Class of 2016: Helping, healing appeals to Scarborough senior

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SCARBOROUGH — For those who know Maddie Chen and her sunny disposition, it should come as no surprise that she aspires to be a pediatrician.

“I’m kind of a floater,” Chen said Wednesday about her social behavior at school. “I try to go out of my way to talk to everybody, no matter what. That’s just kind of my thing.”

Chen, the oldest of four siblings and a member of the Scarborough High School Class of 2016 that will graduate Sunday, June 5, at the Portland Expo, said she has been aware of wanting to build up those around her. She makes a point of approaching someone who is sitting alone or seems to be having a bad day. 

“I do it because I genuinely care what other people are feeling,” she said.

Chen, who is especially aware that teens her age are likely to be bullied, said she wants to help those who may be victimized.

“In a lot of schools in Maine, there are a lot of incidents (of bullying). No one deserves that, especially at this young of an age,” she said. “I want to make sure if someone needs to talk to someone, they have an outlet.”

Chen, who will attend Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania in the fall, has been involved in extracurricular clubs and sports, including Key Club, volunteering for the Red Cross and at Maine Medical Center, and playing her main sport, soccer. She was one of two students in the town who received the Good Citizenship Award given by Southwestern Maine Activities Association and the Scarborough School Department.

Part of what draws Chen to medicine in general is the idea of physically helping heal people. But she also wants to cultivate the human connection. 

“I want to help them be better and, if I can’t help them be better, then I want to be there for them,” she said. 
 
Chen said between the support shown by her family and the teachers and staff at SHS, she feels “very prepared” for college. 
 
“There is not one teacher I’ve had that has not genuinely cared about my education and who I am as a person,” she said. 
 
As for how her classmates and teachers will remember her, Chen said she presumes she be remembered as outgoing, “bubbly,” and talkative, but she also hopes she appears sincere in her efforts to want to edify those around her. 
 
“I honestly hope they see me as an optimistic person that’s there to talk to them,” she said. “I really do like being that support to people.” 

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

Maddie Chen, who is a senior member of the soccer team at Scarborough High School, recently won the Southwestern Maine Activities Association Citizenship Award along with her classmate, Sam Jacob. Chen plans to attend Elizabethtown College in the fall. Shown with the students is Principal David Creech.

Chen

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.