Benefit will honor memory of Jenna Homola: Scholarship created to ‘pass it on’
The beginning of a nightmare for family and friends of Jenna (Cornett) Homola was just a year ago when she died unexpectedly.
The mother of two boys, Kingston Smith, now 12 and Braxton, 5, and wife of Nathan, was rushed to the hospital, but her life could not be saved as a blood clot raged through her body and snuffed out the beautiful soul.
This tragic death left a hole in a community that grieved for the woman she was. Jenna wasn’t ordinary. She was sweet, good, kind, and perfect in her chosen career of working with special education students.
“From the time she was little, she wanted to be a special education teacher,” her mother, Vicki Wilson, told The Versailles Republican. She had gone to school at Brush Creek Elementary where her mother taught special education students, and knew she wanted to do just that. “That’s what I’m going to do,” she told Vicki.
She did it. She exceeded everyone’s expectations and was the Director of Special Education for Madison Special Services Unit overseeing Switzerland County Schools, along with Southwestern Schools. According to information from relatives, she mentored new staff, worked directly with parents, made sure special education laws were followed, and ensured that students received appropriate services. “I have to do what’s best for the kids,” she was often heard saying.
Jenna was a graduate of South Ripley High School and worked there prior to being Director at Madison. She was a special education teacher, reading teacher, great friend, mentor, and leader there.
“She was my little sweetheart,” Vicki said as tears coursed down her face. Just a year later, the grief is still evident as she and her mother, Wilma Myers, 93, of Holton, shared about Jenna’s life.
They are people of faith. People who know where Jenna is – and although she’s absent from earth they know they will see her again one day in Heaven.
At her funeral, a generous gift was given from a classmate, Billy Pickett, who now lives in Nebraska. That spark of good will propelled the family forward to pass it on. They have now established a scholarship fund in Jenna’s name. “She loved education,” noted Bob McCreary, minister at the Holton Christian Church and uncle of Jenna’s. He said they knew just what to do with the funds. The scholarship would be for a student going into special education. Her lifework is not in vain as others pick up the torch. His wife, April, is Jenna’s aunt and sister to Vicki.
A day of food, fun, family and friends has been set for Saturday, October 7 at the Tyson Activity Center, 100 N. High Street, Versailles.
This group is a force for good. They have been selling raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt hand made by ladies from the Beach Sewing group at Holton that showcases various covered bridges. They also have a massive wooden eagle that was hand carved by Jenna’s uncle, Steve Vaughn of Holton, that will be raffled that day. Steve has been involved with chain saw art since a bout with cancer and has been creating some awesome pieces of art.
At the benefit there will be registration for Cornhole at 2:30 p.m. with the bags flying at 3:00 p.m. From 3-7 p.m. lots of activities will be taking place including inflatables and kids’ games, several silent auction items, food and drinks. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Rachel Holt will be live.
A special time of reflection will be held at 6:30 p.m. At Jenna’s funeral, McCreary asked anyone who had been touched by Jenna’s life to stand. Nearly the entire crowd that spilled out of the church and into the street stood to their feet. Now, for those who would like to come and stand with them, they are asking them to be at the Tyson Activity Center by 6:15 p.m. that evening when a moment of silence will be observed and photo taken. Please come and show your support.
Vicki said Jenna’s brother, Jeff Cornett and wife, Aimee, along with many others, have been working hard for the benefit. She is pleased with the effort everyone has made and looks forward to a night of celebration, even if it will bring up sad memories. She said she is pleased the scholarship will help others.
Jenna is Vicki’s “Sunshine” and her grandma Wilma’s “Guiding Star.”
The light of Jenna’s life will shine through the scholarship, making both women extremely proud.
You can follow the “Jenna (Cornett) Homola” Facebook event page to find a link to bid on some items ahead of the event on Saturday, October 7. There are some things that will be in person bidding only!