BRIGHT FUTURES — Woodrow Wilson senior standout relies on education for greatness

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Although Bey’Ounce Banks shares a name with a pop icon, the Woodrow Wilson Early College senior couldn’t be anymore different from her namesake.

Bey’Ounce Banks

“For me, I never had talents,” Banks said. “I can’t sing. Being smart is the one place where I felt OK and strong enough to be myself in — I made that happen. I put the hard work in to be where I am. Nobody else did that, just me.”

Banks is also being recognized for her leadership qualities, extra-curricular activities and ambitious goals.

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“I know a lot of people that say it isn’t, but there are nights where I’ve stayed up past midnight studying or not gone out with my friends because I had to study,” Banks said. “That’s just for the title.”

Woodrow Wilson guidance counselor Janice Hendrix described Banks as kind, helpful and a true leader.

“Bey’Ounce’s smile always brightens up the room,” she said. “Anytime I need help with anything, she is always available to me. She does wonderful work and is an excellent student. She goes above and beyond in everything that she does.

“On top of that, she helps her friends get through classes. Some of them only pass because she tutors them or helps them study. I think that is the most amazing thing. Not only does she put herself where she needs to be, but she brings other people up with her.”

Bey’Ounce Banks is a Woodrow Wilson Early College student.

Banks is also a member of the student advisory board for the Port Arthur Independent School District, a student athletic trainer and a member of the Delta Gems.

Delta Gems is a group under the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority that helps adolescent African-American at-risk girls achieve their dreams.

“[Delta Gems] is an organization for empowering young women,” Banks said. “We do a lot. This past break we did ‘Breakfast with Santa’ and helped kids decorate their own pancakes. We did a raffle and played games with them.”

During her last semester of school, Banks said she is striving to maintain her grades, volunteer more and reach out beyond the community.

After high school, Banks will begin working toward a degree in biology, hoping to become an OB/GYN.

“I wanted to do anything in the medical field when I first started out,” she said. “I changed my mind so many times from being a veterinarian to an oncologist, but finally I realized that I just love kids. I think it would be great to be able to bring life into the world.”

Banks has scholarship offers from McNeese State University and the University of Texas at Austin, but is still weighing her options. In the meantime, she wants to thank her strongest motivators, her parents — Priscilla and Tharrin — for always making her see the importance of education.

“Growing up, my mom was always on me about how important school was,” she said. “My parents are why I am the way I am. Your environment shapes you and I’ve had a lot of time to be the best person I can be.”

(Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, The Port Arthur News reported the student as the valedictorian. Port Arthur Independent School District superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie said that information, which was shared by a District employee, is premature because the process for determining such is still ongoing.)