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Dancing With the Stars Featuring Meghann Schroers-Martin

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Dancing With the Stars Featuring Meghann Schroers-Martin

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As she sits criss cross on her chair while fixing her hair into her bun secured with bobby pins and hair clips, Meghann mentions again her past experiences and the cultural differences between Hawaii and the States. For the many who don’t know, our beloved, self described “pinch hitter” English teacher grew up on a small island in Hawaii. As I learned this for the first time in my Junior year I thought, “Huh… that makes sense.” Her small quirks along with her laid back demeanor suggest an island lady over city chick.

“Hawaiian was as much about how you were raised than what your bloodline was.” And Meghann was very much raised Hawaiian. An avid Hula dancer and horseback rider throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Meghann was immersed in Hawaiian culture. She was gifted her first horse when she was in her twenties but spent much of her adolescence caring for these animals.

 

Meghann with her horse which was gifted to her by a childhood horseback riding teacher. Courtesy of Meghann Schroers-Martin

 

When I asked what she has learned from her sport, Meghann responded that when caring for a horse, “They might run over you, they might kick you, they might bite you. It’s important you really hold your line and figure out how to make yourself bigger and more confident than you are ever.” Her trusting leadership, confident appearance, and “step-up, step-back” mentality shines through in the classroom as well. Part of this confidence and leadership ability, however, is attributed to her dancing past.

A rare photo of Meghann with her hair flowing. Courtesy of Meghann Schroers-Martin

One thing you may notice about Meghann that is rooted in her Hula dancing past is her long locks that are normally tied into braids then fitted into a low bun. She keeps her hair long out of habit and Hula dancing custom; her long light brown hair is a subtle reminder of such an important part of her life.

Along with her long locks, you may notice that Meghann tends to wear large intricately designed earrings that might stick out more than the rest of her outfit: “I think [my style is] probably urban cowgirl, but also my style is sort of like rural redneck to a degree. It’s that weird female thing of wanting to care what you look like, but also like not wanting to look like you care.” Meghann is no stranger to a full face of makeup and false eyelashes as this was practically a requirement for dancing Hula competitively. Meghann ties her dancing past, horseback riding history, and island mentality into her style that each accessory and piece of clothing juxtaposes itself perfectly. Her style is her story reflected in the patterns and earrings she and her husband buy.

Meghann performing competitive dance. She performed Hula competitively for over 15 years. Courtesy of Meghann Schroers-Martin

Her dancing past did not only contribute to her funky and awesome style, but it also allowed Meghann the opportunity to reflect on herself in a way that is uncommon for many people in the continental US. As Meghann put it, “It was always like, ‘I’m the light haired one’, so it was always important to me to learn the culture along with the dance and not just the dance.” Being the weirdo in a room and looking different than all her peers gave her the opportunity to, how she put it, “Circumvent some of the white fragility that can show up later.”

Meghann wants her children to be weirdos as well and moving back to her home might be the best way to do this: “I have blue eyed kids and one of them is a boy and quite frankly I think it’s important for them to grow up in a non-majority white place. I think it’s really important to like just sort of grow up feeling like a little bit of a weirdo. I really want my son in particular to not feel like he’s the center of the universe or like the thing that all other things are supposed to be modeled off of.”

Meghann is confident that by growing up as an ethnic minority in Hawaii she is able to not only empathize with minorities but also use her unique experiences to support her students and children to become an ally to minorities. She wants her children to be able to interact with the world in the same way she was able to. Meghann wants her children to be able to grow and self reflect in a way that might just not be possible in the Continental United States. “I think it’s definitely made it easier for me to understand, accept and continue to learn from perspectives of minorities.”

Meghann’s Hawaiian upbringing may have made her a bit of a “weirdo” as she claims this weirdo status proudly, but it is the perspectives that we need. With her upbringing being different than your average American, she brings her small island perspectives wherever she goes. We need the white lady who grew up on an island and danced Hula and rode horses and felt like the weirdo because she has a lot to teach us about culture, connection and privilege.

Meghann as she prepares for her English 3, E block’s in- class essay about A Streetcar Named Desire. 

Being and feeling different is a given that we all feel at some point in our life and some of us feel it longer than others. Meghann’s unique journey through life and self discovery thanks to dance, riding, andisland living has made her an important part of the Marin Academy community. Being able to share unique perspectives and ways of looking at situations this “pinch hitter” is actually our number one batter and fielder on the Marin Academy team.

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