Name: Maggie King
Grade: Junior at West Henderson High, Hendersonville North Carolina
Nestled in the southwestern corner of the North Carolina mountains is a town of about 13,000 people named Hendersonville, home of the late poet Carl Sandburg. It is also the home of the latest Germ Girl of the Month: Maggie King. I spoke to Maggie, who is 16, about what it is that makes her tick, and it turns out that there’s a lot. From getting up early to attend her junior year classes at the 1,300-student West Henderson High School to being involved in after school activities, Ms. King is a whirlwind of energy and laughter. I told her we’d talk for only 15 minutes, but we ended up gabbing for twice that time.
Q: Tell me about your average day:
A: “I’m up at 6:30, no makeup — for me it’s kind of a waste of time. I have a club before school (Pride and Junior Civitan, which participates in Special Olympics events), school, honors and AP Classes. After school at 4PM there’s another club. I’m also junior class secretary in school government, and next year I am Student Body President. I’m also Junior Marshal, top 15 in my class, and I’m on the yearbook staff. I love being on yearbook. It’s so fun, and you get to be creative. I’m also president of the youth group at church. On Saturday I work at the local gym and babysit.”
Q: Do you play sports?
A: “Yes, I play volleyball and am the basketball statistician and go to all of their games.”
Q: You sure are busy!
A:“(Laughs) Free time I don’t know what to do with, so I just don’t have any.”
Q: Tell me about your family:
A: “I have a half-brother who is 34 years old, so he doesn’t live at home, which kind of makes me an only child. I have a nephew, parents. My mom is getting her doctorate degree in Education. Dad is a retired P.E. teacher and substitutes at my school.”
Q: Is it odd having your dad at school?
A: “It’s a little weird, I’m not gonna lie (Laughs).”
Q: What do you like for entertainment?
A: “I love NCIS. I love the character Abby, and we watch it as a family on Tuesday night as family time.”
Q: What are your dreams for the future?
A: “As of today, it changes a lot, but I think I’d like to major in Actuarial Science at a college in NC. It’s like calculating risk, statistics, it has a lot to do with probability. I love math! I have 3 hours of math while I’m at school, two in AP and one in Honors.”
Q: Favorite superhero?
A: “My school principal. He’s a really strong man; he truly leads by example every day. He is an awesome guy. He says to our student body all the time: ‘Do what’s right all the time.’ His name is Dean Jones. He really will sit down with you and talk to you about your future. He gets the job done, but he also cares.”
Q: Anything lacking for girls at your school?
A: “No, our school is about 50-50 males and females. I really think we’re good.”
Evidence of this is that her high school was named one of the U.S. top schools by US News & World Reports in 2012. Out of 596 schools, it placed 70th.
Q: Anything surprising about you?
Q: What do you do on these missions?
A: “In Costa Rica I built a Sunday school room, and I became the master of the concrete mixer. I like to get down and dirty, and I loved it! At other locations we built porches, and in others we built more living space. So I guess a surprising thing about me is that I’m the concrete mixer master (Laughs).”
Q: How do the missions make you feel?
A: “I notice how grateful I should be; I notice how blessed I am. Not everyone has a TV and a warm bed at night. I have to keep things in check when I complain about my food not being right.”
Q: What are the people like that you encounter?
A: “I didn’t speak Spanish in Costa Rica, but we managed to worship and sing together. We found a way to communicate.”
Q: Does it make you sad?
A: “It’s great that you’re helping them out. In Kentucky this cute little kid helped me build the foundation for his grandmother’s new bedroom.”
Q: Will you continue to do this throughout your life?
A: “Oh, definitely.”
Q: What would you say to convince others to do mission trips?
A: “Don’t worry about your nails and your makeup; you truly feel like you’re changing someone’s life. It’s a great feeling to feel that you’ve truly made an impact.”
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: “Hang out with my cousins; I really love them. I really enjoy my clubs. I’m probably involved in 2/3 of the clubs in my school. On the weekends we’ll go get ice cream, stuff like that. In student government, we start in July, we go on team building stuff, a lot of very hands on type things.”
Q:What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
A: “Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit I’m wrong. I’m a little stubborn. Sometimes I have to accept that someone else is right, and that’s hard for me.”
Q: Can you recall a very meaningful life event?
A: “I was 7 years old when my mom got her Master’s Degree at Gardner Webb, and it showed me how much she could do on a packed schedule. She had me, she had a job, my dad had a job, she just made things work. She furthered her education, and I really respected her for that. And now she’s getting her doctorate!”
Q: Favorite color?
Q: Favorite book?
A: “I have a favorite genre: realistic fiction, something that could happen to me. I like John Grisham and also To Kill A Mockingbird. I just like that Atticus Finch fights for what’s right. He’s kind of risking himself, and he’s a single dad and a strong guy, and he gets work done.”
Q: What would you do if you were President for a day? What’s the first thing you would do?
A: “If we weren’t in debt, I’d probably go give some money away to people who need it and will work for it but don’t have the ability for some reason. I would always make it a point for me to be visual; people would be able to see me and what I was doing.”
Q: Do you have political office aspirations?
A: “No, ma’am. I like to lead in my school, but not nationally. I could see it at a local level, like school board.”
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: “Country music like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. I also like upbeat songs like Katie Perry’s “Roar.” Our school did a music video for that song for a Good Morning America contest in November. We all got on the football field, and we danced around. We didn’t win, and yet it was a great time!”
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: “Yes. I’m the school mascot. I dress up in a silly bird costume for my fellow classmates. It’s a falcon; it has this big head that makes me 3 feet taller with big foam shoes. It’s pretty neat. I have a lot of school spirit. I had a great time. I was pecking people with my foam beak, and I had a great time. I go out into the community and once played with kids at an elementary school, and they loved it. They called me a ‘chicken’ because the uniform kind of looks like a chicken for sure (Laughs). They don’t really sell falcon uniforms, so we just kind of make it work.” (More laughter, from both of us.)
Q: You really seem to roll with the punches, don’t you, Maggie?
A:“Yes, definitely. I roll with the punches and go along happily. My motto is ‘Faith, Family, Friends,’ and my friends are pretty much the whole student body, so it’s basically ‘Faith, Family, School.’”
I came away from the interview very impressed with the zest for life and overall kindness Maggie possesses. She wants to make the world a better place, and she’s brimming with determination and self-confidence. There’s nothing ‘chicken’ about Maggie King.