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Teen Face: Vanesa Trejo has 2-year head start on peers

  • Vanesa Trejo graduated from high school from Redwood Academy of Ukiah while also getting her associates degree through Mendocino College. Trejo has plans to study business at Santa Rosa Junior College. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

High school graduation is a significant turning point in a student’s life, a marker of a child turning into an adult amid strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” and parents shouldering each other to get the best shot of their child as he or she walks across the stage.

For the student, it represents a chance to finally relax and take in one last summer before entering the real world.

But for Vanesa Trejo, it was a little more hectic May 23.

The 18-year-old Ukiah resident graduated that morning with honors from Charter Academy of the Redwoods, and then later that night received her associate’s degree from Mendocino Community College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

The two degrees capped Trejo’s hard work, starting at age 13, of taking college courses along with her regular school studies, including summer and online classes.

“It’s not her style to coast — ever,” said Redwood Principal Elna Gordon.

Trejo will have a two-year head start over most of her peer group when she starts this week at San Francisco State University, majoring in business with a concentration in marketing with hopes of becoming a fashion buyer for a clothing or department store.

“I actually do like being busy all the time,” Trejo said.

Despite the heavy academic workload, Trejo was able to carve out time for other activities, including working with the local Rotary Club to raise funds to buy guitars for military personnel and provide financial assistance for a Mexican orphanage.

“I never once heard her complain about her workload,” Gordon said. “My impression overall is she is a phenomenal human being who can handle more than most teenagers.”


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