Courage is required: Speaker Kelly Madrone inspires students to tell their stories

by Emily Reed, Co-Editor-In-Chief

On October 9, Frederick native Kelly Madrone spoke in the auditorium during PREP to deliver a message of encouragement and to empower students to share their experiences, struggles, and stories with others to build a supportive community and strong relationships. The GSA (Gay Straight Alliance/Gender Sexuality Alliance) club and advisers organized the event, and all students were welcome.

Madrone started her speech by telling the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who was bullied in her youth for her sexuality and appearance. Instead of being beaten down, Kahlo owned her identity with confidence, showing her tormentors that they could not write the story of her life.

Madrone said, “As a writer and as a storyteller, I understand the power of how we use stories. The story you write for yourself is the most powerful thing you can do in your life.”

Madrone went on to share her personal story and close with a few verses from Maya Angelou’s inspiring poem “Still I Rise”

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

After her speech, students could talk to Madrone, and there was an additional opportunity to talk to her at Dublin Roasters from 7-9 p.m..

At the evening event, patrons, patrons could buy one of her books, including LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens and Young People and Chronic Illness: True Stories, Help, and Hope.

In the future, Madrone’s writing will expand to include a collaborative memoir based around animal welfare. And she plans to write a young adult novel. Additionally, Madrone is currently developing her website that will include video pep talks and other encouraging material.