By Donna Parker
“Trinity made my master’s program a piece of cake!” says long-time teacher and community activist Vanessa Kenon ’88.
“Writing across the curriculum is what we did all the time and that prepared me for life and grad school.”
Vanessa was a 28-year-old non-traditional student, pregnant with her third daughter during senior year, joking that her pregnancy was one of the few events Dean Colleen Grissom didn’t know about. What many also did not know is that in addition to three children, Vanessa was married to San Antonio Spurs basketball player, Larry Kenon.
“Some professors said I brought a mature perspective to classroom discussions – that even though the rest of the students were intelligent, they lacked my experience,” laughs Vanessa.
Even with three children, a husband and full class load, Vanessa earned her B.A. in English and communication and dreamed of becoming a broadcast journalist…until reality set in!
“At first I wanted to do television news, until realizing I would be the person reporting outside in the snowstorm,” she chuckles.
This dynamic teacher, now pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership, credits English Professor Scott Baird for providing her tools for advancing students’ writing skills.
“Much of what I learned from him, I utilize in teaching young people how to write,” says Vanessa, who recently instructed freshman composition at UTSA.
She teaches technical writing and developmental reading at Hallmark Institute of Technology, but her day is far from over when the bell rings. Vanessa is an active fundraiser for United Way, secretary of the Trinity National Alumni Board, and housemother to several relatives displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
“They came the day before the hurricane and never left. Having family in our home that lost everything deeply affected my husband, who joined with the Mayor of San Antonio and Tommy Lee Jones to raise funds for Katrina’s victims,” she continues.
Vanessa, husband Larry, and their three daughters – Tatiana, 25; Anastasia, 23; and Ferretah, 18 – remain close to former Spurs teammates, often watching games together. She says life couldn’t have turned out any better.