As a 6-year-old in Guam, where her father was stationed with the U.S. Coast Guard, Jena Johns joined her sisters in gymnastic lessons.
Now 15 and living in Egg Harbor Township with parents Lori and Terry Johns, she has been serious about the sport for several years.
Jasmine Newsome, of Mays Landing, whose nickname is “Jazzy,” started her gymnastics career at age 2. Parents Renee and John Newsome signed her up early, because “I was flipping all over the house and stuff,” said the 14-year-old.
Both girls spend more than four hours a day at least five days a week at the Zappa Athletic Center in Mays Landing. They are training for high level gymnastics competitions with Head Team Coach Jacqui Strickland, who commutes from Asbury Park in Monmouth County.
Jasmine, an eighth-grader at the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, is the only Level 10 gymnast in Atlantic County, Strickland said. There are fewer than 1,700 at her level in the U.S. Level 10 is just below the elite level of Olympic athletes.
Jasmine will compete against gymnasts from several states at the Level 10 Regionals on April 20 and 21 in Lincroft, Monmouth County.
Jena, a sophomore dance major at the Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point, recently placed second on uneven bars, third on beam and sixth overall in the Level 9 State Championships. That qualified her for Level 9 Regionals on April 13 and 14 in Reading, Pa., where she will compete against young women from several states.
If they place in the Top 6, they go on to national competitions in May, Strickland said.
Director of planned giving
Caroleigh McCloy Haw is the new director of planned giving for The Shore Medical Center Foundation, the fundraising arm of Shore Medical Center.
Haw will encourage donations through financial planning and estate planning.
She earned accounting and business degrees from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md., and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Baltimore, where she last worked as assistant vice president of major gifts.
Playing in the band
Millville Senior High School juniors Zach Rosa, a bass player, and Alex Rusted, a drummer, were selected to the All South Jersey Jazz Band first chair. They will audition for the All-State Jazz Band in May. Their instructor is Rob DeSantis.
“Everyone Has a Story” appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Contact Michelle Brunetti Post: