Thursday, April 16, 2020

Doctors, tigers and vampires, oh my! Spartan Spotlight with Jenna Albrecht

After graduation from St. Joseph-Ogden High School, Jenna Albrecht plans to attend Parkland College for two years and then transfer to the University of Chicago-Urbana Satellite Campus Nursing Program. If those plans don't work out, she might consider a career as a television and film critic. She could become the next Erica Abeel of the Huffington Post or The Movie Minute's Joanna Langfield.

Currently at the top of her Netflix must-see list is Tiger King.

"Hello. This is a must for everyone! Who are you if you have not binge watched Tiger King?!?" Albrecht said about the streaming show slated to be an American cult classic decades from now. "If anything can help us through a pandemic, the war between Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin can!"

More likely to tame patients in a pediatric ward than tigers, the next show on her list is Grey's Anatomy.

"I am drawn to the medical side of this 16-year series," she said before spilling the beans on her attraction to her favorite characters in the medical drama. "Or, maybe I am just secretly in love with Dr. Shepard. No... Sloan… no... Karev… no... Avery… no... Hunt... no ...Linc… who am I kidding? I love them all!"

Her final recommendation, a fangtastic personal favorite for her, stars Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley in The Vampire Diaries.

Clubs & Activities

Volleyball (4 years),Track & Field (1 year)
Student Council, Spanish Club, Spanish Club Leader
NHS, Maroon Platoon Leader
Future Spartans Mentoring Program
Advisory Mentoring Program

"#TeamDamon! This show definitely keeps you on your toes," she said. "If you love vampires, and who doesn’t, and never ending drama, this is a must!"

When she isn't watching Netflix, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and listening to music in her free time.

Although one has to speculate the amount of free time in her day planner is pretty limited, since the senior has been involved in two sports and seven other groups during high school. Albrecht's advice for future SJO students is one of experience: "Get involved because time goes by so fast, and do not take anything for granted."

The more involved you are as a student in high school activities and athletics, the more memories you will make. Albrecht has made and been apart of numerous moments at SJO like going to homecoming her freshmen year and being an integral part of the Spartan varsity volleyball team's third place finish last November at the IHSA state tournament.

"My senior volleyball season was one that I will never forget! The experience of advancing through each postseason game was so exhilarating!" she said. She offered additional advice for incoming freshman and underclassmen moving up to varsity spots in the SJO volleyball program. "Never underestimate what spirit can bring to your team! Whether you win or lose, whether you play or sit the bench, whether you are on the freshman team or the varsity team, attitude and spirit are what will carry the team through the ups and downs of the next four years!"

Volleyball has taught Albrecht, an idea candidate for motivational posters when it comes to mental toughness on the court, numerous lessons that she will carry through life. One of the most important is you can still find good in loss.

After epic come from behind, three-set victory to win the supersectional title over Chicago Christian, she described how she and her fellow Spartan teammates confidence and determination soared into the stratosphere.

"We were ready to bring it all home. We were ready to win it all. However, we took a hard loss in the semi-final game," she recounted, explaining how the team was shot down and brought back down the Earth after a grueling 2-1 loss to Breese Mater Dei in the SJO's Class 2A state semifinal. "It was a very difficult evening for us, but we went back to the hotel, ate some pizza, and played Just Dance. The next day, as we warmed up to play for the third-place state title, we were back on our game."

Back in the zone, the Spartans roared to a 25-11 first set victory. After falling 25-20 in the second, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team fought valiantly to take the third and final set 25-23 to bring home the school's first state trophy in the 2019-20 school year.

"I don’t know if it’s his fun personality, kind soul, or his teaching abilities that makes him so amazing."
"We fought as hard as we could, and in the end, came out with the win!" she said. "Although, it was not the outcome we were hoping for, we were still able to find all the joy in the world for bringing home that third place state trophy."

While still remotely possible, Albrecht could very well assist in the Spartans in adding another piece of IHSA hardware to the school trophy case. Entering her second season with the girls track team, she has some unfinished business in the sport, especially competing in the triple jump.

"State was an amazing experience and I ended up within the top twenty, I didn’t make it to finals and was not quite satisfied yet," she said. Not bad when you consider she went from zero experience in her primary event to state in one season. "I had really big goals to finish on the podium this year, like many of the other girls. I don’t even think two years of track was enough for me, let alone one."

The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on the 2020 spring sport season and like thousands of high school athletes around the country, the St. Joseph resident shares in their melancholy.

"I am extremely disappointed that there is a possibility spring sports will be canceled. Not only for myself, but also for the rest of the team," she explained. "It is very heartbreaking knowing that my last opportunity to compete in a sport may be taken away."

If, or probably a better yet, when there is another pandemic, Albrecht will likely be on the front lines in her future role in the nursing field. From the time she was a little girl she said she loved helping and caring for others. She would line up her stuffed animals and treat them as they were her patients taking care of them one by one. She credited the stories her mother, a respiratory therapist, shared with the family as her inspiration to pursue nursing as a career.

"I think America is doing everything they can right now to keep American citizens safe. Granted, we all could withstand improving our compliance with the "stay-at-home" quarantine regulations mandated by our government," she said. "(I hope) we can be better prepared for the next pandemic and educate the world rather than instill fear and panic before education.

"Having a strategy in place for the next pandemic will not only decrease the amount of fear, but have an organized plan in place for our nation to follow rather than react to."

Jenna’s favorite classes have been with Mr. Robert Glazier and English with Mrs. Heather Lindenmeyer, both instructors along with Mrs. Alycn Franzen have been her favorite teachers at SJO. In middle school Mrs. Kinney was a favorite, too.

"THE. ABSOLUTE. BEST. I don’t know if it’s his fun personality, kind soul, or his teaching abilities that makes him so amazing," Albrecht said of Glazier praising his teaching style.

She really appreciated the fact that whenever anyone needed extra help understanding anything he would go back and walk through it again until they understood it.

"I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to be in his class. Not only does he make his class fun, he is also very understanding of what the students have to say. I honestly find it difficult to find the right words to describe him, but I am so drawn to his gentle nature, kind soul, and fun sense of humor."


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Spartan Spotlights

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Jenna Albrecht

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Click on the photos to read more about these members of the Class of 2020