Jeannie Scarlett D’Anna

jeannie_scarlettJeannie Scarlett D’Anna has persevered through some of the toughest times, never letting them get the best of her now or in the future.

Since her birth, Scarlett grew up in a household facing drug addition. At the age of three, her father died from multiple organ failure from years of heroin abuse. Her mother continued to struggle with addiction. Life for Scarlett was filled with her mom’s odd hour trips to Nashville, probation visits, rehab stints that never worked, scams to pay the bills and watching the bottom of a spoon blacken. She feared social services taking her away from her mom and turned into a shy little girl afraid to make friends because they might ask about her family.

Scarlett’s mother overdosed and nearly died when she was in fifth grade. Then a life-changing experience for both Scarlett and her mom occurred – the decision to get clean. A new page was about to be turned, but a new found happiness ended within a year. Her mom was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and then chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which slowly robs the lungs of precious air.

With her mom no longer able to work over many years, severe poverty set in – a house with floors falling in and broken windows, food stamps and often times little food, no heat in the winter, an unreliable vehicle, not enough money to pay for prescription drugs, no social life outside of school.

Her mom has made many mistakes, but she has made one thing clear to Scarlett. Just because she has made terrible mistakes, it doesn’t mean Scarlett will. Her drive to succeed in life has in fact come from her mother’s encouragement. She now believes she was meant for greater things and can succeed with hard work and dedication. These beliefs have been instilled in her by the person she loves most.

Scarlett is considered one of the brightest and hardest working students at White House Heritage. She has a 4.0 grade point average, is in the running for valedictorian and has been accepted to Rhodes College. She is a member of many clubs, including service-oriented organizations that have required her to somehow find transportation to get the job done.

Scarlett has succeeded where most people would have allowed unfortunate circumstances to get the best of them in the form of bitterness, despair or exhaustion. She’s determined to do better for herself.