Many graduating seniors are set. They’ve wanted to be doctors, lawyers, teachers or nurses their entire lives.
The 2013 Fuquay-Varina High School Valedictorian has a different idea. Madeline Reich heads off to UNC Chapel Hill this fall with an undecided major.
She may study Spanish as a major with a future in law or medicine, but the possibilities are endless. And the well-rounded graduate is looking at all of her options.
She loves children, so childhood psychiatry may be the right path for her. During her junior year at FVHS, Reich held a science camp for neighborhood children for her AP environmental science class. She even carried the project over into senior year, holding some Saturday camps.
She also likes the idea of international law because she is good at negotiating and loves to travel.
“I really want to go everywhere and see everything,” Reich said.
It’s an amazing four years that led to Reich being named Valedictorian. She has learned so much in that time.
Her biggest challenge was learning to take care of herself instead of trying to go with the crowd. For that reason, she joined theater.
“I found something I was really passionate about because I stuck with it and didn’t worry about what other people were doing,” Reich said. “I’m definitely a different person from when I first started high school to now because of theater.”
She also took part in a four-year Environmental Protection Agency program at Shaw University, starting the summer after her eighth grade year. It all culminated last summer when Reich was able to do her own research that will be used by the EPA.
“It’s been a really big inspiration to me,” she said. “It was a really good opportunity.”
Reich was a member of National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, vice president of the Genealogy Club, and on the board as clerk of the International Thespian Club and Drama Club. She also tutored children at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School as a member of NHS.
But Reich learned in eighth grade not to spread herself too thin. She was in too many clubs. In high school, she had to find a balance between extracurricular activities, her social life and her school work.
Reich’s favorite memories of high school include taking a photo with her precalculus class in their Pi Day shirts and giving a speech when she vying for the clerk position on the drama board – she wore a cape and talked about how she would do a “super” job. She also enjoyed closing out prom with her friends during junior year, dancing the night away.
“I think it’s the little memories that make it a good experience,” she said.
And Reich has many memories in the making for her time at UNC. She was accepted into the honors program and was one of 40 that earned a research fellowship where she will have $5,000 to do her own project. Usually, students receive acceptance into only one of the two programs.
Reich’s family has been an enormous strength through her high school years. She said her parents have always encouraged her.
Reich has received a lot of support within FHVS as well.
Nichole Willis and Pat Moore have been encouragers along the way. Moore has always listened to Reich and helped her get the classes she needed to excel. Willis, Reich’s teacher for AP English 3, is the first person the graduate will ask for advice.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am today without that class (AP English 3),” Reich said.
She also has used her own success to inspire her siblings. Reich’s sister, a rising junior, and brother, a rising sophomore, have lots of interests and she just wants them to be the best in those areas.
“I want them to live up to their own expectations,” Reich said.
Contact Kelly Griffith at email@example.com or 919-552-5675.