WFAA names 2022 valedictorian Jenna Wade Scholar-Athlete of the Year
June 8, 2022
Jenna Wade is a triple threat in academics, athletics and art.
WFAA Channel 8 Anchor Jonah Javad made a special trip to Greenville High School this week to meet 2022 valedictorian Jenna Wade, who was just named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year!
Javad and his crew set up lights and cameras to interview Jenna, her coaches and her parents and to explore what drives her in three areas: academics, athletics and art. Tune in to WFAA's 10 p.m. newscast Thursday, June 9, to see the story, which is also scheduled to air at 11 p.m. Sunday, June 12, on the High School Sports Special program.
In May, Jenna graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 2022. She received the Superintendent’s Scholar honor for three years and participated in the National Honor Society.
In addition to her academic achievements, Jenna has always had a love for art, and her painting of a lion was chosen for the GISD employee birthday card in 2020.
GHS art teacher Bill Shiflet says Jenna’s work is “always mind-blowing. She never does the expected.”
Jenna is also an accomplished athlete.
She played volleyball at GHS for four years and was a team captain her senior year. She earned academic all-state and all-district her senior year and was named an Outstanding All-State Senior. She also played basketball, softball and ran track.
“She makes us proud every day,” Amy Wade, Jenna’s mother, said. “She’s very conscientious about others and wanting to help others. Fighting for the underdog, but never wanting anyone to notice.”
“I think she likes the competitiveness of the sports, yet she’s a good sport,” Amy Wade said. “You can watch her on the court, whether it’s basketball, whether it’s volleyball, she’s lifting her team members up. She’s keeping the vibe. She’s keeping everybody going. In my opinion, that is a better quality than being the most skilled athlete on the court.”
Amy and Jeff Wade discuss Jenna's character and her love of art and sports.
When asked which she loves more, art or sports, Jenna said it would be an impossible choice.
“(Both are) a way for me to make somebody else happy,” Jenna said.
Jenna said she thrives on the roar of a crowd during a game, and it also fills her heart to surprise a friend or loved one with a painting she has created just for them.
Jenna’s father Jeff Wade sees her art as an “avenue for her to express herself,” while her athletic pursuits provide her a connection and sense of camaraderie with her friends.
Jenna's club and high school volleyball coaches, Gary and Jenna Sickels, speak to WFAA's Jonah Javad about the younger Jenna's personality and athletic prowess.
Jenna’s club volleyball coach, Gary Sickels, described Jenna as “an exceptional, special human” and as someone who will succeed in any path she chooses.
“I have no doubt that whatever she’s going to do, she’s going to be good at it,” Gary Sickels said.
GHS volleyball head coach Jenna Sickels speculates that one day, there might be a different Jenna coaching the Lady Lions on the volleyball court.
“She keeps telling me she’s coming after my job,” Jenna Sickels said with a laugh. “She tells me to get ready to retire by the time she’s done with college.”
Having known the younger Jenna since she was 8 years old, Jenna Sickels knows the team would be in good hands if her prediction comes true.
Although graduation was only a couple weeks ago, Jenna Wade already has an eye on her future.
“If it was possible, I’d love to be an art teacher and a coach,” Jenna Wade said. “I’ve never seen that before.”
And she’s not stopping there.
“One of my dreams is to open up a business here, have like a coffee shop,” Jenna Wade said, adding that after hours, she could teach “art lessons, like a paint-with-me kind of thing.”
Jenna will attend East Texas Baptist University in the fall to major in kinesiology and minor in art and mathematics and play volleyball. She has received an Honor’s Scholarship and a Christian Leadership Scholarship.
Jenna Wade says it would be impossible to say which she loves more: athletics or art.