Maggie Mayer has five older brothers, and when she came along “I was treated like one of the guys. No special treatment. Just ‘toughen up, buttercup.’ ”
Hers is close-knit, conservative Roman Catholic family that has home-schooled all its children, even their youngest. “But I always wanted to go to public school,” said Mayer, 17. “I liked the education I was getting, but I was only around my brothers. As they grew up and moved out, I didn’t like being alone.”
Describing herself as super-social but hard-headed, she began her campaign seeking a change of schooling early, even telling her parents that if they didn’t let her attend Rathdrum’s Lakeland High School, she wouldn’t do high school at all. She wore them down and, at the last minute (the Friday before classes started), she registered for her freshman year at public school.
There were five rules – no boys, no drugs, no alcohol, no tattoos and no piercings before her junior year. None of that was an issue for her. She loves and appreciates the guidance her parents have given her, the standards they have instilled in her and their willingness for some give and take as she has grown up.
“And I just love it here at Lakeland,” she said. “I am going to the most interesting high school, meeting the most interesting people and learning so much by interacting with others.”
From knowing nearly no one when she arrived, she is graduating as one of the captains of the school’s dance team, chief anchor of Lakeland’s in-school TV broadcasts, the drama department’s head costumer – and was even on the Homecoming court. Everything has been a new adventure.
She never danced before – other than ballroom dancing with older brother Patrick, yet when she was a junior, she tried out for the dance team. And she blossomed with it. She enrolled in acting classes at school and this year her monologues made it to the semifinals in state competition and a costume she designed made it to the state’s top eight.
She has earned a black belt in taekwondo . “I never did girly things and really never found another sport that fit me.” She plays ukulele. “It makes such a happy sound.” She loves to paint, a skill she learned by saving money from her job lifeguarding at Silverwood, buying the materials and jumping in.
Mayer describes herself as “kind of annoying. I’m extremely expressive and a little bit too loud. But I’m learning when to listen and not to talk.”
And she credits her faith for “giving me the moral ground to stand on and the basis for what kind of person I want to be.”
She will attend the University of Idaho this fall, majoring in math and minoring in dance, with an eventual goal of teaching math and coaching dance at the high school level.
“I am also so glad I came to public high school,” she said. “It’s given me a proper foundation for moving forward and being a successful individual. This experience is shaping who I am and is broadening the horizons for what I could be. I am so thankful.”
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