The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Loomis is 2020 Valedictorian


On the first day of her freshman year in the fall of 2016, Madison Loomis had her sights set on becoming the 2020 Whitehall High School Valedictorian.

Earlier this year, school officials informed Madison that she had accomplished the lofty goal.

"I was so excited when I got the call. This has been my goal since the first day of my freshman year. I worked so hard to get to this point and am very proud of myself for sticking to it all four years. It is such an honor," she said.

Getting to the point she is at today was no easy task and Madison feels the biggest challenge she faced in her time in high school was trying to balance a full plate.

"Being in clubs, sports, extracurriculars, all while maintaining my GPA and attendance certainly was a struggle sometimes. I am grateful, however, that I had the opportunity to even do all those things. I learned the importance of dedication and grit and I'm definitely reaping the benefits of my hard work now," she said.

The past few months have also presented her with a much different challenge with the cancellation of onsite instruction and spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of a traditional ceremony, she will be speaking to her classmates in a pre-recorded speech that will be played in the six mini-ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, May 31 st in Varsity Gym.

Madison admits the end of her high school career has been an experience she never expected nor wanted.

"I miss being able to enjoy each day with my friends and seeing my teachers," she said.

Despite the setbacks, Madison is still trying to find positives from the last few months of her senior year.

"I'm sad that I had to miss out on my final sports season and prom, but I'm thankful that the school and town have put in the effort to celebrate the seniors in unique ways," she said. Although the past few months have been hard and confusing, I'm choosing to see the positives in it all. I've been able to spend more valuable time with my family and I've really learned that everyday matters. Moving forward, I think I won't take so many simple things for granted anymore."

During her journey to the prestigious honor of being named Valedictorian, Madison has been influenced by many, first and foremost her parents Jim and Donna Loomis.

"They always taught me to work for what you want, and that hard work always pays off. They supported me through all of my endeavors and made it possible for me to achieve all that I have throughout my time at Whitehall," she said.

Madison also had the unique opportunity of having her mom as a teacher for the Whitehall District.

"I really loved having my Mom nearby while at school. It was very comforting to know that I could just walk down the hall and see her if I wanted to talk or just needed a hug. I'm definitely going to miss that," she said.

Teachers were also a huge influence for Madison, especially Holly Harper and Rodney Head.

"Ms. Harper saw the potential in me and challenged me to pursue it. She always believed in my abilities and helped me to believe in myself. Because of her, I pushed myself the last couple of years to really excel," she said. "As I'm sure a lot of my other peers can say as well, Mr. Head cared about me not only as a student but as a person. He was always there for me in and out of the classroom. Through Student Council, he helped me to grow my confidence as a leader at Whitehall High and pushed me to really step out of my comfort zone. I am so grateful for Ms. Harper and Mr. Head and their influence because I truly believe they are huge factors in who I am today."

She also has some words of wisdom for the Class of 2024 who will start their high school careers in August.

"I think my biggest piece of advice would definitely be that freshman year matters. If you really want to succeed in high school, you have to start your very first day! I know it can seem like you have time to get on track, but you don't. Senior year will be a lot easier if you build a strong foundation as a freshman," Madison said.

After developing strong relationships with her teachers, she also wants the freshman class to get to know them next year.

"They are there for you and care about you so much. Build genuine connections with them and I promise you will enjoy their classes so much more," she said. "And lastly, have fun in high school and try everything. This time in your life is about making memories. Hold on to the fun of being a kid while it lasts. Go to the dances and home games, cheer in the student sections, participate in the Homecoming challenges, and just soak it all in! It all goes by too fast to take yourself so seriously."


The next step in the journey for Loomis will be later this year when she will start her freshman year at Brigham Young University Idaho in Rexburg where she plans on pursuing a degree in Apparel Entrepreneurship.

"I plan to someday have my own clothing business and partner with charitable organizations to give back to those in need," she said.

After attending Whitehall Schools for the past 13-years, Madison adds it is a bittersweet feeling to be moving forward but is thankful she was able to go to a small school because it allowed her to build relationships with those around her.

"It still feels so unreal that after all this time, we're finally to the end. I am so excited for my future and to start a new chapter, but I will, without a doubt, miss this one," she said.


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