WINCHESTER — Jessica Clatterbuck hopes to one day become a neurologist and study Alzheimer’s disease.

She first got interested in Alzheimer’s when she was volunteering at the Adult Care Center in Winchester, as well as the Spring Arbor Assisted Living, where she helped out with bingo days.

“It was eye-opening to see how society turns their backs on these people a lot of the time, when there is so much we can do to help them,” said Jessica, 17, the daughter of Mary and Max Clatterbuck.

Jessica hopes to someday change the way society looks at people with Alzheimer’s and show them that they’re really not all that different from anyone else.

She said she is not only interested in the social aspect of Alzheimer’s, and how society treats people with this condition, but also the clinical aspect, why some people develop the disease and others don’t.

With a GPA of 4.65, Jessica ranks first in her class of 308 students at James Wood High School. She will attend the College of William & Mary in the fall, where she wants to study biology with a pre-med focus. Jessica currently attends the Mountain Vista Governor’s School.

In addition to her volunteer experience, Jessica is involved with several clubs and community activities including teaching English as a Second Language, being a mentor for new students at Mountain Vista Governor’s School and running cross country.

The activity that holds the most meaning for her, however, is being president of the Leo Club, a smaller branch of the Lions Club. Her role allows her to expand her leadership skills by contacting different organizations in the community, set up activities for each of the meetings and essentially run the meetings.

She enjoys her role because it allows her to meet and interact with different people in the community she might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

“I’ve realized how easy it is to form relationships with everyone in the community I otherwise might not have even had the opportunity to meet,” Jessica said. “These relationships have taught me a lot about compassion and how to relate to different people in different settings.”

— Contact Julia Kazar at jkazar@winchesterstar.com

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