Samantha Madden is a recent high school graduate - pretty, vivacious, and full of hope and the promise of a bright future. If not for her overwhelmingly positive attitude, sparked by the love of family and friends, she could be anything but the lively young woman she is today. On a night filled with youthful exuberance, Samantha, along with her twin sister Jennifer and three other friends, was involved in a terrible automobile accident. Samantha’s life would forever change, as her injuries left her unable to walk. Enduring three surgeries, often suffering with excruciating pain, she has emerged as an example of strength and character that few young people know at her age. She is by no means blaming her situation on anyone, least of all her twin sister, who by the very nature of their relationship felt guilty about her sister’s injuries. Samantha admits that she has had moments of “feeling down,” but she thinks of her beloved PawPaw, whom she lost in 2010. He has been her inspiration to press on and recover to her full potential. She also credits her Nana, who has pushed her to be independent, as well as her Mom and other friends and family for their unending physical and moral support.
At first, Samantha was reticent to go back to school, but as time passed she was convicted that she should finish her senior year and graduate with the 2014 class. She accomplished this task by continuing studies at home and attending limited hours at school daily toward the end of the school year. Samantha plans to attend Jones County Junior College, live in the dormitory, and enjoy a normal college life. She wants to complete her basic education at JCJC and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer by furthering her education in that field. Samantha’s love of her beloved pets (at present, two dogs: Pepper & Junior; three cats: Janx, Callie, and Panther) means that they tend to be her subjects. She believes photographing animals will be her focus as she moves into her professional life.
Among many interests, Samantha participates in 4-H, becoming a champion in the “Muzzle Loader” competition and recently winning in the Marion County and District events, making her eligible for the state competition in July of this year. She credits Richard Perry, who is the director of the Muzzle Loader team, in helping her with her wheelchair setup, in addition to his instruction and training in the sport.
Samantha is quick to point out that her relationship with God and her strong faith in Him will always carry her through adversity. She shared with us a beautiful ring that she wears around her neck that is inscribed with The Lord’s Prayer, which is a great source of comfort and encouragement to her.
This remarkable young woman is our Great American All Star for the second quarter, and all of us at The DeLois Smith All Star Team salute Samantha as she embarks on her college career and inevitably bright future! Congratulations, Samantha!