Jamal on Executing a Tech Plan

Jamal sits in the IT Department of Quitman School District.

Jamal smiles when he walks into the office shared by technology specialists Antwain Boykin and Matt Champion. Boykin smiles back when he hears that the senior is coming to take a photo of the type of work he wants to do after high school. Jamal is hoping to follow his father’s footsteps into a career in technology.

“My dad works with computers. He did IT support. He’s versatile. When he was working with another company they had him running cable and working with computers. He tells me I’m smart, and that it’ll come to me. He says I’ll have to put in the work, but if I apply myself, I can do it. So that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Now Jamal is comparing the pros and cons of a Computer Science Coordinate Major at Tulane University, a program of Computer Science Study at Jones College, and a Computer Science BS Degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. He already admits to feeling at home in the technology office and is curious about the equipment the specialists are using.

Though Jamal did not use technology last Friday when reading to a classroom of kindergarteners at Quitman Lower Elementary, the starting linebacker for Panther Football, Chorus member, and Mu Alpha Theta member grinned when he walked down the school’s hallway and into a classroom.


Jamal reads to a class of kindergarteners at QLE.

Five football players provided reading services – each player to one of the five kindergarten classrooms at the lower. About the experience, Jamal says,

“My little cousin was in the classroom. I’ve never been around a lot of kids like that before. There was this little girl in the front who when I read about the character cheering she said, ‘He’s a cheerleader because he is cheering, and I’m a cheerleader, too.’ She was funny.”

Head Panther Football Coach Rashad Gandy describes number 10. “He’s one of our senior linebackers and one of our leaders on our defense. He’s smart and usually in the right place at the right time. We depend on him to make the key tackles – the key stops.”


Jamal is number 10 on the Panther Football team.

Photograph Courtesy of Pam Parker

Jamal wants to provide the key tackles and stops. He explains,

“Our new football coaching staff puts us in a better position to do what we gotta do. My main job is to stop the run, but every now and then I can drop into a coverage.”

He understood the struggle facing the team in last Friday’s home opener against last year’s 5A runner up to the state championship. Two days before the game, he was confident but realistic as he predicted,

“West Jones is good. From watching film we know they have good discipline. It’s just gonna be a tough game. We‘re going to have to work together and line up a game plan like we need to.”

Jamal poses with his 11 brothers.

Jamal, his eleven brothers, as well as Coach Gandy and his staff are defining the “how” of execution just as QSD Superintendent Dr. Toriano Holloway is doing the same with the administrators of Quitman School District.

It is just one of the ways that Jamal and his brothers will take lessons they learned from football into their future careers. Coach Gandy says, “I want them to be set up to do what they want to do. Whether it is going to the military, going into a career, or going to college, the classroom is where it is at.”

Jamal is working toward a goal on the next ACT test. He’s hoping to up by his composite score by two points so that he can get into the school’s ACT Club and qualify for more scholarships for college. Those who know the student both on and off the field have never doubted his ability and focus. 2017 QHS alumna Keara is confident that her brother can succeed at what he chooses.


Jamal poses with sister Keara.

Photograph courtesy of Jamal

For those students looking to succeed as he has and plans to, Jamal has some advice.

“Get involved because high school, if you focus solely on work, will overwhelm you. Get yourself in a sport or a club to take away the pressure from what school is. If you focus solely on work, it will overwhelm you.”