Graduation 2012: Park High School's salutatorian takes 'passion for learning' to St. Olaf“I want to put my compassion to good use,” Park High School salutatorian Madeline Burbank said.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Madeline Burbank, Park High School’s salutatorian, will enter St. Olaf College this fall as a Buntrock Scholar, awarded to students ranked in the 98th percentile of their class for achievement and potential for academic, artistic and leadership success. She was second in her class at Park.
Burbank also will join The Great Conversation Program at St. Olaf, and live in a dormitory with other students studying in the program.
The program is a continuation of exploring various topics with Socratic thinking that she's been doing as a full International Baccalaureate candidate, one of the 15 Park students to graduate this year after completing the entire program during their junior and senior years.
Burbank’s extended essay, a requirement to fulfill the IB program, was on Commedia del Arte, also known as Italian comedy.
“I have such a passion for learning,” Burbank said. “I have to thank my parents and teachers for helping me get where I am. There were times when I struggled and they were there for me.”
Although she'll graduate with enough credits to equal an entire year of college, St. Olaf does not acknowledge all of them. Still, she said, she wanted to attend a small college.
Burbank loves writing, being with her friends and swing dancing at the Wabasha Caves in St. Paul.
She plays the flute and said music has fed her creative process “on so many levels.” She brought an original composition that was played by the band.
Burbank has written a lot of poetry during her school years but has recently migrated into writing fiction and is working on writing a book. “I'm not sure where that is taking me,” she said.
Burbank is also interested in the study of law, the ministry and politics, having gotten interested in it while attending Girls State, a leadership program.
She helped draft mock legislation to align Minnesota with the federal government in that the annual budget is a continuing resolution that would prevent a state government shutdown such as the one that occurred last year.
She's interested in securing an internship for a senator or representative.
“I want to put my compassion to good use,” Burbank said.