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He found a better pathway to graduation

Grad with Grit: Ronan Jameyson

Kenowa Hills —  While most high-school seniors wrap up their classes and discover their final grades, Pathways High School senior Ronan Jameyson is ahead of the curve. 

He completed his coursework required for graduation back in February, but would be the first to admit he wasn’t always ahead when it came to school.

Prior to high school, Ronan said his family struggled through a difficult divorce and it negatively affected his ability to focus and learn at school. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ronan’s grades also took a hit. 

“Freshman year was a bit of a crap show with COVID going on,” Ronan said. “We had a mix of virtual and in-person and I did not do good at it whatsoever.”

After slogging his way through his freshman year at Kenowa Hills High School, he needed to take online summer classes to keep from falling behind.

Ronan said taking online classes through Edgenuity was easier to grasp, and he finished and passed his classes ahead of schedule. 

“I breezed through summer school, finished early and realized how much I loved that program and how much it clicked with my brain,” he said.  

Getting a brain scan and discovering more about anxiety and how he best learned was a turning point in receiving his high-school education, Ronan said. Equipped with this knowledge, he took the next step in getting back on track.

Since opening in 2012, Pathways High School has offered students alternative programming using the online format Edgenuity and teachers facilitating the learning process.

Getting On a Better Path 

Ronan reached out to Pathways Principal Jared Herron about transferring from the high school to a style of learning more his speed. 

“It was such a good change,” he said of the non-traditional alternative program. “Looking back, I honestly think I would have been held back and not have been able to pass if I stayed at the high school. I can’t learn in an environment like that … (At Pathways) the teachers know you on a personal level and can work with you one-on-one.”

Ronan Jameyson is a graduating senior from Pathways High School

Ronan went on to say how Pathways teachers met their students where they were at and helped him discover Kent Career Tech Center’s criminal justice program

“KCTC has been nothing short of amazing, I’ve loved this program,” he said. “These teachers are amazing, they have professional experience and get to know you on a deeper level, like Pathways.” 

One of Ronan’s mentor teachers at Pathways, Tanner Kosten, said Ronan always showed up to school focused, ready to work hard and to make his teachers laugh.

“It has been a joy to watch (Ronan) continue to grow in confidence as a leader both as our Pathways Student Representative on the School Board and in various roles through his time in the Criminal Justice program at KCTC,” Kosten said. “I look forward to seeing where his life’s journey takes him after graduation and have no doubt he will be successful in anything he puts his mind to.”

After finishing his high-school coursework early, Ronan spent the remainder of the semester devoting his time to working at Home Depot and attending the Tech Center. 

“I grew up watching true crime TV shows with my mom,” Ronan said. “‘Forensics Files’ was our show and ‘Dexter’ was the show I watched with my dad. On my own, I’d watch unsolved mysteries and true crime. I got really into forensics.”  

‘I really want to be in the action and be an officer; I need to go out there and start helping people.’

— Ronan Jameyson

At the Tech Center, Ronan said he learned about forensic science and what it takes to be a police officer at the scene of a crime.  

“I found the forensics very interesting but I discovered my passion for the hands-on experience of policing” over forensics, he said. “I really want to be in the action and be an officer; I need to go out there and start helping people.”

After graduation, Ronan plans to attend Grand Rapids Community College’s police academy while completing his associate degree in law enforcement.  

Throughout school transitions and defining his strengths, he said his close friends and family have been his biggest support system – even his younger, sometimes annoying, sister. 

“My family has been amazing to me, they have always supported me no matter what,” Ronan said. “They help me talk through decision-making when my brain is running a thousand miles a second, and never just tell me what to do.” 

Center, Ronan Jameyson, now a graduating senior, as a sophomore on a Pathways High School field trip to Ed Dunneback and Girls’ Farm

A self-identified movie and video games nerd, Ronan said he is grateful for the friends who helped him get through high school and who join him on Sundays to play the fantasy game “Magic: The Gathering.” 

His advice to his younger self: “It gets better. You have amazing friends, so keep them around, and you’ll learn not to take any crap from anyone.” 

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
Supportive friends, family & teachers made the difference
Boys Make Friends, Learn Teamwork on the Run

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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