Never too lateJennifer Sheuer didn't have a clear path to success.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Jennifer Sheuer didn't have a clear path to success.
Placed in foster care at age 14, she was split up from her two younger siblings who attend different schools. She moved around, often having to play the role of adult.
"She was never really able to be a kid," said Kathy Clemens, her step-mother of three years.
Scheuer's grades suffered throughout much of her career at Red Wing High School, where Scheuer arrived after leaving her native Pine Island.
"She has come from some circumstances that not every kid could overcome," said Pam Johnson, a youth outreach worker at Red Wing High School.
And then came her senior year.
"At some time, I just started to think about my future," Sheuer said.
That seemed to do the trick. The Ds turned into As.
High school officials say Scheuer turned over a new leaf the past year and grew into an example for fellow students.
"Other kids look up to her for the choices she makes," said Principal Beth Borgen.
Scheuer graduates Friday with a renewed sense of responsibility - and a greater sense of purpose. She plans on attending Rochester Community and Technical College in the fall, where she will study to become a social worker.
Those who have followed her journey at Red Wing High School say Scheuer's success story proves it's never too late to finish strong.
"She pulled herself up by her bootstraps," Borgen said.
Scheuer recalls an especially rough patch when she and her siblings were separated.
"It was all a blur," she said.
She said support from her foster parents, Kathy and Kevin Clemens of Welch, has been "absolutely incredible." Over the past year, Scheuer has "really settled into our family," Kathy Clemens said.
"She has gone from a young, unhappy, distrustful person to a beautiful young woman who loves life and has a good outlook on life," she said.
Johnson, who worked with Scheuer in the outreach program for the past year, said there never appeared to be an "a-ha" moment for the 18-year-old. It was a gradual revelation.
"She's been given a lot of encouragement," Johnson said. "She discovered that she could do it."
Johnson and Kathy Clemens praised Sheuer's pursuit of social work, saying Scheuer's experiences will foster empathy for others' situations.
"I think she'd probably do it better than anybody," Johnson said.