WATERLOO — DeKalb High School senior Emily Eis has been recognized as “outstanding” by the Jobs for America’s Graduates program.
Eis, of Auburn, was named the outstanding senior for Brightpoint JAG Northeast Indiana Region 3. She went on to compete at the state level at the 12th annual Jobs for America's Graduates Career Development Conference on May 8, where she received honorable mention in the outstanding senior category. She is the daughter of Beth and Ken Eis.
The JAG Outstanding Senior award recognizes the senior who most exemplifies the JAG spirit through his or her commitment to education, the world of work, community service and leadership.
“The JAG program helps students to graduate from high school with a better sense of self, including their capability of setting and achieving career goals,” said Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne. “JAG students participating in this year's event received the recognition they so rightly deserve."
Originally scheduled in March, the Career Development Conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and held virtually at the Indiana Government Center in downtown Indianapolis. Regional winners were challenged to compete virtually and send in their efforts for judging. About 175 high school students from across the state competed in 11 different categories.
Administered by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, JAG is a state-based, national nonprofit organization that assists high school students with earning their diplomas. Region 3 is funded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Board.
In addition to Eis’ individual recognition, the DeKalb High School JAG class placed third in the state for its chapter marketing campaign. For the activity, students created a brochure that highlights their JAG program and encourages students to join. The brochure, designed by senior Loren Coleman, also highlights service-learning events conducted by the chapter.
Students also created a commercial aimed at encouraging their peers to consider joining JAG, while creatively showing what the program is about.
DeKalb’s commercial, edited by senior Hannah Roon, was called the JAG Family, to the tune of “The Addams Family." Pete Kempf and Mark Deihl provided feedback and technical assistance.
Eis said when she first joined the JAG program, it was not her first choice for a class, but now it definitely would be her first choice.
She enrolled in JAG because of a scheduling conflict and had planned to participate for just one semester. She ended up staying for a second semester and then joined again for both semesters of her senior year.
Eis said JAG helped her prepare for life after high school, taught her to have a plan for her future and helped develop her leadership skills, as she served as DeKalb’s JAG president.
“JAG has brought me out of my shell,” Eis said. “It built a second family for me,” she said of the many friends she has made through the class. “It creates a safe spot.”
She said the program taught her that while sometimes it is easier to say “no,” saying “yes” can lead to great opportunities and open many doors.
While at DeKalb High School, Eis was a member of the Baron Brigade color guard and the speech team. She also is a 10-year member of 4-H and has a part-time job at a movie theater.
After graduating, she will attend Purdue Fort Wayne to major in hospitality management. She credited the JAG program and its career assessment test with leading her to that area of study.
Eis paid tribute to her JAG instructor, Andrea Freeze, for her efforts and support.
“She is more than just a teacher to me. She’s a mentor,” Eis said.
"Emily is one of the most hardworking and compassionate young people I have ever met," Freeze said. "Her determination and dedication to the JAG program is impressive, and she is the embodiment of an outstanding senior."