A scholarship fund is being established in memory of Alliance High School math instructor.

ALLIANCE Madeline Wright was a second-grader when she was chosen to help with a class lesson.


A photo of the moment shows Wright standing dutifully near the chalkboard, her teacher nearby.


Other kids look on, the image foreshadowing her ambitions to be a future educator.


The Kettering native would grow up and attain a degree at Bowling Green State University, first teaching at a high school in Charlotte, N.C.


In that early job, she faced obstacles. Pupils sometimes cursed and threatened her.


After tough days, she called her father, confiding in him, seeking encouragement.


But through the adversity she continued, ultimately achieving success with the students, making a difference, her dad, Bob Montavon recalled.


“She just put her head down and went to work every day,” he said. “By the end of the year, I think the kids respected her.”


A desire to be closer to family and friends and her future husband brought her to Alliance High School, where she was in her fifth year teaching math before she died Dec. 6 from a car crash in Marlboro Township.


The tragedy left faculty and children without a beloved educator who got kids to like math.


The 27-year-old Hartville woman made such a positive impact that her parents want it to continue through a scholarship fund being established in her memory with the assistance of the Alliance City School District.


It will not only help students but it will specifically aid the type of children whom she enjoyed teaching the most: Those struggling with math.


“She had a knack for being able to help them understand math,” Montavon said. “In fact, there was a student who would only talk with Madeline, not the principal or teachers or counselors.


“She just had a connection with Madeline,” Montavon said of the pupil. “She had a way with people — she was special.”


Donating to the scholarship fund


Donations can be mailed to the Alliance City School District at 200 Glamorgan St., Alliance, OH, 44601.


Checks can be written out to the Alliance City School District in memory of Madeline Wright, the father said, adding that he may be creating an online site for donations in the future.


Madeline’s mother, Christy Montavon, said her daughter helped children beyond curriculum.


“That (classroom) was a safe place for them,” she said. “So they could become brave (in math) but also with life.”


Faith in God also guided Madeline.


“She had a servant’s heart,” her dad said, recalling his daughter’s mission trips through church in high school, college and as an adult chaperone.


More stories exemplifying Madeline’s bright and giving spirit were told at her calling hours.


Several hundred people attended them in Kettering, some traveling from as far as Illinois and Texas.


“She touched so many people,” her father said. “They all just had to come.”


And scores of letters were written by students to Madeline’s parents and to her husband, Gage Wright.


“We are still getting notes ... from people she knew from grade school and middle school,” Bob Montavon said. “We knew how special she was but I don’t think she realized just how special she was.”


Madeline’s legacy


Christy Montavon is a kindergarten teacher for the Kettering City School District, creating a bond with her daughter through shared experience.


“It was just a great fit for her,” the mother said. “She enjoyed people, she enjoyed watching them and she enjoyed being with people — she enjoyed that community of it.”


Madeline’s legacy will continue through the scholarship.


The scholarship fund is in its early stages. Details will be worked out with the assistance of school staff, the father said.


“I think the purpose of the scholarship is just to reward those students (Madeline) loved,” Bob Montavon said. “So we just have to figure out how to identify who those students are.”


Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ed.balint@cantonrep.com


On Twitter @ebalintREP