West Point JAG Alum Spotlight: Semaj

Through JAG, Semaj received mentorship and support to pursue his dream of attending college and continuing his career in music.
September 25, 2023

West Point High School has another remarkable graduate this year. Meet Semaj, a talented musician with a passion for the saxophone and piano and who has left an indelible mark on the school community through his dedication to musical pursuits and JAG. Semaj has been an active participant in JAG since his junior year and his decision to participate in JAG showcased his commitment to personal growth and a desire to make a positive impact in his community. 

Through JAG, Semaj had the opportunity to engage in a range of activities and workshops, gaining valuable skills in leadership, teamwork, and career readiness. From mock job interviews to resume-building sessions, he learned the intricacies of the professional world, equipping him with the tools to navigate future endeavors with confidence. Semaj's involvement in JAG also fostered a strong sense of camaraderie and social responsibility as he collaborated with fellow students on community service projects.

As West Point JAG’s former Vice President of Social Awareness, Semaj is most proud of creating a podcast that future members of the Social Awareness team will continue. This legacy is important to Semaj as JAG has helped him in many ways during his high school experience. 

"JAG has prepared me a lot for graduation because it helped me figure out how to go down the pathway to college because I didn't know how to apply for scholarships or any of that," Semaj said. 

West Point’s JAG Coordinator, Ryan Klem, also played a big part in Semaj’s senior year, "My coordinator, Mr. Klem, has helped me a lot. He's told me about scholarships, put me in contact with people he knows at various universities, and taught me about the common app." 

Another resource that Semaj utilized while in JAG is Arizona’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Career Advancement Network (SNAP CAN). Semaj has access to a support system of individuals and benefits all focused on helping him have a brighter future. By accessing SNAP CAN, Semaj and countless others in Arizona can receive the assistance they need to achieve their goals. 

Semaj has been playing music since middle school, and if you attended the 2023 CDC, you saw him perform the National Anthem on the saxophone. An active musician, he plays numerous instruments, focusing on classical and jazz on the saxophone, and some rock on guitar as well. He is continuing his music education this fall at NAU. 

One of the musicians from the current generation that Semaj looks up to is Kendrick Lamar, because “He has a lot of spiritual messages in his music that you can relate to. If you listen to his music, you notice how a lot it is about his growth through life and what he takes in and learns.” 

This summer Semaj participated in JAG’s Summer Work-Based Learning Program and worked for Nourish PHX. The Summer Work-Based Learning Program provided subsidized career exploration of up to 100 hours with JAG’s Employer Partners to support job readiness for youth. As Semaj continues his journey through life, we here at JAG are looking forward to seeing (and hearing) his impact on the world. 

Through his passion for music and his unwavering dedication to JAG, Semaj has proven that the pursuit of one's dreams can go hand in hand with community involvement and personal growth. His story stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when talent and ambition are nurtured in an environment that values holistic development and encourages active participation.

Charlie Gardner
AZ Tax Credit Funds
(602) 216-9503 I info@jagaz.org
3320 W. Cheryl Dr., Suite B220 Phoenix, AZ 85051
Copyright 2020 -  Jobs for Arizona Graduates
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