Sampson Independent

Thornton awarded National Merit Scholarship

Raegan Thornton, of Clinton, was awarded a National Merit Scholarship, which she will use to attend The University of Alabama Honors College on a full ride. Fewer than 0.5 percent of high school seniors receive any type of National Merit Scholarship.

Thornton recently graduated from The Madeira School, where she thrived as a student, gained valuable internship experience, and excelled as a leader.

Madeira’s Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca remarked, “We are so proud of Raegan for all of the hard work she has put in during her four years at Madeira. Her commitment to academic excellence, to a well-rounded education through the various leadership roles she held with clubs and extracurricular activities, and her desire to contribute to an excellent community are evident and will be missed. She truly is the embodiment of a Madeira girl.”

In keeping with Madeira’s program of combining excellent academics with real-world experiential learning, Thornton completed three internships with Madeira’s Co-Curriculum program. Her sophomore year service internship was with the Kilmer School. She interned on Capitol Hill during her junior year with Representative George Holding (R, NC) and her senior year internship was with the Newseum in Washington, DC.

Throughout her time at Madeira, Thornton was heavily involved in the School’s theater program. She held many important roles in plays and musicals, most recently Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. She was also a dedicated member of the stagecraft class, which designs and builds the sets for the productions.

Anne Faircloth, a Clinton native, Madeira alumna and Board of Trustee member, delivered an inspiring and nostalgic address at Thornton’s commencement, a portion of which is below.

“This is a day when we talk a lot about memories. Frankly I have few specific memories from 31 years ago when I sat where you are today. I remember the cheesy song our whole class sang at

Affirmation – the love theme from St. Elmo’s Fire – yes, I was here in the 80s. I remember turning my ring as I crossed in front of where y’all are sitting today. And I remember my dress, especially because my dear friend, Raegan Thornton is wearing it today, 31 years later. Bless her heart, she even kept the shoulder pads. I remember carrying my roses and the butterflies in my stomach as I walked into this beautiful, outdoor amphitheater.

By far, our greatest tradition, is creating strong, independent women who celebrate themselves and each other with confident voices. I am honored to join in that chorus today. Congratulations!”

Clinton native Anne Faircloth and Raegan Thornton at the graduation ceremony for The Madeira School. native Anne Faircloth and Raegan Thornton at the graduation ceremony for The Madeira School. Courtesy photo
Thornton Courtesy photo