“Our journey of obtaining knowledge is not over, for our lives have now been opened to great opportunities for years to come.”
Taft High Class of 2019 valedictorian Mad Scott
Like a javelin hurtling through the air to previously unattainable, unforeseen distances, Mad Scott is striking down stereotypes while envisioning astonishing feats and deeds for his Taft High 7-12 classmates.
“Today, I stand proudly here on the stage breaking stereotypes as a skateboarder who attends school regularly and excels in his classes,” the 18-year-old senior scholar and sports star will tell his fellow graduates Saturday during his commencement speech as valedictorian of Taft’s Class of 2019. “All of our backgrounds vary greatly from one another in our occupations, religions and hobbies. But, in hindsight, this difference has no hindrance on what we can achieve when we put our minds towards obtaining our goals.”
With that, a sea of approximately 90 wide-eyed students draped in black caps and gowns and orange-and-white stoles will march triumphantly onward into their new lives following graduation ceremonies in a crowded gymnasium.
First and foremost among them will be Scott, who possesses a 3.93 GPA. Few can comprehend the hardships of conquering preconceived notions and shredding stereotypes as well as Madison Carter Scott (don’t call him Madison, he might get, well, mad. He prefers Maddie, his mother says).
Mad’s family moved to Lincoln City more than 20 years ago, but they still get lopped in with the “stoner sidewalk surfer types” because their humble beginnings brought them initial recognition as the upstart founders of Dreamland Skateparks, which Mad’s dad, Mark, has built into what is widely regarded as the leading skatepark construction company on the planet.
“We have established a home and many good friends we call family in this small community. We hope that we have broken the stereotypes of what people consider ‘those skatepark builders’ or ‘skateboarders,’” Mad’s mom, Danyel, said.
Skating lingo such as ollie and mongo aside, the Scott family has carved its way to a pretty gnarly rep through the years — whether hanging 10 or not.
Recently, it’s been Mad who’s been rad in a family that includes sister Alexandria, a 24-year-old 2013 Taft and 2018 Oregon State University graduate with a biology major and chemistry minor who gives back to the community as a volunteer in the Taft High science classroom while interning as a biologist for the Devils Lake Water Improvement District.
“We are extremely proud of the amazing citizens and humans they have grown to be and the way they have represented and respected their community and family,” Danyel said.
Despite her children’s great gains, no one in the Scott family has had a bigger imprint on the community than mom. Stoked on helping kids since moving to Lincoln City from Whitefish, Mont., in the spring of 1996, she has coached indoor and outdoor soccer and basketball, opened the middle-school track program with former Lincoln City Community Center Director Gail Kimberling, started the first Taft High girls soccer team, and coached boys youth soccer for several years.
However, no contribution has been as great, she says, as having her two National Honor Society students grow into young adults with Mad planning on following in his sister’s formidable footsteps at OSU, where he will major in business, marketing and entrepreneurship.
“My goals are to start my own business someday, travel around the world and have a family,” he said.
“He is extremely driven to succeed and passionate about everything he puts his mind to,” Danyel said. “There isn’t a person out there who hasn’t noticed Mad’s kind spirit and mild-mannered demeanor.”
You’ll get no argument from his coaches and teachers about that.
“Mad is a unique kid,” Taft art/physics teacher Noah Lambie said. “He is driven, creative and talented, but also respectful and polite.”
Mad quickly became “an expert” in Lambie’s design program, creating stickers with a vinyl cutter and making T-shirts with silk screens and heat press graphics.
“He always has original ideas and smart questions that pushed his learning and his creativity,” Lambie said. “I am proud that he has taken these skills and already started as an entrepreneur — creating T-shirts and products from home with equipment he bought based on what we use in the program.”
While Lambie has been overtaken by the “amazing things he did for our design program and in our school in general,” it’s the youngster’s comportment that has been most striking.
“He always has a knowing smile and responds to challenges and requests willingly and applies himself fully,” he said. “This has earned the respect of his peers and teachers alike. It is rare for a student to establish that level of trust with those around him. His approach has proven to pay off and will continue to do so.”
Scott’s skills don’t stop in the classroom. He’s also excelled on the playing field, even as a youngster while attending Neskowin Valley School and Seventh Day-Adventist before Taft. When he’s not traveling throughout the country and to faraway places such as Italy, England, Sweden and Mexico helping his dad build skateparks, he’s competed in baseball, soccer, basketball and track.
“We’ve known Mad since he was 8 years old,” said longtime family friend and volunteer coach Lonnie French, who has schooled Scott in both running and field events. “I have watched him grow up skating. He was dropping into a 15-foot bowl when he was 9, and surfing. He has shown himself to have a lot of focus on an activity or sport if he is interested in it.”
French got the Scott intrigued by events such as the high jump, hurdles and pole vault, but injuries outside of the sport prevented the 6-foot, 3-inch Scott from competing in those disciplines. He, therefore, focused on the throws and wound up fifth in Oregon in the Class 3A ranks in the javelin and posted personal-best efforts in the discus, shot put and javelin his senior season. He placed fourth in his specialty at Districts to earn a spot at State.
While standing on the podium at the prestigious Meet of Champions in Sweet Home was a memorable feat, Scott readily recognizes his most cherished achievement.
“Valedictorian,” he said. “I have worked hard in my classes for four years to keep my No. 1 status in my studies.”
Restricted by his high school curriculum, Scott has already taken and excelled in numerous college courses such as Biology 101, 102 and 103, Writing 121 and 122, Intro to English, Math 111 and Business 101.
“It hasn’t been easy taking college-level classes and keeping my GPA to a 3.93, but it is a high school career goal I have had for myself and I am proud of my achievements,” he said.
Scott credits his parents, “who are extremely hard, dedicated workers and passionate about what they do,” and mentors Lambie in Physics and Commercial Graphic Design and Isaac Bass in Business Math for “teaching me many things that have influenced me for my future in possible graphic design and business.”
“They are extremely passionate and patient in their teachings and have made a large impact on my life and schooling,” he said.
That said, there is something else the skateboard-riding, javelin-hurling scholar-athlete will share with 93 graduating classmates Saturday afternoon beginning at 2:19 p.m.:
“Within our generation, our society comes up with many stereotypes about people that aren’t true for the sole reason that they like to dwell on these negative ideas. These stereotypes include allegations about what one likes to do, their race, hobbies and even religion …
“From this day on, I ask that my fellow classmates strive for their goals. To achieve success in any measure or fashion, depending on a person’s goals, one must strive everyday to move forward. … Ahead of us stand new relationships we shall build and places we shall go. We may make our dreams come true.”
Valedictorian Mad Scott’s commencement speech:
“Good afternoon everyone! On behalf of the Class of 2019, I would like to welcome all of the families, faculty, alumni, friends and guests to this special ceremony. Today, I have the honor to stand here as valedictorian beside my fellow classmates in a time of celebration. We have made it through the past 13 years of schooling with a lot of us having many more to come.
“The senior class of 2019 is now embarking on a new chapter in our lives with possibilities of future career paths and interests that we desire. The decisions we make from this point on will steer the direction of what our future will be one day. The relationships that this class has acquired with its fellow classmates and teachers is something that will always be remembered, and will be influential to our lives.
“Though a small town can have its flaws, Lincoln city possesses a community that shares relationships with our students and has the ability to make a positive difference in our students’ lives. The relationships that I have built at Taft High School with the passionate and hard-working teachers have helped me acquire the knowledge I wish to apply in my future career path of business. The teachers at our school are individuals who have expressive teaching styles and are willing to find what a student has an affinity to do when they get older. We are truly blessed to be able to go to a school where new innovations and technologies are at our fingertips every couple of years.
“The hard work of Noah Lambie does not go unrecognized by myself or many others. He has sparked the flame in many young gifted individuals to chase their ambitions, expand their creativity and thoughts by introducing new opportunities in graphic designing, art, robotics and physics. During my first year of high school, I took robotics and I had no previous knowledge about the design process or how to work the various softwares used in the class, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
“Over the past three years with the Lambie’s help, I have accomplished projects that involved the use of many advanced software programs and have been designing my own shirts, stickers, laser engraved pieces, skateboards and 3-D printed designs. From learning different techniques on how to become a graphic designer, physicist and even artist, Lambie has sparked the flame in many young lives, including myself, to challenge one’s efforts in obtaining relevant knowledge that is beneficial to their future.
“Mr. Bass is another teacher I would like to address for being the first teacher that has made a large impact on the way our students at our school view the business world. Bass has helped myself and many others learn to overcome their fear of public speaking and advised them on how to effectively and efficiently communicate to capture the audience’s interests.
“There are many other teachers at this school that have been positive figures in my life and the Class of 2019 that I have not listed, but I want to acknowledge these individuals for their excellence at our school, as well as inspiring the young minds of our generation. The teachers of our school are not credited as much as they should be for the extra hours they have worked and the readiness they express everyday in order to deal with hundreds of provocative and some so-called savage kids (especially some of our middle-schoolers).
“I would next like to give praise to the parents and guardians of the Class of 2019, for you guys are the devoted support system to our students and are attentive to our needs when we need a helping hand to understand something better. The bond that we share with our parents or our guardians is one that shows appreciation and friendship with one another.
“My parents are truly an inspiration to me by being some of the most hardworking individuals I have ever met. Their encouragement for me to excel in school and participate in sports is what has made me the person that I am today. Their acknowledgement towards what I’m passionate about is shown in many ways — one of them being my parents’ attendance at my every game and track meet. With the highest level of appreciation this is the devotion and care I respect and I wish to portray to my children one day.
“It is important that we recognize our parents today and we thank them for all that they have done for us. Our parents will always be there for us as we continue our journeys, whether it is close to home or far away. The bond of love will never be separated by distance and will always kept by one another.
“Our journey of obtaining knowledge is not over, for our lives have now been opened to great opportunities for years to come after graduating today. We are now just on the cusp of possibilities that are given to us in today’s ever-changing society. In front of us are years of life we have yet to live; years of experience and knowledge that we have yet to know. The years up until this one our path has been laid out for us, and, for the most part, ordered. Our schooling is chosen for us and our purpose and way of life is defined by those in charge and around us. Now, today, we stand here where we get to decide our own futures and our own paths. We have an endless amount of potential and freedom to go off and to make our own lives.
“From this day on I ask that my fellow classmates strive for their goals. To achieve success in any measure or fashion depending on a person’s goals, one must strive everyday to move forward. Success is something that is not always obtained right away. But this does not matter because not obtaining success is only fatal when you let it get in the way of perceiving your goals. Our goals are constantly changing and it is important that we learn from our mistakes and use the knowledge from failing to do better the next time.
“Within our generation our society comes up with many stereotypes about people that aren’t true for the sole reason that they like to dwell on these negative ideas. These stereotypes include allegations about what one likes to do, their race, hobbies, and even religion. And, today I stand proudly here on the stage breaking stereotypes by representing our Class of 2019 as a skateboarder who attends school regularly and excels in his classes. All of our backgrounds vary greatly from one another in our occupations, religions and hobbies. But in hindsight this difference has no hindrance of what we can achieve when we put our minds towards obtaining our goals.
“To expand on this idea, I would like to share a piece of advice from one of my favorite motivational speakers and the true Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith: “Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, exclusive, God-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste. It’s something that truly exists in all of us. This is what I believe, and, I’m willing to die for it. Period. It’s that simple.”
“One way to achieve greatness and success is to look back on life with no regrets. It’s the mindset of not dwelling on the things you could’ve done differently, but rather learning from your mistakes and moving on to achieve your future goals. The importance of not living with regret is also tied into the idea of not taking the hours, months or even days of life for granted. You should always live in the moment and enjoy your experiences for a certain time can only happen once.
“Ahead of us stand new relationships we shall build and places we shall go. We may make our dreams come true and even create new families. During these times we must do the things we love and participate in what makes us the individuals we are. High school is usually a one-round go of four years of experience that has impacted many of our lives in positive ways.
“For this reason, today should be a celebration of the Class of 2019, with our family and peers, for our students to start a new chapter in our lives. I wish each and everyone one of my fellow students strive to be the best versions of themselves in order to achieve success. Congratulations Class of 2019!”