Editor’s note: Every year, The Herald Journal profiles one graduating student from each valley high school. Profiled students are selected by administrators at the schools.
When Jasmine Lagunas enrolled in Logan High School, she had an awakening — a realization of the person she wanted to be.
“I was going through a lot of rough stuff in my life,” Lagunas said. “That’s when I realized that I no longer wanted to be that person. I feel like I want to devote my life to bettering the community, the lives of people — just making a difference, really. And so I strive to just become a better person.”
Now, Lagunas is a graduating senior boasting a 3.9 GPA with aspirations to become a medical doctor. She acquired her CNA from Bridgerland Technology College while attending high school and has worked at the Sunshine Terrace senior healthcare facility for the past eight months.
“I love the idea of being able to help people,” Lagunas said, “and not just always be so worried about our own safety.”
Michelle Hatch, a LHS business teacher, said when education was pushed online due to COVID-19, many students had difficulty proceeding with their studies from home. But that was not the case for the “super organized” and “super driven” Lagunas.
Hatch said Lagunas’ work ethic and ability to stay on top of her school work — including three concurrent enrollment classes — in addition to her work at Sunshine Terrace is most impressive.
“I’ve just been really proud of the work she’s put in,” Hatch said. “She still maintained straight A’s where a lot of kids just gave up.”
When students received word that the school’s physical locations would be shut down for the remainder of the year, Lagunas said she was initially disappointed. Additionally, Lagunas said she planned to volunteer at CAPSA and Woodruff Elementary over the summer, but those aspirations were also squashed by the pandemic.
“I was trying to get into more community services and stuff, and help out; but then COVID came and it kind of just ruined it,” Lagunas said with a laugh.
But aside from missing out on traditional high school experiences as a result of the COVID-19 “curveball,” Lagunas found the silver lining. For Lagunas, the effort to quarantine is in and of itself a way to help the community.
“I think it was so much more rewarding,” Lagunas said. “This pandemic really opened my eyes to see that It’s not just about us, but it’s for a greater cause.”
For Lagunas, working in health care during a pandemic has surreal qualities.
“It was definitely an experience; even to this day the facility has a lot of restrictions and just a lot of things to help stop the spread,” Lagunas said. “Which is still really weird and sometimes I feel like I’m kind of dreaming in a way, and then it hits me that we’re really living in a time like this.”
Though the novel coronavirus has yet to enter her workplace, she said she is cognizant of the potential risks and is fully aware of what she’s signed up for. She said elderly people are the most vulnerable in the community and she is simply eager to help.
“I’m just so motivated and so passionate about that,” Lagunas said. “I don’t want to say that I don’t mind, but I’m ready in case I ever did get it.”
While navigating her schooling and work load, Lagunas said she had a “major setback” when a close childhood friend died by suicide earlier this year.
“Nobody really saw it coming because he just seemed like a person who was always so happy and so cheerful,” Lagunas said. “After that incident it made me realize that it really is the people who seem the happiest who are hurting the most.”
For Lagunas, the passing of her friend made her reevaluate, and ultimately reaffirm, her commitment to helping others. She said she wants to be a reliable person that others can count on during hard times.
“I don’t think it’s a burden at all,” Lagunas said. “It’s just something my parents really instilled in me.”
Lagunas was awarded the 2020 Rulon Olsen Scholarship and plans to attend Weber State University in the Fall. Named after a former Logan High principal, the scholarship is awarded to first-generation college students with strong academic aptitude in addition to financial need.
Lagunas competed in Health Occupations Students of America while attending Logan High, an organization promoting health care career opportunities for students. She was also involved in the Latinos in Action service organization as well as the Advancement Via Individual Determination program at Logan High.
“I definitely loved school, just because it was something my parents never had the opportunity (to do),” Lagunas said. “I think that sometimes we take for granted the opportunities and the blessings that we have.”