Jasmyn Kaiwa

Henderson Bay High School senior overcomes personal challenges, focuses on her future as a mom

Students of DistinctionApril 9, 2014 

Jasmyn Kaiwa will graduate from high school with a 3.2 grade-point average and is looking forward to continuing her education at a community college.

None of that seemed possible a few years ago. Kaiwa, who works full time, has been active in leadership roles at Henderson Bay. She also is a mother of two — a 3-year-old girl and a 5-month-old boy.

“Jasmyn is very caring and patient with her children,” said Margaret Loe, the director of the Cottesmore Child Development Center, located at Henderson Bay. “She has learned to put their needs ahead of her own.”

Kaiwa grew up around physical abuse and drugs, and she saw her life spiral downhill while she was in middle school as she became addicted to drugs when she was 13. Kaiwa spent a lot of time in school suspensions and hanging out with older friends who were negative influences.

Despite being treated at rehabilitation centers twice, Kaiwa continued to use drugs. She dropped out of school when she was in eighth grade. As a high school freshman, Kaiwa stopped her drug abuse but continued to receive poor grades. She got pregnant with her daughter when she was 15. That was a turning point.

“I changed my thinking,” Kaiwa said. “I realized I needed to get in gear.”

Kaiwa continued to take classes while she was on maternity leave with both her children, and she took extra credits to catch up. Her grades increased dramatically.

“It was a matter of applying myself and realizing school was important,” she said.

Kaiwa’s teachers speak highly of her. They describe her as an intelligent person who takes initiative in her work.

“I find Jasmyn to be a bright, dependable, likeable young woman with a desire to be a good parent,” said Marilyn Boyle, a Henderson Bay High School teen parent program teacher. “With determination, she has developed her ability to combine her roles as a student, worker and parent successfully. She came to Henderson Bay High School after a difficult personal journey and is now ready to move on to further her education.”

Kaiwa plans to attend Tacoma Community College and pursue a career in medical sonography. Her goal is to work as an ultrasound technician.

Jasmyn Kaiwa

Category: Overcoming Adversity

Education: Senior, Henderson Bay High School

GPA: 3.2

Parent: Stephanie Colburn

Activities/achievements: Leadership class (two years); Student of the Month; employed; mother of two.

Favorite teacher: George Palo, core teacher, “because he has helped me accomplish many things outside of school.”

Best thing about high school: “They have given me the opportunity to grow as a person and have been there for me through personal issues. They helped me get to the point of graduation.”

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