Mady West, a senior at Gray-New Gloucester High School, is a senior on the varsity soccer team and involved in substance abuse awareness. (Staff photo by Jill Brady/Staff Photographer.) Staff photo by Jill Brady

GRAY — That Mady West is one of the captains on the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ soccer team probably doesn’t surprise anyone who knows her.

“Mady is just that friend that everyone counts on,” said Patriots Coach Marcy Francoeur. “She’s a bubbly source of energy and a lot of girls go to her for advice. She’s always there for here teammates, willing to do whatever she can for them.”

That includes making morning coffee runs. The senior works at Aroma Joe’s and one of her morning rituals is getting a cup of coffee and taking orders from her friends.

West, who turned 17 on Sunday, has three goals and an assist for the Patriots since Francoeur moved her from midfield to the right wing. She also plays basketball as a point guard for the Patriots. And she has a strong social conscience, involved heavily in substance abuse prevention, having worked with Casco Bay CAN, a coalition which works to prevent youth substance abuse, and PATS, a student association at Gray-NG which means Promoting Awareness of substance abuse Through Students.

Q: Before you were elected as captain of the team, you had to give a speech to the team. How was that?

A: It was a little nervous.

Q: What did you talk about?

A: I basically just said what it meant to me to be a leader on the team, someone who has leadership and can guide the team to success in a helpful way, be a leader through example, just to have someone for them to talk to when they need it. I also said that they’re like my second family because I’m with them all the time. It’s one of my favorite teams I’ve been a part of.

Q: This means a lot to you then?

A: Yes. The chemistry on the team is really good and we’re all good friends no matter what the grade level is. I just care for every one of them and I love playing soccer with them.

Q: What do you like better, playing midfield or forward?

A: I like the wing a little bit better because I can use my speed on the wing and run onto the wide balls and try to cross it in to my teammates for a goal. My sister, Emma, is a left wing and (stepsister) Jordan (Grant) plays striker. It’s me, Emma and Jordy all at the top.

Q: I’ve been told you’re a very social person. Is that just your personality?

A: Yeah, I like to make sure everyone is included in things and just to have fun in, like, a positive vibe in practice and games to get people motivated.

Q: And you bring coffee too?

A: I do. I have coffee every day. I probably don’t need it.

Q: You also take orders?

A: I do. Sometimes people are, ‘Can you pick this up for me?’ And I do. Every day.

Q: How did you become involved in Casco Bay CAN?

A: My mom (Joanne Grant) is actually a member of it because she is a counselor for substance abuse. She got me involved in it, got some other kiddos involved in it, my sister. And we do some projects throughout the year. For one of them, we go to local grocery stores and convenience stores and gas stations and we place these stickers on alcohol boxes reminding people that selling alcohol to under-aged people is illegal. We go to these places and stick them on the things.

Q: Do you know someone who has been through substance abuse?

A: It’s not something I have experience with. My mom got me involved because it’s part of her job and she wanted me to know the importance of staying substance free and the benefits.

Q: How did PATS come about?

A: A group of us worked with our social worker here (Michelle Murley) to get it started.

Q: What do you try to do with that group?

A: We just basically try to promote awareness about substance abuse and its consequences. We try to get people to understand the consequences and get people to understand it’s harmful to their bodies. Sometimes we do projects with Casco Bay CAN, sometimes we  do projects within the school, like hanging posters around the school. We were actually just part of this book publishing through the Telling Room. We made a book of stories that we thought were beneficial for freshmen to read when they come into the high school. And a lot of the stories were substance use related, like not using them, or team sports-related.

Q: Where did you get the stories?

A: They are personal accounts. The group members of PATS wrote this book.

Q: Do you have a chapter in it?

A: Yes. I wrote mine on how varsity soccer guided me through high school and how the friendships I made and the role models helped me realize substance use is bad and it’s not good for my body and if I wanted to play varsity soccer I would have to stay clean. And they were all really good friends and people I could go to.

Q: Do you think this is a message that needs to be  heard?

A: Yes. There’s a lot (of substance use) in our school and I think it’s a problem. I think the people involved in sports are less likely to use them, and the people  you surround yourself with.

Q: Do you know where you’d like to go to college?

A: Either USM or St. Joe’s. I want to be a nurse.

Q: Why do you want to be a nurse?

A: Two years ago my mom had ulcerative colitis, that’s a disease in her colon. She was battling that for a while and they decided to remove it. She was in the hospital for a while because of the surgery. There was a nurse there named Emma and she just was really comforting to my mom and helped her through the process. And it made me really appreciate that. I liked watching her do all the nursing things, like putting the IV in and giving her all her medications. I started asking her questions about nursing and she said she liked it and I said, ‘Hmm, I can see myself doing this.’

Q: When you’re done playing sports, what do you want to be remembered as?

A: As a good captain and a good teammate to go to.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.