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Top of Their Class: Madden, Casciato Earn Governor's Honors - from The Messenger

May 13, 2023

On stage, Ryan Madden and Grace Casciato have been known for their achievements. Now the two Fort Dodge Senior High students have been recognized for their academic excellence.

The two Dodgers were named two of the state's top academic students as selections to the Iowa Governor's Scholar Program.

Each year, seniors are selected by their high schools as the highest academic achievers. A ceremony was held in Des Moines at the Iowa Event Center to honor them recently.

Madden, who's heavily involved in theater, band, choir and athletics, adds to his building resume.

"Getting the Governor's award was really special because not many kids get selected to receive it," Madden said. " It was really cool to see the amount of kids that are doing great things in their schools, and the fact that I recognized a few was even more amazing."

Through his four years at Fort Dodge Senior High Madden had a number of influences on his career.

"My biggest influencers and supporters over the years have definitely been my family," Madden said. "I can't thank them enough for their support over the years. "

Madden has had a number of teachers who have helped him become a standout academically but one has really influenced the senior.

"I also would like to give a shout out to Mrs (Kiley) O'Leary (health occupations teacher)," Madden said. "She's a teacher that has had the most impact on my future, and I appreciate that she's willing to share her own experiences to help me figure out what to make of mine."

Casciato has also devoted a lot of her time to theater, band, and choir. Both she and Madden were drum majors for the Fort Dodge Senior High marching band.

"It was an incredible honor to be selected for such a prestigious award," Casciato said. "Sitting in those seats and realizing you were recognized among the most accomplished students in all of Iowa was a surreal experience."

Casciato has had a number of people who have helped lead her to her accomplishments.

"I am so thankful for my parents who helped me every step of the way," Casciato said. "I am also grateful for the teacher I had the privilege of recognizing at the ceremony.

"Mrs. (Andi) Adams (an English teacher at FDSH) has always believed in me and pushed me to be my best."

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