Photo by Mona Mirpour
Jackpot is a new series in which we highlight a variety of students and the cool things they’ve done. Every story will highlight a new student, who we’ve selected at random. This week, we talked to Elena Negron, a sophomore who found an escape through writing in high school and continues to pursue that passion at Trinity.
In high school, sophomore Elena Negron lived in two different worlds. During the day, she attended the competitive Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, and when she wasn’t at school, she lived in her grandmother’s house with her mother and brother due to financial issues.
At school, she thrived. At home, her relationship with her grandmother weakened and made for a tense living situation. But Negron said the common thread that weaved the two worlds together was writing.
“I’m a pretty reserved person, and not a lot of people can really get where I’m coming from sometimes,” Negron said. “In my writing, that’s where I am my most self. That’s me at my most me.”
When she was younger, Negron’s trips to see her grandma were an escape from real life. But in high school, living in close quarters with her grandmother all the time put a strain on the relationship.
Although she had an emotionally taxing home life, Negron had an affinity for writing, so she said getting into the writing department at her high school was the best thing that could’ve happened. After going through a competitive application process for both the school and the writing department, she spent half the day doing standard academics and the other half honing her creative writing skills. Writing both at school and at home offered her an outlet where she could process and express what she felt about her grandmother, especially when her grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse.
“She had two incidents when I was a junior where she had [stomach ulcers],” Negron said. “She was in the bathroom bleeding from every part of her body. It was just me and my brother, and we had to call 911. She was telling us, ‘I’m dying,’ and we thought she was dying because there was blood everywhere. [After that] it was very hard for me to be emotionally affectionate to her because it was hard to watch her almost die and also know the next day she was going to be passive-aggressive again.”
So, Negron wrote. All the creative writing she did reflected her or her family in some way — she even made a documentary chronicling her relationship with her grandmother.
According to Negron, going through rough patches with her grandmother and dealing with family issues for so long helped strengthen her and gave her a drive that she applied to her writing.
“Sometimes you’re in situations that you don’t want to be in, and you have to deal with it,” Negron said.
“Luckily, writing’s always been my expression, [but] I spent a lot of high school waiting for somebody to see potential in me. My senior year, I realized, ‘I’m [at this school] because I have potential, but I need to be showing my potential.’ I had to actively be putting in everything I had. I think high school instilled a lot of self-drive that I’m rediscovering,” Negron continued.
Working toward majors in English and communication with a creative writing minor, Negron is bringing that confidence back.
While still enjoying her passion for creative writing, during her time at Trinity, she has expanded to work on many types of media, including graphic design and videography for TigerTV.
“Over the summer and these past few weeks of school, I’m discovering all the things that performing arts high school put in me,” Negron said. “My fear of being critiqued is there and then it’s overrun by the drive I feel to make something better. It is really hard to accept your own writing. There’s always work that can be done. [But] even when I don’t think I’m in something I write, I am. They’re my words, so of course they’re me.”