Keaira Lodge

Hometown: Lawnside, NJ

high school: Haddon Heights

college: Dartmouth College

MAJOR: Engineering Science

From the day Keaira Still was born, she has not paused in her quest for knowledge. According to her Mom, she came into the world asking: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? A zest for life, a love of learning, and a passion for God are part of her personal mission statement. Although Keaira’s mother became ill when she was young, Keaira retains an optimistic and enthusiastic spirit. She knows, “… in spite of the deep valleys there are high mountains.”

Her family history has greatly contributed to Keaira’s positive outlook on life. The Stills are an original South Jersey family, dating from the 1600s, and her ancestors include: a 17th century Guinea prince from Africa, the family patriarch, who miracle of miracles gave his clan a last name; the great abolitionist, William Still, who collaborated with Harriet Tubman to save runaways; James Still, the Black Doctor of the Pines Barrens, a self-educated man, who cured people from diseases as dire as cancer; and Peter Still, who raised $5,500 to buy his freedom and that of his family and become known in history as “The Man Who Bought Himself.”

As she endeavors to walk in the very large footsteps of her ancestors, slaves and former slaves who refused to be compromised by adversity, Keaira has started on her own path to success.

Keaira has been a straight “A” student since fourth grade. She is in the top three percent of her high school class, and is a New Jersey Bloustein Distinguished Scholar. Keaira is also the subject of special presentations on the PBS: American Experience website and the February edition of the National Scholastic for Kids Magazine.

On addition to her academic endeavors, Keaira Still has also greatly contributed to her school environment. Keaira founded a program, CARE -Creating A Respectful Environment, promoting understanding and tolerance at her high school. Haddon Heights is a place where kids from three different towns, predominately black, predominately white, and mixed, converge, and sometimes there are misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Keaira created CARE to open the communication lines among the students of Haddon Heights. CARE has succeeded above and beyond even Keaira’s expectations. She is also involved in: SADD- Students Against Destructive Decisions, Garnet & Gold- a service organization, Student Council, and indoor and outdoor marching band. Keaira enjoys music and the competition marching band provides; she plays 2nd trombone and cymbals.

Keaira is not only an asset to her school, but to her community as well. She volunteers at her local Christian school, Valley Bible, where she mentors kids and works in the library. An ecumenical representative, Keaira is also on her church board of trustees and is yearly instrumental in the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter food drives. Keaira also tutors children in math, English, and science during her free time.

Keaira plans to attend graduate school and eventually obtain her doctorate in a field of engineering.

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