Juggling, interestingly enough, isn’t one of the activities on Maisie Mahoney’s exhaustive list.
The Oregon senior has kept a lot of balls in the air over the past four years and was recently selected to the IHSA All-State Academic Team, an honor reserved for 13 boys and 13 girls across the Land of Lincoln.
Quite the resume
Mahoney is a three-sport athlete who plays volleyball and basketball and runs track. She carries a 4.359 grade-point average on a weighted 4.5-point scale and ranks second among 130 Oregon seniors.
Mahoney also is an officer in National Honors Society, plays violin in the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra, will perform in the school’s production of “Guys and Dolls,” and is a co-chair of the Student Advising Council to the Illinois State Board of Education.
That last honor perhaps means the most to her, as her group picks a topic every year, researches it and presents their recommendations to the state board.
‘On that council, my voice is heard by people who are running the state, more or less,” Maisie said. “That’s why I do everything I do – I know all my hard work will eventually pay off.”
Her co-chair honor it didn’t come without a sacrifice. But that’s par for the course.
Mahoney’s made a lot of tough decisions when her schedules overlap. She spent weeks weighing whether to play in a volleyball match against Rock Falls on Oct. 18, or attend a meeting in which she was up for vote to become the council’s co-chair.
“In situations like that, I try to pick the lesser of two evils,” Mahoney said. “I talked to my teammates and coaches a lot, and they’re always very understanding. I decided to go to the meeting. I got voted co-chair and my teammates played fantastic. It couldn’t have worked out better.”
Mahoney will take her talents to St. Louis, where she’ll study biomedical engineering at Washington University, which she calls “the college of my dreams.”
While’s she’s not exactly sure what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s locked in on what she wants to accomplish.
“I want to help people,” Mahoney said. “If I could build a pacemaker, or build an arm for a child who lost theirs in an accident, that would be incredible. It would mean the world to me.
“When I was a kid, I heard the phrase, ‘You can change the world.’ It sounds cliche, but, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s actually not that hard. You’ve just got to be willing to take the extra step.”
Tone set early
Mahoney’s success starts at home ... even if she’s rarely there.
Her father, Tom, is the Oregon School District superintendent and her mother, Angela, is a teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Rochelle, where the family lived until Maisie’s high school years. Needless to say, the tone was set early in the Mahoney household.
“We stressed the academics first, and then the sports could come,” Angela Mahoney said. “It doesn’t take a lot of work on our part. She takes a lot of it on herself.”
Mahoney spends half her school day at Kishwaukee College, and her mother says this semester has been the most trying.
There came a point where she tried to intervene. Maisie, who’d already tackled Calculus I and II, wanted to go after three.
“We had to laugh…” Angela Mahoney said. “How do you tell your child, ‘No, you can’t take another math class?’”
High School: Oregon
Class rank: 2 out of 130
Parents: Tom, Oregon School District superintendent; Angela, teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Rochelle
Sister: Delaney, freshman at OHS
Activities: Three-sport athlete – volleyball, basketball, track; co-chair of Student Advising Council to Illinois State Board of Education; National Honor Society officer; plays violin in Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra; will perform in school production of “Guys and Dolls”
College plan: Will study biomechanical engineering and run track at Washington University in St. Louis