Senior Rhandi Jackson, who was born in Edmond, Oklahoma, to parents Randolph Jackson and Dawn Lewis, said when she was growing up, she faced hardships.
Because her parents experienced drug addiction, she had to move from state to state to stay with different guardians.
“Sometimes my mom wouldn’t come home because of drugs, and I would call my aunt and uncle and ask them what to do,” Jackson said. “I was a child at home alone.”
When she was in high school, Jackson lived with her aunt and uncle.
“At first I didn’t understand,” Jackson said. “I thought my parents would choose drugs over their child, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change anything because I think it made me a stronger person. It showed me how I don’t want to live my life, and it motivated me to do better than them.”
Jackson attended Edmond High School, where she said she was begged by the track and field coach to run for the team.
After multiple requests from the coach, Jackson decided to try out for the team.
She finished high school, won a state championship for track and became salutatorian of her class, qualifying her for a scholarship at UCA.
“I believe when good things happen to me it’s because of the hard work I put in to get those good things, like my grades getting me a scholarship,” Jackson said
Jackson currently runs hurdles for the UCA track team and is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
She is majoring in health science and minoring in nutrition. When she graduates, she hopes to go to physical therapy school.
“I wanted to be a hairdresser at one point, then a lawyer, then a prison counselor because I thought I could counsel all the prisoners into being good people. Then, my godfather took me to a prison, and I never wanted to go back again,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she has immersed herself in health and nutrition.
“The first track meet I ever ran, I won, but I threw up for like 30 minutes, and my auntie told me it was because of a Reese’s cup I ate, and after that, I began cutting unhealthy foods out of my meals,” Jackson said. “I am currently a pescetarian and have been for four years now.”
In her free time, Jackson enjoys spending time with friends, exercising and taking her dog to the dog park.
She currently holds a 3.9 GPA and expects to graduate in spring 2018.