Against daunting odds, Madyson “Maddy” Clark is graduating from Mica Peak High School this spring.
Raised by her grandmother, Clark was always encouraged to take her education seriously. But when her grandmother’s health turned for the worse, Clark stepped up to take care of her.
“She had state caretakers, but they just didn’t know what she needed like I did because I grew up with her,” Clark said. “She raised me; she was my mom. After she passed away, it was really hard for me to start doing school again. Really hard.”
Clark first attended Central Valley High School, where during her first year she fell into the “skipping crowd” and began staying home to care for her grandmother.
“Even though I was there to take care of her, she would push me to go to school anyways,” Clark said. “But it was really hard to watch her go downhill and still try to keep this going.”
Her truancy eventually led to court, where she was placed with a caseworker who required her to apply to attend Mica Peak, an alternative high school. Clark arrived at the school at the end of her sophomore year with half a credit.
After her grandmother died during her junior year, Clark’s aunt, Stacey Shoemaker, gained custody and has been supporting Clark ever since. Throughout it all, the staff at Mica Peak have supported her, she said.
“The staff here just helped me so much with getting back into school,” Clark said. “After my grandma passed away, I went into a rabbit hole. I didn’t come to school at all for a month, I had all F’s, it was terrible. … They helped me through it all.”
One example Clark recounted was some of the staff visited her at home shortly after COVID hit with activities for her to pass time with and food to cheer her up when they knew she was struggling.
Since her time at Mica Peak, Clark has grown close with teacher Marcy James, a big supporter since she arrived.
“She has grown so much and has such a hard time, but she always gets back up,” said James, quickly tearing up. “She’s just the perfect example of who we are and what we do. That’s our Maddy.”
On top of it all, Clark has held a full-time job at Wendy’s for the past year and a half.
Clark no longer just attends school, she loves it. This quarter, she asked her principal, Kamiel Youseph, to place her in two extra classes despite only needing one class to graduate.
“She just took it on herself to not just pass classes, but get A’s and B’s and thrive,” said dean of students Mike Johnson. “It’s honestly been one of my high points to see what she’s been able to accomplish in just four years and the obstacles she’s overcome. It’s been fantastic.”
Clark is the second member of her family to graduate from high school, following her older brother.
She plans to attend Spokane Community College and then transfer to Arizona State University. She credits her childhood love for ION Television with inspiring her to pursue a degree in criminology.