The Verona Public Schools will host a presentation by Kate Fagan, the author of What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen, on Monday, April 1 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Verona High School auditorium. This evening event is open to the entire Verona community; Fagan will speak to VHS students, faculty, and staff in a separate presentation during the day.
Published in 2017, What Made Maddy Run is the story of Madison Holleran, a track star who died by suicide in college. Fagan, a columnist at ESPN, uses Holleran’s story to discuss the experiences of students growing up in a digital age. She talks about the pressures, both external and internal, that Holleran faced as a student athlete transitioning between high school and college. The book book became a New York Times best-seller.
“Maddy’s story is not singular,” the school district said in an email to parents on Monday, “but a reflection of how many students are experiencing adolescence. Fagan describes Maddy’s life as a backdrop to examine societal factors such as the competitive pressures school, concerns about self-identify, and the maintenance of social media. Her book takes an honest look at the stigma of mental health and the split realities that adolescents often live.”
“Our school district is dedicated to upholding a healthy and respectful school culture consistent with our core values as evidenced in our strategic plan,” the district added. “The Verona Public Schools have made great strides to support social and emotional learning through the incredible efforts of our community action committees on mental health and suicide prevention and code of conduct and respect. We look forward to an important and informative conversation with Kate Fagan and we hope you will join us.”
The district also reiterated that if families have any questions or concerns about their student participating in the school event with Fagan, they should contact their student’s counselor or the Verona High School Counseling Office at (973) 571-6750 extension 1015.