Jay Jeanette Diaz Auxier

Jay Jeanette Diaz Auxier ’02 was born to be a Spartan. At a very early age, she experienced incredible challenges that forced her to learn responsibility and independence.

“I came from a broken family,” Jay Jeanette said. “My mother was 15 when I was born and a single parent. By the age of four I was already washing my clothes, making my own food, and cleaning my room. I had to grow up very quickly.”

When Jay Jeanette enrolled at Milton Hershey School in 1998 at age 13, she was given the opportunity to be a kid.

“I got to play outside,” she said. “I made friends, played sports, and went to the movies. [MHS] gave me the chance to just be me.”

Jay Jeanette took advantage of the many opportunities available to her at MHS. She helped with summer camp, got involved with student leadership, played sports, and marched in the marching band. But it was through the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program where she thrived in Graphic Communication Technologies.

“I earned an associate’s degree [in graphic design] by the time I was a senior,” she said. “When I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, many of the credits I earned at MHS transferred and I finished my four-year degree in two-and-a-half years.”

After seven years working in marketing in Pittsburgh, Jay Jeanette’s life was struck by another tragedy when she was laid off. Like a true MHS Spartan, she used determination, courage, and resilience to overcome her circumstance and changed her career. She earned her nursing certification and currently works as a nurse tech.

“I tell others, it’s okay to change your career,” she said. “Do not be afraid of change. Anyone can change – just make sure you are doing something that is going to make you smile.”

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