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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

Posse Finalist Madison Mendoza Becomes Future 28’ Wildcat

Having been accepted in December 2023, the senior turns to her future appreciation at Davidson
Mendoza+proudly+stands+next+to+CAP+Advisor+Mrs.+Sanz+who+helped+her+journey+through+becoming+a+Posse+finalist.
Selena Feal
Mendoza proudly stands next to CAP Advisor Mrs. Sanz who helped her journey through becoming a Posse finalist.

Getting accepted to Davidson College in the Tar Heel State, senior Madison Mendoza overcame one of the challenging points of a senior – committing to a college. Through taking on one of the U.S.’s well-distinguished liberal arts colleges, her acceptance is reflected through the Posse Foundation.

Commencing it all in junior year, Mendoza received the full-ride scholarship opportunity through an information session. Hosted by Gables’ College Assistant Program Advisor Ms. Sanz, she nominated Mendoza alongside nine other students for academics and their worth as outliers. For her, the three-step screening interview process began, lasting four months.

As she points at the mascot, Lux the Wildcat, Mendoza smiles at the camera in North Carolina. (Courtesy of Madison Mendoza)

Initially hesitant, Mendoza attended a second session where she learned about the scholarship’s benefits and requirements. Intrigued, she dove deeper, with the first stage involving a group interview where different nominees throughout the nation were interviewed.  Eventually, she participated in a multi-round interview process that progressively narrowed down candidates based on leadership abilities.

“Madison and I have been friends since kindergarten. I am very proud of Madison as she was always working hard in and out of school. I am ecstatic to see what the future holds for her. I only was able to see Madison throughout the first interview with Posse, but I do believe she did very well. She did get the scholarship at the end of the day,” senior Ruben Cruz said.

Following the first steps of the process, the second interview came around being more intimate, being a one-on-one interview with one of many directors connected to the Posse Foundation. This interview consisted of questions like Mendoza’s cultural background, experiences, past and her educational journey in Gables. Succeeding talking about her life, the third interview was held in a conference room with the 19 other finalists, indulging in different activities ranging from scavenger hunts and questions.

Finalizing her process with the scholarship, Mendoza awaited the final step of receiving a call. During the period of contemplation, her friends and family continually asked her for updates on the status of her potential scholarship. Then, the day came when her phone rang and a Posse representative stated the words on the other line, “You did it”.

“Posse is a great opportunity, I believe I got it since I’m really good at speaking to others, and coming into agreements with them. So, I was able to give others feedback and show my leadership skills which is what Posse looks for. I decided to take this opportunity, because it is full tuition, and I am guaranteed the acceptance. It was definitely hard to think about going away from home, but knowing the other two posse scholars since childhood gave me that support system because we will at least have each other,” senior Madison Mendoza said.

Mendoza proudly stands to her future alma mater, during the out-of-state college tour. (Courtesy of Madison Mendoza)

Becoming a finalist by not just being an academic achiever through the International Baccalaureate curriculum, she has also engaged in playing for the girls’ varsity volleyball team, achieving an all-high 16 winning matches as well as participating in a local competitive club team, Miami Volleyball Academy.

“I played with the same group of girls on my club volleyball team for three years. Together as a team we went through so many highs and lows. Spending so much time together on and off the court has made us and our families grow so close that we still remain in contact today. Competing in tournaments has allowed us to travel to all sorts of places like Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and at one point Salt Lake City Utah. It was definitely some moments to remember doing something I love with some of the people who mean the most to me,” senior Madison Mendoza said

Deciding to pursue political science on the pre-law track, which was influenced by a longstanding aspiration to become a lawyer, the law-related classes under the teachings of law teacher Mr. Garcia, solidified her commitment from mini internships to Bilzin Sumberg to in-class trials. Alongside the various things she’s done to be more prepared for law school, her journey only increased as her parents pushed for a career in law.

Cruz stands on the right with the rest of Gables’s Posse Scholars Jamar Howard and Madison Mendoza. (Courtesy of Ruben Cruz)

“I have known Madison since fifth or sixth grade, we are both Breakthrough Scholars. We met during the summer program. I honestly feel so proud she is such a hard worker, compassionate, intelligent, kind and funny. She honestly deserves the world. As a Posse scholar myself, it is a great opportunity for people to achieve amazing things, and it recognizes young people for their hard work and leadership. It just goes to show how amazing Maddie is,” senior Jamar Howard said

Anticipating her college experience at Davidson, Mendoza is optimistic about pre-collegiate training and the connections it will help scholarship recipients build. Knowing the scholarship not only supports her but also eases any financial burdens for her family.

“I’m excited for pre-collegiate training, although I haven’t attended one. However, I have been told that we as a Posse [scholars] do a bunch of activities, to get to know each other better and build our bond as a group of friends. I believe that will help me building a foundation for my future at Davidson,” senior Madison Mendoza said

Mendoza does not just carry memories along these trails, she will legacy for other grade-level classes to follow. Following the newly acquired responsibility Posse bestowed on her, by being a finalist, she plans on helping others to redefine their potential to new heights, by carrying the pride of being a Cavalier.

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About the Contributor
Selena Feal, CavsConnect Staff Writer

Meet Selena Feal: a spirited sophomore navigating her way through the Health Science, Public and Law academy. Going into her second year in CavsConnect, Selena's vibrant energy extends beyond her academic pursuits, as she not only thrives as a dedicated member of the Mock Trial team, skillfully honing her argumentative finesse, but also actively engages in three other clubs: Andrea Jaime Medical Leaders, Gables Wellness and Interact. Beyond the riveting realm of courtroom drama, Selena finds her rhythm in exploring different corners of the world, having embarked on various adventures across three continents in less than a year. Whether she's savoring delicious Açaí bowls at Ernie's or binge-watching "Suits" on Netflix, Selena's passion for exploration knows no bounds. As she refines her legal prowess, she's also curating a collection of suits that would make Harvey Specter proud. So, while Selena's academic journey takes on a distinctive and captivating flavor, her drive is undeniable, weaving a narrative that's all her own.

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