The October Book Club selection takes a close look at former columnist and ESPN writer Kate Fagan’s 2017 #1 New York Times Sports and Fitness bestseller, What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen. This book is also the selected community-wide book read by Bexley City Schools as part of its ongoing effort to create broad-based awareness and dialogue around the increased level of anxiety and mental health needs among our young people. The discussion will be co-facilitated by Bexley City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Pietsch Miller and Chief Academic Officer Jill Abraham.
What Made Maddy Run tells the heartbreaking story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose life and death by suicide reveal the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today and the mounting pressures they face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started.
But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.
WHAT MADE MADDY RUN began as a piece that Kate Fagan, then a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness.
Dr. Kimberly Pietsch Miller has been the superintendent of Bexley City Schools since August 2017 after more than 30 years in public education, most recently as Chief Academic Officer at Dublin City Schools. She is an expert in administration, teaching, and learning in high-performing and high-achieving school districts. Jill Abraham joined Bexley Schools in August as the Chief Academic Officer. Jill has served a variety of school communities over her 26 years in education, most recently as Director of Elementary Education and K-12 Professional Learning in Dublin City Schools.
Bexley City Schools is Gramercy’s Community Partner for this program.