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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Woodland student always ready to help

High school can be tricky for any student, but especially for those few whose parents teach at the same school.

But Woodland High School junior Tyler Jenkins sail right along with it.

"Tyler has to walk a line, with me being a teacher, but he handles it well," said Tyler's mother, Margaret Jenkins, who teaches mathematics at Woodland, a few miles south of Streator.

Tyler's philosophy is simple.

"It's a good idea to help people," said Tyler, who is now in the middle of a crayon collection drive for needy children.

In school, Tyler is on the Warriors' baseball squad, handling third base last year and shortstop this season.

"I don't hit a lot of home runs, more walks and base hits. I like fielding a lot," Tyler noted.

On the basketball court, Tyler handles the guard position and swings a club on the school's golf team. Away from school and athletic competition, Tyler enjoys raising pigs with his father, Kevin Jenkins, on their homestead near Cornell. He has a brother, Charles.

In addition to lending a hand to anyone in need, Tyler also derives satisfaction from "solving hard problems and finishing a long project."

His mother sees a number of fine traits in her boy.

"Tyler is special. He is really a well-rounded student. Sports, FFA, student council, National Honor Society — he is a leader in all of them. He works at things, but isn't focused on any one thing. And when someone needs him, he's there. He pitches in, helps out other students," Margaret observed.

One memory stands as an example of her son's character.

"Tyler was running a race in fifth grade with a boy, who was a little disabled. Tyler slowed and let the boy win, but without letting him know," Margaret recalled.

Amy Lee has been a guidance counselor at Woodland 12 years, and vouches for Tyler's character.

"He's an outstanding student, incredibly bright and hardworking, but the greatest thing about Tyler is he is always willing to help others and volunteer. It's hard to pick an example of what he does, because he does great things all the time," Lee said.

However, Lee was able to highlight one example. She said last summer, volunteers were needed for a Snowball (anti-substance abuse) event. Volunteers are hard to come by during summer vacation, but Tyler showed up, Lee said.

"There are things nobody wants to do, but Tyler will do them," Lee said. "He'll also let other kids win."

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