NEW FRANKLIN  With just more than a year to go until she officially ships out to start her career in the Navy, Jenna Vincent is working hard to make the most of her time.

As she makes her way through the summer before her senior yer, Vincent is working as hard as a high school student possibly could with two jobs alongside her training schedule for cross country this fall. She previously worked as a game-day staff member for the Akron Racers fast pitch softball team for its home games at Firestone Stadium, but beginning in early June, she added a full-time job at Martins Steel Fabricating in Clinton to her schedule.

“I did a two-day shadowing here through the summer through (Portage Lakes Career Center) when we had to do a job outview day, so I came here because my brother works here,” Vincent said.

Rather than dip her toe into the working world, Vincent has taken on a 40-hour-a-week schedule, doing welding and structural work that sees her weld pieces together, sand and paint them. Ironically, she doesn’t go to PLCC for welding, but rather for the firefighting academy at the school.

When she did her shadowing experience at the shop, she picked up on welding quickly and got a job offer for this summer. The job slid in alongside her weekend work with the Racers and although having two jobs and trying to get her running in each day makes for some long weeks, Vincent doesn’t mind missing out on the summer of relaxation so many high school students look forward to once school ends.

“It’s very busy and it takes a lot of my time, but it’s rewarding at the endow the week because I know I’m doing what I was raised to do, which is to work hard and do what you believe is right,” Vincent said. “It’s nice … it’s teaching me a lot. I’ve learned different ways of welding, I’ve learned a lot of things through here. A lot of people have helped me learn.”

Among the things she’s learned is how many people are needed to complete a large project. Bigger tasks typically require at least three people, one to cut, another to prep and weld and a third to paint and finish the job. Teamwork is an essential part of the projects the shop does for major companies such as Nationwide and while she can’t go out on trips to work because she’s still a minor, Vincent has gotten to see the early stages of some of those projects as they take shape in the shop.

Outside of work, she’s getting ready to sign her papers for the Navy, which is where she’ll be headed in about a year once she graduates. While she’s in the delayed entry program, Vincent knows that shortly after graduation, she’ll be shipping out to start her military career.

She’s hopeful that her fire academy training at PLCC will allow her to eventually work in the fire, rescue or emergency response fields within the Navy. Because she’s in the delayed entry program, her ship-out date could be a few weeks after graduation or it could be three months afterward, but either way, she has to be ready to meet the fitness standards for the military.

She’s working hard this summer to save up money before graduation, but she’s also working hard to get ready for what she hopes will be a successful senior cross country season. Because she starts work at 7 a.m., that means rising early and getting out to run before she heads to the shop.

“In the morning I run between a 5K and 6K … I run around the roads in my neighborhood and sometimes I’ll run up to the track and do a sprint workout there and then I run back to my house,” Vincent said, noting that her teammates and the rivals against whom she’ll run this fall probably aren’t out on the road that early. “I don’t see too many people … I see people here and there … I don’t think many of them are up at 5 a.m. It is summer and I’m working my whole summer, so not many people are working as many hours as I am. “

With all the work she’s putting in, the one thing Vincent could most use as the summer wears on is a nice vacation where she and her family could get away and relax for a week or so. Unfortunately, that may not materialize because like her, the rest of her family is busy working 40 hours a week and whether or not the family can take a vacation will depend on everyone’s ability to line up their schedules for a trip.

Relaxation may not be on the menu, but given the busy life ahead once she joins the Navy and goes through training and her first assignment in the military, Vincent’s packed summer should be good preparation for what’s next. 

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
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