Reflecting Light from the Past to Brighten the Future
Fred Williams began his presentation of the Emerging Leader Award to Madeleine Hutchins ‘11 with a profile of Maddy’s time on Rectory’s campus. Faculty evaluations of her academic and social performance coalesced around three words: focused, inquisitive, and perceptive. She was, by all accounts, and excellent student who gave everything she had to every class, club, or activity of which she was a part.
Much of Maddy’s involvement at Rectory centered on the arts. She performed in multiple musicals including Willy Wonka and Beauty and the Beast. She was selected two straight years to participate in the exclusive Quinebaug Valley Music Festival on account of her wonderful singing voice. In addition to music, Maddy was a member of the equestrian and fencing teams, and her many varied interests earned her the distinction of “Most Unique” as voted by her classmates in her ninth grade yearbook.
Back then, Maddy stated that she was driven by being “a curious person” who “gets bored if I don’t try hard.” Always seeking the next challenge, and determined to be the best version of herself possible, Maddy has shown exceptional promise in her young adult life, and she shared her thoughts on her time since Rectory in a conversation with Fred during the Alumni Awards at Centennial Weekend.
After describing her timeline since Rectory, Maddy mentioned two characteristics with which she identifies most strongly: storyteller and scholar. Drawing from her membership in the Mohegan Tribe, Maddy values the role storytelling plays in connecting history with the present. Stories help to engage people in history in a way that brings it to life. Maddy’s interest in theater and the arts remains a part of her life through the support of Native American theater projects as well as her own short fiction writing.
Reflecting on her philosophy major in college, Maddy reflected on the broad range of disciplines it exposed her to. Similar to how her interests at Rectory were varied, philosophy allowed her to build a foundation from which to approach life’s questions and puzzles with the same focus and curiosity she exhibited as a younger student. Maddy reflected in particular on advice given to her by one of her professors at Yale who suggested that when seeking direction in life to look for the “intersection of what you like, what you are good at, and what the world needs.”
Maddy took those words to heart, and she applies them each and every day. There was a time when she stressed about all the things she couldn’t do, but she realized that focusing on what wasn’t possible was a waste of time. Now, Maddy values the things she is able to do. She remains committed to a lifetime of learning and scholarship, and that learning translates to the ability to craft stories that help her, and her community, understand the world better. This past January, as part of Rectory’s observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Maddy spoke to our students about how Rectory helped her discern the importance of her Mohegan heritage and inspired her to share her experience with others. She motivated our students to feel the same agency she experienced at Rectory by reminding them that what they say and do matters.
We are so grateful to count Maddy Hutchins among our alumni, and we are proud of all that she is doing to preserve invaluable information and cultural artifacts. She is a tremendous asset to our community, and it is with great pleasure that we honor her with the 2022 Emerging Leader Award.
- Emerging Leader