Please see below recent news/updates from the Alumni Association.
Trenton Central High School Alumni Association (TCHSAA)
October 2021 Newsletter
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF ‘22!
We hope that you had a great 2021 and that you and your loved ones remain healthy of mind and body in the current environment. While many of us have survived this pandemic, known as COVID 19, the virus and its impact are by no means over. As we enter into our third year in 2022, we recognize that the “New Normal” will continue – masks, sanitary conditions, social distancing. Remember, we are all in this together. Let’s do our part.
You will notice that this newsletter is formally untitled. We are reaching out to you, as alumni, to submit a name you think would be an appropriate title for this publication. Please submit your suggestion no later than 12-31-2021 via firstname.lastname@example.org along with a 100-words or less reason why you selected the name. If you are the winning submission, you will be the recipient of a $50 gift card.
All funds raised by the TCHSAA assist students and alumni. Membership is always available and still inexpensive. In 6 months approximately 200 alumni signed up and paid their dues to become official paid members of the TCHS Alumni Association. We also have almost 5,000 alumni and friends on our FaceBook Group (Trenton Central High School Alumni Association Blog). Please join today to connect with past alums and to remain abreast of TCHS related news and events.
We need your active participation not just your dues to help the Association serve all who need us – to reach back and give back. Go to www.tchsaa.org where you can click on the enroll button, complete the form and pay for your membership online. Full membership entitles you to discounts at events and services. We are seeking merchants, services, and others to offer discounts or other incentives to our alumni. We will, in turn, allow them to post their ads on our FB blog (with thousands of registered members) and on our website. If you have a business or service, feel free to reach out and become a part of our family. Please also spread the word to those you do business with, encouraging them to become part of our TCHS alumni network. Contact us via the site above.
Prayer Chain: Prior to the first day of the new TCHS opening, we joined the community in a human prayer chain around the entire building, linked by an anointed prayer rope. Our prayer was to remove any obstacles that would harm our school or our students, and for a successful decades ahead for TCHS.
Opening: On September 9, 2019, the new TCHS officially opened. Students and leadership received a red carpet reception lined with alumni, community leaders, officials, and staff. What a wonderful and uplifting moment as we shouted words of encouragement: “the High is back”, “we got you”, “unified Tornado pride”, and “welcome home.” We welcomed the first graduating class to enter TCHS in more than 4 years. The educational opportunities being provided, the services being offered, the accommodations being made…as one Class of ’19 graduate said, “Nobody has an excuse for failure now.”
New Leadership: TCHS has new leadership and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the administration. While Hope Grant has moved on to bigger and better things, we hope (pardon the pun) that her new position with the TBOE is all that she desires.
Teen Summit: On Tuesday, June 11th and Wednesday, June 12, 2019 The Trenton Central High School Alumni Association participated in the Trenton Central High School Student Transition Summit .
The goal of the event was to unite the members of the school or community and empower them to carry the themes of the workshops back to the school population. The successful event reconnected students with each other through team building exercises as they had been scattered throughout the district during the construction of their new state of the art high school building.
Some of the activities included relay races, and two workshops. One of which was titled “PostIt”. It focused on healthy relationships, conflict resolution, bullying, and the responsible use of social media in an effort to build and maintain positive relationships and prevent harmful incidents.
The other workshop was titled ” The Challenge program.” The goal of this particular workshop was to increase personal power and self esteem, to shift dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support, and to eliminate the acceptability of teasing, violence, and all forms of oppression.
It was an honor and great pleasure for this committee to participate as volunteers. It was an awesome experience and one in which everyone who attended left empowered.
The Tornado pride we have always held has been reignited and was evident by the support and/or turnout from community and alumni at TCHS events during the past three years. Most recently we participated in the contingent that welcomed home Athing Mu, a graduate of TCHS and now a world champion olympic gold medalist. She was greeted from floats, motorcycles, fancy cars, and energized people along the parade route. She was as humble as she appears, signing autographs, chatting when she could, smiling the entire time. We wish her nothing but great and greater things ahead.
Homecoming: The TCHSAA Executive Committee and alumni were proud to march along with the TCHS band, cheerleaders, color guard, JROTC and other student groups during the last Homecoming kick-off celebration in 2019. We will continue that tradition at the October 16, 2021 Homecoming. We encourage everyone to honor social distancing and other protocols and let’s have a Tornado-of-a-time!
We are proud of and thankful to the alumni who have served when needed. Specifically, we were the security at the entrance and in seating of attendees at graduation ‘20 and ‘21 at the Thunder Waterfront Stadium. We now have identifying vests and walkie-talkies to make us a more easily identifiable and unified force. Please check our web page and FB blog for when we place the call for individuals to volunteer or join our security team.
Our first TCHSAA t-shirt fundraiser of 2019 kicked off prior to Homecoming. It was heartwarming to see the excitement and support from alumni and friends. Special thanks to the following classes that rallied to purchase our t-shirts: 61, 63, 64, 66, 69, 71, 74, 77, 84, 85, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 95, 01.
We kicked off our 2020 fundraiser efforts in February. Special thanks to the Class of ‘99 that rallied to purchase the most TCHSAA t-shirts. Class of ‘91 came in second and Class of ‘94 third. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who made a purchase or donated to the Association.
Per the Governor’s order relative to the Corona virus outbreak, NJ schools remained closed from March 2020. However, the students continued learning at home with the laptops distributed to them by the school district. The Trenton school district distributed bagged lunches at Trenton Central High School and three other city locations as the Board of Education tried to fill those food gaps caused by the school closings connected to the Corona virus outbreak. The schools have now reopened with a choice of remote learning or in-class instruction. We are praying for the best.
We look forward to your engagement and partnership in keeping the alumni, the community and the school connected with each other. This includes our ongoing voter registration drives at the new TCHS and other events where you will find us. Visit our FaceBook page for more information about these initiatives. Please also remember to also visit our website, tchsaa.org, which includes a new history site, as well as more information about what is going on. You also have the ability to sign up to become an official paid member of TCHS Alumni Association.
TCHS Alumni Litter Patrol (ALP)
Shortly after the new school opened, we observed the trash accumulating on and around the new grounds. The TCHS Alumni Association decided to adopt the perimeter of the school to keep it free of trash and debris. Based on weather conditions, we conducted several clean up patrols and look to do more. We had some amazing volunteers come out and we enjoyed the camaraderie as we patrolled the grounds picking up bags and bags of trash. If you would like to volunteer to be a part of this ongoing effort to keep our school fresh and clean, reach out to us via email: email@example.com.
Jenna Figuerora Kettenburg – Class of ‘99
Jenna has resided in Trenton her entire life. She attended Trenton public schools including the Gifted and Talented program at Joyce Kilmer Elementary. There, she had the opportunity to learn a sense of independence and to continue to learn new and compelling things about the opportunities afforded to her.
At Trenton High, she was a member of EXCEL, The National Honors Society, drama club, varsity soccer, softball, and the debate team, among other things. She also “had some pretty awesome teachers.” The EXCEL program allowed a select few to take accredited college courses at MCCC which helped prepare her for college. She found the experience invaluable. Jenna also participated in Trenton State College’s College Bound Program. Those five weeks of experiencing on campus college life each summer was stimulating and taught her independence.
Jenna subsequently attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick majoring in Administration of Justice (BS) with minors in Communications and Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Caribbean Studies. She interned at the Public Defender’s Office, Trial Unit in Middlesex County and eight months after graduation, she was offered a position with that office. Two years later, she obtained a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. Jenna was then employed with Trenton’s Public Defender’s Office, where she has been for more than 16 years.
At the end of 2017, Jenna ran for Trenton City Council because of her passion, drive and love of her city. Sadly, her father died right after that election. However, through the electoral process she learned why she remains in and a part of the City. “The endearing qualities of so many in this city is what gives me and so many others hope.”
In 2021 Jenna was promoted to Supervisor of Investigations/ Assistant Director of the Conflict Investigations Unit with Division of Children and Families.
Jenna currently serves on the TCHS Alumni Association leading the Outreach/Latino Outreach Committee. She also serves as an Executive Board Member of the Latino Merchants Association and the Trenton Executive Board Committee with Kinder Smile.
Jenna believes in being a part of the solution rather than the problem. By remaining in Trenton, she is able to show others including those she grew up with that it is possible to be from Trenton, do well and remain a part of the city she loves. Jenna believes that anything is possible for anyone. “Opportunities are out there, the only one holding us back is ourselves.”
For our upcoming TCHS graduates, her message is this: “Never be too cool to meet new people and form associations. Try new things because you never know what you may like or be good at and what you can excel at. Never think you cannot compete with the next person. We have far more challenges as Trentonians and you are a survivor – you can overcome every last one. You will be amazed what you can overcome. Aim high, work hard, but don’t forget to have fun. Your imminent success will be more rewarding that way!”
Shindell Hairtson-Johnson – Class of ‘88
Shindell is a proud Trenton Central High School alumnus. She is the third generation in her family to attend the legendary Trenton High. During her high school career, she was an honor roll student and a member of the junior varsity/varsity Tornado cheerleading team. Her favorite memories gained at the “High” were meeting her lifelong sister-friends (with whom she remains in contact) and her “high school sweetheart”, Gamar Johnson, to whom she has been married 25 years. They have two children Gamar Johnson Jr. and Jazlyn Johnson, as well as two beautiful grandchildren Layla and Aviyanna Johnson.
Shindell continues to serve the City of Trenton as a Correction Officer at Mercer County Corrections Center, New Jersey State Prison and the Central Medical Unit. In 2011, she was nominated by the Department of Corrections as Officer of the Year for her devotion and commitment of service. Employed with the Department for 25 years, Shindell plans to retire early in 2021. In addition, she is a member of the PBA Local 105 Women in Blue and the Trenton Central High School Class of ‘88 Reunion Committee. Aside from her career and involvement with the community, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also loves to dance and listen to music of all genres. Shindell is honored to have the privilege to serve in her own community.
Shindell’s advice to future TCHS alumni: “Go out and conquer the world but never forget to come back to pour love, knowledge and wisdom into the City of Trenton.”