Maddy uses crown to push for Character Education Day

Gov. Brownback signs proclamation for April 17

By Mike Courson

Becoming Miss Barton County in 2015 gave Ellinwood High School graduate Hannah Maddy a bigger voice. Maddy has continued to use that voice for various platforms under various crowns. Last Wednesday, Governor Sam Brownback accepted Maddy’s proclamation request to make April 17 Character Education Day in the state of Kansas.

“My passion for character education comes from being raised in a family of educators,” Maddy said. “The importance of academics and character was emphasized. It’s not something that, unfortunately, can be brushed under the table. Social scientists have found that character is many times not taught in the homes and is not taught in schools. That means students are not learning basic social and emotional skills that, scientifically, serve as the foundation for a happy, healthy, and successful life.”

Five years ago, Kansas led the nation in adopting Social, Emotional and Character Development Standards for K-12 schools. According to, the standards were created to provide schools a framework for integrating social-emotional learning with character development. The goal is to create healthy personal and interpersonal habits in students.

As the current Miss Heartland, Maddy is doing her part to ensure those standards are still recognized. As part of Character Education Day on April 17 – which also happens to be Maddy’s birthday – teachers around the state are encouraged to participate in teaching one of the six important elements of character: caring, trustworthiness, civic virtue, justice and fairness, respect, and responsibility.

Maddy was crowned Miss Barton County in January 2015. She has subsequently been crowned Miss Queen of the Prairie, and was most recently crowned Miss Heartland at a pageant in Kingman last October. Maddy’s platform is Teach Success: Creating Caring Communities Through Character Education.

Through her platform, Maddy was a sponsor for the Youth Volunteer Corps of Manhattan’s trip to Philadelphia. She has collaborated with published children’s authors to promote character traits in schools.

The Miss America organization is known for its contributions to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals. Maddy founded the Cats for Kids organization at Kansas State, which raises money for CMN hospitals, and she currently serves as president.

“The opportunities this organization and my platform have given me are endless,” Maddy said. “I can’t even describe the effects it has had on my life in allowing me a voice to serve others while developing me into the best version of myself.”

Maddy is a 2013 graduate of Ellinwood High, a 2015 graduate of Barton Community College, and she is currently a student at Kansas State University. As Miss Heartland, Maddy will once again have the opportunity to compete in the Miss Kansas Pageant in Pratt in June.

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