Madison Bell seems to be everywhere all at once. Look here and she’s on the softball field. Look there and she’s at a State Board of Education meeting. Look around that corner and she’s decompressing at the piano.
That busy life reaches a pinnacle on Tuesday when Bell will be seen on stage at East Wake High School’s graduation ceremony as the valedictorian of East Wake’s School of Engineering Systems.
Bell earned a cumulative grade point average of 4.89 over her four-year high school career. The daughter of Joey and Melissa Bell, she actually lives in between Bunn and Louisburg in Franklin County, but attends school in Wake County because both her parents are teachers here.
Bell’s easy smile masks what is a competitive nature. Bell didn’t know she was even in the running for class valedictorian until her junior year. When she learned recently that the title was hers, she texted her mom. “She responded back in all caps,” Madison Bell said. “So, yes, they were excited about it too.”
Bell will attend the University of North Carolina in the fall where she plans to study Exercise Science. She hopes to become a physical therapist, an idea that was first spawned two years ago, when Bell underwent reconstructive surgery on her own ankle.
“It was painful at first, but I had a great therapist and I watched how they help people,” Bell said. And besides, a career as a physical therapist, she says, will let her wear comfortable clothes. “I can’t see myself having to get dressed up every day to go to work.”
In high school, she’s obviously done her work in the classroom, but she’s found plenty of opportunities to enjoy herself outside of class as well. She was a cheerleader and a member of both the National Honor Society and he National Technical Honor Society. She was in the Spanish Honor Society and in the Beta Club. She was also a member of the junior choir at her church and played piano. She also works at the Carolina Mudcats.
Bell credits the late Eddie Bunn as the teacher who had the most influence in her life. When she was an eighth-grader at Zebulon Middle School, Bunn was on the faculty there. He died unexpectedly in his classroom at the school.
“You could tell he cared about his students. He was able to ask anyone about anything. He always wanted to be involved and make sure you were supported. That keeps kids interested in school,” Bell said.