HEALTHY MIND MATTERS
After a heartbreaking year, a Herriman High teacher personally reaches out to 200 students
May 16, 2018, 5:17 PM | Updated: May 17, 2018, 6:34 pm
HERRIMAN, Utah — This may be Troy Jensen’s first year teaching at Herriman High School, but that says nothing about his ability to connect with each of his students.
Over the past year, the Herriman community has lost eight teens to suicide, according to Herriman High principal Jim Birch.
The night after learning about the latest loss, Jensen felt compelled to do something special.
Unable to sleep, Jensen said, “I got out of bed and I ran over to Walmart and I bought 200 little cards.”
Jensen, who teaches American Government and Civic Responsibility, wrote an individual letter to each one of his 200 students which he handed out the next day.
One of his students, Sara Tovar, described the students’ reaction. “We came to class and we got these letters. We all just opened them individually. You could see our faces like, ‘Wow! Oh my gosh. Somebody cares about us.’”
Sara was among a few students who shared their letters with KSL.
Her letter read, “Sara, thank you for all your hard work and dedication. You truly are an amazing individual. Thank you for your passion and your corrective nature. You truly will achieve great things. Mr. Jensen.”
To Calli Dietrick, Jensen wrote, “Thank you for being such an exuberant, high-spirited human being. I’ve been lucky to have you in my class. Don’t stop fighting for greatness. Mr. Jensen.”
To another student he said, “You are a very bright and charismatic individual. Don’t stop striving for success. You are going to move mountains one day. Mr. Jensen.”
Jensen said he stayed up until almost 3:00 a.m. writing the individualized notes.
“I don’t know what these kids come home to everyday and I want my classroom to be a safe environment,” said Jensen.
Students said his efforts were worth it.
“It meant a lot because it was the day after we lost another Mustang so it was just really emotional and hard for everyone,” said Calli.
Jensen concluded one student’s letter, “Be safe and ride on my friend.”
Kaden Duncan said it meant a lot to him because he rides his motorcycle every day to school, and it showed Jensen had taken note of each students’ interests.
“I’ve never seen another teacher do that before,” said Kaden.
“I love everything about teaching, Jensen said. “This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life.”
And after this special deed, his students went home knowing how much their teacher cares.