Compass Keepers Club: Drew Madden

100_0768When he graduates from Cox High School, Drew Madden knows exactly what professions he would like to pursue.

A baker.

A model.

A business man.

A guitarist devoted to Elvis Presley and rock n’ roll.

But until that day arrives, Madden can brag about his stellar performance as one of a handful of high school students who cook, clean, stock inventory and ring up the cash register at the Laskin Road Café -aptly located at the Laskin Road Annex of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The Annex is the headquarters of the Office of Programs for Exceptional Children (OPEC) that includes, among other programs, the division’s wide range of services for students requiring varying degrees of academic assistance to learn; students like Madden.

He relishes his time at the Laskin café.

“I love school,” Madden said. “I do my cooking here.”

Depending on his school schedule, Madden spends two to three mornings a week working at the Café after leaving Cox for half-a school day.  When Madden enters the eatery, he first scans a large chalk board that outlines his duty assignments.  On any given day, Madden could work with teammates or by himself baking cupcakes, assembling pizza boxes or keeping the cooking area clean. As he serves customers, he is under the guidance of educators who teach him to operate the site like a regular business operation. By doing so, he gains critical work skills that can prepare him for future employment, according to teacher Ron Hill.

“Here at the Café students are learning social and communication skills they can take to any job,” Hill said.

In addition to learning those skills, Madden’s enthusiasm for work has exploded. According to those closest to him, working at the Annex has given Madden such confidence and self- esteem that he now feels like he can work anywhere.

“Every day when Drew gets home I ask him how his day was,” said Drew’s mother, Cathy Madden. “On work days, he always says ‘It was a really great day!’ When I ask him why his day was great, he says the Annex needs him because he does a great job there.”

There is an obvious sense of pride in her son, she said.

“When we drive down Laskin Road, we have to slow down near the Annex because he has to point out to everyone that is where he works,” Cathy Madden said. “He is so proud. When I told him I wanted to come in and see where he works he told me no because ‘the Café is only for hard workers and not for moms.’  He is very serious about his work.”

When he graduates from Cox, Drew Madden wants to open a bakery and attend college classes in cooking. He has three brothers and gets a lot of support from everyone about his job and his ideas about a career after graduation.

“I love to work,” Madden said.

Compass Keeper Q&A:

What is your favorite pastime?

I love to play basketball and listen to my ipod. I also like to watch TV.

What is your favorite type of music or song?

I like rock and roll by Elvis and anything by Taylor Swift.

What you do for fun with your three brothers?

I like to go to the movies with my dad and my brothers then go out for pizza. I like to go to the beach with my family.

What is your favorite television show or movie?

My favorite movies are “Freaky Friday”, “Fun Size” and all the “Harry Potter” movies. My favorite TV shows are “That 70’s Show” and “Drake and Josh.”

What do you think is your best quality?

I like to tease people to make them laugh.

*Do you know someone who should be featured as a Compass Keeper? Send your nomination to


10 thoughts on “Compass Keepers Club: Drew Madden

  1. Drew you are a superstar!! Can I have your autograph? I am glad everyone gets to know what a great person you are!

  2. What a great article, Drew and Cathy! It makes me smile. So happy for you that you love the Cafe’, and are such a good worker, Drew :-)!

  3. Way tp go Drew! I’m so proud of you and so is everyone at Trantwood. I’ll be your best customer at your bakery. See you at the beach. Kathy Dowdy

  4. Drew, you deserve an award! I will be the first customer at your bakery. I live fresh Vienna rye bread! Granddad– drew, you’ll be a success in the food business and I will also be a regular customer. Xxoo

  5. Drew,
    Congratulations! What a great story! You look very intent reading your assignment board. Like Nana and Granddad, Uncle Ed and I can’t wait to be bakery customers. Uncle Ed said his favorite item is anything chocolate. We are so proud of you! Love, Aunt gail and uncle ed

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