An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

Madison Anderson: Finding a Passion in the Most Unlikely Places

Madison Anderson: Finding a Passion in the Most Unlikely Places
Jayne McGuire '21

Ursuline Academy fosters the motto Serviam, meaning “I will serve.” This motto is expressed daily as students often serve the UA community through numerous service projects. Detentions are one way that students can serve the community through discipline, as they help teachers complete various tasks while “serving time.” For instance, Madison Anderson, a junior at Ursuline, received detention for a uniform violation. Her detention was spent with Mrs. Schnatterly by assisting her with various tech needs for the upcoming musical, Beauty and the Beast, which debuted last spring. Before her detention, she expected it would be like any other ordinary detention, long and uneventful. However, little did Madison know how much she would enjoy it. Madison said that she felt “at home” and soon learned that her artistic abilities showed as she started to build the sets during her detention. Something unique about Madison’s detention is how it was an act of Serviam in disguise. She was able to serve not only Mrs. Schnatterly but also the whole theater community as well since she continued to set up for the show even after her detention. Madison did not have to come back to help Mrs. Schnatterly and the rest of the drama program prepare for Beauty and the Beast, but she willingly chose to do so and made a life-changing decision. 

She continued her love for set design for UA’s fall play, Little Women, and contributed to building the sets for the production. One of Madison’s most significant tasks for Little Women was sanding and staining the staircase. She sanded the staircase, stained it, and built a window bench with an attached window by hand that would be used during several scenes. When opening night finally arrived, Madison was backstage all three nights of the show, taking care of small last-minute costume needs, and checking all of the microphones to make sure they were working before the start of the show. Madison and the other crew members even moved props off the stage in between scenes as needed, and effectively made the production run smoothly. 

Madison’s new passion for theater even impacts her social life at school. She has made countless new friends through the Ursuline Drama program and enjoys hanging out with them backstage after school. Ursuline is known for challenging students outside of their comfort zones in a way that they can succeed. In this case, Madison’s detention pushed her to take a leap of faith and step out of her comfort zone, find a new passion through set design, and be a success as she now is one of the stagecraft managers in UA drama productions. As Madison lives out Serviam, she serves her Ursuline community by participating in the theater program, discovering a new side of herself in the process. 

Madison Anderson '21 with a door that she built for Ursuline's Winter One Act performances.