Life Lessons from Magnolia

Area 5th grader excels in school, sports, and helping others.

A big sister is someone who watches out for you, teaches you important stuff and always sets a good example.  Magnolia “Maggie” Powell of Channahon does just that. The oldest of three siblings, Powell is an honors student at Three Rivers Elementary School, an avid softball player, and a young philanthropist who earlier this year raised over $1,400 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation which benefits kids with cancer.

Powell heard about St. Baldrick’s when Officer Michael Lazzari came to her school to promote the annual event. Maggie was inspired by the idea of helping people and donating her hair to someone who had no choice but to lose theirs.  Maggie diligently raised funds and then shaved her beautiful locks clean off in support of the cause.

“My grandma died of cancer, I thought it would be really neat to help kids who have cancer and a nice way to show my appreciation for those kids and my grandma,” said Powell.

Magnolia’s family is both proud and supportive of her efforts

“She brought me to tears that night,” said Renee Powell, Magnolia's mom. “You work so hard to raise your kids to help others… And then when they prove it to you all on their own - you just know you did the right thing.”

Powell had a great time at and wants to encourage her peers to participate in the future.

“Kids who have never heard of St. Baldrick’s should really do it - it’s fun!” said Powell, whose little sister is already talking about shaving her head next year.

Magnolia enjoys her family and being a big sister to her younger siblings. She has a sister (7) and baby brother (5 months). She recognizes the responsibility involved with being the oldest of 3, and has a very honest and real outlook.

“Having a little brother is fun but it can get annoying sometimes,” she said.

Powell also is an athlete, having been active in multiple sports including tennis, karate, and swimming since the age of 5. Her first love however, is softball, because she enjoys the team spirit of it.

“I like being outdoors and getting exercise and a lot of fresh air; [with softball] you get to have fun and be with your friends,” said Powell.

Powell plays third base, first base and pitcher for her team in Channahon. At age 8, her pitching skills earned her the nickname “The Arm”.

Magnolia’s other hobbies include painting, drawing, coloring and decorating; she is also an insatiable reader who has been known to read four or five books at a time.

“I work really hard at school and then I get all my homework done so that I can do all these things” said Powell.

Academically, Powell’s favorite subject is science.
“I’m kind of a nerd; I like collecting rocks and figuring out what kind of rocks they are, and looking at fossils and gemstones,” said Powell who enjoys school more than most kids her age and hopes to one day become a teacher herself.

“It’s fun to help people by being friendly and helping them learn new experiences and stuff” she added.

Powell has advice to aspiring softball players and honor students.

“Stay on the balls of your feet, and if you’re afraid of the ball, wear a pitching mask,” she said. “Take your time, study a lot, listen to the teacher and take notes.”


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