Sparta Madisyn Phillips stepped into the shoes of two young girls she admires. Though Addy Walker and Josefina Montoya are fictional, they have inspired Madisyn, an 8-year-old student at the Hilltop Country Day School, and now she has been able to connect with them in an even greater way. Madisyn, an aficionado of the American Girl dolls and books, was chosen for the second time to walk the runway in costume replicas at the Newark Museum. The seventh annual American Girl Weekend was a fundraiser to benefit children’s programs and exhibits at the museum. Activities included the runway show, an ice cream social, and raffles to win American Girl Dolls and other prizes. There were two shows each day, on Saturday April 9, and Sunday April 10. Madisyn was spotted at the show in 2009 and asked to be a model in the 2010 show as Addy Walker. Addy Walker is part of the American Girl Dolls Historical Characters line, dating from the time of the Civil War. In her story, she escaped slavery with her mother and then learned her father and brother had been sold. She looks for ways to reunite her family. This year Madisyn reprised her role as Addy, and added Josefina to her repertoire. Josefina’s character dates from 1824 New Mexico. Her mother has died and her aunt joins the family’s rancho. Josefina struggles with adjusting to the change, while balancing her mother’s legacy. Like her counterpart Addy, Josefina has her own line of costumes, books, and accessories. Madisyn walked onto the runway in for the 400 attendees and then stepped backstage. “It was really fun, and we watched movies, and ate cookies behind the stage,” Madisyn recalled. Madisyn owns eight American Girl Dolls. Her current favorite is Kanani, hailing from Hawaii. Mom Christine said Madisyn often brings the dolls with her to dinner, for car rides, and to church. Her interest in them began around age 5 or 6. Although most of the dolls are recommended for ages eight and older, Christine said of her daughter, “I was very comfortable [with Madisyn having the dolls], she understands the value of them and takes care of them.” Christine said Madisyn plays with the dolls and occasionally she and husband Terrance will take their daughter to the New York City store, to attend special American Girl workshops, or to take the doll to the hair salon. American Girl offers a doll hospital, which owners can mail the dolls for replacement of parts. The doll is returned home after repair, cleaning, and hair brushing, and with a certificate of good health. The doll comes home in a hospital gown, and with an ID bracelet, and if the doll’s owner requests it, with pierced ears. “While working in New York, I’ve found myself at the American Girl store on my lunch hour,” said Terrance. “Needless to say, it brings me joy to see the look on her face when she sees me coming through the front door with the trademark red American Girl shopping bag.” “She [Madisyn] loves the dolls, they have great messages and stories,” said Christine. Both parents said they are pleased with the Newark Museum, how they coordinate the American Girl event, the work they do within they community. “There is so much to learn and so much to be appreciated, I am proud Madisyn has participated, and has had a nice experience overall,” said Christine. Madisyn’s favorite school subjects are reading, art, and gym, and she enjoys swimming, playing chess and participating as a Brownie.