Jan. 12, 2021 WIBW-TV – Read the original article and watch the video here

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A national champion gets a turn in the 13 NEWS Good Kids’ spotlight!

Chrishayla Adams, a senior at Topeka High School, recently won the national public speaking competition sponsored by Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG. Normally, she’d have earned a trip to Washington, D.C. for the competition, but, due to COVID-19, it was held virtually.

In her speech, Chrishayla spoke from the heart about how she started taking the JAG-Kansas classes because she thought it would be easy, but it ended up changing her life.

“I realize that if I wanted to be successful, I’m the only person that can make that happen,” she said in her speech. “I can say JAG has helped me come out of my shell and not be afraid to be myself and it’s let me take as many opportunities that come my way.”

The USD 501 Board of Education honored Chrishayla at their board meeting last week. She told the members she came a long way from her first JAG speech competition as a sophomore, when she barely prepared. She said she soon realized it was no trouble to speak on the topics presented, because JAG had such an influence on her.

“Chrishayla is a shining beacon among (our students),” said Chuck Knapp, President and CEO of JAG-Kansas. “She has been a tremendous leader but she’s also been a great friend.”

Chrishayla was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to the state’s advisory group for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention; she’s been accepted to eight colleges; and she’s joined the Kansas Army National Guard. She wants to be a lawyer some day and help under-served populations.

She says she owes it all to JAG.

“No matter the background, no matter where you come from, no matter anything, JAG is the class that helps you regardless. It helps you with your future,” she said.