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This student leader aspires to inspire

Trent Wilson’s advice to those who aspire to inspire: take advantage of any opportunities that are put in front of you. 

“Help wherever and however you can,” said the Comstock Park High School senior. He recalled a banner-building project for homecoming, and urges others to get out of their comfort zone and talk to other people. 

“In the process, you might even make a couple of friends.”

Trent has been a class officer for four years. He served as president his freshman and junior years, and vice president his sophomore year. He is currently the class treasurer. Leadership positions present opportunities to take the microphone, as Trent has done at Spirit Week presentations.

He said he goes out of his way to talk to students in all grades, and advises it’s important to not just focus on the students who are doing well in school. 

“All these students are so different, creative and talented in their own ways. We need to get to know them.”

Trent Wilson in a school theater production (courtesy)

Trent said his classmates are trying to make the best out of their senior year, which already has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. He said his class is filled with honor roll students who are very ambitious, intelligent and smart.

“It’s such an incredible class to be a part of,” h said.

He also has been a part of the choir, marching band, Student Leadership Program, and the lacrosse and cross-country teams.

Aspiration: Professional Role Model

Trent plans to become a Michigan State Police trooper; his hope is as a community police officer. The idea of reading to kids, giving presentations, visiting neighborhoods and helping people feel safe appeals to him. 

“My biggest thing is to help people, and especially try to help those who are misunderstood. I feel I can make a difference helping people who may have struggles.”

Trent is in his second year of the criminal justice program at Kent Career Tech Center. He plans to attend Grand Rapids Community College in the fall, and may transfer to Ferris State University or Baker College after one year.

Marching band is one of Trent Wilson’s high school activities (courtesy)

Know Some to Become One

Trent said his biggest role model is his mother, April Swanson. He said she works 15-hour days at Spectrum Health-Blodgett Hospital, registering patients and collecting insurance information in the emergency room.

“She’s been under stress. I’m always concerned for her,” Trent said. 

Trent Wilson with his main role model and mom, April Swanson (courtesy)

His older sister and brother live on their own, and Trent’s father lives in Jamaica.

Trent said he is also inspired by his great-grandfather, Robert Ensing. He hired Harriet Woods Hill, who in the 1950s became the first African-American female police officer and detective in the history of the Grand Rapids Police Department. 

“(Ensing) inspired me to want to help people, and I feel I can do that,” Trent said.

He singled out English teacher Sarah Anderson as one that has helped and inspired him. He said Anderson is very patient, kind and welcoming. She helps Trent academically and advises him on what to expect as an adult.

Trent “was always someone that I could rely on to get things done,” Anderson said. She said he is a team player and often has led and served as emcee at school assemblies.

“He is a wonderful role model for other students: respectful in class, kind and inclusive toward others, and just an overall great individual.”

Trent Wilson celebrates his Jamaican heritage with a painted parking spot at Comstock Park High School
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Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry covers Comstock Park. She is from Evansville, Indiana and St. Joseph, Mich. and a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School and Central Michigan University. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in the mid-1980s and has been a resident of Comstock Park since 2002. She understands the complexity, rewards and challenges of the teaching profession as she has five years of experience as a high school teacher at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Mich. and St. Stephen High School in Saginaw. As a reporter for the Advance Newspapers and Mlive she covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools. She is happy to be reunited with some of her journalism colleagues and writing about Comstock Park Public Schools for the School News Network. Read Karen's full bio

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