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Otterbein Model Community Family Award Goes to Devoted Mother

Otterbein Model Community Family Award Goes to Devoted Mother


Otterbein University has chosen Mary Jo Miller, mother of freshman Paige Miller, as the recipient of the 2015 Model Community Family Award.

This award is given in honor of the outstanding and significant contributions family members make in the lives of Otterbein students by preparing them for college and supporting them while they are attending Otterbein.

Mary Jo was nominated by Paige because she would not let Paige be defined by her social class. A single mother, Mary Jo worked three jobs to make ends meet while raising Paige.

“Whenever I am asked to think of the most significant influence in my life, my mother is the first person to come to mind,” Paige said. “She has been there to watch me succeed, fail, and all in between. I can easily say my mother has taught me more than I could have ever imagined.”

“The most important life lesson she taught me is to not let my social class define me as a person or restrain me. To some, this might seem of the least importance, but to me it means the world,” Paige said.

While Paige looks up to her mother, Mary Jo said Paige is naturally responsible and deserves the credit for her own success. “I am most proud of the job Paige has done. Where she is now, is by her doing. I was not on her case to constantly do her homework. It was her,” Mary Jo said. “And I just couldn’t be happier.”

In her essay, Paige wrote, “I often couldn’t afford new clothes or sports that required a fee, but my mother constantly reminded me that my lack of finances did not change me as a person. When my mother first explained this to me I took it to heart and quickly applied it to my academics.

“I consistently made the principal’s honor roll; scored ‘advanced’ or ‘accelerated’ on my Ohio Graduation Tests; graduated with a 3.4 GPA; won two scholarships; and got accepted into the two colleges I applied to.

“I believed if I was given the opportunity I should never back down from it. This lesson has taught me how to be organized, how to manage my time, how to put passion into my work and how to help others. I wish to continue applying this lesson for when I graduate and become a high school English teacher.”

Otterbein students were invited to submit an essay about a family member who has taught them a significant lesson that they have applied to their experience at Otterbein. The contest, presented by Otterbein’s Center for Student Involvement and Office of Annual Giving and Constituent Communication, provides students with an opportunity to recognize parents, step-parents or guardians whose presence, endeavors, dedication and care have contributed to his or her personal development and academic success.

The theme of the essay was “From Where I STAND,” aligning with Otterbein’s “Where we STAND matters” campaign. So far, the campaign has raised $21 million to build a model community, conduct campus renewal and provide access and affordability for current and future students.

For more on Otterbein’s STAND, visit the official campaign website.