Saint Joseph Grade School recently caught up with Madeline Raster, a 2011 SJGS alum, who is currently in her senior year at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Madeline is a four-year starter and two-time co-captain, the first in over 25 years, for the women’s basketball team. She has started every game each of the last two seasons and 84 total in her career, while averaging 9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
But it’s not all basketball for this SJGS grad. Check out our conversation below to see how Madeline’s Holy Cross education at Saint Joseph Grade School helped shape her heart and mind for college and beyond.
Harvard Women’s Basketball opens its season this Friday at 4:00pm at #1 ranked Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion. Tickets may be purchased online from the Notre Dame ticket office. ESPN subscribers can stream the game online via WatchESPN (ACC Network Extra). The game will also be aired on the radio in the South Bend area on 96.9FM.
SJGS: Madeline, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us. How did you decide on Harvard? Is it all that you expected?
Madeline: When Harvard started recruiting me to play basketball during my sophomore year of high school, it was a surreal experience. After visiting the university with my dad and meeting the coaches and players, I was certain that Harvard was where I wanted to go to college. There is a really special energy on campus that is hard to describe. Everyone truly wants to see you succeed. For that reason and many others, Harvard has definitely surpassed my expectations. Being here has opened a whole new world of opportunities for me to experience and continues to introduce me to incredible people whom I cherish.
SJGS: Was it hard leaving Indiana? Harvard is playing at Notre Dame and Purdue this season. Is that partly your doing and are you excited to play here?
Madeline: Leaving Indiana was definitely very hard because I was coming from two wonderful communities: the larger one in South Bend and my own family. That being said, I am extremely excited to come home this fall and play at Notre Dame and Purdue. Typically, our team tries to go back to each player’s hometown during our non-Ivy League schedule at least once in our career. It will be really special to play in front of my family and friends.
SJGS: What are you studying and why did you choose that program? Are you involved in any other activities or services besides basketball?
Madeline: I am studying Government. My reasoning for studying Government originally started as a general interest in American history but as I have gone through my coursework, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to explore other areas of the field. Government at Harvard is great because the curriculum allows you to choose which areas interest you, whether that is political theory, international relations, American politics, or comparative politics.
On campus, while basketball takes up most of my free time, I serve on the Community Service Committee in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and work for the Harvard Alumni Association as a student caller. Additionally, I volunteer at the Harvard Square Homeless shelter once a week.
SJGS: Tell us about some highlights in your life from the last several years, as well as any accomplishments that you are most proud of.
Madeline: I think one of my proudest moments from the last few years was being voted captain by my teammates for my junior and senior year here at Harvard. Additionally, I have been blessed with incredible opportunities the last two summers. The summer before my junior year, I had the chance to work for Mayor Pete in South Bend and it was great to contribute, even in a small way, to the growth that is occurring in my hometown. This past summer, I worked for the Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, and was able to learn a lot working in the Criminal Bureau. Furthermore, last May, I went on a mission trip with a former Harvard basketball teammate to Trinidad and Tobago. The opportunity to serve the children there, combined with the experience of going to another country, is one I will never forget.
SJGS: What’s next for you after Harvard?
Madeline: I am planning to attend law school at some point following graduation. With my summer experiences previously mentioned, I have developed an interest in public service, so I hope to fulfill that interest with my future career choice.
SJGS: How do you feel your time at SJGS prepared you for the future?
Madeline: When I think back on SJGS, I recall a supportive group of teachers, students, and parents who wanted each student to grow and succeed. SJGS was a really important aspect of my growth as a student and an athlete. I was blessed with teachers and fellow students who pushed me and encouraged me to be my best. I think a lot of my interest in public service comes from my time at Saint Joe because the Catholic value of service is something that was not only taught in the classroom, but also exemplified by the entire Saint Joe community.
SJGS: Can you tell us about a favorite memory from your time at SJGS?
Madeline: One of my favorite memories from grade school was a very specific encounter during my third-grade year. I had been out sick with pneumonia for three weeks and as I pulled up to school on my first day back, one of my third-grade classmates, Mary, ran up to me, basically tackled me, and told me how much they had all missed me. That small moment always sticks out in my mind as a great example of the genuine love that existed between students at Saint Joe.
SJGS: Did you have Sherwood or Mrozinski?
Madeline: I had Mrs. Sherwood for third grade and I will always remember her loving personality and bubbly spirit. She made third grade an exciting and fun place to learn. I specifically remember her songs about how to do multiplication and division.
SJGS: What advice would you offer current 8th graders as they move on from SJGS?
Madeline: I would tell current 8th graders that the most important part of growing up and navigating the future is believing in yourself. Nobody can do it for you, and having the confidence to put yourself out there can lead to incredible opportunities and life experiences.
SJGS: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Madeline. Have a great senior year and good luck against ND!