Many kids opt to spend their summers in front of the TV or by the pool, but not Maddy Chance. The Cambridge School senior spent her whirlwind summer at not one, not two, but three rigorous, academic programs — and she had to delay one of them due to an emergency appendectomy.
It all started with a week at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. The 800 students chosen to participate are considered candidates for the academy, once they complete the grueling week of training and classes.
“I was not expecting to be woken up at 4 in the morning,” Maddy said. “I learned a lot, too, that I didn’t know about.”
The next weekend, she was headed off to NASA. During the school year, Maddy had completed an online course on research in space to prepare her for the summer project. Her team had to develop a Mars mission.
“We worked on how we were going to fly there, how much stuff we were going to take up, and how we were going to land there,” she said.
After a week home, it was time for the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program For High School Students in Washington, D.C. But there was just one problem — she had to have her appendix removed first.
“I really didn’t think I was going to be able to go,” she said.
Two days later, Maddy was flying to the nation’s capital to take part in the program’s sightseeing and diplomatic workshops. Then the Iraqi students went to stay with different host families. Obviously, Maddy took up that opportunity, too.
“She kind of takes things on; she just finds them,” said Cambridge dean of students Blake Schwarz, who sponsors the school’s Junior World Affairs Council.
If that weren’t enough, Maddy still managed to squeeze in her annual family vacation to Dauphin Island, Ala. Would most kids be worn out from the nonstop pace? Probably — but not this 17-year-old.
“It never really overwhelmed me,” she said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to get into all of them. The timing just worked out.”
Always interested in math and science, Maddy said the programs have opened her eyes to engineering, which may end up being her major once she gets to college — but not without a minor in international studies, of course.
“That’s probably her greatest trait, is taking initiative,” Schwarz said. “Obviously, she’s got the intellectual capacity … but what sets her apart is her willingness to take things on.”
In addition to her service via the World Affairs Council, Maddy plays soccer and basketball, and is working on her college applications. It’s all a lot to juggle, but that’s OK — she’s not exactly one for down time anyway.