Briar Woods Student, Maddie Saadah, Making an Impact

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Chloe Defilippo, Reporter

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Briar Woods High School senior Maddie Saadah recently teamed up with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)  in order to improve safety at Briar Woods High School. 

Maddie has been a member of Girl Scouts since she was in kindergarten, and is now aiming for the Gold Award, the highest achievement that a Girl Scout can earn, which requires 80 hours of community service, and an original service project, to be approved by the Girl Scouts council, and executed. 

Her idea: slow down drivers around the Briar Woods campus by adding the word “school” in large white letters to Belmont Ridge Road, right next to the entrance of the school. 

“I realized that something needed to be done because it was clear that cars were speeding and it was becoming dangerous,” said Saadah. “There were many close calls when I saw students dart across the road. This made me want to do something because it looked like nothing was going to change unless there was an accident, and I didn’t want it to let it get that far.” 

Maddie attributes much of her motivation to give back to her community to Girl Scouts. “From a very young age, Girl Scouts gives girls many opportunities and teaches girls important skills. For me, Girl Scouts has helped me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I normally wouldn’t have done. Being a part of an international organization has helped me to see outside of myself and look into the community’s needs.” 

Virginia Department of Education workers have praised Maddie for her work and have described her as “an inspiration.” 

“I’m really excited that I’m actually doing something to help my community. This is, like, a really big project and I’m so happy that it’s actually getting done and that VDOT got involved with it,” said Saadah in her interview with the VDOT. 

“To me, being involved in my community is important because it enables me to always be helping out. I get things done by looking out for my community and identifying what it needs. I feel that this project has had a positive impact on the community. I am really proud of the work I’ve done in improving our school and community and I’m really excited about the positive response I’ve gotten from my project!”