to put in the work. If you are a determined and good-hearted person… opportunities of a lifetime will become available for you to take full advantage of.”

Booker, a straight-A student-athlete, said it is cool to be intelligent and students, especially black males, should never limit the possibilities of who they can become just because of their environment.

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“If no believes in you, believe in yourself,” he said.

“Trying new things will affect your life in a positive way and don’t be afraid to go out in the world; you never know the type of people you will meet,” he said. “Your character will grow from these experiences and you will shape up to be a better person, not only for yourself, but for others around you.”

Booker was named the Best Defensive Player of the Year and Coaches Player of the Year for his prowess as a member of the Greyhounds’ football team and baseball team, respectively, at William J. Clark Middle School.

Whether it’s on or off the field, Booker said life always has a lesson to teach.

He offered advice for other student-athletes: “Keep your head in the books and, when you are on the field, give it all you have.”

“Academics and sports correlate with each other,” he added. “Both provide opportunities to work in groups, which will be beneficial to help build leadership abilities that can help others.”

Booker is member of the National Junior Honor Society, a Duke TIP Scholar and recently traveled to Hartsville to complete his second summer intensive program at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Math and Science for the GoSciTech Science and Technology Camp.

He said, “it was a wonderful experience” that afforded him the chance to meet like-minded peers who “embrace their nerdiness.”

Booker serves as a tutor and mentor with several organizations, including Cornerstone Church, Camp Distinction and the YMCA of Orangeburg.

However, what brings him the greatest joy is the role he plays in his younger brother Jason’s life.

“My little brother has a mind of his own, as most boys do, but I take our relationship and the example that I am setting for him very seriously,” Booker said.

Booker credits his parents, Kathy and Jackie Booker Sr. “for instilling the value and importance of education.”

His maternal grandparents, Doris and O’Neal Dickerson, are proud of their eldest grandson and the, “wonderful job he is doing in modeling positivity for our other grandchildren, Jason and Ayden, and others he meets.”

“We laid a strong foundation of spirituality and standards for our daughters and they have carried that into the upbringing of their sons,” Mrs. Dickerson said. “Jackie is a prime example of that and it shows in his many accomplishments.”

For fun, Booker likes to unwind by playing video games, but you can also catch him reading “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell or texting his mother the latest motivational quote he has come across, like: “Failure is a condiment that gives success its flavor.”

He added that when failure occurs, see it as an opportunity.

“I’ve learned success is not a straight line,” he said. “It can go backwards and have loops in it, meaning that for every failure that takes you back, you are able to move forward again. Thanks to Mr. Greg Smith, my former social studies teacher, baseball coach and friend for teaching me that and guiding me in life.”

Jackie Robinson Booker, Jr. resides in Orangeburg,S.C. but travels to Tryon often to visit with his aunts and uncles, Joan and Benny Sheppard, Julia B. Miller and James Booker.


-article submitted
by Kathy Booker