A “Sweet” School Assignment
Madelyn Dodd was eating lunch one day when the sweetest idea came to her. Now, that idea is the newest flavor of Blue Bell ice cream.
“I was given a reading assignment where I could write to any company in the world. The whole point of the assignment was to have your voice heard,” the 13-year-old soon to be eighth-grader at Dietrich Middle School in Midlothian said. “At lunch I was drinking strawberry lemonade and I had a craving for rainbow sherbet. Then it hit me!
“I knew sherbet is supposed to have a sour tang with a flavor of sweetness, so I figured strawberry lemonade sherbet would be a great idea. With the sour/tanginess flavor of lemonade, and a sweet taste of strawberry it would work out perfectly. Here I am now.”
So, she sent her idea to the folks at Blue Bell. They liked it so much the CEO of the company himself, Ricky Dickson, responded with a personal letter to Madelyn.
“I was so excited and nervous at the same time because I couldn’t believe a company that big listened to a seventh grader,” Madelyn said. “Then again I was nervous because I didn’t know if people would like the ice cream or not.”
Available Now In The Ice Cream Aisle
Well, they did. Now, Blue Bell’s strawberry lemonade ice cream is on the market.
“My teacher mailed the letters in February, and got a reply in mid-May, so it took about three months to have them respond. I officially found out they made the ice cream at the end of June,” Madelyn said. “People were going crazy about it at the end of June and beginning of July, and honestly, they still are.
On Blue Bell’s Facebook page the feedback has been super positive. One fan commented, “This was way more refreshing than I imagined it would be. I thought the creaminess of the icecream would not meld with the crispness of the sherbet but I was very pleased to be wrong. Well done Bluebell, another winner.” And another wrote, “It needs to be a permanent flavor! Delicious!!!!! 😋🤤 10/10”
“When my friends and family found out they were super excited and proud of me. They couldn’t believe a company this big made something like this after a little school assignment.”
Dixie Dodd, her mother, said, “Her genius idea doesn’t surprise us, but we’re definitely taken back by the response and new production of the Blue Bell flavor. It’s humbling to know that such a popular and beloved brand would consider a 13-year-old’s idea. It makes us love Blue Bell even more.”
Master of Original Creations
Madelyn is the third child of five. She has two older brothers, Benjamin and Zachary, a younger sister, Elyn, and youngest brother Donovan.
Madelyn has always loved food, Dixie said. Early on she said she was going to be a “cooker” (chef) so she could eat anything she wanted.
“During Covid she became an incredible mixologist, pairing flavors that I’ve never tried before just for the fun of trying them,” Dixie said, adding with a chuckle, “Her drinks didn’t include alcohol, of course, but that didn’t mean mine didn’t.
“All of her creations were delicious. At one point her drinks were so popular she made batches of her most loved drinks and was asked to deliver them to friends for donations. She became quite successful.”
Her father, Ronnie Dodd, added, “I’m really inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit. I’m extremely proud of her. She’s always made good decisions, but this time everyone gets to enjoy her great idea. We always knew she was going to be something special, and this is only a glimmer of where she’s heading.”
What Does Her Future Hold?
Along with making life a little tastier, Madelyn wants to help people in other ways when she enters adulthood, she said.
“When I grow up, I want to be a counselor because I have always loved helping people mentally. I enjoy talking people out of bad decisions,” she said.
Madelyn offered thanks to both Blue Bell and her teacher Robyn Crocker for inspiration.
“I am so excited I have come this far, and so grateful to have this opportunity that doesn’t come often to kids like me,” she said.
“We’re grateful that our school district has teachers that think outside the box with their ideas and assignments,” Dixie said. “It’s so important to teach these younger generations to engage with our community. That’s the smartest way to create future leaders.
“We’re also grateful for the outpouring of support from our community, friends and family. It’s a good feeling knowing that your idea is celebrated by so many. We are proud of our girl!”