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  • Ari workig with Superintendent Jen Cheatham

    Ari working with Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and Wright Middle School Staff as they reflect on the past, current and future work of their School Improvement Plan.

ari at varsity basketball

Ari played basketball for Madison West, and plans to play in college.

As a senior at Madison West High School, Ari Davis had been looking forward to studying African American History or Communications in college. Plans changed, however, soon after he began lending his voice and leadership as an intern to the Office of Secondary Education at the district’s Central Office this spring and summer.

Here Ari assists our Personalized Pathways, AVID, and Career and Technical Education teams. As an example of his work, Ari recently met with district staff and leaders from Wright Middle School, his alma mater, to examine, discuss and add his perspective to Wright’s school improvement planning and implementation.

Alex Fralin, Chief of Secondary Schools, said this about the meeting: “I was quite proud today, especially as I think about the culture we've built whereby our students can play a valuable role and confidently participate in our school improvement systems. Thank you, Ari, for your voice and leadership today!”

Better yet, Fralin added, “Because of Ari's internship with us, he told his mom last month he wanted to go into education and wants to be a principal!” We caught up with Ari at Central Office recently to get an update on his post-graduation plans.

“Next year I’ll be attending Carthage College in Kenosha – and playing basketball. Eventually I plan to become a principal, maybe back here. I would love to come back home and be a principal for a school in my school district.”

One of the first college classes he’s excited to take is an English class for future educators, combining his passion for Communications and Education.

ari at graduation

Ari with his parents at graduation

Ari is headed to college with numerous scholarships, including a $500 Race to Equity Scholarship, which he was awarded for his academic and leadership accomplishments. These include a Madison Rotary Youth Leadership Award, being named the Urban League of Dane County’s Outstanding Young Person, Congressman Mark Pocan selecting Ari to receive the Outstanding Young Person Award for Service to the Community, the Madison Links Outstanding Student Award and more.

Ari is ready to build on that success in college. In the sound clip below, he talks about other things he’s looking forward to.

ari at doyle

Ari learning basic web editing skills for his internship at MMSD.

When asked what at West High School was helpful in shaping him into the successful graduate he his, he pointed to the support from teachers and students and West’s extra-curricular opportunities. “The experience has changed my life,” he says, of his role in “Multico 19,” a multicultural leadership group, being named co-president of the Madison West Black Student Union and playing basketball and volleyball for the Madison West Varsity teams.

As for balancing all these activities with a full course load, Ari credits the impact the PEOPLE Program for helping him stay focused. “It was one of the things that kept me on track.”

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