by Jennifer Sierra
16 year-old Madison Clark, is a typical teenager. She likes hanging out with her friends, is starting a job at Target, likes music and has blue hair. Upon meeting her you wouldn’t think she is unique but she is in a very big way. She is brilliant, not just in personality but in IQ. Madison is a Bellevue High School sophomore student that is part of the Gateway Dual-enrollment program that is offered to both Dayton and Bellevue Independent Schools where she takes classes like The History and Sociology of Rock Music, American Government, Sociology, American History and Biology.
Madison teaches violin to 3rd graders at Grandview Elementary. She learned to play violin in the 4th grade and took lessons from Wan Zhao at Higgins Violin Company in Bellevue, Kentucky. She is in Drama and Violin clubs at school.
Madison has some hurdles that come with this responsibility. “It is a bit strange socially because I am not really a college student and I am not really a high schooler.” She only has a couple of classes at Bellevue every day. She currently takes English II and Accounting at Bellevue High School. She finished her Algebra II class online. Juggling her busy academic schedule and her teaching schedule, she doesn’t have the relaxation time that other kids her age have.
“The dual enrollment program has had a great impact on the students in the local schools that participate. Kids talk, word gets around and now the kids seem to be talking to one another about things that they hadn’t before, like their future after high school.” Bellevue Superintendent Robb Smith stated, “We are starting to get a lot of inquiries about the program from other students. This is really building interest from our kids. The kids are asking questions about their future that maybe they didn’t ask in the past.”
Madison’s family saw no signs of her academic talents until she was well into grade school. She read Harry Potter when she was in the third grade. With a 4.0 GPA and ACT score of 30, there was even a discussion about having her skip a grade but the teachers and her parents decided she would be better off taking advantage of the Gateway Dual-Enrollment program being offered to the juniors and seniors instead. By staying in high school and also taking college courses, she will be able to take more college courses for free which will alleviate the burden of college tuition. She will be able to graduate from high school with an Associates Degree which she won’t have to pay for. “I’m getting a head start in life. I don’t have to take classes I don’t need and once I am in college, I am already 2 years in,” Madison said.
Madison has a little sister and her proud parents have been married for 16 years. Her family has lived in Bellevue her whole life. Her grandparents live in Ft. Thomas and Dayton, Kentucky. Madison Clark wants to attend the University of Louisville and become a teacher.