Wilkins takes on the world


Jakhye Wilkins

Jakhye (center) and the ‘19 delegation in Indonesia.

14-year-old Jakhye Wilkins (‘22) stepped off a plane in Indonesia after 42 hours of traveling, tired and delirious. Arriving at the site of his first Children’s International Summer Village (CISV) camp, Wilkins met around fifty other delegates from countries around the world. “Everyone knew everyone’s name; the atmosphere was pretty good,” Wilkins said.

Three years later, Wilkins still remembers moments from the program in Indonesia. He recalls being baffled by driving on the left side of the road, having a host family with their own security detail, and crying with everyone as the camp ended. Wilkins remembers staying up late into the night, with people from across the globe, knowing that after the program ended, he may never see them again. “There’s always WhatsApp and FaceTime,” Wilkins said, “but you’re fourteen, there’s no way you’re going to be able to travel to whatever country they live in.”

Still, Wilkins’ experience in Indonesia was “a life-changing experience”. Without it, he may never have become as involved in CISV as he is today. As Local Junior Representative Co-President, Wilkins represents the Jacksonville Junior Branch, voting in an annual meeting for changes on a national level, and assisting locally with planning activities and recruiting new members.

“I don’t even know how much CISV has influenced me,” Wilkins said, “I just know it’s been a lot. Everyone, even though we’re so diverse and different, is all going through the same thing in one way or another.”

Apart from CISV, Wilkins participates in Mayor’s Youth, Student Council, and the Bolles Singers. He explained that while most people focus on the balance between schoolwork and extracurriculars, social life and health is a third category that is often left out. “I’ve kind of forgotten that third part, and it hasn’t been good. Especially not for the last year when it was so easy to stay in my house and have an excuse not to leave it, so I’ve been working on that,” Wilkins said.

“Really just pick the things that you are passionate about, and clip off the rest of those things, because you won’t use them, and you won’t enjoy doing it, it’ll be like work.” Wilkins said.

“That’s also something I was afraid of. I enjoy CISV so much, but if I assume so much leadership it becomes like work. To a degree that has happened, unfortunately, but that’s just how it is.”

Wilkins wants to travel more for himself, rather than for CISV or his family, and check places off his bucket list. After working hard throughout high school, he hopes to enjoy college and graduate without student debt.

“I definitely want to enjoy college and not stress out, like I have in the past couple of years with all this high school work,” Wilkins said. Though he was stressed in prior years, and often forgot to include certain aspects of his life in the balance, Wilkins stated “I don’t have any big regrets. I did do what I had to do, that’s how I feel about it.”