Aliana Fuller | Guest Writer
What is your worst fear? For Jenn Long, it was a house fire. Ironically, that fear became a tragic reality. On July 9, 2020, Jenn was tucking her son into bed when they heard a big bang come from the garage. Her husband ran to see what had happened and when he opened the door, black smoke came billowing in the house. She and her family ran outside, and although they were safe, they lost all their belongings and their home to the black smoky fire.
Long was in shock. “We were expecting a small garage fire, and then things exploded, and then it just kept going and going, and we were just standing there in shock.” The Long family lived in a hotel for over ten months. “I think you just live through it because you don’t have a choice,” Long said.
This experience was just one of the difficulties Long has experienced. She battled cancer, the loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, infertility, the list goes on. However, Long does not let these difficulties get in the way of her success. “I feel like my life has been attacked in every way, but you can go through a lot and not have it kill you,” Long says. She is a mother to a beautiful 9-year-old boy Kellen. Long will be graduating summa cum laude this fall from the University of Phoenix with a Master of Psychology. She advocates for mental health awareness and believes there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to therapy and medication. She is also a life-changing teacher at Skyridge High School.
According to her students, Long’s classroom is a haven from the trials of everyday life. Whether they have a difficult home life, are struggling with mental health, or even just need a piece of candy, Long is there for her students and always lends a listening ear. “I try to treat all my students like they’re my own kid,” she explained.
She has compassion and empathy for each of her students and cares for them like a mother. She has had three students tell her that her influence has saved them this year. “For somebody to be like, ‘I was planning on ending my life, and then I met you, and I got to know you, and you kept me alive.’ I’m glad I could be that impactful for somebody,” she said.
Long is an example of an ordinary person demonstrating extraordinary courage. Lehi can find personal empowerment through the courage of people like Jenn Long.