FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – Zaeda Knudson, a senior from Homestead High School, is one of three finalists for the University of Saint Francis Pay it Forward Fellowship. The Tuition and Fee Scholarship valued at approximately $ 135,000 is awarded to a student who exemplifies what it means to serve others.

Knudson is a high school leader with AMPd, the Middle School Department at The Chapel. She spends every Wednesday evening and most Sunday morning with the grade 8 girl group.

“Wednesday night is more of a relationship moment, a whole bunch of college kids show up,” she said. “We play games, like big group games, we play stage games like with powerpoints. And then we always do a short 15-20 minute lesson, a Bible story, and more devotion. ”

After that, Knudson and a group of adult leaders sit down with the younger girls for more personal time.

“We just met in this room and we just have a list of questions and we just go through a list of questions or talk about life, and just get to know the girls and help them in their relationship with Christ,” she declared.

Knudson attributes some of her own involvement with AMPd to the high school leaders she had when she was in college. These leaders became mentors and friends, people Knudson could turn to with anything.

“I really liked being able to talk to them differently than my older leaders, and so being able to have that relationship with them helped me make the decision to enter quorum ministry.”

Now, as a high school leader herself, she wants to keep paying to have a similar and meaningful impact on the middle school girls she is currently working with.

“I feel like there is a better connection, it’s easier for them to talk to me and people closer to their age,” she said.

Not that long ago, Knudson wasn’t sure if she could devote her time to AMPd as she was also part of her school’s choir.

“It was my big like, that’s what I’m going to do in high school.”

But rehearsals, practices and performances took up most of his free time, and practice also took place on the evenings AMPd met. Before her 4th year in performing choir, she had a choice to make.

“I prayed about it and took the time and decided that the next year I wasn’t going to audition. I actually ended up not doing any trials and decided that I wanted to volunteer with AMPd instead.

It was a difficult decision for the high school student, but she has no regrets as she has learned that she has more fun doing for others than doing for herself.

His involvement with AMPd also gave him the opportunity to serve outside the church. She has volunteered with the Community Harvest Food Bank, the Ten Point Coalition and other local organizations.

“I love people. Whenever I volunteer, I do it for people. I love having conversations with new people. I always have, I don’t waste my time doing it, I do it because I like it.

And she has a number of mission trips to her credit. She traveled to places like Alabama and the Dominican Republic where she helped improve schools and worked alongside doctors running medical clinics.

“It was a really eye-opening experience for me,” she said.

Winning the full scholarship would not only ease a financial burden, but give him the opportunity to continue serving, especially with AMPd.

“I would really like to stay with my girl group, that’s my main goal. I want to stay with them until high school.

WANE 15 is proud to partner again with the University of Francis for the Pay it Forward scholarship. A winner will be announced the week of December 7th. One student will receive the full scholarship and two students will receive half of the scholarship.


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