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Southside High School Alum Madison Marsh Captures Miss America Crown

Fort Smith, Arkansas - January 14, 2024. Fort Smith Public Schools proudly celebrates the remarkable achievement of Madison Marsh, a 2019 Southside High School graduate who secured the prestigious title of Miss America 2024. As a former Southside Maverick, Madison’s many accomplishments converge with her courage, vision, and pursuit of excellence at Fort Smith Public Schools.  Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawksi celebrated her win, noting that Madison personifies the Maverick legacy and the school district’s motto of “Believe. Belong. Become.”  

Before being crowned Miss America, Madison paid a visit to Fort Smith Public Schools last Fall.  While wearing her Miss Colorado sash and crown, she visited Woods Elementary and delivered some inspiring messages to the young students telling them to “Shoot for the Stars!” as she spoke about her time as a FSPS student.  Madison shared:

“Southside was a particularly instrumental part of the young woman I am today because in 2018, I lost my Mom to pancreatic cancer, and I just really saw how the students, the faculty–specifically my principal, really rallied around me and was there for me in the times that were the hardest moments. Because of their support and love and what they did for me inside of school and outside of school - it led me to get to go to the Air Force Academy.  Now that I’ve been able to rise up from the Air Force Academy and graduate from there, it led me to Harvard. And so I could not have done that without my roots, right here back in Arkansas!” 

During her time at Southside, Madison demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and a strong commitment to community involvement. Southside High School Principal Jeff Prewitt said about Madison: 

“We are excited to see the success that Madison is experiencing. As a student, her drive and dedication were second to none and caused her to stand out in a crowd. Her resilience in bouncing back from some extremely challenging and life-changing experiences is a true testament to her character. We are so very proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish and look forward to seeing the great things that lie ahead for her.”

Madison’s triumphs have not only brought pride and honor to Fort Smith Public Schools but also highlighted the transformative influence that her time at Southside High School had on her journey. Her perseverance amidst difficult circumstances is an inspiration and testament to other students that they, too, can reach remarkable heights with hard work and resilience. 

Beyond her crowning achievement, Madison actively engages with young girls, dispelling stereotypes about being a female pilot and military soldier. Her commitment to mentoring and nurturing the next generation highlights Madison’s exceptional values, instilled during her formative years at Southside High School. 

Highlights About Madison Marsh

  • She is a 2023 United States Air Force Academy graduate with a degree in physics;

  • 2nd Lieutenant Madison March has not only excelled in her military career but is breaking barriers by securing the prestigious Miss America title.  

  • In the aftermath of the passing of her mother due to pancreatic cancer in 2018, Madison began the Whitney Marsh Foundation alongside her family. The Foundation raises funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer to honor her mother’s life. In an effort to honor Whitney’s love for running, the Whitney Marsh Foundation hosts a 5K and 10K run every year in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Madison’s hometown. As the President and Founder, she has led efforts to raise over a quarter million dollars to fund pancreatic cancer research and educate doctors and the public.

  • Madison is passionate about science. She is conducting research on artificial intelligence to detect pancreatic cancer as part of her internship at Harvard Medical School. 

  • She interned at NASA, researching gamma-ray bursts and conducting limiting magnitude studies with the Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope.

  • Madison is pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

  • Madison is a certified pilot. Her first solo flight was at the age of sixteen. Since then, she has been awarded Pilot as an Official Air Force Career. 

  • Madison has a black belt in Taekwondo.

  • Some of her accolades include: 

    • National Truman Scholar

    • National Rhodes Finalist

    • 2-time National Astronaut Scholar

    • 8-time Dean’s List honoree at the United States Air Force Academy, and 

    • 3-time USAFA Superintendent’s List recipient.