#LoftyIdeals: Madi Norris ’21

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Madi Norris ’21 might be one of the busiest people around. After varsity field hockey practice or one of her other myriad activities during the week, she often gets a ride from a faculty member to nearby Whitetail Ski Resort, where she teaches kids how to snowboard. She’s there until 9:30 p.m., gets back to campus, and does school work until around midnight. On the weekends, she’s at Whitetail again as early as 6 a.m. 

Incredibly active in and out of school, Norris is the type of person who would rather be anywhere on campus than be in bed watching Netflix. But all these activities would amount to nothing if not for her reason behind it: Norris knows who she is, and is ecstatic about sharing that with the rest of the world.

Norris was born in Chongqing, China. Adopted at 9 months, Norris moved to Virginia before settling in Maryland with her family at the age of 2; she now lives in Oxford, MD. A total outdoor person, Norris considers herself a small-town girl at heart and enjoys living near the water. She learned how to sail at a young age and has been skiing since the eighth grade. For the last three summers, she has worked at the Oxford Social coffee shop, the Scottish Highland Creamery ice-cream shop, and the CapSize restaurant, all located in Oxford. At home, she is a foster parent for five cats from her local foster care system and owns two cats herself. 

At Mercersburg, she is a prefect in Swank Hall, president of the Washington Irving Literary Society, a member of the Karux yearbook staff, and a captain of the field hockey and lacrosse teams. 

Norris says none of her accomplishments and activities would be possible if not for Mercersburg, where she is a Hale Scholar. When she first applied to high schools, she was caught between two favorites. It was during a meeting with her middle-school principal that she received the call from Mercersburg about the scholarship. “I didn’t cry until I went home,” she says. “I just kept crying in the car. It was overwhelming at first, and I learned to appreciate the time and effort Mercersburg and its donors had put into the students.”

Norris strongly feels the school and the scholarship are a great part of who she is today. In addition, she thanks faculty member Kristin Ahlgren, her field hockey coach, who Norris says has helped sculpt her into who she is now. She sees Ahlgren as someone she can always look up to, and someone in her life she is incredibly grateful for. 

With such a busy schedule, Norris takes extra care in planning her time. She keeps track by writing her day out on her hand and depending a lot on her cellphone calendar. Yet she always makes time for her friends and family and those who are important to her. As a student leader, she believes deeply in connecting with those around her: “Looking out for other people, being observant to their needs and just connecting with people in general.” 

One of Norris’s beliefs is that your good intentions will always somehow come back to you. She feels strongly in sharing kindness and jumps at any opportunity to share more about herself. She notes, “Every day I tell someone something about myself that I feel they never knew; I feel like I am constantly oversharing.” 

Norris enjoys learning more about others and sharing who she is with the world around her. She says, “Life will feel better when you release your ideas to others,” and that is exactly what she has done. From knowing everyone she works with during the summer, to her teammates and friends at Mercersburg, Norris enjoys meeting people and building strong relationships. She's all about owning who you are and showing that through what you do. 

Norris’ personal values intersect a lot with the values at Mercersburg. From her incredible work ethic, to a great devotion to connecting with others, Norris lives the Mercersburg values on a regular basis. She feels the values can further be expressed through our Mercersburg community, which is something we can all do, starting with being there for others. Norris says, “I think people may feel like they are constantly being judged. You need to have the mindset that you know who you are; you have a community supporting you, and knowing that is going to bring out those values even more.”