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Class act / An outstanding young Western New Yorker

For the past several years, 17-year-old Jennifer Downie has volunteered at a local day care center and for a school latch-key program.

Those experiences reinforced her longtime dream to become an elementary school teacher.

"Ever since I was in kindergarten, I've wanted to be a teacher," says Jennifer, who has just started her freshman year at Niagara University, majoring in special education and elementary social studies.

A talented vocalist, the Niagara-Wheatfield High School graduate performed with the school's Women's Choir, the Concert Choir and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

Jennifer says she's put "a lot of time and preparation" into her singing, "working very hard to improve." And it apparently has paid off -- she was selected to perform with the All-State Sectional Choir.

The teen has also participated in organizations including the Performing and Visual Arts Society, Children's Theatre and Playfest.

During high school, she performed in the school musical each year. In her senior year, she had one of the leading roles in the school's production of "Les Miserables."

Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including date of birth and address, for possible publication in ClassActs. E-mail, or write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Photos cannot be returned.

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