Brent Butcher,
Executive Vice President Financial Freedom of America
Former Student

Seventeen years ago I had the great fortune of meeting a tremendous lady that would change my life forever.  I met this lady through a school sponsored program called Peer Assistance and Leadership or PAL for short.  The idea of the program was for high school teens to assist other teens from kindergarten through 12th grade with everyday issues, problems and concerns based on our own experience. 

The leader of this group was a lady by the name of Ms. Martin, who is now known as Jancine MacDougall. Ms. Martin developed, sponsored and managed this program for the Quinlan School District as well as became a personal mentor to PAL members who were nominated to assist with this program.  I was your average 17-year-old boy that had no idea what was next or what to expect after high school.  I knew I wanted to attend college but I didn’t know where, how to apply, what tests to take or even where the funding was going to come from.  Ms. Martin assisted me in all areas without ne even asking for her help. Within a 6 month period I had taken the SAT, applied and visited Southern Methodist University and received several scholarships worth an estimated $80,000. I will be forever grateful for what this wonderful lady did for me at this time of indecisiveness.

But what I find even more amazing now was the values she taught me without me even realizing it at the time.  The value of integrity, motivation and pride and that solid core values mean more than where you came from or the credentials listed on your resume.  It’s these same core values that I look for today in my professional relationships.  You see, the core values that Ms. Martin instilled in me is what assisted me in reaching my full potential as not only a business owner but as a quality individual.  These are now the same values I look for in business partners, future employees and  one day hope to pass on to my children.

And one side note, Ms. Martin was also my English teacher for my senior year in high school.  Any grammar issues with the above paragraphs should be addressed directly with her.

In closing, I would like to thank you again Ms. Martin for not only being a great mentor ,but a great friend as well.  There are teens today who would find a mentor in Mrs. Martin MacDougall through her Inspired STEPS program.

Quinlan Ford High School – Class of 1993
Southern Methodist University (SMU) – Class of 1997