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.

Sara Tovar, a student at Herriman High School, reads a letter from her teacher Troy Jensen.

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.

Troy Jensen teaches American Government and Civic Responsibility at Herriman High School.

“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.

DIGITAL EXTRA:

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

...
Tamara Vaifanua

Salt Lake Co. offers workshop for teens struggling with body image

For the first time, Salt Lake County Youth Services is offering a free workshop for teens who struggle with body image issues.
12 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

KSL+ One man’s heart-shaped mission to prevent suicide

Mental health challenges continue across the state. This week, the story of one man’s mission to prevent suicide with reminders that people matter.
19 days ago
...
Ayanna Likens

You can call or text new mental health resource (988)

The nation’s newest mental health resource isn’t just a phone call service – you can text it, too.
1 month ago
The number for the national suicide prevention hotline, 988....
Ayanna Likens

Utah’s connection to a national 3-digit suicide prevention hotline

It will soon be easier than ever to connect with mental health professionals across the country during a crisis as the three-digit phone number, 988, launches this Saturday.
1 month ago
Posters at the Department of Health and Human Services offers advice on preventing and getting over...
Jed Boal

How community postvention tool kit helps communities after a suicide

How our communities respond after a suicide death matters and that's why the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition created an online tool kit to help.
1 month ago
LGBTQ teens at an Encircle activity....
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Parents’ support key to mental health among LGBTQ+ youth, experts say

Nearly 20 percent of adults in the U.S. live with a mental health condition. In the LGBTQ+ community, that number is three times higher. Experts say family support is crucial to an adolescents’ mental health.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
After a heartbreaking year, a Herriman High teacher personally reaches out to 200 students