Moving on to high school is a challenging transition. Most eighth grade students will attend the school in their district or dutifully follow their friends to another. For some, proactively selecting a high school to attend can be a life-changing decision. Francis Teixeira, parent of Jenna Grosser of San Rafael, reflected on her experience four years ago. “More than 90% of my daughters’ graduating eighth grade class continued on to the same high school; choosing a different school that was 20 miles away was not an easy decision. After weighing the pros and cons of a few selected schools, we decided St. Vincent’s was the best choice for Jenna. St. Vincent’s offered a small, friendly environment with approachable teachers who put the needs of their students first. In hindsight, it was one of the best decisions we ever made.”
Jenna is now a senior, looking forward to her graduation in May. “When I visited campus as an eighth grader, I felt as if the student ambassador I shadowed knew all of her teachers, and everyone across all grade levels knew her. The small school environment I saw that first day turned out to be everything and more for me.” She continued, “The drive to school every morning is around half an hour, but being able to attend St. Vincent is so worth it. In elementary and middle school, I arrived at 8:00AM and left at 3:00PM — I was not very involved on campus outside of school hours. Now I am at school 24-7, and I love it.”
“There is no student who is more positive or demonstrates this kind of tremendous work ethic on our campus,” Principal Patrick W. Daly contributed. “Almost half of our students reside in Marin County, so it’s especially heartening when we see these students take on so much to enhance student life in our community.”
EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT + A FOCUS ON SERVICE
Jenna has consistently earned top marks — finding herself on the Dean’s List for all four years of high school with over a 4.0 GPA — and last year she served as the Student Body Commissioner of Academic Achievement. You will find her involved in just about every aspect of student life at St. Vincent de Paul High School, including cheerleading, the Service Club, the Teens Against Discrimination Club, and as a Student Ambassador. Her exceptional efforts have earned her academic scholarships and service awards including the Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters Scholarship, the Edward Borr Memorial Scholarship, the Herold Mahoney Family Community Achievement Award, and the Kavanaugh Scholarship. Additionally, just this fall, Jenna was crowned as the 2021 Homecoming Queen.
As a senior, Jenna is now the Student Body President and Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook. English teacher Ms. Coale has had the opportunity to work with Jenna as both a teacher and faculty member responsible for the Student Government program. She said, “Jenna came to learn how capable she had become.” She continued, “As her mentor, it feels like working with a contemporary. She is truly a positive individual and the kind of person you would love to have as a friend.”
Jenna shared that, “Ms. Coale is not only my teacher, but a true friend. Whenever I need an adult to talk to at school, I always feel safe confiding in her. She is kind, selfless, and an incredibly dedicated leader.” She added, “I know that when I go to college next year, Ms. Coale will always be there for me whenever I need support.”
ABOVE AND BEYOND
What may be less known is that Jenna has been dancing at Love2Dance in Novato since she was five years old, and earned a spot on the competition All-Star team at ten years old. During the most acute period of the pandemic, a few Marin parents reached out to Jenna, claiming they felt as though their children were missing out on important social interaction, but were concerned about allowing them to return to indoor dance classes. Twice a week after school, Jenna would drive to the houses of these families and lead the children in games, crafts, and dance lessons.
Jenna is consistently among the most active students for the number of service hours she performs. At St. Isabella School in San Rafael, her alma mater, she assists in the library, tutors students who need extra help, volunteers for the Spring Sports Camp, and tends to the garden that is dedicated to her friend, Nicolas Simard.
Jenna noted that, “The welcoming and friendly environment at St. Vincent’s has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and to try new things. In doing this, I have received such amazing support from my dedicated teachers and mentors.” She thoughtfully shared, “St. Vincent’s has taught me the importance of what it means to be a responsible student, purposeful leader, and true friend.”
RELATIONSHIPS MADE THE DIFFERENCE
Francis Teixeira shared her appreciation for the teachers’ impact on her daughter who “motivate her, encourage her to be the best version of herself, and applaud her for work well done. Every single teacher has been a hero, especially during the unique challenges of Covid-19. Whenever Jenna has needed something, there has not been one teacher who hasn’t supported her. They know her. She is encouraged to believe in herself, and therefore takes risks and accepts challenges.”
Jenna’s Mom continued, “St. Vincent’s has some amazing teachers who genuinely care about their students. Even more than that, they encourage students to reach outside their comfort zone. Without question, the best aspect of St. Vincent’s that will carry Jenna for the rest of her life is the confidence to try.” She concluded her sentiments by adding, “My shy, quiet daughter has blossomed into a confident powerhouse. She is without a doubt a reflection of St. Vincent de Paul High School and all of her experiences there for the last four years.”
Jenna provided these final thoughts. “Choosing to enroll at St. Vincent’s was one of the best decisions of my life. I have learned so many valuable lessons that I intend on taking with me as I attend college in the fall. I will always reflect upon moments from my time at St. Vincent with a smile on my face and a happy heart. I feel so blessed to be able to call myself a forever Mustang.”
Jenna Grosser took full advantage of the opportunities offered at St. Vincent de Paul High School. She is a bright light, demonstrating what is possible over four years in high school. We are proud to recognize her as one of our hard-working and accomplished students from the Class of 2022.