Crystal Thompson ’97 devotes career to public service


by Alicia Nasto and Magena Straight

Linganore graduate Crystal Thompson was awarded the Distinguished Graduate 2014  in Public Service on November 25th. Thompson served in the Peace Corps and worked for the U.S. Department of State. Her focus has been bringing relief to poverty in Madagascar.

Ever since Thompson graduated, she has done work in Madagascar and just recently moved back to the U.S.

“Some of the hardest things I’ve had to do are leaving my job, family, and friends to join the Peace Corps and go to Madagascar in 2003 and leaving my life in Madagascar last year to return to the U.S.” Thompson said.

Thompson said, “I am happy with the decisions I’ve made and with the way things have turned out. If anything could change, I would like a way to be more connected to Madagascar while living in the U.S. It would be nice to find a way to continue to work  with the people there.”

Thompson helped two members of the Peace Corps, Tim McCollum and Brett Beach, as they started Madacasse, LLC, a business that creates opportunities for cocoa farmers in Madagascar to make and sell fair trade chocolate.

Living in another culture, Thompson learned many important life lessons and skills. Her new goal is to try to re-adjust to life in the U.S., while remembering her past life in Madagascar. For now, she plans to live stateside and “look for ways [she] can serve my community in D.C.”

Mrs. Barbara Ferguson, physical education and health teacher, remembers Thompson as an “excellent and hardworking student.”

While at Linganore, Thompson played field hockey and played the French horn in band. “I had excellent teachers at LHS. I learned from them and still remember specific things they said that I think about in my life today,” said Thompson.

“Take to heart the advice you are given along the way. Take the advice that resonates with you and run with it,” said Thompson during her speech at the Distinguished Graduate assembly. “Don’t just run the course: put your whole heart into it.”