RCBC valedictorian demonstrates the potential for new beginnings
Thursday, May 11, 2023

Madeleine Armstrong was a teacher’s pet in high school, but not in the traditional way. While her teachers adored her, it was also well-known that she did not use her full potential to her advantage.

In order to prepare for a clean slate, Armstrong served in AmeriCorps after high school. This opportunity ignited her passion for success and motivated her to shine at RCBC. Having graduated with a 4.0 back in December, she is now studying economics and political science at Rutgers University. She put off starting college until she was sure she could nail it, and as Valedictorian of the Class of 2023, Armstrong certainly achieved her goal. 

In 2021, Armstrong worked at the Department of State in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs as an intern and was soon promoted to Program Coordinator, which sparked a passion for economics. “That was probably one of the most life-changing opportunities I had,” she said.

Not only did Armstrong excel during her position at the Department of State, but she also served as the President of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, which researched student outcomes during the pandemic.

“Alongside my fellow 2021-2022 officers, my participation in Phi Theta Kappa was instrumental for the resurgence and involvement that the chapter experienced post-pandemic,” Armstrong said. The club began a new tradition of a yearly Phi Theta Kappa Club Mixer.

Community is one of the aspects that Armstrong will miss about RCBC, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships with professors, which are often stronger at a community college than at a four-year college. “There was not a single faculty member who didn't want to connect with me, or be involved in my educational process,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong looks forward to establishing a community in a different country. Next summer, she will be studying at the London School of Economics, which is one of the best universities in that field. “Having a different perspective is one of the best things that you can have in academia,” Armstrong explained, and she emphasized that the ability to gain a non-American interpretation of economics is invaluable. 
In little time, Armstrong went from someone with unfulfilled potential to a standout scholar by removing bad habits like procrastination and replacing them with healthy constructive ones.
“You have to clean out your life,” Armstrong said. “Turning studying into a love and a joy rather than something I dread was essential, but that also means I had to clean out those bad habits that I had before.”