When I was thinking of a student who stands out in the Academy and throughout our community, I immediately thought of Madison Wagner. She is the founder of the Make A Difference (M.A.D.) club, a member of Club for Animal Respect and Education (C.A.R.E.), the President of Student Council, and actively participates in Speech and Debate as well as being a part of the National Honor Society.
I’ve gotten to know Madison for the past year and hands down she is one of the most positive, outgoing, thoughtful people I know. I wanted to know more about why she is so passionate about M.A.D. Club and why she loves helping others.
As an 8th grader at the Academy of Saint Bartholomew, Madison founded M.A.D.Club in August 2014, and held her first club meeting on February 6, 2015. Madison is extremely passionate about service and wants to thank her mom for that. She said, “I owe my mom a lot, and her selfless heart inspires me to go the extra mile to care about the needs of others each and every day. My mom is as active in M.A.D. Club as I am, helping with every event and project we host and is always thrilled to hear the success stories.”
Madison hopes to help everyone she encounters. When asked who she hopes to help the most, Madison said she wants to reach the people who believe they are beyond being helped. She also connects with volunteers “because service brings out someone new in everyone, and I think that serving helps us find that person.”
The M.A.D. Club is an organization of students working together to build enthusiasm within their schools and outside community by joining in a movement of creative ideas and volunteer time in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I asked Madison why she feels it is so important to put others first. Her response was very authentic. “I’m not sure if ‘putting others first’ is the right phrase. While it is important that we be considerate of others’ needs, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves too. That way, we remain healthy and happy, and then we are able to continue helping others. It’s in human nature to be social and care about others, and we have an inherent responsibility to help the people around us.”
Outside of M.A.D. Club, Madison “loves to read and watch movies, particularly superhero movies. Spider-Man is my favorite, I want to marry Tom Holland. I love spending time with my little cousins, they mean the world to me. Dancing is fun too.”
For Madison’s extraordinary work in terms of service, she was awarded the 2019 Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award from the National Catholic Education Association. She was one of 10 students chosen out of 1.8 million other students. One of the last questions I asked was, “How do you hope to change the world through service?” She said, “One step at a time! Small acts of kindness can have a big impact. Remember, there’s a whole world in each person. If you can impact others one by one through help and love and support, you slowly inch towards changing the world outside of them too.”
Madison continues to shine throughout the community with her service projects and will continue M.A.D. Club as she goes to college next year. To learn more about MAD Club, click here.