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Hillary Clinton Presents Essay Award To Heights High Student

Natasha Madorsky won the American Foreign Service Association’s 2012 National High School Essay Contest, and met with Clinton July 26.

Before meeting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Natasha Madorsky said she wasn’t nervous.

“I don’t really get nervous. I mean what’s there to be scared of? There’s not a single thing I could say that would throw her off,” said the incoming senior at Heights High.

She had a valid point.

But she wasn’t as confident she’d win the essay contest that awarded her the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, and meet Clinton.

Madorsky was one of more than 500 students to enter the American Foreign Service Association’s 2012 National High School Essay Contest. Not only did she snag first place, but Thomas W. Switzer, the communications director of the American Foreign Service Association, said it “was judged as one of the best ever in the 14-year history of this prestigious nationwide contest.”

“I was absolutely shocked to hear when I won it because there’s been other things I’ve competed in like Model UN (United Nations). I was pretty sure I’d end up with some kind of officer position. I was a finalist in the City Club essay contest a few months ago. I was pretty confident I’d do well in that. But this is one thing where I was like, I’ll enter, and then I’m going to forget about it because there’s no way I’m going to hear from them,” Madorsky said.

The 17-year-old wrote about South Sudan, one of eight countries the American Foreign Service Association had writers choose from. Her prompt was to write about the day-to-day struggles and challenges and stay within the 1,250-word limit. (To read her essay, click here.)

“(The South Sudan) just seemed like the most interesting and challenging option because it is the newest country in the world and it was not even a year old the time I started writing this,” Madorsky said. “And it was a country that you might not hear about often.”

Madorsky has been involved in the Model UN since sixth grade, and is the president of the chapter and assistant secretary of state in the Ohio program.

Before starting the interview, Madorsky handed over her two-page resume.

“I’m interested in going into foreign service and working for the state department or the United Nations, and I absolutely credit Model UN for shaping that for me,” said Madorsky, who is also involved with the Democratic party and the Greater Cleveland Congregations. “It just teaches you skills of diplomacy and debate and really thinking on your feet … it just instills a sense of global responsibility and global community and I think that’s really important."

Madorsky spent about 15 minutes with Clinton and also had coffee with Senator Sherrod Brown July 26. Her parents, Elizabeth Stern and Michael Madorsky, and her English teacher Margaret “Peggy” Hull accompanied her. The CH-UH School Board will also recognize Madorsky at the Sept. 4 Board of Education meeting.

In addition to meeting Clinton, Madorsky won $2,500 and a college scholarship for a Semester at Sea.

“It’s a really big deal, and this is the biggest thing that I’ve accomplished. I think the best thing it’s done for me so far is lifted a big weight off my chest in terms of college admissions … this could be my ticket to college,” said Madorsky, who plans to apply to Harvard, Princeton, the University of Virginia and other schools.

She said she was most excited about the opportunity to meet with Clinton.

And her expectations were met.

“It was incredible,” Madorsky wrote in all capital letters by email. “Secretary Clinton was kind, warm and totally stunning. She was able to make everyone in the room feel special in five minutes flat. We were all totally freaking out before and after meeting her.”

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Elizabeth Stern July 30, 2012 at 06:53 PM
This terrific photo was taken by Donna Ayerst of The American Foreign Service Association.
Michelle Simakis July 30, 2012 at 11:41 PM
It really is a wonderful photo. Thanks, Elizabeth! I've updated the caption to include that information. You must be so proud of Natasha.

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