Meet the Class of 2020: Middletown graduate had to wait but finds path to ‘dream school’

Middletown grad Maddie Chupka. CONTRIBUTED

Maddie Chupka needed some good news amid weeks of disappointment.

After seeing her senior year cut short and activities and events canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Middletown High School student and talented musician was still uncertain about her college plans heading into the second week of May, while many of her classmates knew their futures.

»PHOTOS: Class of 2020 top grads

Chupka had her hopes set on going to George Washington University to study political science in the heart of the nation’s capital, but she was still waiting on financials to make sure she could afford it as the May 1 deadline to commit approached. The university allowed her an extension, and she found out May 11 that she would be receiving enough grant and scholarship money to make it more affordable than her backup option.

Now, she finishes her time at Middletown on a positive note.

“George Washington has been my dream school for a year now, but I got on the wait list,” said Chupka, who is in the top 10 percent of her class, President of the Senior Class and Vice President of National Honor Society, among many other activities. “During the beginning of quarantine, I found out I got in, and that was the best news I received in a long time because everything was getting canceled and finally something good was happening. I was in tears, I was so excited, but I still had to wait on financials and make sure I could go. It was a relief to finally find out I would be able to go to my dream school. It was worth the wait.”

Chupka wanted to be an engineer for as long as she can remember, but that all changed last summer when she got the opportunity, through her high school, to attend Buckeye Girls State, a week-long program designed to educate Ohio’s young women about city, county and state government.

She came out of the experience wanting to work in politics, so she began studying up on the top colleges for political science. After visiting NYU, Georgetown and George Washington, her favorite was clear. GWU was four blocks from the White House and many of the students she met were interning there or at the Capitol Building.

“They were living what they wanted to do as freshman and sophomores,” Chupka said. “That’s what I want to experience. I loved the atmosphere being in the city and right in the middle of everything I want to do, and it’s so diverse like the community I’m used to now. As soon as I stepped on campus and talked to professors and students, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

Although the future appears bright, the end of high school certainly wasn’t what Chupka and her peers expected it to be. She is still saddened by the many things she didn’t get to experience, including seeing the end product of the hard work put into preparing for Middletown’s spring musical.

Chupka was to play a lead role as Wednesday in The Addams Family, but the week before Opening Night, school closed and the musical was postponed indefinitely.

“We got so close – it was a week away and the anticipation was building up and then it got postponed,” Chupka said. “As the weeks rolled on, we kind of knew it wasn’t going to have it. For the seniors, none of us are going into music and this was our last chance to perform on the stage and do something we loved and enjoyed. It was heartbreaking. We looked forward to it and worked so hard, and to not have it, it was so disappointing.”

Chupka had been in the spring musical every year since eighth grade. She participated as a percussionist in the pit her first two years, then joined show choir as a sophomore and was cast as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Last year, she was the lead, Natalie, in “All Shook Up.”

Music has been a big part of Chupka’s high school career overall. She has been in band since sixth grade and participated in wind ensemble the past three years. Choir director Marsha Minge was looking forward to seeing how Chupka would have led the spring musical, which included 23 songs and included choreography that Chupka was in charge of teaching as show choir dance captain.

“She has a great voice, she’s self-motivated, so she always came in prepared, knew her lines, knew her music,” Minge said. “I will review something with her in terms of the musical, to go over her solo work, but I don’t have to teach it. She reads music. That makes my life easy and it allows her to do a great job. Her dedication and leadership throughout last year’s musical and this year, she earned it.”

“She’s just a phenomenal musician, phenomenal student and outstanding leader.”

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