Germari Rickerson is one of West Augustine's student success stories. Rickerson, a St. Augustine High School graduate from the class of 2021, is a young man of great character, who is always willing to help and give sound advice. He is a hard-working student, who graduated with numerous college credits on his high school transcript, he has received several scholarships, and he is ready for his future.
Rickerson is kind and helpful, and he is always willing to come out and help clean up the streets here in our community with the West Augustine Nature Society. He has grown into becoming a leader in the local Boy Scouts program, and he is the kind of friend, who stands up for his friends — the kind of friend you can count on.
Rickerson has decided to stay in St. Augustine to get his associate's degree at St. Johns River State College, before transferring to a larger university. While it was not his original plan, this last year with COVID has affected how he thinks. He thinks of St. Johns River College as a "transitional period...where I can get more one-on-one with the professors than at a university."
He encourages other high school students to prepare for college applications by taking advantage of what the high school counselors have to offer and to make sure to show up and talk to the college representatives coming to the school because they have so much information to share.
"Take advantage of dual enrollment," Rickerson says. "Take classes while they're free." He explains that once you have graduated from high school, you will no longer be able to take the classes for free, and you will also have to start paying for books. "If you have a hole in your schedule, see if you can fit in a dual enrollment class, but don't overwhelm yourself."
"I really wish I would have been in the AICE program," Rickerson continues, and he goes on to say that students should "try to get in the AICE program, and if you don’t want to, at least take some AICE classes that are available to Non-AICE Diploma students. These classes could increase your GPA dramatically."
Rickerson speaks highly of his family and the support he has received from home. "I am blessed to have a good support system." He explains how his older brother has been going to St. Johns River College, and that he is about graduate with his associate's degree. "I look up to my brother for doing that. We stay up late doing college work and helping each other."
He was a part of the St. Johns County ink! Take Stock in Children program since middle school, and he is grateful to his mentor through the program, Pastor Mason Reigger from Anastasia Church in Elkton, who supported him and was ready with advice, whenever Rickerson needed it."I met him in elementary school as a part of a program called the Good News Club....and it was really cool to have him as a person, who was with me."
Gemari Rickerson, St. Augustine High School graduate
Elementary School Attended: Crookshank Elementary School
Middle School Attended: Sebastian Middle School
High School Attended: St. Augustine High School
Current College: St. Johns River State College
Major: Neuroscience or to be generalized in biology/genetics.
Plans for the future: I’m planning on getting my A.A. Degree at St. Johns River State College, then transferring to possibly UF. Honestly, I’m going to try to enjoy life as much as possible. Take one day at a time, life is too short. I definitely want to travel between semesters and COVID-19 cases are still occurring, so caution will still be taken.
Is there something you wish someone had told you about the programs before starting high school? I wish I would have heard about the availability to be in AICE.
What scholarships, honors, and awards did you receive throughout high school and at graduation? I received a scholarship from my job, Chick-fil-A. I received a scholarship that I applied for in middle school that gave me a mentor throughout high school (Take Stock in Children from St. Johns County ink!), RSM Foundation Super Senior Scholarship, and I was awarded Eagle Scout.
What sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities did you participate in while in high school? I participated in Swimming (2yrs.), Track & Field (2yrs.), Boy Scouts, National Honors Society (NHS), Link Crew, Interact, Sources of Strength, American Sign Language Club, CAP PROGRAM (college tips program), and A.V.I.D.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your experience with the boy scouts' program, and how it has helped you develop leadership skills? Boy Scouts haven’t been getting the best of light over the last few years, and it’s a shame, but I can tell you it is such a great program that young individuals should be a part of. The Boy Scouts program has taught me so much about myself by allowing me to build on my leadership skills, and it has enabled me to give back to the community. It is a program that makes you want to have morals for yourself and give respect to others. Now that I’ve aged out as a scout, I’m currently acting as an adult leader known as the Assistant Scoutmaster.
Is there something else that you would like to share about yourself? I’m very outgoing, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself, and I love giving back to the community and the less fortunate.
What people in your life have influenced you the most? My mom, my brother, and my family. The Boy Scouts, they really made me come out of my skin. They made me want to be outdoors more, and they pushed me wanting to be more of a leader and to use my voice more. My mentor Mason Reigger. (Pastor at Anastasia Church, Elkton)
Which teachers have impacted your life the most and why? Retired St. Augustine High School teacher Carla Isicoff, who taught Anatomy. She was an anatomy teacher at St. Augustine High School. She taught me junior year, and she retired right after. She really made me grasp the knowledge part of anatomy...she had a lot of experience in the medical field, she told us stories about the medical field, and it was an eye-opener. She always wanted to help students out.
Other SAHS teachers that have had an impact are Erin Arnold, Sabina Atic, the College and Career Counselor Dawn Eakins, and Guidance Counselor Marjorie Bennett.
If you know of a coastal Florida student, who should be featured for their accomplishments in and outside of the classroom, please send us an email. We are especially looking for students who are helping out in their local community, students who are organizing and coming up with solutions for a greener, more sustainable Florida.
*This piece was originally posted on the West Augustine News Connection on August 4, 2021.
Please sign up for the St. Augustine Connection newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to help us spread the word about the work we do so that we can help serve you better. You can also join the St. Augustine Connection News & Events group on Facebook where you can share your own St. Johns County and St. Augustine news and events.