Zoie McMillian, JL ’12, speaks with enthusiasm about the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Henrico High School in Richmond, Virginia. It is academically challenging and extra work, relates the senior, and with the help of her IB teachers she is making her way through the maze of required long written essays and math assessments.
Community, Action and Service (C.A.S.), is another part of school that is close to Zoie’s heart. C.A.S. is an IB program that requires students to participate in “different community service projects that help you grow as a person”, Zoie says.
“I like animal science and biology, so I want to major in it”, states Zoie. She is investigating a career in marine biology or zoology and sees there are many options to work with animals and to help them. This past summer she had an internship at a local animal hospital, ”Ms. McGeorge, (a Jacob’s Ladder board member) helped me get an internship at an animal hospital. She even drove me there for my interview on the first day. I really appreciated that.”
Volunteering and helping others seems to be a theme in Zoie’s life. “After I got out of JL I loved having the opportunity to give back … like the service trips … like the Habitat for Humanity trip to West Virginia.” Not surprisingly, this interview was conducted during a Jacob’s Ladder Alumni service trip. Ten JL alumni, in partnership with the Society of St. Andrews, were gleaning sweet corn for the Northern Neck Food Bank.
Gratitude is heard in Zoie’s voice as she thinks of her time at Jacob’s Ladder: “When I was a Climber, JL helps you find yourself and learn more of where you fit in … you get to actually figure out who you are (when you are here).”
Her words to Climbers coming through the program reflect the purpose and focus of Jacob’s Ladder: “JL helps a lot of people who do not have the same opportunities as the other kids that get to go to camp. They ought to appreciate it (JL) and use the lessons that you learn. You learn so many things, new things even after you graduate (from JL). That is very helpful when you are making decisions about your future, doing work, getting it done, and doing it well. JL does that well.”
One of the main goals of the Jacob’s Ladder Summer enrichment program and year-long advocacy program is to encourage Climbers to reach their potential and become leaders equipped to help others in similar economic and social environs. With her “can-do” attitude and a willingness to reach out in her community, Zoie McMillian is well on her way to a bright future.