Sometimes achievement is about more than high grades and perfect attendance. Sometimes it’s about perseverance. Taken from her parents by Child Protective Services when she was 12, Jenna Tryon was sent to live in a group home, then with various family members. She ended up with her aunt, Bonna Hamilton.
At 17, Jenna left school midway through her junior year at Queen Creek High School because she was pregnant.
When she dropped out in December, she had a 4.0 grade point average and had won first place in the statewide Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest — with a poem inspired by her unborn child.
Jenna took her infant son, Jaedon, now 4 months old, to the ceremony, where she received her award and met Gov. Janet Napolitano.
“That was pretty awesome, actually,” Jenna said.
The contest theme was “Envisioning Arizona’s Future: The Impact of Renewable Energy to Our Environment.”
Jill Ownsby, Jenna’s English teacher, said the topic wasn’t an area of interest for Jenna, so she suggested that Jenna think about the world she’d like to see for her baby.
“In 20 to 25 minutes, she wrote this poem that ended up excelling over all the others,” Ownsby said. “She’s one of those innovative thinkers. Very bright, very well-spoken. Very capable, very self-possessed and very self-disciplined. (She would) never have to be asked twice to do something expected of her.”
English is Jenna’s favorite subject, and she frequently writes poetry to express her feelings.
Though she dropped out of school to take care of her son, Jenna is determined to continue her education. She plans to earn her GED in the next couple of months and begin college in the fall of 2008, when she’s 18.
Her goal is to become a veterinary assistant and work her way up to other things.
“I’ve always wanted to make something of myself,” she said, “and I knew the way to do that was strive (to do well) in school.”
School: Queen Creek High School (December 2006)
GPA: 4.0 (December 2006); currently studying for the GED
Honors/awards: First place, Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest
Guardian: Bonna Hamilton
‘Youth and the Future’
Jenna Tryon’s poem, which won first place for the 11th- and 12th-grade category in the 2007 statewide Polly Rosenbaum Writing Contest:
In the future,
I envision a natural world,
An Arizona fueled by the sun,
And an Earth run by the wind.
Clear blue skies and a clear blue sea
Give company to the pure air.
I envision green lively plants
And clean soil in which to grow,
Fresh water free of pollutants
Leading to a healthier population.
But it will take a whole population
To create change
To fix this dilemma we’ve created.
Our youth must look to renew our sources
By using natural resources.
And once we achieve this vision,
It will be a new beginning;
It will be the future.