Oakdale High School senior Madison Hoffman is well on her way to a bright and promising future. The senior was recently selected as the 2021 Leo Volz Scholarship recipient; an honor bestowed most commonly on one graduating senior each year.
The Leo Volz Scholarship pays $25,000 per year for four years of higher education, for a maximum of $100,000 toward tuition and books. Volz was an Oakdale farmer who bequeathed a scholarship to be set up through OJUSD in his will, which was endowed with $2 million.
“There are so many amazing kids in my class, I never imagined that I would be the one to receive the award,” Hoffman shared, noting she first became familiar with the scholarship her freshman year at OHS.
She has plans to attend UC Irvine in the fall, where she will attend the four-year nursing program.
“UC Irvine offered the four-year program and I was lucky enough to be one of the 30 kids they pick each year for the program,” she shared, adding that four-year nursing programs are hard to come by, let alone get accepted to.
Hoffman, however, isn’t just looking to become simply a nurse. She has her eyes set on becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. It’s a field, she shared, which took some time and research to narrow down, but is one which she is very excited about.
With a long time interest in the medical field, Hoffman said initially she thought of pursuing her MD. Recognizing the time it would take to achieve that goal and an eagerness to complete college and get into the field, she came upon her current career goal.
“I’m super excited. I’m real excited for this new part in my life,” she shared, “in being able to enter into the medical field. I’ve always wanted to just help people, so I feel it’s just really my calling.”
The first in her family to attend college, the Volz recipient expressed great gratitude for the opportunity, as well as guidance she received from teachers during the application process.
“I’ve had a lot of great teachers who have been able to aid me, especially through the college process,” she said. “My English teacher Mrs. Gobel has been extremely helpful with my applications and how to prepare for all the different interviews. I’m extremely grateful for all the knowledge the AP teachers have. Not only in their course work, but in the college experience and giving us advice on how to get through this process.”
It doesn’t hurt that the senior also has a bit of smarts on her side, with a 4.5 GPA and a longstanding high school career in AP classes. Leo Volz, however, is a scholarship which looks for the well-rounded student. In addition to holding down solid grades, the senior has also spent three years active in OHS Leadership, as well as playing on the tennis team and serving on the boards of various on-campus clubs.
“I actually created a free tutoring service for kids who are underprivileged and aren’t able to afford a tutor,” she said, adding that the idea came to her during her sophomore year when she was approached by a friend who was struggling in math.
To date she has personally tutored half a dozen kids in math since that time.
Just a few weeks left before graduation, Hoffman shared excitement for the next chapter and relocating to Southern California for her education.
“I feel like it’s going to be such a wonderful change in my life,” she said. “It’s definitely overall been a positive experience with Irvine, so I was pretty set on it.”
Looking to her future, beyond graduation, the Volz winner shared ideas of where and what she’d like to be doing in life 10 years from now.
In addition to seeing herself employed as a nurse anesthetist in Southern California, she also aspires to pay forward the good grace that was shown to her by helping others.
“I’m hoping to open some sort of charity or organization that helps low income kids with getting to college and getting those resources,” Hoffman said. “I know it’s really hard if you don’t have someone who has already gone through it or don’t have someone who knows about the process.”
And while the end of her junior year and much of her senior year were amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn’t lessened Hoffman’s enthusiasm or impacted her positive attitude.
“It’s just really been amazing,” she said of the overall experience and all that is to come.