All of us can think of a time when we witnessed excellence – the energy, excitement, and appreciation felt in seeing someone do his or her job so well. In our own lives, we have all had excellent teachers who knew we wanted and needed more – to become involved in and connected with something bigger than ourselves. For us, these influential educators saw us differently. They saw potential in us, and they knew how to develop and cultivate latent talent. In short, one student participating in the right school activity with a singular, caring adult can completely change how a young person feels and change his or her trajectory in life forever.
For example, take a shy, timid middle school student who wants more. Our student does not seek the spotlight but certainly does not want to go unnoticed. Enter “center stage” seasoned, veteran vocal music teacher and High School Show Choir Director, Mrs. Kellie Mahaney. Mrs. Mahaney was the source of courage and confidence for many students on their way to becoming the best version of themselves. Mrs. Mahaney was honest and transparent. She always told students what they needed to hear, but as a motivator, she routinely scattered praise, encouragement, and support. You could not help but smile walking through Show Choir practice. She was awesome, and everyone knew it. The “unassuming student” was simply no match for Mrs. Mahaney’s personality, her refusal to accept “no” for an answer, and her uncompromising quest to draw out students’ hidden skills and talents.
We are heartbroken to report the passing of Mrs. Kellie Mahaney, long-time vocal music instructor and High School Show Choir Director. Mrs. Mahaney influenced countless students during her tenure and established a legacy impacting an entire school district. Several of our students and staff members have had great difficulty processing this news. Milton-Union School Counseling staff members, counselors and representatives from the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, and clergy and community members from the Milton-Union Council of Churches have assisted us in providing support. Please remain watchful over your children given these circumstances. (If needed, additional resources and contacts are available through the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services at www.tcbmds.org/resources.)
The Mahaney Family has deep roots not only in Milton-Union but also the Miami East and Piqua communities. Kellie and her family are loved very deeply. Please remember the Mahaney Family in your thoughts and prayers along with the students, staff members, and community members impacted in the Milton-Union, Miami East, and Piqua City School Districts. With respect, we will share additional information as allowed, provided by, and with permission from the Mahaney Family.
Year after year, excellence was on display every single time we attended a “Kellie Mahaney production.” We were awestruck by the talented performers among our Milton-Union students and their confidence, courage, and dedication. Each time, we felt like this was the best performance we had ever seen, but Kellie’s true gift went beyond these performances.
Seeking more, hundreds of students have had the fortunate opportunity to be guided, directed, and encouraged by Kellie. Every day, these students were able to experience excellence directly because one, unrelenting vocal music instructor with a “larger than life” personality never, ever let them fail. She was excellent, and in turn, she demanded excellence from others. However, the real moments of Kellie Mahaney’s excellence lay in her unwavering dedication and influence on all her students – the power of a singular caring adult that will never, ever give up on you.