Ledyard — Elaina Jantzi admits highschool had not been essentially the most nice expertise for her at first, however by her senior 12 months she started making extra associates, popping out of her shell and assembly what she described as “her individuals.”
Jantzi, 18, is one of the 194 college students who graduated from Ledyard High School on June 17. The Gallup Hill Road resident has needed to cope with difficulties in forming friendships with individuals.
Her mom, Hilary, mentioned she observed one thing wasn’t fairly proper together with her daughter when she was in elementary college. “Therapists first thought Elaina had anxiousness points, however we by no means noticed that,” she mentioned. “She was at all times the happiest child. My first reminiscences of her was she at all times needed to make us chortle. As she bought older, although, she did not perceive that sufficient is sufficient. With her friends, she would go overboard and did not know when to cease. In highschool, it transitioned into despair.”
Jantzi was identified in 2020 with autism spectrum dysfunction, that means it was tough for her to determine acceptable social queues. “It was an iffy time socially,” she mentioned. “I by no means actually discovered a bunch of associates at college that I might affiliate with after college, or exit to eat or to a film.”
“Elaina additionally was delicate to loud noises, so she was hesitant to go to live shows or films,” mentioned her mom. “I at all times needed to take her to live shows, and she or he did go to Chicago to see her favourite group on the time, BTS.”
Jantzi and her household, which incorporates an older sister, spent the primary two years of her life in Navy housing in Groton, earlier than they moved to Omaha, Nebraska. It was in Nebraska that she developed a love of animals, working at an animal rescue facility named Roscoe’s Rescue Ranch. She additionally participated in equine remedy periods whereas there.
“She would do issues like using horses backwards,” Jantzi’s mom mentioned. These have been generally known as “belief workouts,” the place one learns to belief the animal and to guide the horse.
The household moved to Ledyard in 2016, when Jantzi was 13, and her involvement with animals grew. She volunteered at animal rescue services comparable to Horses Healing Humans in Stonington and Kitty Harbor in Griswold. She additionally was enrolled within the Agri-Science program at Ledyard High, the place, as a faculty challenge, she taught a rooster learn how to maneuver a canine agility course.
“My junior 12 months in this system, everybody had to decide on an animal to coach. While different college students selected donkeys, alpacas, and sheep, I selected a rooster,” Jantzi defined with amusing. She really skilled a pair of chickens, and knitted sweaters and harnesses for them. Both did fairly properly on the agility course.
It was from right here that Jantzi and her household began elevating chickens within the yard of their residence. A rooster coop was constructed final 12 months, and it at the moment homes seven very pleasant chickens, who will sit in your lap in case you allow them to. “These birds have been raised in our laps,” Jantzi’s mom mentioned. “They have been raised within the rest room and in our mud room, earlier than shifting to the coop. They wish to snuggle. They’re very calm and really calming for Elaina.”
Provisions have been made to discourage predators. The coop is securely lined in sturdy rooster wire, which works 3 ft underground. The coop has three path cameras to watch any issues. Jantzi’s mom mentioned the household has seen predators, together with bobcats, “But the chickens will let you realize if there’s bother. Nothing besides a bear or human will get by means of that coop.”
All eggs have been donated to nonprofit teams, together with the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, the Ledyard Food Pantry and Safe Futures, a nonprofit in New London that assists victims of home violence within the area. Right now, the eggs are being bought as a fundraiser for the Christmas Pajama Drive run by the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, the place Jantzi’s dad and mom each work.
“Animals are quite a bit simpler to grasp than people,” Jantzi mentioned. “But as a lot as I like animals, there’s much more issues with people interacting with one another. I need to assist resolve conflicts, whether or not it is between associates, neighbors, relations or organizations. I do not like watching individuals combat each other.”
That’s why the Ledyard High grad shall be attending George Mason University in Virginia this fall, pursuing research in human rights, peace and battle, and prison legislation. “What higher manner (to resolve conflicts),” Jantzi mentioned, “than to symbolize individuals in legal issues comparable to home conflicts and little one custody battles.”
Her research will embrace courses on the Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution on the George Mason campus, and a spring 2023 semester on the George Mason campus in South Korea. “I’ve been all in favour of South Asian tradition,” she mentioned. “It’s an outdated and numerous group of ethnic individuals, and I’m all in favour of historical past, tradition, and traditions.”
Jantzi additionally has turn out to be a member of the Ledyard Volunteer Fire Department, having joined in January. “This has been one of the best choice of my life by far,” she mentioned. “I used to be interested by what extra I might bodily do to assist not simply myself socially, however different individuals too. I noticed on Facebook the hearth division wanted volunteers, so I signed up the subsequent day.” Once she will get her hearth certification, she’ll begin the 2-month course to turn out to be an Emergency Medical Technician, simply in time to start her school courses.
On high of all this, she works weekends at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream.
“My finish purpose is to proceed work as a firefighter, EMT and to turn out to be a lawyer,” Jantzi mentioned. “I need to be somebody who has a really impartial view on politics, as I do not like selecting sides. I simply need individuals to dwell peacefully with one another, and to not hate one another as a result of of their opinions or non secular views.”
“Elaina’s undoubtedly modified quite a bit this 12 months,” mentioned her mom. “She’s now pushing herself out of her consolation zone. I believe she’s fairly assured of her career path. I am unable to wait to see what she’ll do to vary the world.”
Jantzi agrees. “In my senior 12 months (at Ledyard High) I’ve discovered it is quite a bit simpler to speak to individuals. I really feel much more ready than I did final 12 months to work with individuals, particularly since I joined the hearth division. I’m very excited now to go to varsity, to decide on what I need to be taught, and work out what to do with the remainder of my life.”