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Staples Valedictorian Madeline Seidman Follows Her Own Path

Madeline Seidman is the valedictorian at Staples High School in Westport this year. She will attend Williams College in the fall.
Madeline Seidman is the valedictorian at Staples High School in Westport this year. She will attend Williams College in the fall. Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Madeline Seidman downplays the differences between her and some of the valedictorians of the recent past at Staples High School in Westport.

Not only is Seidman the first female valedictorian at Staples since 2008, but she also enjoyed classes across various disciplines. Many recent male valedictorians identified themselves as “math/science students.”

Despite the school's trend of male valedictorians, Seidman believes the academic honor carries equal weight, regardless of the recipient’s gender. “I don't really think about being a female valedictorian. ... However, it gives me a huge sense of accomplishment to be able to ace a test while wearing high heels."

Seidman’s favorite classes ranged from Myth and Bible Honors to AP Chemistry to Honors U.S. History. “And, even though Ms. O’Hara kicked my tuchus in the beginning of the year, I ended up really loving AP Literature," she said. "My writing definitely benefited from some kicking in the tuchus."

A valedictorian must take an array of high-level classes to achieve the GPA that earns that No. 1 spot.

“Great minds come from all areas of expertise. The ability to lead, persuade, write, analyze and humor others is quite important in almost any field,” she said.

Seidman will give a valedictory speech to her 464 peers in the graduating class of 2013 on Friday, June 21, with Robert DeLuca by her side as salutatorian.

Seidman was officially named valedictorian in February. “I was a bit stunned, but also very happy,” she said.

Although Seidman can crack jokes about her top spot, acing tests is no joking matter for the high honors student.

Since her freshman year at Staples, Seidman has taken the highest level classes possible. She took all honors her freshman and sophomore years and then took all APs when they were offered. “I never took an A level class until the second semester of my senior year when I took the required area studies. I took East Asian,” Seidman said, adding that she “enjoyed the class a lot.”

As June 21 draws closer, she excitedly awaits her time in the spotlight, speaking in front of her classmates and their families. Seidman is an avid member of Staples Players, the high school theater program, and a possible theater major at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. “I love to act, but have rarely been able to perform my own material, so graduation should be fun,” she said.

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