Paxton Ozbun '21

Paxton Ozbun

It didn’t take Paxton Ozbun ’21 long to realize he made a great decision when he decided to enroll in McMurry. A May 2017 graduate of Amarillo Tascosa High School, Paxton arrived at McMurry in time for the fall semester. Before long, he was asking if he could take the spring semester off-a request he wasn’t sure would be met with enthusiasm by his professors.

But the request was for a good reason. Paxton didn’t want to skip a semester, he just wanted to accept a rare opportunity to serve an internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando. He was thrilled when he got his answer from McMurry faculty. “They told me to go for it,” Paxton said. “They knew it would be a great experience.”

And they were right. Paxton, who will return to McMurry in fall 2018, was one of 7,000 interns selected from 70,000 applicants. Spending the spring semester at Walt Disney World might sound like a vacation, but it is far from it for Paxton and the other interns.

Work days can run as long as 14-plus hours. Paxton works in five different restaurants, rotating among them in order to learn how to adapt to new situations. It’s hectic sometimes, but Paxton likes the routine “That way, I’m not doing the same thing,” he said. “It makes the day go faster.”

Paxton’s jobs run the gamut in the restaurant business, from cleaning tables to guest relations. Each week, Paxton writes a report on what he’s learned and will present the entire report to one of his professors in the Walter F. and Virginia Johnson School of Business when he returns. One of those is Ann Liprie-Spence, who wrote a letter of recommendation for Paxton for a scholarship.

“Although I have only known him for one semester,” Liprie-Spence wrote, “it doesn’t take long to recognize he is an outstanding individual, consistently demonstrating his natural leadership abilities.”

In his one semester on campus, Paxton was a McMurry Student Government senator, a member of the McMurry Student Foundation, and sang in the Chanters University choir and in the Aldersgate United Methodist Church choir. Liprie-Spence noticed something about Paxton that obviously the staff at Walt Disney World noticed too when selecting him as an intern.

“He is extremely effective in planning and managing time in structured and unstructured situations,” Liprie-Spence wrote.

That trait most definitely has come in handy for Paxton in his hectic internship. Those 14-hour days can get long sometimes, but Paxton realizes that’s a small price to pay for the experience he’s getting with the prestigious Walt Disney World. “It’s a challenge,” Paxton said, “but that’s what we’re here to do.”

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