Learning about the world and themselves through internships, service, and civic engagement

Each Wednesday throughout the school year, Madeira School students leave the classroom and campus behind—all day!—for a challenging sequence of self-exploration, service, civic engagement, and internship experiences. Taking advantage of Madeira’s Washington, D.C.-area location and connections forged over decades, the Co-Curriculum might be said to culminate in the eleventh grade, with each student interning in an office on Capitol Hill, or in the senior year, when each student follows her own passion in an internship—from labs at the National Institutes of Health to the stage of the Washington National Opera. But many Madeira students look back to their times on the high ropes course in ninth grade, or interning at a school or shelter in tenth grade as the times when they developed the courage and self-awareness to get the maximum value from their later experiences.

Madeira’s mission is “to help young women to understand their changing world and to have the confidence to live lives that are of their own making, their own passions, their own dreams.” Laura Temple, who hears their stories in her role as director of communications and marketing at Madeira, says that alumnae report that the program “gave them the confidence and fearlessness to do just about anything.”

Does your school do something similar?

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