Madisyn Arnold named Destrehan High School Salutatorian

At her heart, Madisyn Arnold is a writer.

The Destrehan High School Salutatorian wrote a 70,000 word book for her senior project, earned first place non-fiction honors in the state for her short story “Trips to Texas” while a student at Harry Hurst Middle School, and was editor of the DHS National English Honor Society journal.

Sometimes, the writing is fun; other times, she admits, she’s rather hard on herself—even after wrapping up a story the length most wouldn’t dream of attempting.

“I’m very harsh on my writing,” Arnold said. “Some short stories I’ve written, I do really like. The book for senior project I felt I could have done a better job on … I wasn’t a big fan of it at the end. I think if it had been something I was doing for fun, and not an assignment, I could have gotten more out of it.”

But she also credits that inner critic among her chief driving forces to ultimately finish in the top two of her class.

“I’ve always kind of been a perfectionist,” Arnold said. “I try to go really hard at everything I do at school, be it tests, activities … and it led to me reaching pretty high in the end.”

It’s no doubt what she’ll do at Purdue University in the coming years, where she’ll be joining its renowned English program. She’s looking to put her writing talents to good use, be it ultimately in a career in English, professional writing, publishing, editing or journalism.

“I’ve always read a lot, since I was very young,” Arnold said. “I tended to do very well on essays and got high grades, so I developed a taste for it. The most fun I have with it is when I’m writing fiction and get to be really creative with everything, developing it from scratch.”

Arnold was the secretary of Destrehan’s National Honor Society, something she says has enabled her to find a love of volunteering in the community through efforts with organizations like Second Harvest and Habitat for Humanity.

Arnold is also part of the school choir, where she channels another passion of hers, her love of music.

“I love being part of such a close-knit community,” Arnold said. “Everyone in the choir is so welcoming and has an intense love for music, so I just love being part of that while being able to do something that I love.”

[pullquote]“I know I’ll miss the people here, my friends, teachers … everything fun that’s happened has been because of the people I’ve been surrounded by.”— Madisyn Arnold[/pullquote]

She also has been learning piano and guitar, focusing those efforts on composition and applying those skills to music therapy — those who practice music therapy use their musical skills and all of its facets  to help clients improve their health and quality of life, through physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic and spiritual avenues. She said the instruments have provided another creative outlet for her to go with her writing.

Arnold’s also been a member of drama club, Interact — a community service club — literary club and Mu Alpha Theta.

“I guess I don’t like to stay still,” Arnold said. “I know I’ll miss the people here, my friends, teachers … everything fun that’s happened has been because of the people I’ve been surrounded by. So I’ll miss them very much.”

She’ll be traveling a long way to Purdue, and while she said she’s a bit nervous, she’s also eager.

“I’m an anxious person as it is … I don’t know what to expect,” Arnold said. “But I’m really excited to start there and meet new people.”

Madisyn Arnold

  • Wrote 70,000 word book for her senior project
  • Editor of DHS’ National English Honor Society journal and secretary of National Honor Society. She has also been a member of drama club, Interact, literary club and Mu Alpha Theta.
  • Will study English at Purdue University.
  • While in middle school, earned a first place honor in the state for a written non-fiction work titled “Trips to Texas.”


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