L-R, proud grandparents Elder Samuel Davis, Coretha Davis and Sara Pritchett with J.C. III, Karen and J.C. Pritchett II
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – In the 119-year history of St. Petersburg High School, no African American has ever been the Executive President of the Student Government Association. That is until now.
J.C. Pritchett III will take office next school year to a position that has a history of turning out public servants such Congressman Charlie Crist and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Peter Rudy Wallace.
“I’m pretty proud,” said J.C. “Honestly kind of speechless about it. It all feels really surreal.”
When he first started out he was just looking to pad his college application, but once he saw what needed to be done, he knew he could help make St. Pete High a better place for everyone.
“I think that I see good things for the coming year.”
L-R, Mayor Kriseman, Elder Samuel Davis, J.C. Pritchett III and Roddy Benton
No stranger to public office, he started out in student government in the second grade as treasurer and held the office until graduating. And even though his middle school didn’t have a student government, he became the president of the drama club.
Once he got into high school, he was elected the freshman, sophomore and junior class presidents.
As the executive president, he will be in charge of all the meetings, homecoming, budgeting, creating programs for the students and planning out assemblies.
“It’s just really making sure that the school environment is good.”
As for college, he’s looking at Florida State or Florida Gulfcoast University and plans to major in political science, eventually attending law school.
Maybe living in Washington D.C. as a small child sparked his interest in public service.
“He was able to be in DC and see how policy and how good people make things work,” said his dad, Rev. J.C. Pritchett II, who couldn’t be more proud of his son.
In 2003 while living in our nation’s capital, he campaigned and saw his candidate win the mayoral race.
Wait a minute, he’s 16 years old now and in 2003 he was out campaigning? You do the math.
Senator Darryl Rouson and Congressman Crist were both tied up in Tallahassee but sent proclamations, and Mayor Rick Kriseman was among his friends and family who dropped by Chief’s Creole Café to say congratulations.
“We don’t take lightly that other men and women who are involved with public service notice him, recognize him and encourages him,” said his father. “For the mayor to come by here today was very important.”
His mother, Karen Pritchett, said the word proud doesn’t begin to express the way she feels about her only child.
“It is amazing. It’s the fruit of what we put into him. He’s out bearing that fruit of perseverance, hard work, dedication and it’s just really exciting,” she said.
She hopes that other students will see him as a role model and hopes that African-American students will recognize that they also have the capacity to break down barriers.
Also on hand to help him celebrate was one of his favorite teachers. Roddy Benton first met J.C. when he was a freshman.
“I met him halfway through his freshman year and he stood out from among the crop of squirrely freshman,” he said, noting that J.C. was a little squirrely himself. “His empathy for other people is very genuine and I think that’s why he’s so well-liked and respected.”
Benton has watched him grow over the years and said he wanted to be there to express his love.
“I’m proud of where he’s going and where he has been,” he said.
Congratulations from The Weekly Challenger!