Jamara Gilmore, 18, is that rarest of specimens — a teenager who reads print newspapers, Austin Weekly News, in particular.

A week before Gilmore’s family hosted a trunk party for the teen, a recent graduate of Christ the King Jesuit College Prep, 5088 W. Jackson Blvd. in Austin, Gilmore’s grandfather, James Ruffin, called our offices and asked if we could cover the milestone event. 

“She reads the newspaper all of the time,” Ruffin said of his granddaughter, before explaining how she’d appreciate seeing herself in its pages for the first time. 

During an interview on July 26, Gilmore talked about her wise habit, how she’s been coping with the transition from high school to college amid an unprecedented pandemic and her plans for the future (Gilmore will attend Tuskegee University in Alabama in the fall on her path to a career in nursing). 


On newspaper reading


“Reading the newspaper broadens your view on multiple things and gives you the opportunity to know what’s going on around your neighborhood. It gives you the idea to try to make a change and to inform others about what’s going on.

“So, I just feel that it’s very fundamental and even if you aren’t in school, reading newspapers gives you a great amount of knowledge.” 


On transitioning from high school to college


“Christ the King had a virtual graduation and a ceremony where they had us walk across the stage and get our diploma, but we were only able t have two guests attend. We also had a parade on graduation day. 

“Tuskegee is still planning on starting classes in the fall on Aug. 11. They’re only housing freshmen and sophomore students right now and encoring upperclassmen to study online, if they aren’t able to find housing off-campus.”


On her nursing ambitions


“I’ve had my career goal in mind since before my grandmother, Rose Ruffin, passed last year, but after she passed, it came to me even more that this was something I want to do. 

“I went to see her the day before she passed and her nurse was interacting with all of the family members — not just focused on her job, but on the wellbeing of my family. I see myself as someone who makes sure everybody around me is taken care of and OK, because I feel like I’m a very caring person.

West Side Lives

This is the first in a new series we’re launching called West Side People, designed to introduce our readers to their fellow West Siders. If you know of someone we should write about, email me at: michael@austinweeklynews.com. And in the subject line write: West Side Lives.