Senior Travis Jensen Voted 2020 Impact Student


Senior Travis Jensen was voted the 2020 Impact Student by his classmates. “It’s hard to understand the impact you actually have on people, when to me, I’m just trying to be friendly and stuff like that,” Jensen said.

While many people get their energy from a good night’s sleep or a caffeinated drink, being around and helping others is what invigorates the 2020 Impact Student Travis Jensen. When he wakes up in the morning, his goal is to spread happiness and positivity to as many people as he can. 

“I always started my day by just asking God just to give me strength and have the ability to help people and reach out to people,” said Jensen. “That’s the first time that I’ve been that confident about it. I would always be in the halls looking for someone to say hi to.”

Jensen has found many ways to interact with others, both in school and in the community. He is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Link Crew, National Honor Society, and 4-H. He volunteers at the Thorne Crest Senior Living Community every week along with working at HyVee and helping out with the YMCA’s youth track program. Additionally, Jensen has been a leader in various other clubs, acting as the president of Key Club, the host of a Bible study and a captain for the cross country and track teams. Being a leader on his sports teams has helped him to have a positive impact on his teammates. 

“Travis is very motivating,” freshman cross country runner Gavin Hanke said. “He pushes other runners to do their best when they’re in the hardest times. He encourages younger runners to push themselves.” 

When it came to his teammates, Jensen always wanted to make each and every one of them feel like an important part of the team. He tried to be the best friend and leader that he could for them in addition to motivating them and making sure they were keeping up on their training. It was important to him that no one felt underappreciated or overlooked.

“It was always important to me just to make sure the younger people and the people who weren’t really getting the spotlight all the time know that they were valued,” Jensen said.

Hanke also says that Jensen’s encouragement has gotten him to where he is as a runner. Jensen has taught him that hard work pays off when it comes to achieving success. 

“Where I’m at right now in cross country, I almost give that all to Travis,” Hanke said. “Travis has helped me get to practices, he’s told me to get up and get going, and pushed me and he’s given other runners and me car rides to and from practices.”

While Jensen values school, sports and the activities he participates in, his faith comes first in his life. He was a key factor in bringing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to ALHS this year, and he remains an active member. 

“I’m able to spread my love and my passion for it with everyone else, like when I find something cool I’m able to spread that to other people and we can talk about that,” he said. “That’s been really neat. I never really thought I’d get the chance to spread my faith like that.” 

Jensen’s open passion for his faith has been inspirational to many people, including senior Marissa Vogt. Jensen invited her to join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at its beginning, and it helped Vogt to connect with others who share her beliefs. 

“He’s not afraid to show it, and I think that inspires others to not be afraid to show their faith either,” Vogt said. 

Jensen is also leaning heavily on his faith during this time of uncertainty brought about by COVID-19. He is proud of how much he has grown in his religion over the course of this past year and is especially pleased with his Bible study group and his involvement in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Though his senior year has not been going as expected, Jensen says he is choosing to trust in God’s plan. 

“The one thing that I’ve noticed about this whole time is that my faith and my trust in God has improved off the charts,” he said. “I’m doing so much better in this situation than I possibly could’ve imagined.” 

Senior Connor Veldman has also been impacted greatly by Jensen’s character and outlook on life. Veldman described Jensen as hard-working, full of energy and easy to relate to. 

“His attitude towards everything he does, it influences me so it makes me want to get out and get done what I need to get done,” Veldman said. 

Though Jensen himself is an inspiring person, he accredits much of what he has learned about being a good person to two of his coaches from cross country and track. He first started looking up to ALHS math teacher and track coach Kevin Gentz in seventh grade, admiring his positive attitude and personal beliefs. Another role model of Jensen’s is social studies teacher Jim Haney, who coached him in both track and cross country. 

“Haney’s really taught me how to look out for other people, and always keep my ears open to everyone else and learn how to include everyone,” Jensen said. “That’s been very inspirational to me.” 

Jensen has touched the lives of many people at ALHS and in the community through his involvement in sports, clubs and volunteer work as well as by sharing his religious beliefs. He may be a good friend, a classmate, a teammate, or just someone who greeted you in the hallways, but his positive energy and love for people are impossible to ignore. 

“I’m just proud of being able to make people’s day,” Jensen said.

This fall Jensen will attend Bethel University in St. Paul, where he will be majoring in business management and minoring in communications. In addition to competing as both a cross country and track runner, he plans to get involved in many of the student ministry and community service opportunities Bethel has to offer.