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Madeline McGraw Named 2023 Graziadei Achievement Scholarship Award Winner

Madeline and Mandy
Madeline McGraw Named 2023 Graziadei Achievement Scholarship Award Winner
Published: June 7, 2024

The Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2024 Matthew C. Graziadei Achievement Scholarship Award: Madeline McGraw.

Madeline recently graduated from Randolph Early College High School in Asheboro, North Carolina. While a student, she participated in many extracurricular activities including Junior Civitan International (president), Future Health Care Leaders of America (secretary), school newspaper, Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Science Honor Society. Madeline maintained a 3.6 unweighted GPA and graduated in three years with her high school diploma and associate’s degree!

While in high school, Madeline was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. “There have been a few setbacks along the way, and more obstacles than I care to recall. While others may have felt defeated, Madeline only became more determined,” said Elizabeth Milam, Madeline’s mother. “While her disorder and the pain that comes with it may determine which mobility device she uses each day, she doesn’t allow it to determine the outcome of the day. She is dedicated to her education and has set herself on the fast track to achieve her goals.”

Madeline set a goal to graduate high school in three years. “Her academic success is directly related to her commitment and dedication to the tasks set before her and the achievement of her goals.” said Shea Setzer Grosch, Principal of Randolph Early College High School.  “In addition to academic excellence, Madeline is a pure joy to those around her. Her peers admire her and adore her. I have witnessed on so many occasions students seeing Madeline in the hallways and being so excited to see her. Others’ reactions to her are a direct reflection of how Madeline treats others.”

Madeline will be attending Western Carolina University to pursue a pre med track with a major in forensic science and a focus in anthropology. She would then like to attend graduate medical school at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her dream is to specialize in forensic pathology and one day work for the FBI or the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.

When faced with adversity Madeline has persevered. She is “mature, witty, intelligent, driven, authentic, and humble,” said Breanne Clements Blackmon, school counselor at the high school. “Life has not been easy for Maddie, but she uses those experiences as stepping stones and not as stumbling blocks. I have no doubt that she will be a difference maker among her peers. She is sure to be a positive and contributing member of society and I look forward to watching her pursue her future endeavors.”

This award includes a check for $1,500. Congratulations Madeline! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

About the Matthew C. Graziadei Award

Matthew Carmen Graziadei was a remarkable young man who died in January 1998 at the age of 26. At the age of seven Matt was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He graduated from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC, and was elected to Who’s Who in American High School Students. Matt was a student intern at the Charlotte Mint Museum and served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association both locally and statewide. He achieved President’s Honors at Central Piedmont Community College and served in Washington, DC with the US Surgeon General’s Council on Families and Disabilities. Matt also started his own business and was a contractor in facilities, engineering and computer services.

Scholarship Award recipients are selected by the Matthew C. Graziadei Scholarship Award Review Board based on these attributes:

  • Determination -  reaching above one’s imagination
  • Perseverance -  remaining steadfast against all odds
  • Persistence -  starting from scratch and striving until successful
  • Dedication -  maintaining solid effort and achievement
  • Confidence -  overcoming obstacles through internal courage
  • Motivation -  seeing life as a series of opportunities, not obstacles
  • Fortitude -  keeping going after others have stopped
  • Accomplishment -  succeeding with on-going new vision