Madison Morton, ANC Carr Fire Scholarship Recipient: ‘Keep your head up and keep on going’

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Last fall ANC raised $5,300 in its first online Carr Fire Scholarship auction to benefit graduating north state seniors who’d lost homes in the Carr Fire during the summer of 2018.

In the spring of 2019, the ANC Carr Fire Scholarship committee –  comprised of myself, Eleanor Townsend, Anita Brady and Joanne Lobeski Snyder – selected five students from the applications we received.

Eleanor Townsend and I shared the honor of presenting five $1,000 scholarships to five worthy recipients during year-end high school award ceremonies. The recipients are: Daisy Brummer and Sophie Bunton from Shasta High School, Madison Morton from Central Valley High School, Justin Matties from U-Prep High School, and Mason Buck from Foothill High School.

Join me today in welcoming Central Valley High School graduate and Carr Fire Scholarship recipient Madison Morton.

Hi there, Madison. I can imagine you’ve had a busy summer, so thanks for taking the time to chat here with me today on ANC. First, congratulations on being a recipient of ANC’s first Carr Fire Scholarship.

To start, how’s your summer been since you graduated?

Hello! My summer has been pretty busy! I’m a waitress at a local restaurant here in Redding and work around five to six days a week, as well as taking two summer classes through Shasta College to get a head start on things.

Sounds like a well-rounded summer, heavy on the work side. I hope you had some fun things in there, too.

So you’ve graduated high school. Is there anything you’ll miss about high school? Anything you won’t miss?

The one thing I’ll miss the most about high school is my FFA family. It’s going to be hard starting school at Shasta College without the program. There’s not much that I’m going to not miss besides the food.

I’d say if the food is the only thing you won’t miss, you had a pretty good high school experience. That’s awesome.

Madison, If you could do a high-school do-over, what would you do differently?

I feel like my four years of high school went pretty smoothly. I don’t regret any of my high school experiences, besides not being more involved.

What’s your academic plan for the fall?

This next semester (start date August 17) I am going to Shasta College full time. I’m taking chemistry, math, and human development.

That’s a full plate! If all goes according to your hopes and plans, how do you see things progressing the next few years for you?

I plan on either taking the Shasta College program for dental hygiene, or transfer to Simpson once I meet the general ed requirements and take their nursing program.

I’ve known people who’ve had great success with Shasta College’s dental hygiene program. So you’re leaning more in the medical direction, and either of those fields should make you highly employable.

In your perfect world, what would be your dream job some day?

Eventually once I get myself in the door and start to make a living after college, I want to focus on my hobbies which is art and wood building and eventually start my own little business.

That’s cool, Madison. I know that Shasta College has some stellar art classes, and there’s a carpentry class I’ve always wanted to take. (I took three semesters of welding, which was so much fun!) Maybe you can check those out if you need some interesting elective units.

No segue at all, Madison, but this is the 1-year anniversary of the Carr Fire that took your home. I speak on behalf of myself and everyone at when I say that we are so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what it was like for you and your family, although some of our ANC family did lose homes.

Is there anything you want to say about how you’ve changed since the fire, or what you’ve learned about life or people or yourself since then?

This past year, I’ve grown so much stronger and opened my mind up that no matter what happens to keep your head up and keep on going because there is no going back! One thing that I realized about Redding is that in most eyes it’s looked at as just a small city, but what they don’t know is that the heart of it is our strong community. We all learned together that when tragedies happen, coming together to help others becomes a priority and that’s why I love Redding.

Madison, your answer brings tears to my eyes. Very well said.

You know, we chose you for a reason; because we believe in you, and are rooting for you. We created the Carr Fire Scholarship so that we could bring some joy and encouragement to young people like you who lost their homes to the Carr Fire. We believe that fire can destroy a lot, but it can’t touch your hopes and dreams.

We hope every so often you’ll check in with us, and let us know how you’re doing, OK?

In the meantime, is there anything else you’d like to say?

I just want to thank for giving me the opportunity to get this scholarship. It is greatly appreciated! It will be going towards my school books and classes this coming semester at Shasta College!

Well, you are very welcome, and we love hearing that this scholarship will help you. Thanks so much, Madison, for taking the time to chat today. Best of luck with everything. Take care.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Another excellent recipient. Thank you, Doni, for introducing us to Madison.

  2. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I’m so glad Deb was inspired to point us toward this journey, and doubly glad you took on the challenge and ran with it, Doni. Every recipient, including Madison, you’ve profiled so far, gives one great hope for the future of our town.

    • I feel the same way about each of these awesome recipients: Daisy Brummer and Sophie Bunton from Shasta High School, Madison Morton from Central Valley High School, Justin Matties from U-Prep High School, and Mason Buck from Foothill High School.

      I adore them all and am honored that everyone at ANC could take even a small part in these young people’s futures.

      And guess what? Soon ANC will be gearing up for its second annual Carr Fire Scholarship Auction. (Your daughter was our first official item donor.)

      I think it’s going to be good!

  3. Avatar erin friedman says:

    I love hearing young people say positive things about our community. The kind people who live here inspired us to pack up and relocate 21 years ago. Looking forward to reading about what Madison accomplishes over the next few years — she’s got a great attitude.

  4. Terry Turner Terry Turner says:

    Congratulations, Madison! Shasta College is lucky to have you as a student there. Sending you the very best wishes for the bright future you are creating for yourself and that you deserve!

  5. Avatar Candace C says:

    Madison, the positive aspect of our Redding community gets even stronger because of people like you; you’re an integral piece of that wonderful puzzle. Congratulations and enjoy learning at Shasta College; what a great beginning to your many new journeys!