Mary Foster: A Demon with determination


Photo Provided by Clare Quadlan

Mary Foster female Youth and Government Leader

Mercer Blanco, Op/Ed Editor

Every year, March is set aside for Women’s History Month. The month honors women’s contributions to American history. We have also had many excellent female students at RJ Reynolds that contribute to the excellence of our school community. 

Mary Foster, an RJR senior, is one of those women and has worked diligently for four years to pursue excellence. Foster has been super involved since she stepped on campus as a freshman. 

“I have played Field Hockey all four years, I am the Ronald McDonald House Club President, and I was the student delegation leader for our Youth and Government club, holding statewide positions my junior and senior years,” Foster said. “I am also a member of the Senior Girls Service Club, Crosby Scholars, and Spanish Club.”

Mary’s participation in North Carolina Youth and Government (YAG) at the state level has been particularly impactful on her and those around her. 

“Youth and Government in a statewide program where you participate in a ‘mock’ government,” Foster said. “There are the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. I was the presiding Officer in the legislative branch my junior year and the Chief of Staff in the executive branch as a senior.”

Students that participate in YAG get to go to a yearly conference with other North Carolina high school students. They work during the day on government-related activities, and in the evenings, there are theme nights, games, and dances. Foster shared that the best part of the conference was the people, and she learned a lot about being a leader and building confidence while at YAG. 

“Some of my best friends were made in this program,” Foster said. “YAG has taught me how to be accepting of others’ opinions while standing up for my own. Before YAG, I was not a person that liked to talk in front of a crowd or stand for my opinion, but I have found my voice through YAG. It is a great program.”

Mary has also been active in philanthropic endeavors while at RJR. She co-planned a 5K with 3 of her friends last spring to honor a girl named Tori, who was the recipient of 2 liver transplants. This event highlighted the importance of organ donation and raised over $8000. 

“Our goal was to encourage registered organ donors and educate people on how organ donation can save lives,” Foster said. “It was the hardest but most rewarding experience I have been a part of.”

Mary is grateful for her time at RJR. She acknowledges that she has learned much more than just working in the classroom. 

“Reynolds has given me many opportunities that has taught me values that will definitely go with me to college,” Foster said. “I have been exposed to all kinds of people with various passions and interests, which has inspired me to be my own person and taught me how to collaborate and grow connections with people that are different from myself.”

Mary is headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation. She wants to major in biology and pursue a career in the medical field. 

“I love being around people and want to have a positive impact on the world,” Foster said. She has mixed emotions about leaving home. “I am excited to be out of my comfort zone in college and challenged to learn more about myself,” said Foster. “It will be hard to leave such a comforting and welcoming environment at home and school.” 

Mary Foster, the senior, has words of wisdom for Mary Foster, the freshman, as she would for any incoming freshman, both male and female. 

“I was slightly insecure about myself when I started high school,” Foster said. “I would tell my younger self that everything will end up okay and encourage her to make the most out of every day. High school is a time to take risks and try new things, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.”