SHS graduate uses her path to help others

SHS graduate uses her path to help others
Posted on 02/07/2019

Fresh off her win as the fourth runner up at the Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant, Jesse Mays began using her path to impact others at her alma mater, Scottsburg High School, as a Career and College Counselor intern.

Mays, who graduated from SHS in June 2018, attends Indiana University Southeast, where she majors in English and philosophy. Because she earned college credits in high school, Mays was able to start college full-time as a junior, accelerating her career dreams of becoming an attorney. After finishing her undergraduate degree in 2020, Mays plans to attend law school.

“I transferred in with a lot of credits,” Mays said.

Through the internship class offered at SHS, Mays was able to deepen her passion for children’s advocacy through her time at Joseph Payne Law Office. As an intern, Mays experienced firsthand what steps are taken to help children through the legal system. She sat through conferences with clients, witnessed adoptions through the court system, and learned about the criminal proceedings side of children’s advocacy.

Mays’ current work as a Career and College Counselor intern is through the Scott County Community Foundation. The Lilly Endowment funds the position through the Community Foundation Internships Program.

“We are excited to partner with the Scott County Community Foundation to host a college level intern at Scottsburg High,” said Shannon Mount, K-12 Career and College Counselor at Scott County School District 2. “Jesse Mays was an outstanding student here for us, and I am sure she will be an outstanding college intern. The college intern is instrumental in assisting our 21st Century Scholars stay eligible for the scholarship.”

As a Career and College Counselor intern, Mays will work with Scott County students so that they can complete their 21st Century Scholars requirements. She will arrange college visits, job shadowing possibilities, and advise high school students on financial aid and scholarship options for college.

“I am passionate about my community, and I am thrilled that I’ve been given the opportunity to work with the future of Scott County. As the Career and College Counselor intern, I am particularly excited to aid students in the pursuit of their individual goals,” Mays said.

Along with her academic accomplishments, Mays works with the United Way of Scott County, mainly through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free monthly books to Scott County children from birth until the child starts school. Mays served as two terms as the lieutenant governor of the Indiana District of Key Club.

“I want to be a good voice in the community,” Mays said. “It was important for me to represent Scott County. The [Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant] was a really good opportunity to talk about the good things on in Scott County.”

In July 2018, Mays was crowned Miss Scott County Fair, advancing her to the Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant, which was held in January.

Jesse Mays places fourth runner-up in state fair pageant

When Jesse Mays heard her name called as a fourth runner up at Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant, she could not believe it.

“I have never been in pageants before Miss Scott County Fair. It was very exciting,” Mays said.

Mays competed against 86 fair queens — not every county in Indiana has a fair and some do not send a fair queen. She was judged on an interview portion, formal wear, and professional wear. She had to prepare a one-minute memorized speech and was given an impromptu onstage question.

“I had a couple of people ask about sponsorships. I thought, ‘Why not?’ It was a good opportunity. Any time I can interview with anybody, I’d like the practice,” Mays said.

For her onstage question, she was given the word powerful. She decided to talk about her sister, Jaylah, who is a junior at Scottsburg High School.

“When I think of powerful, I think of my sister. My sister is a basketball player, and she works all of the time. When I try to be powerful, I always think of my sister because I remember all it takes is determination, and you can do anything,” Mays said on the Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant stage.

“That’s my sister,” Jaylah Mays screamed out from the crowd when her sister finished her impromptu question.

Jesse Mays places fourth runner-up in state fair pageant

Along with being crowned Miss Scott County Fair, Jesse Mays is a 10-year 4-H member, where she serves as a 4-H Ambassador. She joined 4-H to spend more time with her dad.

“My dad always had horses at home. It was something we could do together,” Mays said.

Mays showed horses and competed in Western riding, halter, and showmanship. She won state grand champion and all-county halter horse as a 4-H member. Being in 4-H taught Mays more than showing horses and ponies, but it allowed her to explore other interests in consumer clothing, computer science, photography, and leadership.

“I stand in front of you today as not only as Miss Scott County but as an advocate for the 4-H program, an organization that encourages which children to pursue what truly makes them truly unique,” Mays said during her one-minute memorized speech.

When Mays arrived at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the queen pageant, she had a surreal moment — the place that housed her other interests became her overnight accommodations. Each pageant contestant stayed in the 4-H project building, a place where 4-H members annually show their other interests in the arts, engineering, technology, environmental science, healthy living, animal science, and leadership.

“It was like a church camp. We slept in bunk beds,” Mays said. “A lot of people were really nice.”

As fourth runner up, Mays received a set of makeup brushes, gift cards to prom stores, and $100. She also learned about other pageants to compete in, such as the Miss Indiana USA Pageant and the Indianapolis 500 Festival Princess Program. The 500 Festival Princess Program provides its participants with a $1,000 scholarship; each Princess has to have a cumulative college GPA of 3.0.

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