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Fitch High School senior, who never stopped trying, is motivated to help kids

Groton — Fitch High School Senior Krista Madore said she now realizes that she is so much more than she once thought she was.

When she was younger, Madore didn’t think she would ever go to college. She said her family moved around a lot due to money issues. When she walked into a new school, she knew she wouldn’t be there for too long so she didn’t let herself care too much about anybody in it.

That caused her to be bullied, she said, and it got worse in middle school. In eighth grade, she said she “gave up” and stopped doing her work. She stopped talking to people, and she got in trouble a lot. When she didn’t attend summer school, Madore had to repeat eighth grade.

Madore turned her situation around by trying to put herself out there and make more friends, who ended up changing her life. One friend, Keith McDonald, who she dated for a few years, had a significant influence on her. She said he believed in her and pushed her to get good grades, make more friends, talk to people and try out for activities.

During her freshman year at New London High School, she made high honors.

“I realized there was so much more than just pushing everyone away, and I can actually succeed if I tried,” said Madore.

Madore, 18, said she never stopped trying in high school, even when things got tough.

When Madore’s mother became very ill and was hospitalized and it was challenging for her father to both take care of the kids and work, Madore moved in with McDonald’s family in Groton, Madore said. McDonald’s grandmother got guardianship of Madore, who stayed with the family for the rest of her high school career.

Madore entered Fitch during her sophomore year and found the school community helpful and like “a family." She tried activities, from wrestling to after-school dance classes at a studio in Niantic.

Dancing, along with drawing, singing and writing poetry, served as an outlet for her.

“It was always just a way to get my emotions out and make me feel better about everything and then I either come out with something beautiful or I come out with a mess but I know that I’ll always be able to keep trying,” Madore said.

She did well academically and when she applied to 10 colleges this year, she got into all 10.

Madore plans to go to Eastern Connecticut State University and pursue a major in social work with the goal of becoming a Department of Children and Families worker, or if not, a school social worker. 

“I realized I was so much more than I thought I was, and I decided to go to college and help people with what I wished I was helped with when I was younger,” she said.

She said DCF was in and out of her life when she was younger, and it was stressful, because while some workers tried really hard to help her and her family and help them get food and clothes, others seemed to not care.

Madore now wants to be the DCF worker that kids look forward to seeing and want to talk to.

“I want to work with kids," she said. "I work better with younger people because I went through the situations when I was younger, and I knew how I felt when I was younger, and I think I can help them better than anybody else. My goal is to get somewhere where I can help kids and help them get through tough times.”

Madore’s school counselor, Jasmine Zubek, said Madore has “grown leaps and bounds academically and personally” in her three years at Fitch.

“She’s become more independent, more confident,” Zubek said. “She is more self-aware. She really became her own best advocate, and she wasn’t afraid to ask for help when she needed it, and equally she was really able to share her successes when those happen as well.”

Zubek noted Madore’s accomplishments, including getting into all 10 colleges, working at her job and becoming the only female wrestler on the wrestling team.

Madore visits and spends time with her parents, and while Madore said she feels a little embarrassed when they brag about her accomplishments, she knows they’re proud of her and it makes her feel amazing.

“If I could go back and talk to myself when I was 13 or even 5, I wouldn’t even see myself here right now,” Madore said. “I’d have no idea where I’d be, and to know that I’m going to college and that I’m graduating and that I’m doing something to help other people, it just doesn’t seem real.”

She said her message for other youths facing challenges is to keep trying, and they too can find success.

“You may not see it now, and it might feel like your whole world’s crashing in, but just keep your head up and keep trying,” she said. “You’ll get through it. I’ve been there before, and I promise things will get better. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

k.drelich@theday.com

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