By Thomas Sellers Jr.
One of the most familiar faces around Millington Central High School this past year will be heading off to Wilmington College in Ohio on Aug. 14.
Although Savannah Manson made her presence felt and used her time wisely at MCHS, she received very little fanfare. But the daughter of Lori and Anthony Futrell took on so many activities, organizations and challenges to prepare for her future of being a medical/athletic trainer.
Additional motivations for Manson was the bond she has with her classmates and the life lessons she’s learned from her mother.
“One thing that I’ve learned growing up is if you want to achieve your goals you have to work toward them,” she said. “Work at the school proves it.”
Quick rundown of Manson’s resume’ included National Honor Society, Student Government, Key Club, Thespian Club, office worker, HOSA and Special Friends.
In her free time, Manson acted in two class productions and was a manager on the Trojan Football team. After that season concluded in the fall, the rest of the school year Manson tagged along with MCHS athletic trainer Shane Matsunaga as a student assistant to get a taste of her future career.
“I’ve always like helping people who are injured,” she said. “I’ve had my share of injuries.”
Manson suffered some knee issues and had ankle problems. She also battled asthma early in her life. Right there by Manson’s side was her mother Lori.
“She was the mom and she’s been the father,” Manson said. “She’s been the nurse when I was sick. If I don’t feel good she won’t make me go to school. If she doesn’t have to go into work she won’t for me.
“When we lived in Texas, we lived in a two bedroom apartment,” she added. “I slept with her. I had a lot of asthma problems in Texas. I don’t wake myself up when I can’t breathe. She would wake me up and put me on breathing treatments.”
Her early health issues taught her to appreciate every breath she takes. Watching her Mom’s perseverance and spiritual growth humbled Manson.
“I’ve learned a lot by living on a single-parent budget,” she said. “Even though I’m spoiled, I didn’t get everything handed to me. I had to work for stuff also like getting good grades or being kind. Seeing a lot of kids throwing a tantrum in Walmart to get what they wanted, I never did that.
“I wasn’t supposed to be born,” Manson continued. “My Mom had me at 40. I was actually an accident. She bleed a lot with me. The doctors told her she was going to have a miscarriage with me because her body couldn’t hold me. My Mom was actually going to get an abortion with me, but God told her to have me. He told her, ‘Don’t touch her. Let her be.’ Nine months later, here pops me.”
Lori and Savannah have shared that testimony with their church families over the years. Seen as their miracle baby, Manson’s older siblings Arthur, Shannon and Asa have protected and spoiled her.
“My Mom was a single parent of four kids,” Manson recalled. “So watching her drive and dedication helped. My older brother Asa stayed at home and helped raise me with the help of my other two siblings.
“I’m spoiled,” she acknowledged. “Anything I need they are always there to help me. If I am at practice, they’ll come there to pick me up. If I’m having a problem with a certain subject, they’ll help me. They are always there.”
The MCHS February Student of the Month found her groove and became a straight A student. To maintain high grades and solid test scores, Manson sacrificed sleep, operating off 4 hours most days.
The dedication paid off several times including her most rewarding moment.
“HOSA, I got a chance to place third in the Regional competition for Athletic Training,” she recalled. “That’s one thing I worked hardest for. I worked with Shane after football hours practicing taping and stuff. Being able to go to State and place was rewarding.”
Another reward for Manson was the relationships she developed with her teachers like Shane and Dr. Yvonne Bierdz. Manson even warned Shane that she’ll be back in a few years to relieve him of his duties at MCHS.
“I have a close connection with a lot of my teachers,” she said. “They’ve always been there. If I couldn’t talk to my parents about something, I was able to go talk to Dr. Bierdz. Currently right now I can go talk to Dr. (Gina) Jordan about something.
“I just like the idea of helping people,” Manson added. “Minoring in Business, I want to be able to open up a athletic training company/clinic to work with inner city schools or schools that can’t afford an athletic trainer.”
Manson will continue to stay busy in Ohio and hopefully return back home in a few years to live out her dream. While she’s on that journey, Manson hopes to set an example of how being a busy face in the crowd is rewarding.
“I want my legacy to be that I at least tried to help everybody I could in any way,” she concluded. “I tried to inspire a freshman to go for his dream. Or even inspire a senior who hasn’t decided yet. Let them see how much I am pursuing my dream and hopefully that inspires them.”