By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
‘Resilient’ Jacklich thriving despite obstacles
‘Resilient’ Jacklich
From left, Ripon High teacher Jill Mortensen and senior Kayla Jacklich share a friendship outside the classroom.

Kayla Jacklich was the all-everything student at Ripon High.

But few knew of her trials and tribulations.

The 2018 graduate somehow managed to use such adversities in her young life as a springboard toward her many achievements.

Jacklich had a distant relationship with her biological mother while her father dealt with assortment of personal issues including his ailing health — all during her sophomore year.

“She’s resilient,” said RHS Leadership teacher Jill Mortensen, who used that adjective to best describe Jacklich.

Kayla Jacklich has a support group that includes her stepmother Jill Jacklich, RHS Vice Principal Victor Ramirez, and Mortensen, to name a few.

“We’ve all adopted Kayla,” said Mortensen just prior to graduation.

She’s gone above and beyond the average high schooler.

“Seven periods (of school) a day, three varsity sports, and a job — Kayla’s a superhero,” Mortensen said.

Add ASB president, two years as class president, homecoming queen, Link Crew and after-school clubs such as Pride Tribe and United Club to that already impressive list.

In addition, she works about three days a week, on the average, at the local Denny’s Restaurant.

“I’ve always been involved in school,” Jacklich said.

In track, she ran the 200 meters, the open 400, the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Jacklich played basketball for the Trans-Valley League champion Indians — she’s a two-year varsity letterman — and, prior to that, enjoyed her best cross country campaign, making it as far as the Sac-Joaquin Section meet.

She lettered four years of varsity in both cross country and track.

“I enjoy running,” said Jacklich, who had an option years ago of playing soccer. “It’s also an outlet when I’m stressed.” 

She came to Ripon when she was about 8 years old. Prior to that, Jacklin lived in the small Calaveras County towns of Mountain Ranch and Valley Springs.

Her first school locally was Ripon Elementary. She was in fourth grade when she moved over to Weston Elementary School.

Jacklin, who was the student body president at Weston, was the guest speaker at the school’s recent promotional eighth-grade class.

During freshmen orientation at RHS — Link Crew engages newcomers to come out of their shells and take part in ice-breaking activities and get involved in school — Jacklich confessed that she hardly paid attention to the encouraging words of the Link Crew leaders back then.

As it turned out, she did everything and much more of what was asked of her.

But it was in her sophomore year that she had to deal with a series of family problems. Mortensen, for one, noticed that problems here had potential long-term negative effects for the youngster.

She encouraged Jacklich, who initially resisted, to seek out help from her then-counselor Ramirez.

He spoke to her as both a friend and father figure. She was also welcomed into his family.

“We’ve joked that I’m Kayla’s mother (figure) and Victor is her father,” said Mortensen, who continues to be amazed at her list of accomplishments.

Kayla Jacklich was recently named a 2018 Coca-Cola Scholar — one of 150 nationwide to receive the $20,000 college scholarship.

Her hope is to one day work with youngsters and others who are struggling with school or in life.

At the Ripon Unified school board meeting last March, Jacklich was recognized as the recipient of both the Caldwell Flores Winters Scholarship and the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s “Every Student Succeeding” Award.

“Kayla has overcome obstacles in her life,” said Ramirez, who provided the SJCOE award presentation.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail