“I was amazed at how the doctor could hear inside of me with the stethoscope,” Famucol says. “I thought it was really cool that a doctor can tell how you're feeling by your color. I was really interested in how the body worked.”
She added she loves to study anatomy and physiology.
Her plans were almost thwarted by her parents when they told her she should become a nurse because becoming a doctor is expensive and takes years.
“I took it hard when my parents told me I should be a nurse,” Famucol said.
They all realized she should work towards her dream when a cousin of hers in California had a difficult time finding a nursing position.
“There are so many nurses out there and with the way the economy is I'm determined to be a doctor. I can always start my own practice,” the friendly young lady says.
As far as the high tuition for college to be a doctor goes, she has that all figured out.
“I don't want my parents to pay my tuition. I'm looking for opportunities to go to school free,” Famucol says. She says she is aiming for the United States Military Academy at West Point New York. At West Point, the tuition is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation after graduation. Famucol says she will be commissioned as a second lieutenant. “The hardest part at West Point will be the physical fitness tests,” Famucol says.
Carole Scott, nursing instructor at CTEC, said Famucol was special.
“She shows good-quality leadership skills,” Scott says. “And she always steps up to the plate. Jirah is an exceptional student and academically very bright.”
The teacher added she likes the girl's Christian beliefs and willingness to always help others.
Famucol, from the Philippines, says her late grandfather, Jacinto Cachuela, was the foundation of her family and a major influence on her life. He served in the military and was a strict disciplinarian. Famucol said he always told her to keep going and never give up.
“He said go to America and make us proud,” Famucol says as she brushed away tears.
Five years ago she moved to St. Croix from the Philippines with her brother and parents – Lourdes Famucol, a special education teacher at Complex, and Gregorio Famucol, a carpentry teacher at CTEC.
She says she hated to leave her friends behind. Even though she spoke English, she didn't know what to say to people.
“I was scared,” Famucol says. “It was a really hard language transition.”
She was enrolled in the Church of God Holiness Academy where she made friends who had the same Christian beliefs, values and morals as hers.
She has been on the honor roll most of her school career. She is an office holder in National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society.
“These are organization where I can give back to my community doing charity work, tutoring and beach cleanups,” Famucol says. “It's fun going out and taking care of this island I've learned to love.”
She is also in the Tuskegee Airman Youth Aviation Club, which she says is really cool. She says she enjoys traveling with the club and she actually got to take the controls of a plane last summer when the club traveled to the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas. And she is active in the Mathematics and Environmental Science Academy.
She says her real passion is singing, and according to Cenita Heywood, audio visual media specialist at CTEC, Famucol has a fabulous voice. The girl practiced everyday doing karaoke with her dad and she had some voice training. She likes to sing all types of music and performs with The Chosen Few musical group from Speak the Word Ministries in Peter's Rest.
Famucol says faith and her belief in God has helped her through everything. She feels that all she has achieved so far is because of God, and her future is in his hands as well.
“Wherever God puts me and wherever he takes me, I'll prosper,” Famucol says.