Those of us who have achieved the distinction of arriving beyond half a hundred, aka above the age of 50, complain too often about the young people of today.

We tend to forget that we were once young and the many times we made the same mistakes as the young people today. Maybe our mistakes were not as grand, but only because we had less exposure to worldly affairs.

Today there are many venues where our young people can develop strong and everlasting character.

Certainly, the home environment is the beginning. Two parents, one parent, grandma and grandpa, and the people on their streets help build character in our young people today. Our sports teams are powerful character builders. They teach team building, friendship and strength building both physically and mentally.

There is, however, another area of strength developed and earned in our schools and that is the tenacity of determination for academic excellence.

While there are many young people who have represented our community in many areas of academic excellence, I want to highlight one powerful young man — Jayland Jones.

Jayland will be entering his junior year at Central High School this fall. A few weeks ago, he attended a summer institute at Tuskegee University in Alabama, where he studied and conducted research in agri/engineering.

Jayland made Central proud by earning three awards, more than any other participant. His superb character earned him the Leadership Award, which was voted on by his peers. He was thrust in the heart of black history and he earned the George Washington Carver Medallion for excellence in his research design and implementation in agri/sci.

The final exposure during the program was sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation in which Jayland had to do the academic research and design a program as a part of a team to end hunger in a country of their choosing.

The final reward for his character, determination and willingness to explore a new world was the offer by Tuskegee University of a full four-year scholarship. Wow! Congratulations to Jayland Jones, a son of Angelina County. Be proud, Central school district.

Guessippina Bonner is the Lufkin City Council Member for Ward 1. Her email address is Guessippina620@gmail.com.