OXFORD, Miss. – Most high school students look forward to sleeping in during the summer months. Many get a part-time job or spend time lounging by the pool, but Jontae Warren of Booneville has chosen to spend his past five summer breaks a little differently.
“I guess you would say I’m a Type A personality,” Warren recently commented.
Warren is known as one of the responsible ones in his family. He encourages his three younger brothers to stay on top of their schoolwork, and he helps his grandfather’s construction business with paperwork and billing whenever he can.
Because Warren is so focused on staying on top of his responsibilities, it is no surprise that he has already gotten a head start on career goals by participating in the JumpStart program for incoming freshmen, one of several pre-college summer programs offered on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.
“I’m impressed by Jontae’s work ethic,” said Matthew Deloach, UM Jumpstart Program director. “He is really taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow and prepare himself for a successful future. I think the extra effort he has put in each summer here at Ole Miss is only going to help him stand out academically and become a leader on campus. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
This summer, Warren was also tapped by Ole Miss to participate in the new Grove Scholars program that works to acclimate science, technology, engineering and math majors into their first year of college. As a Grove Scholar, Warren was awarded a scholarship to take two Ole Miss courses and participate in the JumpStart program. This gave him a chance to get a boost on his classes at Ole Miss while getting to know other students in his major.
“I’m living in the residence hall this summer with students who are going to be in some of my same classes this fall,” Warren said. “I already feel like I am part of a community. We have some of the same courses together, study together and go out to eat. It’s like starting freshman year early.”
Warren’s responsible nature has also helped him to earn financial assistance at Ole Miss when he officially begins his full-time studies in August. He earned scholarships and grants that will help pay for tuition, room and board. He has even lined up a part-time job on campus to help pay for extra expenses.
“I think being a part of the JumpStart program this year is going to give me an edge as I start the competitive pharmacy program at Ole Miss in the fall,” Warren said. “I have a chance to knock a few of my courses out this summer while I’m getting adjusted to life as a college student. We manage our own time and come and go as we please, but the main goal is to do well in our courses.”
Summers at Ole Miss aren’t a new experience for Warren. He has been participating in the university’s programs since he was in middle school. He started with the UM Summer Academy program for eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders. In eighth grade, he studied environmental science; in ninth grade, he was a member of the Lott Leadership program examining American Democracy; and in 10th grade, he participated in an intensive ACT prep course that he credits with helping him earn an ACT score strong enough to qualify for several UM scholarships.
Once he started taking summer courses at Ole Miss, Warren was hooked. He came back in the summer after his 11th-grade year to participate in the Health Programs class and completed his first college biology course and lab.
“I’ve gotten to experience so much already,” Warren said. “We had fun in class, but we also had fun outside of class. We took trips, completed the Ole Miss ropes course and played basketball at the Turner Center. There was always something fun to do.”
Warren graduated with honors from Booneville High School last month. He says he will miss his family and friends but is excited to start his college career.
“I think I’ll be ready for the hustle and bustle of my first full semester in Oxford,” Warren said. “I’ve learned my way around the library and how to schedule study time each day.”
As usual, Warren continues to think ahead about his future.
“I’m considering taking business classes to go along with my pharmacy program,” Warren said. “I want to be prepared own my own pharmacy one day.”
Warren is the son of LaSonya Shumpert and John Warren, both of Booneville.