GRANVILLE — Each spring, the Granville American Legion Post 180 reviews applicants for their Veteran’s Scholarship award. The recipient of the $1,000 award for 2020 is Madison Brannon, a Putnam County High School senior from Granville.
In order to qualify for the scholarship, one of the first requirements specifies the recipient must be related to an individual who has served in any branch of the U.S. armed forces. In Madison’s case her grandfather, Thomas Brannon, served as an Army specialist, trained as an armored personnel driver assigned to Quang Tri in South Vietnam. His duties took him for a time to the Demilitarized Zone within view of North Vietnam. He served for more than 13 months in South Vietnam before being discharged in 1970.
Madison’s father, Sean Brannon, was also an Army veteran. He completed ROTC training while at Western Illinois University and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Illinois National Guard. His duties as a military police officer in the Army Reserve took him to Panama and South Korea. During his 10 years of military service, he was promoted to the rank of captain.
In addition to being related to a member of the armed forces, the applicants for this award are also expected to have outstanding academic grades in their high school courses and score very high on the required SAT. Madison showed evidence of those expectations taking courses in journalism, business, statistics/college algebra and Spanish.
She also demonstrated leadership as class president her sophomore, junior, and senior years at Putnam County High School. She was also a member of the Pantera squad in her sophomore and junior years.
Community service is another attribute that is highly regarded by the Granville Legion. Madison began at age 13 volunteering to raise money for the Eric Ciucci Scholarship and other fundraisers in the years that followed. Her membership on the Pantera team gave her opportunities to work with younger children at the Little Pantera Camps and dance routines at the Hennepin Fourth of July celebration and Granville Cruise Night. She described her work with the girls in grades K-5 saying she had “the opportunity to be a positive role model.”
Especially unique among her many life experiences was performing volunteer duties in the IVCH Emergency Room assisting in the registration of patients and cleaning rooms. According to Madison, “I would go every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. I have always had a passion for helping people which is why I first thought I wanted to be a pediatric nurse.”
That career option was reassessed during her senior year at PCHS. Part of her high school education involved helping in a kindergarten classroom at the primary school in Granville. She had opportunities to work with individual children who needed extra help as well as assisting Miss Angie Serafini. The primary school routine included working with the children in their music classes, computer time and library sessions. She received first-hand experience with the Christmas concerts, and at the Christmas and Valentine’s Day parties in addition to the “Doughnuts with Dad” Day. Her experiences at the primary school initially required one class period per day, but that changed to a two-period day.
“Going to the PC Primary School this year is what completely changed my career path decision,” Madison said. “Every single kid in that class will always have a special place in my heart, and they truly inspired me to want to be a kindergarten teacher myself, along with the best role model, Miss Serafini,” Madison concluded about her future educational plans.
She said the scholarship award will be used to defray expenses at Bradley University, where she will major in early childhood education. She has an older cousin already attending Bradley and two younger siblings.