With COVID-19, this year was difficult for most students, but Jaden had the added challenge of spending part of it on house arrest. But overcoming his past mistakes is the thing he is most proud of. “I was able to overcome this and used the time to really kick in with my studies and make the most of my senior year. It was a harsh reality but I came out the other side and am on top of my game!” He added, “I am lucky to have a very supportive family who always has my back.”
“Jaden has made the most of his time at the South Education Center and has been determined to not only graduate but also attend college,” said Ms. Rutherford, one of his staff members. “He has done remarkably well during the challenge of distance learning during the pandemic and was our most dependable student. He logged in and sought us out for help and afterward he did what so few students think to do—he thanked us!”
One of Jaden’s favorite courses was culinary arts, which he took at Hennepin Technical College. He enrolled in the course because he has always liked to cook. “When I was like 3 or 4-years old, my brother taught me how to cook eggs,” he explained. And it grew from there. After graduating, he plans to attend college and take more Culinary Arts courses—although his dream job is to be part of a CSI team! Jaden is also working two jobs, so he has had to learn how to balance a busy schedule while still focusing on his education.
Of course, there is also a fun-loving side to him. He enjoys playing basketball and when asked what reality TV show he would most like to appear on, the answer was a resounding: “Oh, American Ninja Warrior! I mean come on!” If he could travel anywhere, he would visit Puerto Rico and if he could meet anyone, he would most like to have met Tupac Shakur because “he was the king of hip-hop in the ’90s, which led to the great Black music scene of today,” he explains.