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MailTribune.com
  • Logos School senior thrives on high academic challenges

  • Jessica Yoshida will graduate Saturday from Logos Public Charter School and start this fall as a junior at California State University at Northridge.
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  • Jessica Yoshida will graduate Saturday from Logos Public Charter School and start this fall as a junior at California State University at Northridge.
    Yoshida, 18, was home-schooled through the fifth grade, attended public schools through the eighth grade and started at Logos as a freshman.
    The charter school worked with Yoshida to create a learning plan that would allow her to attend Rogue Community College full-time so she could simultaneously earn high school and college credits.
    At first, Yoshida was intimidated at the prospect of taking classes with adult students and was worried she wouldn't be able to keep up.
    "But I adapted really well to that environment," she said.
    "It's what I wanted. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to go faster," Yoshida said.
    Now she has 97 college credits and, upon completion of this term, will have her associate degree.
    "She's definitely the most mature student I've had in my three years here," said her Logos education specialist, Stormy Ballenger. "She can hold her own with adults."
    This fall, Yoshida, who is fluent in sign language, will focus on deaf studies at CSU while working full-time as a third-grade teacher at Christadelphian Heritage School, a private school in Simi Valley, Calif.
    "I really want to get as far as I can now despite my age, financial difficulties or the scariness of starting in the world so early," she said.
    At present, she's working as the official "gopher" of RCC's nursing department, filing, fetching things and running errands, while she saves for a car.
    For the past two years, Yoshida also has taken up the National Novel Writing Month challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in November. She didn't publish her books, which she says are mysterious and involve lots of critical thinking. In fact, she hasn't even let anyone read them because they reflect her personal feelings.
    "I've started so many books and have so many different concepts but never had the drive to finish them," she said. "I just wanted to prove to myself that I could finish."
    Despite all of Yoshida's serious pursuits, her friends and mentors say her youthfulness is apparent in her "goofy" personality and expressive hand movements and facial expressions.
    "Jessica is not just intelligent, creative and driven," Ballenger said. "She has a keen sense of humor and witty intellect and a strong moral backbone rarely seen in her age group."
    Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or by email at tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.
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