London Paige is a student with a mission. She is looking to change the world, starting with her Roanoke community. “I really love being in this community and putting myself out there,” says London. “I want people to support my project and care more about the environment.” London strives to raise environmental consciousness. “I hope to motivate other people and students to get on board with the idea about environmental health,” she adds. London’s love for the environment sparked in elementary school. Now, an 11th grader at Roanoke’s William Fleming High School, London’s passion comes with great purpose. She enters competitions and does extensive research on the effects of plastic pollution on marine life, as well as environmental health as a whole. She is a S.T.E.M. student and understands the intricate details of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Science is her specialty. Sheila Herron is responsible for student support services at William Fleming High School. She sees London soaring. “She’s a wonderful academic student,” says Herron. “She won the bronze at a competition in Detroit, Michigan, recently for a project she did on the environment. London understand science in a way that most struggle.” That bronze medal was not easy to come by. In fact, it’s all of the astute students with Albert Einstein-like academic acumen from across the nation who entered the 2019 ACT-SO competition. London’s project was “The Effect of Yeast on the Decomposition of a Starch-Based and an Algae-Based Bioplastic.” Herron says she understands the terms and understands dynamics.
Herron also nominated London to be ColorsVA Student of the Month and she was selected. Herron says London’s selection brought her honor as well as the entire William Fleming High School family. “I am truly excited for her to be recognized,” says Herron. “She’s (London) excelling here, not only academically, but London is well connected and very involved in her community.”
Principal Archie Freeman III says, “London is currently taking classes at the governor’s school in the morning, and comes to William Fleming in the afternoon. At the Governor’s School, she’s taking high level classes and the fundamentals of research.” London ranks 16 out of 411 in her junior class. She is serving as junior class president. She’s quite the role model for students. “It’s very important for individuals in our school – all of the students to see that yes, you have to have the academics. You can be a very skilled person in school leading the charge, and a student first, well rounded with extracurricular activities, buy into school spirit and still be a leader and be able to see the bigger picture,” says Freeman.
London volunteers and serves in many capacities in the community. Her extracurricular activities run the gamut. She is currently a member of Fleming’s Be That Girl. She is the second vice president of the NAACP Youth Council, a member of Jack and Jill, and a member of the William Fleming Chess Club. London also a debutante of tomorrow in the upcoming Debutante Ball presented by the Altruist Club of Roanoke, and she is a member of the S.T.A.R Council. She is highly decorated and documented at her high school.
London shares a cherished relationship with her family. They think the world of her and her accomplishments. “We are so proud of her and just honored that she’s being recognized. She works so hard and it’s always good especially when teenager’s hard work pays off,” says London’s mom, Holly Paige. “London is very focused and determined.” Her work ethic comes from a family of hard-workers. Her parents always have encouraged London to be who she wants to be and not who others want her to be, including them. “I just want her to be her own person,” Paige adds. And London is doing just that. She realized pretty early on that sports would not be her thing because she did not do so well in the sports she tried. Therefore, she decided to focus academically and she has soared. Her parents applaud her passion and purpose.
“I’ve had amazing role models, such as my parents and grandparents. I’ve also had great mentors. I’ve had mentors that have not helped me with science, but they’ve helped me with my confidence, public speaking, and even character,” she says. London credits having the right people around her to keeping headed in the right direction.
Freeman says London is definitely creating lots of positive momentum and changing a culture. “I’m excited to see what her senior opportunities will be here at school,” he shares. And even beyond her senior year, her collegiate life is quite promising. London has narrowed her college choices to four universities: Virginia Tech, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Yale and Wake Forest. She plans to study Environmental Science to become an Environmental Researcher. That’s her overarching academic goal and life purpose. London encourages others to reach for the stars and focus on education, too. She wants people to be the best they can be and always better themselves. “I am a black girl who rocks,” says London. Yes, London, you rock! She encourages others at William Fleming High School, as well as in the Roanoke community to ROCK as well.