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Madeline Garcia — Porterville's female youth of the year
Editor’s note: This is the third of several articles on individuals, businesses and others recognized at the Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Harmony Magnet Academy’s Madeline Garcia has been named the 2012 Porterville Chamber of Commerce Female Youth of the Year — an honor that comes with a $500 college scholarship provided by the chamber’s Business and Education Committee.
Daughter of Dago and Cassandra Garcia, Madeline was honored — and surprised — during a Nov. 3 banquet at the Veterans Memorial Building.
The honor was kept a surprise and resulted in Madeline being utterly shocked as she began to see her baby pictures across a large screen.
“Keeping it a secret was awful,” said Cassandra Garcia. “She tried to walk off the stage without saying anything but managed to push out ‘thank you to whoever nominated me’ with an awkward smile before she sat down and glared at me for keeping such a secret. She said if she had known she would’ve prepared a speech. To see her up on stage fumbling for words with utter awkwardness was worth it.”
Keeping the secret was difficult, she said, because she was beaming with pride and was excited for her. But, she managed the feat by telling Madeline that the chamber awards were a big deal in the community and it was important to be there. Cassandra also let a few people in on the secret, including best friend Luis Baraza to assure his attendance, and little sister Sydney, to help steer Madeline’s clothing choice in the right direction.
“I was not surprised that she got that recognition because she earned it by working hard and it is nice to have her effort recognized,” Cassandra Garcia said. “So often we hear about bad kids and she’s a great example of a good kid. Madeline is a great kid, as are all of her siblings, but this achievement is hers.”
As the oldest sibling, Madeline is wonderful, an amazing young individual, and someone her brother and sisters look up to, follow her lead and copy her every move, said her father Dago Garcia, adding that he has always strived to provide all his children with an environment that promotes learning and individual growth.
“I was surprised but not shocked,” Dago Garcia said about Madeline’s award. “As a father, my job is to guide her, give her feedback and be there for her. In all venues, she has made my job of being her father very rewarding. Madeline has been outstanding in school, submerged herself in expanding her intellectual capacity, and in the process became a cool young adult.”
But the word outstanding is an understatement.
Madeline’s school counselor, Paula Roche, described her as an intelligent, capable young woman who is quick on her feet, astute at assessing situations and always ready to volunteer time and skills with a smile on her face.
Her list of accomplishments is long. Not only is she a member of California Scholarship Federation with a 4.06 grade point average that ranks her at No. 5 in her graduating class, Madeline also has a demanding academic schedule with numerous accelerated, honors and advanced placement courses. She has earned the designation of AP Scholar of Honor — a status granted to individuals scoring high on three or more AP exams.
In addition, she is an active campus leader, serving as vice president of Dancers of Theater and has been a Link Crew leader, a member of the Junior Statesmen of America, Key Club International and Academic Decathlon, and is on the school’s varsity swim and varsity water polo teams.
Her other awards include the Porterville Unified School District Excellence Award in Language Arts for two years and World History one year, academic letters, Lamp of Knowledge awards, perfect attendance awards, appearance on the Principal’s List and Honor Roll every semester, and a nomination for Girls State and Rotary Camp Royal.
Her list of involvement in the community is also just as long, with Madeline volunteering or serving at Helping Hands, Christians in Action, Zonta Club, Relay for Life, Porterville Parks and Leisure Services, Grand Avenue Methodist Church and the Porterville Cooling Center. She has worked with Fill the Trolley food drives, youth swim days, clubhouse clean-up, Walk Against Violence, Mile of Quarters and the Woodville Harvest Festival.
When not involved in activities, she has found time to work as an Ambassador for the National Honors Society of High School Scholars, as an office assistant at Porterville Women’s Medical Associates and as a lab assistant or Premier Pathology.
And, she has done it all without missing a single day of school from kindergarten to the present.
“I could write a book as to what an amazing young lady my child has become,” Dago Garcia said. “Beyond her grades, past her perfect attendance, Madeline is growing to become an outstanding citizen. I am honored to be her father. If we are judged by how our children act and behave, Madeline is making me look pretty good.”
Contact Esther Avila at 7784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.