Oswalt’s Meets the Definition of a Strong Woman


Photo Submitted by Maggie Oswalt

Maggie Oswalt’s experiences as a pregnant high school senior helped shape her into the strong woman that she is today.

Katie Hale, Staff Reporter

Numerous strong confident women exist amongst the staff at GCHS. One that stands out is Maggie Oswalt, the nutritional manager for the cafeteria. Kristy Johnson, an English teacher at GCHS, immediately thought of Oswalt when she was asked to name a strong woman on staff. “Maggie was a senior in my English class years ago. I have watched as she handled many different challenges in her life with grace and determination. It makes me incredibly proud to see past students rise in life despite adversity, provide for their families, and still give back to their communities. Maggie exemplifies all of this.”

When Oswalt was in Johnson’s class, she was in the midst of a difficult period in her life.   “I got pregnant my senior year, but Mrs. Johnson was very supportive of me,” said Oswalt. “I think English was the only subject I didn’t have to play catch up in because of this.” 

Oswalt acknowledged the struggles of a pregnancy that happens while still in high school, especially for a senior that is in the midst of a transition.  “You’re about to enter a whole new stage in life while still trying to complete one major one.”

Another difficulty she said that came with being a pregnant student was navigating the emotional aspect of it. “Not only dealing with fear, failure, a struggle to keep up with grades, attendance, and being judged not just by your classmates, but staff is hard,” said Oswalt. 

“I quickly fell behind, missed a lot of school and was facing a truancy charge. I had frequent visits with my school counselor about dropping out.” However, she found the strength she needed to finish high school and earn her diploma with a little encouragement from the courts.  

“After facing a truancy charge in court and hearing the words from the judge, I decided dropping out wasn’t an option. If I could finish one subject, there was no reason I couldn’t finish them all,” Oswalt stated. 

While many recognize Oswalt for being a strong woman, she has her own idea of what characteristics a strong woman would have.  “I would describe a strong woman as professional, independent and charismatic.” 

The best example of a strong woman that Oswalt could give was her own mother. “She taught me to be successful and how to be a great mom,” she said. “She still calls me everyday with lots of advice when I need it.” 

Oswalt’s current career also has provided her with opportunities to rely on her own inner strength and determination.  She said that being a woman in her position as the cafeteria manager can be “difficult at times.” While nowadays it is incredibly common to see women in schools in many different positions, you can look back at many points in history and see that there was a time when only males could attend and teach in schools. “I don’t experience disrespect from my kitchen, but sometimes, very rarely, from delivery drivers.” 

Oswalt believes in professionalism, and for her, professional as the cafeteria manager means high quality meals.  Co-worker Krista Sparks explains that Oswalt selects numerous homemade recipes for students to enjoy each day. “She picks the hardest things because she wants you kids to have good home cooked meals.” 

Oswalt had advice for anyone who may need it. “Your age has nothing to do with anything, and your orientation has nothing to do with anything. To be successful you need to set goals and work your hardest to pursue them even though there might be some hard patches along the way.”