Welcome to our next WISS Alumni Spotlight edition.
We reached out to Madison St. George, a WISS Alumni who graduated in 2021 before joining the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with which WISS has close collaboration as part of our IB Career-related Programme (one of the four IB programmes that make up the exclusive IB Continuum programme offered by WISS)
Before we explore the details of our interview with Madison, we would like some background from our IB Career-Related Programme Coordinator, Mr. Stewart Patterson.
“Back when Madison was in Grade 10, I was delighted to hear that she was interested in becoming an IBCP-SCAD student. She possessed an abundance of motivation, passion, and talent, making her the ideal student to benefit from a specialized dual enrollment pathway.
Madison’s love of performing arts made SCAD a perfect fit for her career aspirations, and over the course of the next two years, Madison excelled in everything she did.
It was not always smooth sailing as Madison was unfortunately stuck outside of China for many months due to the global pandemic. However, Madison saw this as an opportunity to develop resilience, hone her organization and time management skills, and grow into a mature young adult, ready for the challenges that life will throw at her. Madison’s positive attitude and growth mindset allowed her to thrive even when facing the most challenging of circumstances.
I know that Madison is already putting her skills and talents to good use as she has made a fantastic start to her on-campus studies at SCAD. I have no doubt that she will graduate at the top of her class and go on to have a wonderful career in performing arts. It was a pleasure to work with Madison, and I wish her every success in the future. Stewart Paterson, IBCP Coordinator”
Alumni Spotlight: Madison St. George
Years at WISS: 6
Hometown: Salem, Connecticut, in the United States of America
Currently: Savannah, Georgia, in the United States of America
What impact did your time at WISS have on you?
The IB curriculum is by no means easy; however, it has given me an extremely powerful work ethic. My time at WISS has shaped me into a well-spoken, intelligent student with fantastic literacy and analytical skills that have assisted me heavily in college. Though many students struggle academically with the transition from high school to college and my WISS peers have done this with relative ease.
Apart from helping me achieve academic excellence, WISS helped to stoke my passion for the performing arts through its incredible theatre program. I am extremely grateful for this, especially as I am now dedicating my studies to the Performing Arts.
What were the highlights of your time at WISS?
As my passion lies in the Performing Arts, I always found comfort in being in the theatre and being on stage. The theatre community at WISS is truly remarkable, and I enjoyed every second I spent with them, whether it was putting on a play or participating in an International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) festival/event. Though I had insecurities, the theatre was my sanctuary, my safe space, my second home, somewhere I never felt afraid to be who I was, and that is something truly special. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to be a part of something so amazing.
Outside of the theatre, I am incredibly proud to say that I was a founding member of the iShare group at WISS. Starting as anti-bullying and mental health awareness and support group, iShare is a school organization dedicated to supporting everyone within the school community, supporting charities, and bringing a smile to the WISS community’s face.
Each iShare member is incredibly kind, supportive, and bright, and I am so proud of what we accomplished over the years. Keep making people smile iShare! 🙂
What are you doing now, and what are your career goals?
Currently, I am in Savannah, Georgia, at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), majoring in Performing Arts and double minoring in Acting for the Camera and Dramatic Writing. My career goals have stayed the same since I first discovered my passion for the Performing Arts; to become a successful film actress. Though I have enjoyed participating in theatre over the years, I am more passionate about acting for the camera and hope to act in meaningful films that positively impact people worldwide.
I also have a passion for creative writing and hope to publish many works as well as writing for film (screenplays). Furthermore, I hope to found charities that may help people around the world, and it is my wish that I will be able to inspire others to follow their dreams, be confident in who they are, and go through life with a kind heart and free spirit.
What advice would you give to current WISS students as they’re looking ahead to college and careers?
Passion over principle; always. Find what you love and chase it. Don’t do something else because someone wants you to, and don’t pick a career because it seems safe. Sure, being a doctor or a lawyer might be a societally acceptable stable money-making job, but if you aren’t passionate about it, you are going to be miserable. Don’t put your happiness on the line for what is “safe.” Do what brings you joy; what makes you light up every time you do it. Do whatever it is that you feel like you could never get bored of doing; what you wake up in the morning excited to get out of bed and do. Pick something for you that brings a smile to your face, not anyone else’s; it is your life, not theirs.
As a student heavily involved in theatre and film, I have had a lot of people dismiss my passion for the arts as a hobby and even try to persuade me to see it as such. Instead of understanding and supporting my goals, they pushed me to focus my career goals on the career paths traditionally seen as more acceptable (medicine, mathematics, business, etc.). I’ve been told, “Do you know how many actresses fail? How many never step foot in front of a camera?”, “Are you sure you don’t want to aim towards a more stable career path?”, “I hope you realize that 99.99% of people who try to make it as an actor fail.”, and more. Time and time again, I have told these people that I will be in the 0.01% that make it. For anyone who might have been that person to someone else, stop assuming they are going to fail; instead, support and encourage them as they pursue their passion. And for the current WISS students now looking at colleges and careers, never let someone tell you that you can’t do it.
It doesn’t matter what it is, performing, visual arts, music, sports, design, etc., if you love it, if that is what you are passionate about, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you won’t make it, that it is impossible, or that you should pick a more stable career path. Nothing is impossible if you have the passion and drive to make it possible. Don’t extinguish or let anyone else extinguish the flame of your passion. Instead, feed it, give it the fuel it needs to burn just as bright as you.
What would you tell a parent considering sending their child to study at WISS?
I would say that WISS is a great school to help your child achieve academic excellence, though this means your child will be challenged and, especially in upper grades, will have a heavy workload. However, it is this challenge that will push your child to grow as a student and acquire the necessary skills they need to be successful in higher education and beyond.