STORY

Catching Up With Madison Ott

BY HANNAH COX

July 20, 2016 12:15PM

Madison Ott just finished her freshman year of high school at The King’s Academy in Seymour, Tennessee. Madison is the recipient of a scholarship from Beacon, a scholarship that she won through a competition and that allows her to attend a school of her choice. We caught up with her this summer to find out how her first year at her private school went.

What was your freshman year like?

My freshman year at King’s was more than I’d ever hoped high school could be. You hear rumors all the time about how terrible it is being a freshman, or how terrible high school is in general, but all those rumors were squashed at King’s. Yes, of course there were times this past year when high school was more than I thought I could take, but that’s just part of growing up. High school is harder than middle school no matter what school it is. However, it’s not every school that has the support system I had transitioning from middle to high school. With the classes I was taking this support system was essential for my success.

What was your favorite memory from this year and why?

Choosing my favorite memory is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. It’s impossible for them to give you a single answer because they love all their children equally. So, I will share just a couple of my favorite memories. One of my most favorite memories from the past year isn’t so much as one memory, but rather a collection of them. Chapel services on Fridays. For those of you that don’t know chapel is the equivalent to a youth group service on Wednesday nights. The message is directed towards teenagers, and not older people the way most Sunday morning services are. Because of this, I felt most connected to my beliefs than at any other time, and I always left chapel feeling better than when I walked in. Another of my favorite memories, well not necessarily a memory more of a blessing, is the experiences and friendships I gained this year. I made friends that will last a lifetime, and I got to experience things I would have never experienced anywhere else. Everyone should get that opportunity.

What is the biggest difference between your old school and your new school?

The biggest difference between King’s Academy and my old school is the family environment at King’s. At King’s they are invested in your future. They want to see you succeed and excel at school and in athletics, but not only that, life as well. Teachers that want that for their students are rare and hard to come nowadays, but King’s is full of them.

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How do you think your life would be different if you did not have this scholarship?

I hate to think what my life would be like without this scholarship. With the rough time I was having in a public middle school I can only imagine how hard it would be for me in high school. The classes would get harder, and there would be nobody there to help. The emotional toll would inevitably get much worse than it was in middle school. Along with a whole list of other negative things.

In what ways do you think others might benefit from having the opportunity that you have?

If others had the same opportunity that I do I feel the number of depressed high school students would decrease majorly. If the student was able to choose the environment they want to be in I feel their mental state would change in a positive way. There would be less bullying because the students would be able to pick an environment they were comfortable in. They would be allowed to pick the learning environment best for them, because they know what they need in order to learn. Not some guy half way across the state who has never met the student.

What would you tell someone who was on the fence about school choice?

Anyone who is on the fence about school choice should just take a look around. They don’t see the students in school bathrooms crying because they don’t understand their math homework. They need to open their eyes and look around. Public schools are full of wasted potential. The students in those schools just need someone to work with them, but they’ll probably never get that chance. The key to curing cancer could be in one of those student’s heads, but because they were never worked with it’s gone. Out the door. Millions of people dying because one student never got the opportunity to reach their full potential. If that thought doesn’t push them towards school choice they must have something wrong with them.