Madelyn, a 9th grade student at Cleveland NJROTC, says her favorite class is English, not because it’s easy or that it’s taught by her favorite teacher, but because she loves reading, writing, and telling stories. “Scary stories and movies are my favorite because they keep me on my toes. You know how they’re going to end and what’s going to happen, but it still scares you and it’s exciting to see how everything happens,” Madelyn says.
She is only 14 years old, but already has clear plans for her future. She said, “I want to go into the Navy in order to travel. And since they pay for college, I want to also go to school to be a zoologist. When I am 19, right out of high school I will probably enroll in the Navy. So in 5 years, I can possibly be traveling the world. When I’m 24, I’ll be in college. I want to see life before anything else.”
When Madelyn talks about her future traveling the world and experiencing life, she can’t help but be excited about the stories she will someday be able to share. “Other cultures are really what is driving me to want to travel,” she said. “So many people see a country one way, but I want to be able to tell stories about what it is really like.” Rome, China, and South America are a few places she really wants to visit because she wants to see them for herself instead of relying on books, movies, and others opinions.
Wherever she ends up, it is clear her love for storytelling will go with her. Madelyn hopes that in the future telling her experience of St. Louis to others will also help change people’s opinion of the city. “Not everything you see on the news or read about St. Louis is how it actually is,” she said. “I won’t sugar coat it, there are drugs, violence, people get killed, but that is everywhere. We have some good schools, sights to see, and a lot of really good people. St. Louis is like a big extended family.”
But for now, the O’Fallon Park resident is performing on the drill team at school, going to tutoring every night at The Sanctuary (4449 Red Bud Ave.), participating in creative writing classes after school and staying focused on her grades, especially her favorite English class.
For Madelyn, the story of her future has a clear plan, but it will still be exciting, and maybe sometimes scary, to see how everything happens along the way.