Over the past two years, Jasmine Jones, 15, of Duquesne, has won a series of beauty and talent pageants.
Her various successes in the world of pageantry—winning four different titles —has, in no way, diminished the gracious spirit she exudes.
“The one thing about Jasmine that people point out all the time is that she always remains the same,” says her mother, Barbara Jones, a trainer at Target. “Being crowned and placing number one has never taken her outside her true character. Winning pageants has in no way made her high-minded.”
Youth notwithstanding, Jasmine already has a mature demeanor and is an example of what it is to be “more than just another pretty face.”
She is an honor student at Propel Andrew Street High School in Munhall and a member of the school’s President’s Club, which recognizes students for both scholarship and character. Jasmine focuses her attention overall on how much she can do for others.
Though somewhat shy, she is clearly able to articulate what drives her in her outreach to others.
“It really makes me feel good to take part in activities that serve others,” Jasmine says. “I just think that you do not know what will happen in life, and I know if I had a need, I would hope that someone would help me.”
Her reference is to the variety of activities she is involved in that directly benefit people who are disenfranchised. She is the founder of a ministry at her church that provides necessary items to individuals who are experiencing homelessness—The Blessing Bags Ministry—which involves packing bags filled with the necessary items that the homeless population has difficulty accessing.
She is also a volunteer at Ronald McDonald House.
Giving back is not new to the young woman. Her parents set the pace early in the lives of their children. They felt it was important to show them that people go through life-altering experiences, but being less fortunate does not dehumanize them.
“For many years, our children understood that every Christmas morning we would be at a homeless shelter sharing time and helping the residents, and after we were done, we’d come home and have our own celebration,” says her father, Rev. Melvin Jones.
Jasmine got involved in pageants as a result of being an honor student. Top performers at her school all received invitations to participate in an upcoming pageant. She was a recipient and she wanted to try it. Her character traits were established long before she got involved in the pageant circuit, and those traits she brought to the competitions.
Jasmine resides with her parents and has an older brother who is a freshman in college. The family is very active in their church, Bethlehem Baptist, in McKeesport.
“Focus on education was first and foremost in our home,” says Jasmine’s father, who runs the men’s ministry at their church and is a mechanical engineer for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “There is no television during the week—Monday through Friday, homework, ministry and extracurricular activities—television not on before Fridays at 8 p.m. We see that our most important job is to prepare her for success in education, in ministry and in life, in general, so that she ends up not just successful, but well-balanced.”
Consequently, Jasmine is an academic scholar and a leader. She is the vice president of the show choir and the captain of the varsity cheerleading squad.
“It is unheard of that a sophomore would be voted in as an officer in the choir,” says Lindsay Smith, her cheering and vocal coach. “It is a clear sign of how much she is respected by her peers, and that they see her as a leader. With all she has going on, she remains a young woman filled with humility. She is so poised, extremely diplomatic and is a problem-solver; there is nothing about her that is not exemplary—she is an outstanding student.”
Already eyeing Carlow University, Jasmine aspires to become a pediatric nurse. She brings many skills to this goal.
“I love working with the kids at the (church) nursery and helping them seems like a perfect next step of working with kids medically,” she says.
Jasmine’s mother says she and her husband are proud of the way that Jasmine stays grounded.
“She keeps her eyes on every prize, yet never loses focus of her passion—and that is reaching out to others.”