January 7, 2021
In reflecting upon my college experience so far, I recognize that my first semester looked quite different than usual. Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton University conducted a virtual, remote semester. While beginning my undergraduate education virtually from Madison may not have been an entirely ideal scenario, I remain thankful for the opportunity to nonetheless start my college journey, engage with a rich academic program rooted in the liberal arts, and begin to forge important connections with my peers.
One of my biggest takeaways from the semester regards the function and inner workings of research – namely, that academic discourse is deeply and closely connected to the real world and our understanding of it. While some consider academic discourse to be somewhat removed from everyday life, I’ve learned that it represents a real opportunity to contribute to ongoing intellectual discussions surrounding issues of consequence. In that vein, a highlight of the semester was writing a final paper in which I chose to conduct original research regarding media representations of protests for racial justice that occurred in the summer of 2020. Another highlight was learning about the Princeton Net-Zero America Project, a study that delineates viable pathways for the U.S. to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
I’ve also discovered that valuable learning often happens in unexpected ways. My freshman seminar pushed me to explore the boundary between art and life through the creative projects I undertook, such as improvising a piano composition along with the evening sounds of crickets or writing poetry inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of academic contexts, I have also begun an advising fellowship with Princeton’s chapter of Matriculate, an organization that supports high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds as they apply to college. My own learning as an advisor very much continues as I prepare to support these students.
In closing, I am quite grateful for the support MCEF has shown through its generous contribution toward my college education. I look forward to exploring the possibilities of the upcoming semester and seeing what the future may hold as I continue this exciting new journey.
MCHS Class of 2020
To say the very least, 2020 has certainly been an unusual year. Marked by a deadly pandemic, I was forced to graduate high school and begin college at a safe distance from my peers. For the majority of summer, I was unsure if I would even be able to begin my first year at the University of Virginia on its historic Grounds. Despite the fact that all of my classes were virtual, I was ultimately allowed to move into my cramped dorm at the beginning of September. The months of uncertainty had heightened my nerves. I was fearful that my college experience during COVID-19 would not be what I had envisioned over the past four years, and I was even more scared that I had made the wrong choice in attending the University of Virginia.
However, my doubts and fears slowly faded away as I immersed myself in club activities and schoolwork. Upon moving on Grounds, I joined a political advocacy group that furthered my passion for shaping a future that is brighter, cleaner, and more equitable for all. In doing so, I was also able to meet people that I now could not imagine my life without! Furthermore, I took a leap of faith in choosing which foreign language to study over the course of my college career. Rather than continuing to study Spanish, I decided to try my hand at American Sign Language (ASL). Over the past semester, ASL and its accompanying Deaf culture have developed from a mere unknown language to a discrete passion of mine. In fact, I am even considering a minor in ASL and Deaf Culture!
Reflecting upon my first semester at the University of Virginia, my college experience has transcended beyond what I previously envisioned for myself. To me, college is about cultivating new passions while fostering passions that already exist. As I balance myself between the new and old throughout the coming years, I will always remain grateful to the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) for making my dreams of higher education possible.
– Audrey Cruey, MCHS Class of 2020
On behalf of the Madison County Education Foundation, I extend our greetings and hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones well. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the work we are doing.
Our foundation is continuing to work with the Madison County schools and community organizations to ensure that education continues during these difficult times. We are adapting our work to meet the current needs of the groups we work with.
For example, our signature program, Everybody Wins, has changed its way of having adult mentors interact with students. Instead of meeting with the students for shared reading, the adults and students have begun a pen pal relationship, working with the teacher to exchange letters. In addition, our teacher grant guidelines have been modified somewhat to allow for some grant applications that might be for projects that are necessitated by the particular challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are reaching out to our community to ask for your financial support. We elected to forgo our spring fundraising efforts last March due to the uncertainties of the time. We now ask you to help us out so we can give the maximum support possible to the schools and other community educational groups that we traditionally support.
December 1st is nationally designated as Giving Tuesday. We ask that you remember MCEF when you consider your end-of-year giving this year and make a Giving Tuesday contribution. All donations help meet needs right here in Madison County.
You may make a donation by mail by sending a check to
PO BOX 1277
MADISON VA 22727-1277
Or online with a debit or credit card [paypal_donation_button]
You may designate a teacher to honor with your donation by including their name with your donation. We will recognize the teachers through their schools with a special presentation, as well as announcing them in the newspaper and here on our web site.
We thank you for your help in making education a priority in our community!
Susan G. Bramley, President
Our long-held views of schools and the roles of teachers, students, and parents will never be the same. That could be a good thing if we seize this opportunity to make changes that actually result in better outcomes for students and better resources for teachers.
Most parents in a new survey by the National Parents Union said schools should use this time as an opportunity to make changes to education.
- 61% said schools should focus on rethinking how to educate students and should come up with new teaching methods as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Only 32% of parents want schools to revert to the way things were before the pandemic began.
We love it when we support a teacher grant request and then find out that the purchase turns out to help in even greater ways than were anticipated. At MCEF we believe that teachers know what they need to be more successful with more students and sometimes a fairly small investment turns out to answer not only those but also needs that weren’t even imagined at the time of the grant application. Here is a note from Mary Davis, a math teacher at Madison County High School.
Specifically, I would like to express my appreciation for the IPads purchased by the MCHS math department through a grant awarded last Spring. The availability of an IPad has made it possible for me to conduct my dual enrollment math courses online after school closure. I am able to scan all documents with it to post to Google classroom and can connect the IPad as a whiteboard into my virtual classes or into sessions during office hours when I am helping one student. It is nearly impossible to teach math, virtually or face-to-face, without working problems out step-by-step, and the IPad purchased for math teachers by Madison Education Foundation made that possible.