By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Names familiar to many sports fans in the Mid-South became a part of Jaryn Hogan’s daily routine.
Calkins, Parrish and Tillery just to name a few were the authors of Hogan’s childhood. The trio was a part of the writers in local newspapers who began to strengthen Hogan’s passion for reading and learning. That hunger for knowledge developed into an solid all-around student at Millington Central High School.
Validation came Oct. 3 when Hogan took the ACT for the fourth time earning the highest score for the Class of 2018 so far — 33. Now Hogan is making the headlines worthy of a Geoff Calkins, Gary Parrish or Ron Tillery article.
With his desired score of 30 surpassed, now Hogan is ready for the next story in his life at Ole Miss as a journalist major.
“I listened on the radio as the Grizzlies beat the Spurs in that great upset series in 2011,” Hogan recalled. “I read the paper the next morning. And I was infatuated with it. I had already been reading the paper and stuff, but that day I was like this is incredible.
“He’s describing something I listened to the night before,” he added. “It was new the way he said it. In that way reading kind of caught on for me. I would pick up a book.”
The son of Jerrilyn and James Hogan kept reading The Commercial Appeal. Then he added other publications like The Wall Street Journal and The Millington Star which featured his older siblings Dianelle “Duck” Sines (Class of 2005) and Demi (Class of 2011).
When Hogan arrived on the MCHS campus in 2014, Millington Municipal School was taking over and many new faces were on campus from administration to faculty. One of the new arrivals was Librarian Shirley Szalay.
Szalay made sure Hogan kept up his reading adding authors like Marie Lou. But Hogan spread the range of his journalistic articles from sports to politics, humanitarian advice, health and economics.
“Because technology has made this things extremely accessible, I will catch myself on Wall Street Journal Snap Chat story,” Hogan noted. “Every time there is an article up there, I would take the time to read the condense article.”
All the reading paid off in his most recent ACT performance scoring a 35 in the Reading portion. The rest of Hogan’s breakdown was a 28 in Math, 34 in Science and 33 in English. The composite rounded up to a 33 giving Hogan the best score at MCHS.
The news of Hogan’s 33 started to spread on the campus Tuesday.
“Lot of the people who are talking about me are the people who have helped me over the past four years,” he said. “And they’ve impacted my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.”
Freshman year represented a fresh start for Hogan moving from Louisiana. Algebra teacher Rosemary Bosewell was one of the first to have an impact on Hogan as he wrote sophomoric freestyle raps with his friend Chris Dickerson. Bosewell took him aside and encouraged him to challenge himself in mathematics by taking two course in the same year. Those instructors Yvonne Bierdz and Dr. Smith exercised patience with Hogan allowing him a chance to mature in his studies.
Then other MCHS teachers like Mickey Wilhite, Marshonn Calvin, Jay Horton, William Bryant, Susan Sprunger were added to caravan. Hogan said Sprunger’s dedication in science helped him improve from a score in the mid 20s to the 34.
Along with his teachers, Hogan said his peers played a huge part in his 33 score. The communication and connection with his classmates made him a better at conversation, networking and having a desire to impact other lives.
Then time in his NJROTC uniform helped shape his work ethic, taught him accountability and responsibility.
“Even in the great things taking ownership, ‘Yeah, I did these great things,’” Hogan noted. “I want you to do this as well. I want this to be a goal for all of my classmates. I don’t want this to be just a me kind of thing. My classmates have made themselves available to me and I want to make myself available to my classmates. They’re a big reason I am where I am today. They allowed me to grow just like my teachers.”
MCHS has been a vital part of Hogan’s life adding to the foundation established by his love of reading newspaper articles.
Hogan’s first year of high school was well-documented in the archives of The Millington Star because it was the first year of Millington Municipal Schools.
“This was entirely a new thing to all of us,” he said. “We’ve gone through a bunch of teachers. We grew up together. We moved from seven periods to block scheduling my sophomore and junior years.
“I’m in love with this place,” Hogan added. “Which is a strange thing to do – fall in love with Millington. But I love this place.”
Hogan said Millington Municipal’s first complete high school graduating class has made many positive headlines the past four years while overcome adversity.
Hogan faced his own personal trails like scoring a 27 and 29 on his first two ACT attempts. Then his third try saw regression with him scoring a 27 again.
“I wasn’t on that day at all,” he acknowledged. “I was stressed. I stayed up to late the night before. I didn’t eat all that much. I wasn’t focused. And during the test I was thinking anything about my future. I was being short sighted.”
Then the summer on the campus of the University of Memphis came. Governor’s School and roommate Aki Madhok gave Hogan a renewed focus on the test and its purpose. Madhok recorded a 35 composite and gave Hogan a few pointers in approaching the test. Hogan said a month around brilliant peers and experiencing the campus life motivated him.
“I wanted to live this life,” he said. “But how can I afford this. I don’t have the score for it. I don’t have the scholarships. So I pushed myself to make saying ‘I have to make this all happen. If it doesn’t happen, I won’t get a chance to relive this.’ I give anything to live this way for at least four years.”
Now the 33 has opened up more scholarship opportunities for his future college home of Ole Miss.
“I want to be a journalist,” he noted. “That has been the goal for a long time. I want to go place and be something bigger than my school, my GPA or my score. As young people in America, that score is what we are defined by. As great as this 33 is and as much as I love having it, it’s not the end.
“This isn’t all of it,” Hogan added. “The best is still definitely left to come. Not just for me but my classmates. This is not a peak. This is not where I stop. This is not where I stop investing in my education.”
His next set of goals include going overseas to France and becoming a part of the Arabic program at Ole Miss so he can possibly do International Journalism. Wherever Hogan goes, he will take the grit and grind Memphis approach he has adopted fully. And he will remember his roots by reading some of his favorite journalist or listening to them on the radio.
“Those people that I’ve never met in my entire life changed me,” he said. “They changed something about me. The people here that I’ve meet changed something about me.
“And to all of the kids and my fellow classmates who are graduating in 2020 or 2022, I would say to them this,” Hogan concluded, “‘Your education is what you put into it. Your situation is only as insurmountable as you believe you can surpass.’ It’s about conquering the day.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.