Madelyn Vallejo

Since she was 5, Madelyn Vallejo has known what she wanted to do with her life. “Some people want to be scientists or doctors. I want to be a singer and influence people with my music,” she says.

Positively affecting others has always been one of this 19-year-old’s goals. As a SkillsUSA member at San Benito (Texas) High School, Vallejo competed on Community Service teams that became state champions for three consecutive years. They won a national bronze medal in 2009.

Her advanced poise and professionalism caught the eye of Barbazon modeling school representatives. After she performed at a talent show, they recruited Vallejo, then 17, as a seasonal instructor for other aspiring models and actors. “I love to encourage people to follow their dreams,” she says.

Now, Vallejo is following her dreams. Despite receiving a four-year academic scholarship, she’s made the decision to put college on hold and move to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue singing full-time. “College will always be there,” she says. “But this is what makes me happy.”

Vallejo knows she’s facing tough competition, but she claims an edge: her SkillsUSA experience. “In SkillsUSA, we had to make a lot of presentations, practice all the time, go in front of judges, and the pressure’s on you,” she says. “Knowing I was able to overcome that, I’ll be able to do anything.” — by Tom Kercheval

To listen to Vallejo’s music, visit: www.myspace.com/madelynvictoria