O'Fallon Progress

Business leadership is in the blood for OTHS student and her siblings

Jasmyn Harris with some of her awards.
Jasmyn Harris with some of her awards. For the Progress

Jasmyn Harris epitomizes the leadership qualities that Future Business Leaders of America want their members to attain.

Although she has earned a spot at the national competition on her own, she is first to point out the support she receives from her family, teachers and fellow students.

Jasmyn, 18, now a senior at O’Fallon Township High School, plans to attend the FBLA’s National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, later this month. Last year, she went as a proxy.

Jasmyn was one of 14 O’Fallon Township High School students who qualified for national conference this year, which has The conference was two fun-filled and educational days featuring workshops, competitive events and election of the new state officers. She advanced because she earned second place in Word Processing at the 68th Illinois FBLA State Leadership Conference this spring. She will also be serving as a judge at the national event.

Jasmyn said she enjoys FBLA’s competitive events.

“I like math and computers,” she said. “I like being productive, working hard. I really enjoy learning new things.”

Her specialty is word processing, and she is proficient at Microsoft Word skills.

For the competitions, students are judged on application knowledge, document formatting rules and standards, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and proofreading.

Contestants are also judged on the ability to produce various types of business forms, letters and mail merge, memos, tables, reports (including statistical), materials from rough draft and unarranged copy, and email messages.

Jasmyn has been a member of FBLA since her freshman year, and was elected to the OTHS FBLA’s Leadership Council last year.

“We just try to make it fun for everybody. We don’t want anybody left out. We try to find interests for everyone,” she said.

She likes the challenges involved in the organization.

“We have to keep up with the latest technology. A lot of studying is involved. I like to know what I’m going to be doing, be prepared. Our business classes and our school programs really help me,” she said.

Jasmyn’s business teacher and FBLA adviser Lauren Mayberry said she is pleased with her student’s progress.

“She has grown so much as a member from her freshman year to now serve on O’Fallon’s FBLA leadership team during her senior year. In the past four years, Jasmyn has been very successful and has placed in her competitive events at the area and state conferences. Jasmyn will be attending the National Leadership Conference for the third time this year. We are very proud of her accomplishments as an FBLA member. We know she will continue her success in her future endeavors,” Mayberry said.

Jasmyn has also been influenced by her older sister, Taylor, who was second in the nation at an FBLA conference while at OTHS.

Taylor, 19, is a junior at Lindenwood University in Belleville, majoring in accounting and finance.

Jasmyn accompanied her as a guest in 2014. She and her sister are very close.

“We’re 21 months apart. A lot of people think we’re twins,” she said.

Her brother, Morris III, 15, also became active in FBLA as a freshman.

“We love the fact that FBLA challenges our children intellectually, has given them the opportunity to interact with a very diverse group of peers who all share like goals in life and it also allows them the opportunity to see and experience new and exciting locations,” said their father, Morris Harris Jr.

Morris and his wife Shawnte have raised their six children in O’Fallon. Morris works as an engineer with Homeland Security and Shawnte is a homemaker. They met while students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and have been married for 20 years. Morris grew up in Washington Park, and Shawnte is from St. Louis.

Jasmyn’s three other siblings are Jordan, 14; Jeremy, 13; and Morgan, 4.

“Our children make us so happy,” the elder Morris said. “We didn’t plan on having six children, but we cannot imagine our lives any other way and count each one of them as blessings.”

Jasmyn likes the amenities of her hometown.

“There are a lot of things to do. There are a lot of nice people. We get a good education. I’ve learned a lot being in this school. I’ve had great teachers. They really care about you and want you to do good,” she said.

Spending time with her family is important to her, she said.

“We eat dinner together every night. We like to play games together, watch movies together. We’re really close,” she said. “A lot of friends say, ‘People still do that?’ when I say we eat dinner together every night.”

Besides her school activities, Jasmyn sings at church, Holy Ghost Chapel in East St. Louis, where her father is a minister (elder) and her mother is a teacher. She is a soprano in the choir, and her siblings all sing, too.

In addition to reading, her hobbies include exercise. “I like to run,” she said.

She works part-time as a sales associate at the HoneyBaked Ham company in Fairview Heights.

Jasmyn plans to attend Lindenwood University in Belleville, following graduation next year, and major in business administration.

To help Jasmyn and her family with expenses for the conference June 29-July 2, a GoFundMe account has been set up. Morris said the family would like to be able to cheer her on at nationals.

Her sister, Taylor, who set up the page, described her sister as “confident, creative, outgoing and agreeable.”

“She loves being a part of such a large and loving family,” Taylor Harris said.