(Originally posted on GrantCOnnected.net’s website on October 24, 2016)
Marion High School graduate Jaimee Maddox is in her senior year at Ball State University. A social work major and psychology in human development minor, Maddox plans to attend graduate school next year that can lead her to work in student life.
Outside of class, Maddox is very involved in numerous organizations including Phi Mu, a service based sorority, and two honors societies for Greek members. On top of that, Maddox also works as an academic peer mentor for students.
Some of her success can be credited to Project Leadership.
Since 2007, Project Leadership has been able to “get (at-risk) students to and through some kind of post secondary education,” Brenda Morehead, Project Leadership’s director of impact, said.
The main aspect of Project Leadership is partnering up the students with a mentor who encourages and helps them to succeed.
Maddox’s mentor was Rachel Elwood, a staff writer at World Gospel Mission. Elwood said she would come to MHS once a week with lunch and they would talk about classes, extracurricular activities, boys and life.
“I just tried to ask questions that would help her … figure out her steps,” Elwood said. “I just tried to be that extra voice.”
Elwood said she loved being Jaimee’s mentor.
“Right off the bat I knew she was special,” Elwood said. “I knew that whatever wisdom or whatever I could give her she was going to do well in life.”
She also said she is very proud of Maddox for what she has done in college such as joining Phi Mu and stepping outside of her comfort zone by going to Ireland on a spring break trip through BSU.
Maddox said she while she has always been a self-motivated person, she is glad for Project Leadership because of having the support from Elwood.
“(Project Leadership) prepared me for college because I had a mentor who actually went to college and had that college experience,” Maddox said. “No one in my family that’s close to me in age, or even my parents, have been to college. So it was nice to have that … guidance in order what to do to get to college.”
Even after graduating from high school, Maddox is still involved in Project Leadership. She interned for the program for two summers during college. Maddox said the internship really prepared her for her future career in student affairs.
Morehead said Maddox was “incredibly wonderful to work around.”
She also said how it can be a difficult task to make the transition from high school to college, but Morehead said Maddox did it with “relative ease.”
“Hopefully part of it is her personality and her ability to tackle issues, hopefully a small part of it is what Project Leadership has contributed to who she is and the path that she is taking,” Morehead said. “We are very proud of her.”
While Maddox and Elwood are not able to meet up as much as they would like now that Maddox is in college, Elwood is happy to have been able to be her mentor.
“Jaimee’s special and I knew she was going to do well in life,” Elwood said. “I was lucky to be a part of her life because I know she is going to do great things in the future.”