Published: May 3, 2014
This is the thirteenth of 20 profiles about The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2014.
Jessica Van Bueren's life spins around three jobs, extracurricular activities, Advanced Placement courses, leadership roles, volunteering and a social life.
"I am definitely working a lot," she said, "but I still have fun."
Van Bueren says she works about 22 hours a week. Since August, Mondays and Tuesdays are her days off from work when she participates in DECA, other school activities and has dinner with her family. The rest of the week she usually eats around 9:30 or 10 p.m. after getting home from one of her jobs, then she does homework. Her weekends are spent working and Sunday mornings she volunteers at Memorial Hospital North.
Time management allows Van Bueren to maintain her hectic schedule.
"I get it down to the minute," she said. "I have to. If there is any down time at school my friends will be on Twitter or Facebook, and I'll be working on what I need to get done. I have a mindset for school and a mindset for everything else."
Everything else includes Venturing, a coed Boy Scouting program, where she mentors younger girls and pursues her interest in the outdoors. Last year she was honored as the first female in the Pikes Peak Council to receive Boy Scouts' Summit Award for leadership.
DECA also vies for her time. Last year Van Bueren and her DECA partner created a Public Awareness Campaign on texting and driving. This year she and another partner have developed a project to increase awareness about nutrition among elementary students.
Her father, Mark Van Bueren, admitted he doesn't see her as much as he'd like.
"It's hard to keep up with everything," he said.
Van Bueren was recently named a Kane Scholar, which provides full tuition to Pikes Peak Community College. She intends to major in nursing with dual enrollment at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and cut back on working.
Nonetheless, she anticipates remaining active with Venturing, something she can continue until she's 21, at which time she wants to become an adult leader.
"A few more minutes in the day would be nice, but even with everything I still have fun," she said.