This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2020.
When Jamie Gregory was 11, her beloved uncle Jimmy died of a heroin overdose at the young age of 31. “I was super close to my uncle,” she says. “It was really hard for my whole family because he was battling drug addiction for years. He would get better and then he would relapse so many times. It was a hard hit when he passed away.”
Jamie and her family received comfort from a Simi Valley-based nonprofit called Not One More, which supports people who are struggling with addiction. “Not One More came in and told us that it’s normal to feel this way. They were so welcoming and so kind,” she says. “Most of the people in the program have lost people in their family to drug addiction or have seen them go through it, so they know what you’re going through.”
Jamie never imagined that years later she’d be able to repay Not One More for their support by using her skills in graphic design. She is graduating from Santa Susana High School, a magnet school in Simi Valley with specialized programs in technology and the arts. For her senior project, she chose to design a series of promotional items for Not One More – including posters, flyers, business cards and brochures.
She credits her English teacher, Luke Golden, for pushing her to take on the project. “I got a lot of recognition for doing my senior project,” she says. “I can put it on my resume and say I’ve worked with a client before, which gives me a leg up.”
As she prepares to graduate, Jamie is disappointed that she won’t be able to celebrate with friends in the usual way because of the coronavirus crisis. “It is really hard because you always hear how prom is so fun and graduation is the best time,” she says. But Santa Susana’s graduates aren’t going unrecognized. To honor its senior class, Santa Susana will hold a car parade and present a virtual graduation ceremony.
This fall, Jamie will attend Moorpark College and continue studying graphic design, which she hopes to make her career. “I really like expressing my emotions and expressing a message through graphic design,” she says. “I think it’s a very good way to capture people without having to use too many words. It doesn’t matter your background, what language you speak or your education level. I like that it’s very versatile.” You can see some of Jamie’s work for Not One More at this link.