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Williams Field basketball player stars on court and in serving others

Lacee assisting in a dental clinic
 
Williams Field High School junior Lacee Jenkins is a proven All-USA Performer in basketball who is using her passion for volunteerism to create an international impact — starting in Africa.

Jenkins has lettered in all three years of her high school basketball career, but her performance this past season caused immense recognition to pour in. The varsity flex guard was named an All-USA Performer and Female Athlete of the Week by azcentral.com. She also was placed in San Tan’s All-Region First Team and gained a Second Team slot in the All-5A Conference.

“It means a lot,” Jenkins said. “It’s definitely what I strive for, to get accomplishments through basketball.”

Head Girls Basketball Coach Taura Gardner, who has coached Jenkins for over the three years, said Jenkins’ work ethic makes her much more than an excellent scorer and fierce competitor.

“Lacee leads by example,” Gardner said. “She works very hard in practice, always looking to improve for the team. Her pure excitement when her teammates are successful makes her a great leader. She also acknowledges her teammates when she receives honors because she understands everyone’s value.”

Jenkins’ dedication to valuing others is seen in her volunteerism with local nonprofit Hope Arising. Through the organization, she has served in an Ethiopian village four times, assisting in its dental clinic and teaching children about hygiene.

“I could talk for hours about going there,” Jenkins said. “It’s an incredible experience. I’ve learned so many things. The first time I was 12 years old, so I was just a little girl and it was really eye-opening to see the conditions of the people there. It’s just really inspiring.”

While violent political conditions prevented Jenkins from returning in the fall of 2016, she plans to return later this year to continue helping Ethiopians “get on their feet.”

“We really strive to teach them to be self-sufficient,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s really important because if the generation that we teach becomes self-sufficient, then they’ll be able to teach their children. Then, hopefully as time goes on, they’ll be able to make their lives as easy as possible through their hard work.”

Jenkins said pursuing both sports and volunteerism teaches students hard work, determination and compassion. She encourages other student athletes to prioritize community service, as well.

“There’s always time for the important things,” she said. “Those are the two priorities in my life.”

Jenkins hopes to play Division I basketball after she graduates.




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