August Youth of the Month Shelby Ames Leads in the Workplace and Classroom

17-year old Shelby Ames is always up for a challenge. The Central High School senior, who has faced difficulties of her own, puts her heart into everything she does – whether that’s serving as a tutor for students in her Medical Professionals Academy classes, or as a devoted manager at Dairy Queen.

In 7th grade Shelby complained about a buzzing sound and was taken to have her ears checked. After multiple tests and imaging, doctors discovered that she had developed a hearing deficiency, and had lost 70% of her hearing in one ear and 40% of her hearing in the other ear.

“Shelby started wearing hearing aids to assist her in school, and it made her a force to be reckoned with,” said her mother Brandi Johnston. “There is nothing that Shelby has encountered that she has not given it her all and surpassed all expectations.”

“I found myself working harder and being even more determined. It also helped me to realize that almost everyone has their own challenges in their life.” Shelby said, adding that she sees the importance in facing difficulties head-on. “Challenges help us refocus on things and can make us stronger in the end.”

Although Shelby loves to spend time with her friends and family, she devotes a majority of her time to serving as a dedicated manger at Dairy Queen, tutoring her peers, and excelling in her studies as a Medical Professionals Academy student. (She’s achieved a 4.0 every semester of her high school career.)

“She does all of this and remains positive, outgoing, friendly. She truly is an impressive young lady,” Johnston said.

“Becoming a manager made me focus on leading at work and providing great service to others,” Shelby said. She was named manager at only 16 years-old after quickly working herself up from a shift lead at the same location. Shelby says her role at Dairy Queen has also prepared her to take on more responsibilities in the classroom.

“I try to be a classmate that others can depend on and seek guidance,” Shelby said.

“Shelby is a natural leader and part of our Medical Professionals Academy. She takes charge of her learning and is proactive with everything she experiences,” said Shelby’s teacher Tammy Vick. “She is an amazing student and leader. I am humbled to have been her teacher.”

Shelby is a peer-mentor and tutors students at Central High School. She especially enjoys connecting with students outside of her typical friend group, and helping them with material that they find challenging.

“She guides peers so they have a better understanding of the content,” Vick said, adding that Shelby never does the work for her classmates, rather she helps them to understand and work through the problem or challenge themselves.

Speaking of challenges, when asked how she was dealing with the effects of COVID-19 Shelby said: “I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. Not being able to spend time in-person with my grandparents, see my friends at school each day, and navigating virtual learning away from my teachers has really changed the way I look at my life.”

After graduation, Shelby plans to attend USI, and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field.

“It is important to me to give back, and I feel I will accomplish this by studying medicine,” she said.

To nominate a student ages 5-18 for Youth of the Month, click here.