Beta’s Chicken Nugget: Jennifer Tejada

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Beta’s Chicken Nugget: Jennifer Tejada

Jennifer is officially an upperclassman.

Jennifer is officially an upperclassman.

Photo by Herff Jones Miami

Jennifer is officially an upperclassman.

Photo by Herff Jones Miami

Photo by Herff Jones Miami

Jennifer is officially an upperclassman.

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Her medical problems frequently keep her out of school, but she always bounces back. Indeed, she is among the top 10 students in the class of 2017. Ms. Jennifer Patricia Tejada Fino is a dedicated, brilliant, and ambitious young lady.

The Future

With a 4.0 un-weighted, 4.87 weighted, GPA, Jennifer has her eye on the future and wants to be a lawyer. However, her Plan B is to be a paralegal. “If I were to stay in Florida, it would be an honor to go to the University of Miami, but my dream is to go to Columbia University,” she said.

While at Shenandoah Middle School, she specifically chose Miami High for its law magnet. “I always knew that being a lawyer was what I wanted to do. I love debating, and I always have to be right,” she said.

She enjoys how the Law Magnet gives her opportunities to participate in field trips and gets to meet actual attorneys who come to Miami High and share their insight.

Jennifer’s main goal is to become known and to make a mark in this world. Her other long term goals are to be financially stable and to take care of her mother who has been through so much. Jennifer said, “I also want to start an organization for kids who have gone through hardships such as bullying, eating disorders, household problems, depression, anything, to help them because I’ve been in their shoes.”

“Won’t Hold Me Back”

Jennifer was diagnosed with chronic migraines in 2010. “It started off with simple headaches, and as the years have gone by my auras—telltale symptoms that a migraine is approaching—have gotten worse,” she said. Jennifer’s auras now consist of a metallic taste in her mouth, dizziness and nausea, fainting episodes, numbness in her mouth and face, and tremors of the hand and feet.

In 2013, she was diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. “I don’t eat, fearing it will make me throw up, and starving myself doesn’t help me to lose weight,” said Jennifer. “It’s basically me that causes harm to my own being.”

Dealing with gastro problems is challenging. “I’ve always had an image problem, and I got treated for it with programs, and I had a nutritionist to help me learn now to eat and get back on track,” said Jennifer. Now, she is lactose-intolerant and cannot eat spicy food, greasy food, anything citrusy, meat or chicken. “I only eat turkey and seafood,” she said. Her favorite food is honey chicken. “Even though I cannot eat it, it’s the best creation on this planet,” said Jennifer.

Her migraines and gastrointestinal problems are linked. “I’ve had migraines for 6 years so I’ve had to take a lot of different pain-killers, which damaged my stomach lining,” she said. “And throwing up so much also played a role and led to my acid reflux.”

Dealing with migraines is tough. “I take it day by day, every day,” said Jennifer. “It’s one of the most difficult things to manage because the more auras I have, the more disabled I become. I didn’t go to school for two weeks in December because of how excruciating the migraine was.”

The more severe the migraine, the less active Jennifer becomes. What triggers Jennifer’s migraines is stress and lack of sleep. In getting a migraine, she misses school, which puts her behind in all classes. When she goes back to school, she stresses and loses sleep doing make-up work and studying to catch up. “I stress and stay awake regularly,” said Jennifer. “When I miss, it’s double the intensity which causes me to get a migraine again. It’s a never-ending cycle.”

Migraines are misunderstood. “What most people don’t get about my migraines is that they believe that everything is mental. For example, they say if I just believe that there will be no pain, then it’ll be so. And that’s not really the case here,” said Jennifer. “If it were mental, I wouldn’t have them.”

The 504 plan is a school plan that protects children with medical needs. “In my case, I have the plan registered with my chronic migraines,” said Jennifer. Her plan suggests that she go to the clinic whenever she has a headache; she must receive extra time for assignments and tests; and teachers must understand that she has many difficulties concentrating.

Every year Jennifer must renew her 504 plan, with updated information from her neurologist, so teachers can be aware of her condition and the consequences of her migraines.

Perfect 4.0

In spite of her illnesses, she does great in school. “I’m taking AP English Composition, AP Capstone Research, Dual Enrollment Foundations of Fitness, and Italian 3 Honors, all classes that are very challenging, but I seem to excel in,” she said. Jennifer’s goals for this year are to keep her grades up and to start thinking about college and getting scholarships.

Jennifer’s least favorite subject is history. “This subject is super boring, and it has to do with a lot of memorization,” she said. “However, my favorite subject is math because ever since I was small, I loved numbers. It comes naturally to me.”

Extra-Curricular

Jennifer is Corresponding Secretary in the Beta Honor Society club where her duty is to text all juniors with reminders of socials, services, community service opportunities, and anything members must know about.

Texting is every teen’s life—who would’ve thought it’d be hard? Jennifer says that the hardest part of being corresponding secretary is making sure all members get the texts, updating their information if it has been changed, and getting the members to actually text back.

The best part of being in Beta, in general, is how Jennifer has built a family away from home with the officers. “I help my president with whatever he needs,” she said. “I love the bond that I have with my officers who help me always, in Beta or out.”

Beta is a family tradition. “My mother (class of ‘89), along with my brother (’12), and cousins (’13 and ’15) were Betas, so I joined because it’s a family legacy to be part of the best club at Miami High,” said Jennifer. “Beta is everything to me. It’s basically my life, everything I do revolves around Beta.”

In the new Law and Leadership Honor Society (LLHS), Jennifer is vice-president where her duty is to help the president. “When she is not able to attend meetings, I take over in her place,” Jennifer said.

The best part about LLHS for Jennifer is that it’s a law club. “Considering I want to be a lawyer, and having an advisor (Ms. Davelyn Suarez) that is studying law, and having opportunities to meet all these great attorneys and officials can open doors, provide insight and will look good on a transcript.”

In Circolo Italiano Jennifer is the treasurer where she deals with the money from fund-raising, club dues, and t-shirt sales, etc. Jennifer likes how this helps you learn to be responsible or else.

“However, the riskiest part about being treasurer is that I have to make sure never to lose money and to have paper work of all the money coming in or it’s all on me,” she said. “And I’d have to find a way to pay the money back if I lost any, no exceptions.”

The Real Jennifer Fino

Jennifer was born in Kendall Regional Hospital here in Miami on February 5th 1999, making her an Aquarius. Her mother is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Her favorite movie is Scary Movie (2000). “I can watch it over and over again,” she said. Her favorite T.V. show is “Chopped”—a cooking show where chefs compete for a prize. Jennifer’s favorite color is blue, and her favorite hobby is swimming.

Family is everything to Jennifer. “My family is very big and united,” she said. “For sure, every single holiday we will be together, eat together, and dance the night away.” Jennifer lives with her mother, her older brother, his wife and their daughter. “I’d do anything and everything for them. We tell each other everything and our only policy is ‘No lies or secrets.’”

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