Posted Date: 11/03/2023
Olympic Athlete Jennifer “La Traviesa” Lozano returned home to LB Johnson High School where she delivered a passionate speech about how she rose from dark despair to become a role model for young kids finding their way.
She talked to student leaders in the school’s library on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, following a parade in her honor complete with the marching band and hundreds of supporters lining the hallways she once roamed.
Lozano, 20, earned a spot on the US Olympic team following a standout performance in the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. She will compete in Paris in 2024 for a shot at the gold.
Since her return to the Gateway City on Sunday, she has been inundated with well wishers and journalists eager to hear her story.
She shared her journey with the students. It has been heavy, with horrible bullying in elementary school, the traumatic loss of her grandmother and the anger that came with it, and a rocky road of losses and, finally, wins to earn her Olympic spot.
“I was once a student just like y’all … I wasn’t all goody two shoes. I didn’t have the highest grades,” she said. “I still chose to choose my own path.”
She told students that when she was in school there were two options: Stick with school or face the streets.
“If you didn’t want to work for school, you were going to be in the street, man,” Lozano said. “I saw a lot of friends that were close to me choose that path. I was choosing a really dark path.”
The death of her grandmother sparked a deep anger that boiled over into the ring.
“I lost sight of what I wanted … even here in Lyndon B. Johnson, I wanted to fight everybody, no matter what. Somebody stepped on my croc, stepped on my shoe, looked at me funny, I wanted to fight them so bad. I had so much anger in me because I lost my grandma,” she said.
She finally lost a fight to someone who is now her good friend on the USA Team. It was a relief to lose that fight because it made her examine why she was so angry.
Today, she trusts God and His process, she said.
“I made history. I am being the change I have always wanted to be … to do better, to be greater. I have been through hell and back .. and I am right here standing and it’s worth it,” she said.
She encouraged the students to chase their dreams.
“Whatever the case may be, do it. People call you crazy, do it. That’s the best - when people call you crazy. Let ‘em call you crazy,” she said.