Big Walnut’s ‘Jessie’ Wenger eyes Sports Management career
By BRECK J. HAPNER
For The Sunbury News
A famous literary adage states “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.” Big Walnut High School senior Jessica “Jessie” Wenger has rewritten this to declare “Let me not to the marriage of true disciplines admit impediments.”
Using insight, experience, diligence and dedication, Jessie has striven to combine her love for high school and community activities, sports and business into a college pathway leading to a future career.
During her junior year, Jessie visited Baldwin Wallace University where she learned about a sports management program binding together everything she had been working on over the past four years. At that moment, Jessie said, she knew what she wanted to do. The fusion of disciplines was perfect, she said.
Although the pathway was arduous at times, Jessie kept her goal in sight, building school and community leadership and service skills.
“I try to live up to the Big Walnut reputation,” Jessie said, “where we take care of our obligations and responsibilities to everything and everyone. We are all very connected here.”
A good example of this philosophy is Jessie’s involvement in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. She mentors and creates therapeutic activities for those who possess a social disability, may not have a good home life, or just need assistance in some other area, such as with homework. Every Monday, Jessie works with a student from Big Walnut Middle School.
“I am a “Big” for a girl who is great,” Jessie said. “She is very energetic but has trouble making friends and getting her studies completed. I am the person she turns to and I try to always be there for her.”
Jessie takes her service to others seriously. Always a team player, she has been able to benefit others while symbiotically strengthening herself. With the Eagles First Flight club, Jessie teaches incoming freshmen about the demands and expectations of high school, also providing advice and homework assistance. In Mu Alpha Delta, the mathematics honor society, Jessie tutors students in one of her future college specialties.
“I have always been good at math,” Jessie said, “and I enjoy helping others. I have been tutoring many sophomores who must take the Ohio Graduation Test.”
Mathematics instructor Katherine Dawson said Jessie has been doing well in AP Calculus and is an asset to the class because she is willing and able to ask clarifying questions, which in turn helps other students.
“Although she is involved with many different things, nothing suffers,” Dawson said. “When Jessica commits to something, she is reliable and responsible.”
Elected senior class secretary by her peers, Jessie tries to lead, manage and organize by example. She is working on the class gift to the school and graduation along with the National Honor Society, setting up the invitations, speakers, caps and gowns.
“Because of my class position and collaboration, I also won the National Honor Society secretary appointment a month ago,” Jessie said.
In keeping with the tenants of school spirit and support, Jessie has participated in the Big Walnut Jazz, Marching and Pep Bands, playing trumpet.
“This year, the marching band went to States, performing at the University of Dayton Arena,” Jessie said. “It was a great experience thanks to everyone participating and our director, Craig Porter.”
Closest to Jessie’s heart is varsity soccer, which she has lettered in all four years as a Golden Eagle in the defender and center/midfielder positions. As senior year soccer captain, Jessie credits her coach, Drew Pitzer and her teammates with the revival of the squad.
“We went from only winning four games last year to a winning season this year, making it to the second round of the tournament,” Jessie said. “We really took a team that was falling apart and made it a family.”
Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp said Jessie sets an individual standard that all Big Walnut athletes should strive to achieve.
“Jessie is hardworking, passionate, coachable and a leader in our programs,” Glesenkamp said. “When young ladies are looking for role models, look no further than Jessie Wenger.”
Jessie has also spent the last 10 years playing the club soccer circuit, traveling all over Ohio with coach Marilee Oldfield, an illuminating teacher and major influence for Jessie.
“Marilee was the one who really started inspiring me to be a leader,” Jessie said. “She really pulled it out of me, causing me not to look back. I now always feel like it’s my job to take on and try to fix things, to be a role model for my peers and the community.”
Planning to attend Otterbein College in the fall, Jessie wants to double-major in sports management and accounting while pursuing a minor in business. Jessie explained that she wants to take advantage of her talent at math in undergraduate school to secure future employment, though she nurses bigger ambitions.
“My big dream is working for the NFL or Major League Soccer in the business financial, organizational and management areas,” Jessie said, “and my realistic dream is working as an athletic director for a university.”
Jessie said she is excited about attending college and feels like it is time to move on. She admits she will miss her friends but is ready to make new acquaintances.
“I’m excited about focusing on college soccer, classes, my career and my future,” Jessie said. “I’m ready.”