Look out Oakland Mills High School! We now have a rebel up front, ready to inspire every student here at Oakland Mills. Her name is Ms. Jennifer McQueeney, and she is OM’s newest teacher’s secretary.
Mrs. McQueeney is a compassionate, uplifting young woman, and she is no different from the students here at OM. She spent most of her life in New Castle, Delaware, where she attended William Penn High School. Unfortunately, she had a really rough childhood and didn’t have the best grades in high school. “It was a broken family when I was 13, it was very Jerry Springer, my life; it’s a hot mess,” she said humorously. Many times, Ms. McQueeney had to lean on her high school best friend’s parents for support and motivation. Her life has been filled with many glorious times as well as a lot of challenging moments.
But this never stopped Mrs. McQueeney from getting to where she wanted to be. She simply calls herself a “self made person,” as she explained “…it took me seven years to graduate college…But I did it, paid it and I have no bills, and I’m proud of that.”
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Ms. McQueeney herself and ask her about the impact she plans on making here at OM. She believes that through her life experiences there’s a lot she can teach her students. Ms. McQueeney states that, “I hope that I am able, especially for young women, to help them realize that they don’t have to be perfect; whatever you think perfect is, you’re wrong. Even as adult women, if we would stop putting pressure on each other and instead see what we could do together to compliment each other.”
When it comes to the female community, Ms. McQueeney believes they must uplift, support, and encourage one another instead of comparing themselves. She acknowledges the social struggles of being a female, “There are a lot of moms out there doing it by themselves or with a partner, but it still hard, it’s hard being a girl.”
Ms.McQueeney is very motherly; her family will always come first in her life. “Being a mom is more important to me than a career.” Mrs. McQueeney did not always know that she would be where she is today. She went to school to become a police officer and was planning to enlist into the Marines after high school. That all changed when her grandmother opened her eyes to the outcomes of her choices at the moment. “My grandmother sat me down and said, ‘I was planning my future life for my future family.’ I didn’t understand what she meant until my mother broke it down for me…whoever I chose to marry and if I did choose to marry and have children, I was going to create this fear for them that I would never come home every day, and I wanted a family; it was really important to me to have a family because I wanted to do better than my parents did, because it was so important to me and that meant to me that I already wasn’t doing well.” Mrs. McQueeney explained.
Although Ms.McQueeney is very compassionate and walks in every morning with a smile on her face and a kind word, she also has a complete converse side to her. Not only did she first go to school to become a police officer, but you could also find her racing cars on a track. “I used to race cars; I’ve driven NASCAR twice, and I used to race cars where I wasn’t supposed to race cars; the fastest I’ve driven on the street with a car that I owned was 136 miles per hour.”
When it comes to what Mrs. McQueeney hopes to do for the students at OM, she says, “I would hope that I inspired someone and I made them think differently and gave them the confidence to believe that they could do something, or freed their spirit to just be themselves, or gave them the courage to know that they’re in charge of themselves and the decisions that they make and the choices that they have, no matter what situation that they’re in. I would hope that someone would think that I impacted their life,” she stated. “I want them to know that they should feel comfortable to find their person in this school, it doesn’t have to be me, if it is me, I’m blessed, I’m honored, but they should find their person that they can connect with because you need your person.”