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Senior Spotlight: Casey Powell and Madison Nelson

I interviewed Casey Powell and Maddy Nelson for this week's edition of Senior Spotlight.

Casey is a part of the Human Services Pathway, hoping to become a Juvenile Correctional Counselor. Since this is certainly not as common of a job title for a senior to say as something such as “teacher,” for example, I asked her how she came upon this. She said, “I've been confused about what I wanted to do my entire life, always bouncing back and forth. I started to think about criminal justice… because I was a huge fan of Criminal Minds (a TV show about a group of FBI agents, in case you don't know). So then, forensic psychology was on my radar, and I realized I liked working with kids through things like assistant coaching. I've always noticed that some kids have had issues with behavior, and since I knew I wanted to do something in the criminal justice field, I combined the two. Second chances are important to me, and receiving a label as a child should not determine your future.”

As a job shadowing experience, she visited the Peoria Juvenile Detention Center where she met with kids and was able to learn about their situations. She said, “Talking to them -- it's almost like they have no hope. They think they'll come back. I always ask them what they want to do in the future, and they never have an answer. It made me sad. They have choices, and I want to show them that there is something outside of this.”

Casey has taken several psychology and criminal justice classes through Carl Sandburg College and is fascinated by it all. “Being able to go out into the real world and watching the careers happen really helps you realize your likes and dislikes, and honestly, it made me realize this might be harder than I thought emotionally, but I also realized I definitely want to do this despite the challenges.”

She has nothing set in stone, but she is touring Ripon College coming up, where she hopes to major in Social Work and minor in Criminal Justice.

Congratulations on all you've accomplished, Casey! Your passion is inspiring, and we can't wait to see what comes of it.

Maddy Nelson is also in the Human Services Pathway as she plans on being a Psychology major in order to become a Mental Health Specialist. She is committed to Aurora University, where she will be playing Division II Softball, which has been a huge passion of hers for a long time; she helped bring the Cougars a Sectional Championship as a Varsity starter her Sophomore year.

She is leaning toward mental health and psychology because “it's personal” to her. She said, “I want people to feel like they have someone to listen to and know they have the support that I sometimes felt I did not have.” She job shadowed alongside Casey at the Peoria Juvenile Detention Center, where they dealt with a resident who was on suicide watch. “I sat in on a therapy session, and the therapist really sounded like she cared. It made me feel like there was a way to help struggling people.”

She says she wants to show "that I've dealt with my own problems, and I want to relate to them, but also be intentional with the words I choose. This field is personal, and I really want to give people the opportunity to heal.”

She says that she is so grateful for the opportunity to get a head start on her career. “They (Williamsfield Schools) give us great opportunities for job shadowing #realworldexperiences.”

We can't wait to see all you accomplish in your next four years and beyond, Maddy!

Be on the lookout for future Senior Spotlight Segments by Sarah Brown!

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