Jamaican Woman Making Moves

Maxine Chang Reyes is a dynamic woman who has been making strides in her community in the United States.  Maxine was born in Kingston, but spent most of her childhood in Marlie Hill and Mandeville, Manchester.

She is currently a captain in the U.S. Army and recently completed her assignment as the company commander for the Army’s Recruiting and Retention School, located at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, South Carolina. The school sometimes houses up to 500 students at once and trains more than 6,000 annually. She served in this position for more than one year and has done a superb job.

She works closely with her energetic team of Soldiers to ensure that the mission is accomplished and that the welfare of her Soldiers and their families is always a priority. Captain Reyes ensures that whatever activities that members of her company get involved in, she is always there supporting the event or cause. 

The Recruiting and Retention School has an outstanding outreach program that collects food for a local food bank and clothing for the homeless or less fortunate. She always makes the time to participate in these efforts.  Captain Reyes also volunteers with a local middle school where she has mentored young girls and others in her local community. 

In addition to her career and volunteer work, Reyes has other accomplishments as well.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership is an inspired singer and a philanthropist.  She recently performed contemporary jazz at a Columbia benefit event.  She is married to an Army officer and they have a three-year-old daughter.

In 2000, she and her husband adopted her former primary school in Marlie Hill, Manchester and have committed to making a difference for the students. She is the founder of the Doctor Bird Scholarship Award (DBSA) which is designed to motivate future leaders to maximize their educational potential. The award recognises students that have shown a significant amount of dedication and perseverance in attaining educational excellence.  Students must be of high moral character and display excellent leadership qualities by being a mentor to those in need of motivation and scholastic assistance.  It also identifies students who display proficiency in mathematics, English, the top competitor in the local Spelling Bee and the top three scores in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).  Finally, those that show noteworthy achievement in Athletics are also acknowledged.

The Doctor Bird Scholarship Award was her husband Ken's idea back in 2000 when she came upon the very first trophy that she’d won at the Jahnet's Jamaican Cuisine Annual Talent Competition in Miami, Florida.  He suggested that she donate it to her old school in Jamaica to encourage the children to pursue their dreams as she was pursuing hers of becoming a singer.  He is instrumental in spreading the word among his colleagues as to the need of various programs at the school that will improve the lives of the students and enhance the community.

Reyes and her husband plan to help their adopted school this year by purchasing a laptop computer and projector to further educate the students and expose them to the Internet.  They have also joined forces with the marliehill.org foundation to begin work on other much-needed programs at Marlie Hill Primary School like the meal, medical, and athletic programs.  Contributed



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