When Maddy Marchand was just 16 years old, she thought she’d seen the inside of a high school for the last time.
So when she decided to return to Poudre Community Academy after six months away, she wanted to make a triumphant entrance.
She traded in her usual outfit of Converse sneakers and jeans for high heels and a dress. She did her makeup and put a smile on her face as she walked through the school’s doors. Her teachers, who thought she’d decided to leave school for good, excitedly welcomed her back. One of them even had a card ready to hand her when she walked through the doors.
“Graduating high school means a lot to me, like, so much,” she said in the days before her graduation ceremony. “I really thought I wasn’t going to go back.”
Maddy had those feelings during the six-month absence she took after having a late-term miscarriage, a personal tragedy that left her reeling for months. In her time away, she focused on finding ways to feel happiness again.
She found comfort in art – she especially loves to draw blooming flowers – and in how her school welcomed her back with open arms.
“Every time I walk into the building, I see so many people and they always smile super big because I’m there,” she said. “It’s pretty awesome to be the reason somebody is smiling.”