This week's NY1/Time Warner Cable Business Class Scholar Athlete of the Week, a four-year varsity swimmer, is working towards a goal of becoming an international lawyer. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
Jaida Tomlinson says she knows exactly what she wants to dedicate her life to: being an advocate for those in need.
"I was in fourth grade, and my teacher had mentioned the term 'international lawyer'", she says. "And I never thought that those two words could come together. I'm like, 'Wow, international law?' I love traveling. I love being an advocate for someone who can't defend themselves."
The James Madison High School senior is a member of the Law Institute and enjoys mentoring at a local elementary school, where she teaches introductory law lessons.
"We want the kids to have a basis in law and to become civic members of society," Tomlinson says. "So if we start them off having a knowledge of it now, more than likely, they'll be involved in it when they're older."
"The thing that really stands out is her independence," says Stacey Azoff, a social studies teacher and coordinator of the Law Institute. "She's not afraid to do what she thinks it right. She's not afraid to go after what interests her."
Tomlinson started swimming at the age of six and swam for the varsity team for four years.
"It was pretty interesting to have all girls in one area, and you all are just doing what you love," she says. "It's, you do something after school in your own time and you're together, and it's a sisterly type of friendship."
Tomlinson volunteers with the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition to find permanent homes for homeless cats and dogs. She also serves as the secretary of the student union.
"She has a great grasp of what's going on in the world, and she can relate it to historical matters," says Marla Rutter, a social studies teacher, senior advisor and coordinator of student affairs. "We've had conversations ranging from religion to current events to all kinds of activities, and she really is well-rounded in that sense."
Tomlinson will attend SUNY Fredonia in the fall. She plans to major in economics and become a lawyer.
She says one of her most rewarding experiences was traveling to India last summer as an ambassador with People to People, where she taught students and helped build schools.
"It made me realize how fortunate I am and how I have to try and use my fortune to help others to help themselves," she says.
So, for her conviction to help those in need, Jaida Tomlinson is the latest NY1/Time Warner Cable Business Class Scholar Athlete of the Week.