Madison Vergara grew up in Paterson as part of a large, loving extended family. The youngest of four children, she always wanted to be a teacher. “I would line my dolls up in rows and pretend to teach them whatever lessons I was learning at school. I always enjoyed watching my teachers teach as well as learning,” says Maddie.
Madison’s home was a busy, noisy place, with six people in her family and frequent visits from cousins, nieces, nephews and her grandma. When she found herself living away freshman year, at The College of New Jersey, she felt homesick. Although she loved her courses and teachers, she decided to transfer to Montclair State University and become a commuter. Madison is taking advantage of a partial scholarship and has embarking on MSU’s five-year Masters of Education program in Special Education. She will pursue a dual certification including General Education qualifying her to teach Pre-K through 3rd grade.
Tri-County came into Madison’s life in her freshman year of high school, providing much needed scholarships enabling her to attend the school of her choice for all four years.
Says Maddie, “I want to thank Tri-County and the donors because I wouldn’t have been able to go to a private school without them. They made a big difference in my life, and I wouldn’t be where I am if not for them.”
Madison said her parents always worked extremely hard to instill positive values and a dedication to education in each of their four children. It paid off – the two eldest have graduated college; her sister Ronnie graduated in 2019, and Madison, soon after. Her parents set an excellent example by working hard – her mother works for a cardiologist at Valley Hospital and her dad works in medical records at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Bethany Dacles, DePaul High School’s Social Studies Chair, was a role model for Madison due to her patient, calm manner and her unique teaching style. “She would make the subject so interesting, and interact with you,” says Madison. Ms. Dacles remembers Madison as “diligent” and “an excellent student”. She found her to be extremely engaged, and a great role model for other students. “She has that caring spirit. The other kids just naturally followed her”, said Ms. Dacles, “we need people in education who have that.” We agree.