Some of my earliest memories of Maumee Valley show the diversity of experiences the school provides starting at a young age. From building forts in the woods at recess to building a model of Mesopotamia in Social Studies, school was more engaging and fun than it had ever been. One of my fondest memories was researching and dressing up as Steve Irwin for our “Living Biography Day.” I immediately felt at home.
Because of Maumee Valley, I began to explore my interests from the moment I arrived.
In Middle School, we continued to explore who we were through a multifaceted education. From debates with social studies teacher Mr. Green on topics such as gun control, race relations, and the death penalty, we were taught from a young age how to have civil discussions about controversial topics. We learned how to disagree respectfully. If the class was one-sided on an issue, Mr. Green always brought up the opposing views. While our studies were serious and worldly, Maumee Valley had a good understanding that middle schoolers needed time outside of class. We had large amounts of Advisee time, in which we collected recycling, competed in challenges, and decorated the hallway for events such as Haunted Hallways. My favorite memory as an Advisee of Mr. “D” Daugherty was our feature film “Pawsquatch,” which we put together throughout the year.
Even in the conventionally awkward phases of life, I felt accepted in the community.
Yes, we were awkward, but we were awkward together!
High school came quickly, but Maumee Valley made the transition seamless. I soon found myself in a large glass building surrounded by people of every culture and religion--new and old--ready to find their passion, speak their truth, and most importantly, learn.
My freshman year, I was able to spend a month in Ecuador, attending school at Steiner. This was my first experience outside of North America and it was truly mind-opening. I was able to stay with a family whose two daughters had previously lived with us for a month, and who my sister stayed with when she had participated in the same trip only three years prior. I am happy to have gained a second family across the sea.
It is a common thing at Maumee Valley for students to find themselves with best friends from countries and heritages reflective of the world. My own best friend is from Sweden! I attribute a lot of my cultural understanding to growing up with people of every race, religion, and culture.
Maumee Valley not only has a strong academic and social culture but a variety of options outside of the typical studies. Outside of school Maumee Valley continued to teach me important lessons such as passion, community, and inclusion.
Maumee Valley is known for helping kids explore their interests, and even find passion.
Veterinary medicine has always been an interest of mine; however, I didn’t know the extent. Through the Maumee Valley’s intensive program, I have been able to intern with a mobile Veterinarian, conduct my own scientific study on internal parasites in horses, raise market steers from the time they were a day old, and intern at a Veterinary Hospital which currently employs a Maumee Valley alum!
I have always lived on a crop farm located about half an hour from the school. In fifth grade, I raised chickens and sold eggs--often to teachers and even to a coffee shop owned by a Maumee Valley parent. Entering high school, I raised four baby steers as a part of an intensive/independent study. Through this experience, I was able to know what my future clients deal with day to day and experience a career from all sides, thereby discovering my love for emergency and large animal medicine.
As a part of 17 shows--either cast or backstage--the theater program was a crucial part of my experience at Maumee Valley. Even if I had a small role, there were always ways to create and take on a production role, as well. No matter what, there was a place for me in Maumee Valley’s theater program. Whether as a lead, part of the ensemble, or assistant director, I was fully exposed to what is needed to produce a production. In theater, I found more than a community; I found a family of sorts that accepts a fifth grader just the same as a senior in high school. Maumee Valley does a very good job of diversifying the shows chosen to highlight different aspects of theater. During the last production, I was able to be a mentor to some young theater kids. From third grade to Middle School, I will forever remember the kids who became my friends over the course of the performance of “Seussical.”
Because of Maumee Valley, I will be attending Berry College and majoring in animal science pre-vet and minoring in theater. I even received a competitive scholarship for acting!
Even as “nonathletes,” my parents had required my siblings and me to at least try a sport in high school. With Maumee Valley’s no-cut sports program and the open and accepting community, I was inspired to try the difficult sport of tennis. I appreciate my experience of being a female senior athlete competing on the boy’s team. Maumee Valley truly opened me up to athletics, and continually encouraged me to try new things. Tennis became therapeutic for me, and through the support of my teammates and coaches, I have developed a love for athletics.
My Maumee Valley experience is just one of many. I’m sure that any student, teacher, parent, or alum could tell similar stories of inclusion, diversity, and community. For me, the most important thing is that it will always be my home.
No matter what or where I go, Maumee Valley will always stay with me!
I have made friends that will last a lifetime. I have learned so many things that have shaped me into the person I am today, and to everyone who made that possible at Maumee Valley, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
In addition to holding a variety of roles in the theater program, Ellie Griffith is a four-year varsity tennis player, founder of the Terracycle program, GSA member, and Hawk Host Ambassador. She is a graduating senior honored with cum laude and will be attending Berry College for Animal Science.