Here At Madison

Stars of Madison


Stars of Madison

Updated: June 26, 2022

June 26, 2022

James Madison High School has produced some of the most influential figures in the country—let alone the world. A few of Madison’s alumni who became “celeb” include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senator Bernie Sanders, and musician Carole King. Just imagining that every day we walk through the same halls and sit in the same classrooms as some of these incredible people is astounding.

One day, these notable names will surely include many of our own!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The renowned RBG. Undoubtedly one of the most prominent alumni of Madison, Ruth Bader Ginsburg achieved amazing things in her lifetime and excelled to great heights in her legal career. Here at Madison, Judge Ginsburg was a star pupil, a cheerleader, the treasurer of the Go-Getters Club, a student pep group, an editor of the student newspaper, and the winner of a number of awards. Ginsburg graduated with the class of 1950 and attended Cornell, Columbia and Harvard University. RBG was one of the only women in her class at Harvard, and to make life more challenging during her time there, she had just become a mother with her husband Martin Ginsburg, who was fighting cancer. A trouper nevertheless, Ginsburg persisted and thrived in her situation. After college, RBG spent most of her career fighting as an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Ginsburg also served as a volunteer attorney, counsel member and member of the board of directors in the American Civil Liberties Union. She argued in front of the Supreme Court for cases she represented many times before she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to be the second female Supreme Court Justice. Once she was given her well-deserved seat on the court, she used it to voice her support of women’s rights and was not afraid to disagree with the court. Her dissents created awareness to the subjects shown, and she always gave her all to whatever case was shown before her. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has, and will forever serve as a role model, a trailblazer, an activist, icon and hero. She passed away on September 18, 2020 at 87 from her battle with cancer, but did not give up without a fight. Her legacy will never fade, and the mark she left on America, let alone the world, will forever be a monument of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s incredible impact.

I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Judge Judy

“‘Um’ is not an answer!” Judy Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy’s life in law is a very unique one. After Judy attended Madison in the 1950’s, she went on to become a lawyer and prosecutor before she starred in her breakout reality show “Judge Judy”. Combining two topics nobody could have thought of, Judy turned the show into an iconic one with her confident personality and sass. Her life does not, however, solely focus on law; she is also an author and a women’s advancement philanthropist.

If you live to be a hundred, you will never be as smart as me. On your BEST day, you're not as smart as *I* am on my WORST day. -Judge Judy

Carole King

“Where you lead, I will follow.” Quite possibly one of the most notable lines in the Gilmore Girls theme song, these lyrics were written by Madison’s very own Carole King (formerly Klein). For all the Gilmore Girls fans—it’s pretty cool that the person who wrote this 2000’s anthem studied here. King formed the Co-Sines, her first quartet, while attending Madison. She graduated with the class of 1958 and went on to be a famous singer/songwriter. King has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, has had a Broadway musical made about her, ‘Beautiful’ (won 2 Tony Awards), and written many iconic songs throughout her career. It’s safe to say that her legacy will not be forgotten.

Rudy LaRusso

The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers gained a Madisonian when Rudy Anton LaRusso was drafted into the NBA, where he went on to become a five time All-Star. “Roughhouse Rudy” attended Madison in the class of 1955, where he played on the basketball team. A longtime friend wrote in a tribute to LaRusso,

When we tried out for the Madison team our freshman year we were both 6'. Then something happened. I stayed 6' but by the beginning of our sophomore year Rudy had shot up to 6' 7".

It’s awesome to think that when you’re playing in the gym here and you score a two-pointer, that LaRusso once did the same right where you were. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2004, at 66.

Bernie Sanders

Once captain of Madison’s Track Team, Bernie Sanders is now among the most well known and influential politicians in America. Sanders attended Madison in the ‘50s and even ran for class president, though he lost the first time. Nevertheless, this loss did not stop him; it only pushed him to try harder and win the next time. He initially tried out for the basketball team, a sport he was passionate about – but did not make the team. A blessing in disguise, he joined the track team, where he discovered that he was an incredible runner. He went on to become captain of the track and cross country teams, as well as being one of the top track runners in the city. Sanders went on to serve as a U.S. Representative for 16 years until he ran for Senate in 2006, for which he reran twice in 2012 and 2018. He remains in the senate to this day, until reelection in 2024. Bernie Sander’s career is an impressive one, and his Madisonian history is one for the books.

When we stand together there is nothing, nothing, nothing we cannot accomplish. -Bernie Sanders

Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer has always been a go-getter, especially in high school. Besides being Valedictorian of his class in 1968 and a basketball player on Madison’s team, he also scored a perfect 1,600 on his SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), a feat many strive to achieve. Schumer went on to attend Harvard University and though he attended the college for the law program and studied political science, he decided to take a different path for his career. Schumer became one of the youngest members elected to the New York State Assembly at just 24. He continued to build his career by running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 and won. During his time there from 1981-1999 he became known as a vocal advocate for justice, as well as a leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. He brought in cases to the House like the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the Violence Against Women Act. In 1998, Schumer was elected to the U.S. Senate and used his new position to better share the topics he was passionate about, such as abortion rights. He was also elected to be the Senate majority leader in 2016. Chuck Schumer’s power packed career and determined spirit is just a mere reflection of who he is, and it is pretty amazing that he attended Madison.

When one has success, the answer is not to undo that success. It is to continue what has been done. -Chuck Schumer