Early Risers Feature: Mikhaila Joi


If you talk to most parents, a child’s teenage years can be the most challenging phase of parenthood. This is mainly due to a laundry list of distractions and behavioral traits that can test a parent’s patience. However, 13 year-old Mikhaila Joi (MJ) has proven to be a model student, daughter and sister.  In a recent Facebook post, her mother Tyra proudly shared:

“My 13yo daughter is in all honors/advanced classes, is taking high school level classes, plays in the school band, and usually gets straights As, (high Bs in algebra and Spanish) and plays on three basketball teams (rec ball, school team and AAU). She's obedient, funny, sassy, goes to church happily, is helpful, a great daughter and an exceptional big sister. She just tested for the high school international baccalaureate programme. They tested 900 to 1000 students and they only accept 100. Well, my baby girl made it! After writing essays, teacher recommendations, and taking a three hour test, she DID IT! As a parent, you don't want your children to just succeed, you want them to EXCEED their goals! Go MJ!!! The sky's the limit!

After learning of Mikhaila's accomplishments, I had to speak with this exceptional young lady to find out what keeps her focused.  Here’s what she had to say:

Who inspires you and why?

Mikhaila:  My mom because she’s very dependable, has great time management skills and she’s great with money.  I want to be the person that people go to because I’ll get my work done and I won’t slack off.

How do you balance between academics, extracurricular activities and  your personal life (family and friends?)

Mikhaila: Homework is a first priority.  If I have a test and I don’t feel prepared, I’ll  tell my mom and she’ll say “Ok, we won’t go to basketball tonight.”   I can also go to my teachers for help through a program at school called R&R (Reteach and re-access).  If students have any questions, we can go to our teacher during this time block so they can help us prepare for the test.  I also make sure to hang out with my friends on weekends and focus on school and basketball during the week.

What has been the greatest obstacle you faced with balancing all your activities?

Mikhaila: Maintaining a strong relationship with God because I’m always running around, and I sometimes need to remember to just sit down and pray.  Prayer helps because He’s always watching over me and listening to me.  He has a plan and I just need to wait for Him to help me.

What is the biggest misconception that adults have about teenagers?

Mikhaila: That our lives revolve around our phones. There are some students in my school who don’t even have phones, and they’re solely focused on sports and academics.  

How much does social media affect your day to day?

Mikhaila: The only social media account I have is Instagram.  I think if I didn’t have social media it would be a lot harder to communicate with my friends because I don’t have some of their phone numbers.  With social media, I can simply direct message them a question and they can respond.

What is your dream job?

Mikhaila: I want to be a Veterinarian.   I was inspired to help animals after watching the characters in the movie “Dolphin Tail.”  My mom has been looking into veterinarian practices for me so that I can volunteer to see if its really something that I want to do.  

What advice would you give to another teenager/student that wanted to follow in your footsteps?

Mikhaila: I would tell them to keep a schedule and stay organized.  It helps keep me engaged in my homework, and then I’ll also have time to have fun.   Also, make sure you have a balance between school and friends.  Don’t do too much homework and then abandon your friends, but don’t hang out with your friends all the time and never do your homework.  Also, be sure you keep smart company because they can really help you grow and achieve greater things.