Madisen Bell, the Xperitas Alumni Scholarship winner for the 2020 program year is currently a first-year student studying to be a French language teacher at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She traveled to France with her classmates and her teacher, Madame Tangen, in spring 2019. It was a life changing experience for Madisen who said in her essay, “The France trip provided me with the experience I needed to decide what path to take in my life.”
Madisen started taking French in the 7th grade. It was hard, but the challenge just made her feel more determined to stick with it. Her parents and siblings all studied Spanish, but they taught her to be independent and to try new things. They were very supportive of her studying French and participating in the Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) French program. Madisen’s family also taught her that she needed to work for things that she wanted. Motivated by her wish to explore, Madisen got a job at Dairy Queen, where she worked part time for four years to earn the money for her program. She also applied for, and was awarded, a local scholarship.
In her letter of nomination, Madame Tangen noted that, “Madisen has an excellent work ethic. Throughout high school she maintained a rigorous academic schedule, earning several academic honors.” In addition to school, a job, several clubs, and extra-curricular activities; Madisen participated in the LPS Career Academy, specifically in the pathway for future educators. As part of this program, Madisen competed in the Educators Rising competition, taking 1st place at the state level her junior and senior years. Winning 1st place earned her a spot at the National competition where she placed in the top five for Book Creation. Not surprisingly, her book was bi-lingual.
“The France trip provided me with the experience I needed to decide what path to take in my life.”
Since starting at the University of Nebraska Lincoln last fall, Madisen has kept up her busy schedule. In addition to classes, she has been teaching twice a week at Elliott Elementary School’s French club for 3rd and 4th grade students; she also volunteers at the school’s Community Café. When I asked her if the students liked learning French she said, “French Club is really popular. One of the boys gave up Boy Scouts so he could join.” In addition to the French Club Madisen has had a practicum twice a week teaching French to a 7th grade class. Madame Tangen’s final note about Madisen in her nomination letter was, “I believe she will be a positive influence on her future students, finding ways to support and make good things happen for them too, including opportunities for travel and language learning outside of the classroom.” I think Madisen has already become a very positive influence on the next generation of French language learners.
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