- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In Student Athlete of the Week
Deijenee Nelson has a 4.2 grade point average and she has been on the honor roll every year at Dorsey High School. Photo by Jason Lewis
Nelson started off as a cheerleader, but her great athletic abilities and competitive spirits led her to softball, where she was named first team All-City Section last year. Several colleges are recruiting her. Photo by Jason Lewis
Originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
It takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of Dorsey High School’s Deijenee Nelson, a strong support group from her family has led her to a 4.2 grade point average, and several colleges knocking on her door to recruit her softball.
Nelson was raised by her single mother, Bria Southern, who was so proud of her daughter that she was nearly in tears as she watched Nelson being interviewed by The Sentinel.
“You never know what you have when you have a kid,” Southern said. “You plan for the best. I’m a single mom. Who knew that softball would take her this far? We didn’t even come into this as an option. We had her in cheerleading.”
Even though Southern is a single mother, her family has been instrumental in raising Nelson into the extremely smart, polite, and articulate young lady that she has become. Southern had a plan to get her daughter to college, and she has been there every step of the way.
Through family guidance, Nelson has been on the honor roll every year at Dorsey. She is in teen court, Dorsey’s law program, and she tutors her classmates. She takes pride in putting in the work to do well.
“I pay attention in class, I ask for help, and the biggest thing is that I do homework,” Nelson said. “A lot of other kids do not do homework. I do homework and study at the same time. As I am doing the homework, I’m reviewing the material at the same time”
Math is Nelson’s favorite subject.
“I like for it to come out to one straight answer,” Nelson said. “You can use many different methods to solve a problem, but to get one answer is what I like.”
As much time as she spends in the books, Nelson finds time to play on Dorsey’s softball team, and on a traveling team called the Conkoktions. She started playing softball as an offseason sport to cheerleading, which she did both in Baldwin Hills. Because she is a very athletic kid, she was able to excel in softball quickly.
Nelson was named first team All-City Section last year, and she is again one of the best players in the area. At Dorsey she plays shortstop. With her travel team, she plays the outfield, which she likes more because it gives her more of an opportunity to showcase her speed, and she has a strong enough arm to throw base runners out.
One of Nelson’s best attributes is being a team leader, as she has to manage several different personalities as she promotes the team first, above herself.
“It’s hard working with girls, because we have a lot of attitudes,” Nelson said. “I express team often because that is what we need to win the game. It’s not going to be just me and everybody else is just on the team. It does not work that way. We all have to put in to get the same result. If I put in, but somebody else does not put in the same effort, we will not get the same result.”
Nelson is a real winner, in the classroom and out on the field, which is why several universities are recruiting her. Fisk, Howard, North Carolina, Texas, and Clark have been calling, and she is leaning towards going to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
“A lot of those schools, they want to help the black community,” Nelson said. “I don’t want to go to a big university, so a HBCU is in my preference. They can help me with what I need.”
Wherever Nelson decides to go, she will always remember her roots, and she will always promote Dorsey.
“It will always be in me,” Nelson said. “I will never forget where I came from, so I will always rep my Dorsey pride.”