“On a late Sunday night, I went to an empty classroom in the Stevens Center to practice a presentation I had to give the next morning.

Fun Fact about Maddie
“I have a dream career, and it’s been on my heart and my mind since I was a little kid. My whole life I’ve wanted to work for Disney as an Imagineer.”

I was feeling pretty unprepared and anxious about the presentation, so I was just rehearsing all my material when the classroom door opened. A security guard walked in to check who was in the room. He didn’t see me at first. I said hello and startled him!

I was around the corner so he didn’t see me, but after I apologized for scaring him, he, without hesitation, sat down at a desk and asked me to give my presentation. With open ears and a kind heart, he listened to my presentation and gave me extremely helpful feedback. To my surprise, he revealed that he used to be a language arts teacher for 20 years! He joked about coming to watch my presentation and helped calm my nerves about my public speaking assignment. It was at that moment I felt known not only as a student but as a person in this community. It was a really sweet experience, and he didn’t even hesitate to listen to me.”

Maddie Cognasso
Major: Interior Design
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Olympia, Washington

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