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Jassica Kailey and Ambika Verma Honored with Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce Scholarship

Jassica Kailey, daughter of Kamal and Surinder Kaur Kailey, a senior at the Del Sol along with Ambika Verma, daughter of Sanjay and Anita Verma, a senior at the West Career & Technical Academy were honored by the Asian Chamber of Commerce for their exemplary academic, leadership and volunteer work.

Both Jassica and Ambika are the recipient of Asian Chamber’s scholarship originally named after the local Japanese American Bill Endow who donated copious amount to recognize local Asian-American high school students.

At Del Sol, Jessica is actively involved in many of the schools’ academic and sports activities.  Jessica is a Vice-President of the National Honor Society, Varsity Volleyball Captain, Basketball Captain and Key Club Treasurer.

West Tech graduating senior Ambika Verma is active in political arena and is a Fellow of Inspire Nevada, Student Council Vice President, and a recipient of the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award. The scholarship honors Asian-American high school seniors who do their best to improve themselves by helping their communities.

Both Jassica and Ambika wrote on their commitment to the community and why they deserved to win the 2017 scholarship.

In their own words, as submitted to the scholarship committee…

Jassica Kailey – “Never to have suffered would never to have been blessed,” this quote by Edgar Allan Poe can be interpreted in many different ways. But to me, it brings out the memories and experiences of all the obstacles which I have had to face and the ones that I need to overcome.

Coming to the United States and trying to create a new life was the hardest challenge which my family and I had to conquer because changing your whole life around and trying to get accustomed to a new culture was what made me realize that I have the potential to overcome anything. When I started school, I wasn’t able to communicate with the students around me because I didn’t know English. I was confused at what was going around me and everyday, I would wake up dreading the thought of going to school. I felt that I would never be able to get along with other students, but then I got the help from my teachers and the boost of confidence from my family to learn English. I started to pick up on certain words and phrases that slowly helped me be able to fluently speak English. This experience taught me to persevere and whatever seemed impossible at that moment I would certainly be able to overcome.

The opportunities which I received over the years have truly made me the person I am today, and are the foundation upon which I plan to build my dreams. And no matter the obstacles there might be, I will be ready to overcome them, which is why I am so passionate about education, since that is what will lead me to achieve my goal of doing something great in this world.

Moreover, what other way would I be able to help this world than by becoming a pediatrician, because doctors heal and protect their patients? Making even a small difference in someone’s life, such as treating a cold, will help me know that I am at least making a positive impact on some people’s lives. If I am able to use my education and time for something valuable, then the challenges which I have faced and the ones which my family have faced will be all worth it.

Ambika Verma – In these last four years, I have grown immensely, from a shy, insecure freshman to a passionate, energetic senior with a completely different mindset. My school has allowed me to transcend the boundaries I imposed upon myself and turn my abstract ideas into palpable change. My school has provided me with opportunities to develop my passions for history, civic engagement, and politics. Four years ago, I would have never imagined I would have the opportunity to meet elected officials, lead national events, and educate others about voting and civic discourse.

School has also instilled a love of community service in me, starting freshman year with Student Council and Key Club. This year, I led the annual Serving Our Kids Food Drive, helping to raise over 9,000 items, the most in the drive’s history. I also took an active role as a member of the youth group for Ekal Vidyalaya, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money to build schools in rural India. It is important to me to contribute back to my country, and back to people whose heritage is so inseparably tied to mine. In 2014 and 2015, we raised more than $100,000 combined at our annual events.

My favorite community service activity, though, throughout all of my four years has been my involvement with Inspire Nevada, a nonpartisan, nonprofit dedicated to increasing youth voter turnout. As an Inspire Leader, I register seniors to vote at my school. Last year, I registered 74% of our seniors to vote within four months and was recognized by my Secretary of State. I want to amplify the voices of my peers and empower my generation to use their voices through voting and working with elected officials to advocate for community change. Inspire US, the national organization, gave me the opportunity to meet with my Congressman Joe Heck to discuss pending legislation.

Civic virtue is a hallmark of our great nation. It is crucial that we give back to our community, for it is paramount to the success of our democracy and society as a whole. Last year alone, I completed close to 300 hours of community service and was awarded the Gold President’s Service Award by HOBY, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program.

Community service has taught me the most important characteristics of leadership: commitment, passion and teamwork. It has allowed me to discover my voice and acquire the skills to invest deeper in my community and initiate change. I will never be someone who sits on the sidelines. Engagement is a part of who I am.

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