Student stars: Jessie Foley of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary


The world of education is filled with hard workers — hard-working teachers, hard-working administrators and, of course, hard-working students. In recognition of the great students and schools in our neighborhoods, The Northside Chronicle is profiling just a few of them in this weekly blog feature.

Chronicle intern Tracy Patinksi sat down with students from many Northside schools to talk about their dreams and goals. These students work hard day in and day out to make their families and teachers proud, and each one was nominated for these profiles by their teachers and principals for their accomplishments in academics, sports, arts and more.

Photo by Tracy Patinski
Photo by Tracy Patinski

At age 23, I have been trying to write a novel for the past 18 or so years of my life. So I was floored to hear that at age 12, Martin Luther King sixth-grader Jessie Foley has nearly completed two.

A devout fan of fantasy books and stories about good vs. evil, Jessie became fascinated with the concepts of mystery and monsters at a young age. He read his first “Harry Potter” book at age seven, and today “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is one of his favorite authors and inspirations. Much like Rowling, Jessie hopes that his books will someday be part of an epic series.

His second book is coming along slowly, but Jessie is excited about his progress.

This sixth-grader’s talents don’t stop at writing books. Every year, Jessie and his best friend try to complete a new and challenging project. This year, they are creating their own board game based on the Greek gods and zodiac signs. Last year, they created their own written language.

“I first came up with the idea looking at a video game guide, and it had two different languages in it,” he said. “And I said, we could do that.”

With school, of course, working on the projects becomes difficult. But Jessie squeezes in time whenever he finds it, amidst his busy schedule. His favorite classes in school are science, where he enjoys setting up experiments and making predictions; and math because problem-solving skills come naturally to him.

Alongside his reading and writing, Jessie has an interest in multiple subjects — except for gym class.

Despite being busy with class, Jessie makes it a point to keep an eye out for his younger brother both inside school and out. He wants to be as supportive as possible and help with homework, especially since he feels that his little brother really looks up to him. In their free time, the two bond by playing video games and hanging out.

As for Jessie? He looks up to his father as a role model.

“I want to read like him,” he said. “He’s reading a 1,000-page book right now.”

After he’s done with school, Jessie plans to put his talents to use doing a little bit of writing, a little bit of reading, and a little bit of teaching — specifically, he wants to work teaching little kids to read. He also plans to travel the world, heading first to Italy to learn more about his heritage.

“But I’ve had some good memories at this school,” he added, looking around the room. For the time being, this aspiring author seems content to work on his projects and enjoy the remainder of his sixth grade year.

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