Humans of Appleton North: Maddy Schilling


Photo by Mariya Todorova

“This may or may not be a fire hazard.”

Mariya Todorova, Contributor

“I’m not hip, I just listen to a lot of Glass Animals.”

Maddy Schilling, more formally known as Madeleine Schilling, is currently a senior at Appleton North High School. She is far more than just a fantastic artist, musician, actress, professional hipster (see response above) and culture editor of the Noctiluca; no, she is an exquisite human being who also sports rockin’ brown slip-ons and fluffy hair. Maddy is a person who honestly wants to make other people happy, and enjoys performance because it gives her a chance to do just that. When I asked her what she was passionate about, the interview took a thought-provoking turn that began a conversation about her childhood and what she wants to do with her life.

“I want to say that I change what I’m passionate about a lot, and I also change what I want to do a lot. Honestly, I don’t know what I will do with my life yet, but I’m a senior, and I’m kind of expected to know. When I was a kid people expected me to accomplish this whole bulk of incredible stuff, and frankly I don’t know what exactly that “stuff” is that I’ll end up accomplishing. I did ballet in Boston, I played the classical violin at an advanced level and I competed in a whole bunch of spelling bees, chess tournaments, writing contests and things like that. I was expected to do fantastic in life for those things, but I didn’t feel passionately about them. I haven’t led the life I thought I would be leading thus far. But I do know that I want to do something that will leave a smile on people’s faces; if I can make other people feel good, that makes me feel good.”

As deep as this response was, it took an ever more fascinating approach when I asked her what she wants to accomplish in her life.

“I want to leave a mark on this world. I want enough people to remember who I am so that my memory lasts awhile. I guess if my memory lasts a longer time, I would be leaving a bigger mark on the world and thus living more. It makes it so that I’m not just living for me, but I’m living through and for other people as well. We live such a short time on this Earth, and if it doesn’t persist long enough, what’s the purpose of being here if we’re only living for ourselves?”

She also wants to learn how to play the electric violin and sing at the same time, or see if that’s even possible, but that’s a goal for sometime later in the future.

Maddy is currently planning on going into the humanities in college but hopes to keep music and theatre a constant in her life. Performing is an emotional outlet for her, and it also lets people feel something, whether it be joy or melancholy. In her free time, she enjoys watching the cartoon television show “Daria,” strumming on the guitar or catching up on Politifact.

While I was throwing a vicious onslaught of questions at her, one in particular had evoked a surprising answer. I had asked, “What’s something about yourself that people might not know when first meeting you?” The response followed with, “When I first meet people, I’m better at being outgoing with them; it’s easier. However, naturally, I’m a pretty shy and introverted person.” A natural performer at heart, it took to my attention how someone as highly involved in clubs of the performing type could still be a rather shy and quiet person on the inside. Her friends however know this to be true, as these activities involve putting on a show for other people, which is draining. In reality it’s much more comfortable in silence.

Over the years, Maddy has been involved in many different clubs and activities ranging from the forensics team, the Noctiluca, choir, theatre, National Honor Society, Varsity Tennis (once upon a time), several AP classes and the hustle and bustle of a job (also once upon a time). One of the clubs that especially changed her as a person was forensics, which taught her how to perform as a solo unit. Choir was also an enlightening experience as she said, “Being the ‘Choir Mom’ allows me to help around in any way that I can; I want people to feel accepted, to feel good about themselves and to be loved. If that means being a ‘Mom’ and helping them in that way then it means I’m doing a good job.”

As many people who know her would agree, one of the strongest qualities that Maddy possesses as a person is the ability to be non-judgmental and very accepting. “Being open to people allowed me to have many different types of friends who I might have not otherwise had.” She states nonchalantly, “I’m most proud of the opportunity I’ve had to meet such amazing people who have maintained a lasting impact on me.”

For a final thought, I made up one more question to bring our interview to a close. I had asked a very broad question, that instated some important knowledge down on all the rest of us North students. I asked her, “Do you have any final tips for high-schoolers?” The response went as follows:

“Honestly, don’t worry about it. All of it. It’s going to be okay. And be more accepting of other people, as the less cynical you are of others, the less of that nasty teenage cynicism you’ll impose upon yourself. And make more mixtapes for each other; that’s my favorite way to share the love.”