Jenny Seeliger says she feels hot after a long day working outside on a sweltering, summer day in Georgia. Her job provides relief to people who are tying to beat the heat. She drives a food truck and sells shaved ice for Kona Ice in Savannah, where earlier this year, she earned a degree in advertising from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), one of the more reputable liberal arts schools in the country. She plans to keep the Kona Ice job until she finds a position in copy writing, her main specialty at school.
“It’s pretty entertaining and quite fun. I drive a food truck around and shave ice in it,” said Seeliger, a former McFarland High School athlete. “I clean up and ring up the sales. I do it all. I’m having a blast.”
It’s a temporary gig, but if history repeats itself, Seeliger is destined for great things. As a runner on the McFarland girls’ cross-country team, she was a member of the 2014 Spartans’ squad that finished second at the WIAA Division 2 state tournament in Wisconsin Rapids. After high school, she ran two years on the SCAD women’s cross-country team and soon discovered she would be very happy with a life of putting words together.
Running career begins
In her younger days, Seeliger used to make occasional trips with her father to the liquor store. She was fascinated by the artwork on the beer cans.
“I just loved looking at the labels and the designs,” she said. “I came to SCAD and learned there was another side to advertising: copy writing including the art direction and graphic design part of it. I learned there is someone behind the writing and the ideas and the strategy and the words. I didn’t even know what copy writing was before I got to SCAD. I definitely found my place when I learned what it was.”
Seeilger picked up her passion for running from her twin brother Eric and her mother, who has competed in more than a dozen marathons and numerous half-marathons. She took up the sport as an eighth grader at Indian Mound Middle School and continued in high school under coaches Bruce Fischer, Scott Fischer, Andrew Garvey and Michelle Garvey.
“In high school, I realized I had a little bit of talent in me, and it took off from there. I was never an avid runner as a kid. It was just something I tried out and fell in love with,” Seeliger said.
Yet, she emphasizes that running was difficult and her relationship with it could be bittersweet.
“If you ask anyone who runs, not many of them are going to say it’s the best thing ever,” Seeliger said. “Running is hard. It’s painful and you have to keep going. The best part of running was always the finish. That feeling when you’re done that you accomplished something that was immaculate.”
The guidance she received from the Fischers and Garveys helped her deal with pain and exhaustion that comes from running a cross-country course consisting of weeds, rocks, hills and various types of earth.
“I couldn’t tell you how blessed I was to have those coaches in my life. To be honest, I think they could’ve coached me in any sport and I would have succeeded,” Seeliger said. “All four taught me perseverance that I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else. Those coaches coach so many kids in their lives, and I think they may not realize the positive impact they have had on their athletes.”
Nearly a state champion
In 2014, Seeliger’s junior year, the Spartans qualified for the state tournament. The girls led by junior Brooke Lonigro, senior Anissa Hacker and Seeliger fought hard on a cool, overcast day at Ridges Golf Course. In the end, McFarland grabbed second place with 99 team points, just eight more than state champion Green Bay Notre Dame. Seeliger finished 30th overall.
After graduating from McFarland in 2016, she wanted to pursue a career in advertising and SCAD proved to be the best college to learn that trade.
“I wanted to get a change of scenery and get out of McFarland and explore a little,” Seeliger said. “I was specifically looking for an advertising degree and there aren’t many four-year programs. I did my research, looked into SCAD and fell in love with the place.”
After settling down in Georgia for her freshman year, Seeliger joined SCAD’s women’s cross-country team and competed for two years. Joining the squad helped familiarize her with the new surroundings.
“It was a really nice transition to the college life,” she said. “I wasn’t looking to start a dramatic, collegiate running career, but it was a really great way for me to get acclimated to the school and make friends and connections.”
Now that she has earned her degree, Seeliger is very grateful to all the coaches, teachers and other role models who were positive influences.
She looks forward to landing a permanent copy-writing position in the near future.
“I successfully got a freelance opportunity in June and that took up a good chunk of my summer,” she said. “Now I am looking for a more stable, direct-hire situation.”