Alumni Spotlight: Maureen Pace

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Alumni

Maureen graduated from Willow in 2016. For high school, she attended Madison High School and The Northwest School. She is currently studying Design & Production at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. Beyond her academics, Maureen is an avid cook as well as a book-lover which, in her own words, “started with the plethora of books available to us during elementary and middle school at Willow.” In this interview, Maureen explains what she has been up to recently and how Willow has impacted her day-to-day life!

Maureen at her high school in Seattle

What are you looking into as a career? Why are you interested in this line of work?

My career is a little up in the air at the moment, as I won’t be declaring my concentration until after three semesters. With that said, my dream job as it stands today is to be a Production Manager on Broadway.

This line of work, aka the theater and entertainment industry, is so broad that it’s hard to know exactly what I’ll end up doing or what my passions will become (video and media design is my second choice for concentration at the moment, behind management). All I know is that making art and theater is a beautiful process that allows me to think critically, be vulnerable, and connect with so many brilliant and creative people. Developing worlds for audiences to immerse themselves in is a wonderful thing, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to study and eventually work in the field professionally.

Was it difficult to move across the country? Did any of the values Willow instilled in you help you to adapt?

If you asked me this while I was moving, I would undeniably have told you yes it was difficult, without a doubt. After the fact, I think it was hard to comprehend the huge transition taking place in my life, but once the move happened and I was in Seattle, I realized that it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. It took courage to get through the move, patience for the process, and respect for my parents because of how large an undertaking it was for them. After we moved, a lot of this continued to ring true: courage to start at a new school and continued respect for myself and my family for making it through the huge changes in our lives. It was hard in the moment, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What are your favorite virtues and why?

This answer can change all the time. Right now, I would tell you that it is love. I say this because it is such a powerful thing, and so important to my understanding of life. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, continuing to learn how to love myself while loving my friends, the work I do and study, and my family from 3,000 miles away. Those connections with my friends and family are something I am eternally grateful for; loving and being loved is something I have found to be so crucial to my life.

 Since leaving Willow, what have you done which has made you most proud?

I decided to pursue theater as a career. I’m so proud to say that I am studying theater because it is something I truly love doing. But it is also terrifying; there are few days when I don’t doubt myself, my work, or my ability to succeed and thrive here. It’s hard, and I am almost constantly overwhelmed with school work and projects, but I know that I am doing what I love no matter the obstacles and for that I am proud.

What do you miss the most about Willow?

Honestly, I’d say playing in the woods every day. Building forts and entire worlds was a highlight of my time there and allowed me to experience nature and be creative each and every day. I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything in the world.

Thanks to Maureen for her great insights! If you know someone who you think should be featured, e-mail Teddy at alumnicoordinator@willowschool.org!

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