06/01/2009 - Madison (Maddie) Orcutt isn't waiting until she's grown up to be what she wants to be when she grows up.
"Why not try to make a difference while we're young," Maddie challenges.
The fifteen-year-old Casper Classical Academy ninth grader is eager to do great things to change the world, or at least her little piece of it, and she isn't sitting around waiting for someday.
"It disappoints me that teenagers don't think they can have a voice," Maddie says. "So I try to be a voice for teenagers."
Maddie describes herself as "very introverted" when she and her family, parents Dr. Steve and Vicki Orcutt and brother Michael, moved to Casper four years ago. But then what started as an interest in debate and public speaking became a passion.
"I've run into people who have really helped me," she says, "Mr. Sharpnack and the NC debate coaches saw something in me I didn't see in myself."
Maddie is now involved in speech, debate, and leadership. She is the president of the CCA student council and the honor roll society. Recently, she placed third in domestic extemporaneous at the district debate competition in Green River and is now on her way to nationals in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the past year Maddie has used her experience in speech and debate to speak out for what she believes in and be a voice for teenagers. She spoke at a Natrona County Commissioners meeting and has taken advantage of other opportunities as well. Maddie desires to be a positive expression of her beliefs without isolating herself from those who hold different opinions.
Maddie is also passionate about what's happening in the world. "I want to become well-rounded and well-informed," Maddie says. "I plan to accomplish great things and there's no better time to gain a foundation than now." As part of her desire to learn to connect with others and gain more of a world perspective, Maddie has participated in several short-term mission trips. After her first trip to South Africa in 2006, the then seventh grader started an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign at her school. The second time she travelled to South Africa, she spoke to local students about abstinence.
"The first time I went it was for just plain curiosity," Maddie says, "Now I want to have relationships and do God's work. Even though I love Wyoming so much, I love other cultures and experiences too."
Maddie plans to continue her love affair with Wyoming long after she completes college, which she hopes to attend on the east coast to pursue a law degree. She intends to return to Wyoming and become politically active. She also sees herself continuing participation in short-term mission projects and volunteerism.
"I want to be an encouragement to people," Maddie says, "and an example that you don't have to be bound to society's expectations. Teenagers don't have to wait to accomplish things."