Trinity’s Ogden recognized for academics, service

Published 2:56 am Sunday, December 13, 2009

NATCHEZ — For Trinity Episcopal student Jheri Ogden, academics are a very important part of life.

This is evidenced by being selected as a National Merit Semifinalist, scoring a 33 on the ACT and applying to the prestigious Vanderbilt University.

Because of her accomplishments in the classroom, as well as athletically, Ogden was able to represent her school as a state finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman program. Although she didn’t go on to become State Winner, Ogden said representing her school was an honor for her.

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“Trinity’s challenged me my whole life, and has provided opportunities for me my whole life,” Ogden said.

“Athletically, Trinity’s tradition is just special. You want to continue (building) that tradition and you want to represent your school and make everyone here proud.”

Ogden is a star for both the track and field and cross county programs at Trinity. Her interest in applying for the Wendy’s Heisman program dated back to her younger days, she said.

“I can’t remember exactly when I first found out about it,” Ogden said. “I just remember hearing about people who had won it when I was younger, so I knew it was something I would want to do whenever I got to be a senior.”

In her application, Ogden was asked to write about her three biggest accomplishments in high school.

“One was scoring a 33 on the ACT. The other two were being a National Merit Semifinalist and going to Costa Rica over the summer to study abroad.”

The Duke Talent Identification Program put the Costa Rica trip together, and it allowed Ogden to study one of her biggest interests, medicine.

“I’ve been with Duke TIP since the fifth grade, and they would always send me pamphlets and information about studying abroad. I never really had any interest in doing that until this past summer.

“We studied tropical medicine, so what I learned ranged anywhere from blood diseases to ethnobiology, which looks at medicinal use of psychoactive plants and stuff like that. I learned so much — (literally) pages upon pages of notes.”

Ogden said she got involved with cross country in the seventh grade, which evolved into an interest in track and field, which she began participating in during her freshman year of high school.

“Running is just a good release from stress mostly. I’m also really competitive, and it’s something I can do by myself. I like it because it’s independent.”

Ogden said she’s applied to Vanderbilt, Rice, Washington University, Emory University and Alabama. Although she likes all schools, she said she’s holding out hope for being accepted into Vanderbilt.

“I like the city of Nashville, and I think Vanderbilt has a good size. It’s not too big or too small.

“They have a major called Medicine and Health in Society, which is kind of a blend of sciences and humanities, but I’m not quite sure yet what major I want to study.”

Ogden is sure of one thing, however: She’s ready to graduate.

“I cannot wait,” Ogden said.