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Co-Curriculum: A Look at Each Year

Co-Curriculum

What is it?

Madeira's award-winning experiential learning program, providing every student with 5 weeks of community service experience, a Capitol Hill internship, and a career-oriented placement.

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9th Grade

Building Strength

Important social, educational, and professional skills, such as public speaking, resume writing and team building are developed, preparing students for off-campus internships.

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10th Grade

Serving Others

Girls begin to expand their vision to their local communities. During one 5-week module, the sophomore class travels off campus daily to work with community groups, such as Special Olympics, Calleva Farm, and Garfield Elementary School.

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11th Grade

Effecting a Change

Juniors have the unique experience of interning on Capitol Hill, most often in a Senate or Congressional Office. This gives students the valuable perspective of how government operates.

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12th Grade

Pursuing a Passion

With three years of experience, girls are ready to make their internship their own. With guidance from the Co-Curriculum Office, seniors secure internships to explore something that might become a lifelong interest.

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Madeira's Co-Curriculum Program

An award-winning experiential learning program, providing every student with 5 weeks of community service experience, a Capitol Hill internship, and a career-oriented placement.

Learn More

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Politics, 2000-2009

"On Capitol Hill, I had wonderful conversations about politics and other subjects and was able to converse so comfortably with people who were older than me."

Kemi Adegoroye '09
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I remember being scared to work on Capitol Hill at the beginning of my junior year.

I didn't think I'd have anything to say to congressional staffers. But I loved my internship. These were some of my first experiences networking in an office environment. Those months on Capitol Hill helped prepare me for all the networking that I have done since. I have been able to strike up conversations and connections with people in a variety of different industries, no matter their position. And I am able to do that because I know what it's like to be a 16 year old working on Capitol Hill and discussing important subjects with important people. Those internships also gave me connections to people that have lasted for years and have led to all sorts of new opportunities after Madeira. All of this is due to my experiences with Co-Curriculum. I am so grateful that I was given so many amazing opportunities at such a young age and I am glad other girls have gotten to benefit from similar experiences too! Go Co-Curriculum!

Kemi Adegoroye '09
Journalism, Politics, Nonprofit, Health, 1980-1989

"All my Co-Curriculum placements turned into summer jobs. My Madeira resume helped me get a job with ABC News after college."

Avery Miller '86
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In two ways, the Co-Curriculum program shaped my life and led to a career as a producer for ABC News.

Madeira gave me the journalism bug. Reading the newspaper and keeping up on environmental issues led me in my junior year to working in the press office of Senator Mark Hatfield, a Republican from Oregon. Although low on the totem pole in the Senator's office, I would answer calls from reporters and direct them to a colleague that would get them the information they needed. This exposure to the inner workings of a press office fascinated me. My help with research or finding a constituent to put a face to a story showed me how journalism is character-driven. Senior year, I was lucky enough to volunteer as assistant to R.W. "Johnny" Apple, the distinguished international correspondent for the New York Times and stepfather of fellow Madeira girl, Catherine Brown Collins '87. All my Co-Curriculum placements turned into summer jobs. After my freshman year at Princeton, the New York Times hired me as a clerk during the summer of the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987. It was an extraordinarily exciting time to be in the Washington Bureau where the action was taking place. New York Times reporter Joel Brinkley would file his piece and then sometimes watch the nightly news before his story came out the next day. Eavesdropping on a busy newspaper newsroom, I realized the speed at which stories could be told through television. That was a defining moment in my career; I knew I wanted to be a broadcast television reporter. My Madeira resume helped me get a job with ABC News after college.

Co-Curriculum also shaped me through my sophomore year volunteer work. Social work had always intrigued me. On Wednesdays, I volunteered with four other Madeira girls at the Green Door, which provides services to individuals who suffer from mental illness, helping them navigate daily life. I worked with an individual who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Together, we would execute his daily tasks like grocery shopping, keeping track of doctor appointments, and picking up prescriptions. But I realized I lacked the patience and persistence for this noble profession when our amazing supervisor, who had worked in the field for 20 plus years, looked at me and said, 'This is an incredibly rewarding job, but I don't know if I have permanently helped somebody.' Her honesty helped me understand my shortcomings, and realize I could help the mentally ill in other parts of my life's work.  Thirty years later, through St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown and the Salvation Army Grate Patrol, my family and I work to help the homeless, many of whom suffer from mental illness. And at ABC News, our reporting team has worked hard to shed light on programs and medical advances for those who are grappling with diseases such as depression and drug addiction. Whether it's my professional career or my volunteer passions, Madeira's Co-Curriculum program created a blueprint for my life's footprint.

Avery Miller '86
Politics, Nonprofit, 2010-Present

"All the little things that Madeira teaches you, like being punctual, speaking with adults, and always giving your best effort, prepared me."

Elfrieda Nwabunnia '17
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I think of freshman year as a metaphorical and physical leap of faith. I was scared of heights, but as part of an Inner Quest zipline activity I had to get over that and jump. Despite not feeling confident in my public speaking skills, I had to stand up and speak in front of my teachers and friends. I learned to trust in my own abilities and those of the people around me, and that really prepared me for my work tutoring students my sophomore year. Going into junior year, I was confident that I had the skills to work on the Hill. As a senior at Voice of America, I'm helping worldwide initiatives for freedom of expression and democracy.

Elfrieda Nwabunnia '17
Science, 2010-Present

"I learned how to assert myself in a group of men much older than me, many life skills such as hitching a trailer to a truck, and most importantly, not to assume I know what a job entails from the title. "

Lena Badr '11
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My senior year at Madeira I had the unique opportunity to intern with Victoria Monroe, a Fairfax wildlife biologist.

When I first started, I thought that I would be collecting leaves, testing water samples, and anything else that encompassed my naive idea of what a wildlife biologist did. However, it turned out to be the complete opposite of what I expected! Victoria, in fact, ran the biggest deer management program in the nation. I spent my days with volunteer hunters accompanying them on hunts, learning how to check local deer for diseases, and surveying parks for environmental damage due to overpopulation. While it was definitely a unique experience, and I learned a lot from my time with Victoria. I learned how to assert myself in a group of men much older than me, many life skills such as hitching a trailer to a truck, and most importantly not to assume I know what a job entails from the title. Overall, I am very thankful for Madeira supporting me through this experience. It has not only shaped me as a woman, but has also provided me with a very interesting story to share.

Lena Badr '11
Arts, Politics, 1980-1989

"Co-Curriculum caught my eye. It totally blew my mind."

Panithaya Chareonthaitawee, MD '83
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I spent junior year on Capitol Hill and senior year at the Museum of Natural History putting together exhibits.

I was working down in the basement of the museum. It was amazing. It allowed me to feel comfortable working with different groups of people. What ultimately came out of that was the knowledge that I like to work with people and to help people.

To know what you're going to like to do, you have to try Co-Curriculum.

Panithaya Chareonthaitawee, MD '83