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The Bruin

Wadsworth High School's Student Newspaper

The Bruin

Mary Beth Baxley Retires After 31 Years

Mary Beth Baxley poses with her drama posters. These posters get hung up in the school to promote the play before it opens, then after closing night, the performers will sign their name and a message on the posters. Baxley directs plays at Wadsworth High School but also Wadsworth Middle School. Photo by Haley Reedy.

Math teacher and drama director, Mary Beth Baxley, is retiring after finishing year 31 in her teaching career at Wadsworth.
Baxley started her teaching career in California where she worked for three years in a middle school.
“Then I moved back to Ohio because who doesn’t love the Buckeye state?” Baxley asked.
After Baxley moved to Ohio, she landed up in Wadsworth Ohio where she started as a long-term substitute for a former teacher on maternity leave, Mrs. North.
Baxley has always taught in the math department at WHS.
“Right now I teach honors geometry and Pre-Calculus and then I’ve taught Honors Algebra 2 Trig, Algebra 2, I’ve taught a consumer math class, we used to have something called Transition math,” Baxley said. “I really love geometry, that’s why I’ve done it for so many years. And I love Pre-Calc and Honors Geometry. Those are the best.”
Not only does Baxley enjoy teaching math, but she has also enjoyed working with students and directing plays.
“I started doing plays about 15 years ago when a former teacher from Wadsworth said ‘Why don’t you direct a play with me’ and I was like ‘Okay.’ So every year I’ve been able to direct one if not two plays, we have a great drama department,” Baxley said. “So that’s been really great, I’ve loved working with the kids.”
One of Baxley’s favorite parts of directing the plays is seeing her students and working with them in a unique way.
“It’s nice to see students in a different environment outside of the classroom. You see them as a student and they see you as a teacher, but then when you get on the stage teaching them about acting and putting the play together,” Baxley said. “It’s always amazing for me to watch them go from beginning to end and see how they develop their characters and how awesome they are on stage. So that’s been a really great outlet for me too, you know, to see kids in a different way.”
On top of directing plays, Baxley also used to be a performer in faculty plays.
“We used to put on faculty plays, I knew they had three of them and I was in two of them. That was before I started directing, but it was a fundraiser for the faculty scholarship fund,” Baxley said. “It was like teachers from all over the whole district, every single school, teachers would be coming to be in these plays. So we had done Bye-Bye Birdie and Little Shop of Horrors and it was fun for the community and for the kids cause the kids would come in and see their teachers acting on stage. Those are really great memories and really great fun times.”
Baxley also reminisced about other memories she has had while working at WHS.
“We played donkey basketball in the old school, which the teachers would ride these donkeys with basketballs, against students and you’re trying to get them into this hoop and these donkeys are like they bow and you slide off onto the floor,” Baxley said. “It was really funny but it was fun, so that was a good memory too.”

Baxley got tired of forgetting her past students when she saw them out and about so when then the district’s grade book upgraded to show students’ faces, she took advantage. Baxley has multiple binders dating back further than 2016 to remember her student’s faces. Photo by Haley Reedy.

After this school year is over, Baxley has big plans for her retirement.
“Of course, I’m going to travel my first year. Not worldwide, I’ll just be at a beach the first day of school. First I’m going with my cousins, we’re going to Dustin in September, and then I’m going with a friend of mine, she invited me to go to Hawaii because they have a condo there.,” Baxley said. “ Just staying home and relaxing and chilling. I don’t know what I’m going to do exactly, it’s like I’ll be retired.”
However, Baxley wants to remain active in the community after retirement.
“I’ll probably volunteer, I was thinking of volunteering with Meals on Wheels because I have friends who work there, so I’ll probably do that. So I want to volunteer for a couple things and kind of be active a little bit in the community, that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Baxley also said she would come back to substitute for the math department if they needed her help.
“It just goes by so quickly, it doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting, but you gotta be old to get to this point so that’s a sad thing,” Baxley said.
The biggest challenge that Baxley faced while teaching was COVID-19.
“COVID was probably the most challenging part of my entire career because I taught at home, and that was so stressful,” Baxley said.
Baxley will miss her colleagues the most.
“I’ll really miss the math department, I mean we are just, it gets me choked up a little bit, cause it’s nice to see them daily. We’re not just colleagues, I feel like our department is really close and we’re friends too so I’ll miss them. I’ll miss the whole school, we are so lucky in Wadsworth, we have such a great school system, and I’m proud to have been a part of that,” Baxley said.


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About the Contributor
Haley Reedy
Haley Reedy, Online Editor-in Chief
Haley has been on the staff for all four years of high school. She started out as a staff writer and wrote primarily news stories. Her junior year she was In-Depth Editor, during her time as editor she wrote stories about controversial issues around the school. Haley wants to go onto study journalism and eventually become a journalism advisor to student-run newspapers. Now as a senior, Haley runs The Bruin website as Online Editor-in-Chief. She controls what stories go up and when. Although Haley loves the printed edition of the paper, the use of algorithms and user interaction intrigues her.
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