ST. MARYS — In a word, 18-year-old Makayla Buehler is ambitious.
Her four years at St. Marys Memorial High School have been jam-packed with sports and activities. She is a member of both the volleyball and track teams, and of Student Council, FCA and Girl Talk.
Buehler is a defensive specialist in volleyball, and runs the 100 and 200-meter dashes in track. She also does the relay for both of those races.
“I love working with people and as a team,” Buehler said about why she plays volleyball. “I just love feeling accomplished and winning, and fighting to reach goals.”
Track, she said, is more about pushing herself.
“It’s more individual, and I’m more focused on progressing myself and bettering myself,” Buehler said.
But sports are by no means the sole focus in Buehler’s life. As a member of student council, Buehler said it’s her goal to make Memorial High School a better place.
“We’re in charge of a lot of things,” she said. “We have a lot of donations — we go around to businesses and get donations. We can sponsor school activities.
Buehler strives to do good and help others in everything she does. Her favorite example of this was during a leadership class she took during her freshman year.
“We had a Christmas party for a bunch of little kids, and we donated gifts (to them),” Buehler said. “It was awesome.”
The list of Buehler’s activities goes on. Every Friday, she and the members of Fellowship of Christian Athletes meet to “pray, we talk about real-life situations and how we can relate the Bible to our lives,” she said. She appreciates the feeling of belonging she gains from the group.
“I just like being involved and feeling that I have fellow classmates for comfort, that they’re all there for me,” Buehler said.
She not only gets support from fellow classmates, but loves being there for them when they need her as well. Girl Talk, Buehler said, is a group for high schoolers to meet with girls from the middle school and do just that — talk.
“A couple of us will just sit with a couple middle school girls, like four girls, and we’ll talk about what they’re dealing with in middle school and how to become stronger and overcome it,” she said.
She recalled a particular instance in which she believes she made a difference.
“This one girl, her parents were divorced, and she was feeling alone and I was always there for her,” Beuhler said. “I tried to hang around with her a lot — just be a friend for her ... It’s overwhelming, dealing with everything, but just knowing that (I’m) helping people makes it worth the stress. I just love getting involved. I get to meet new people, I’ve built a lot of relationships, and it’s what’s made my high school career so great.”
One of Beuhler’s favorite moments from high school has nothing to do with her achievements on or off the field.
“When (we) had the Rachel’s Challenge, parents from Columbine came and talked about that, and just how to reach out to people and stop bullying and stuff,” Buehler said. “And I think that really impacted me, as well as the whole school. So that was really special.”
Outside of school, Buehler throws herself into dancing, which she has been doing since the age of two, to relieve her stress and to have fun.
“I’m on the dance competition team,” she said. “I go to Wapak twice a week, five hours a night, so it’s a lot. And we learn dances and then we compete four times throughout the year. It’s people from all around Auglaize County, and that’s cool because I get to meet new people. I do a lot of things — like ballet, tap, lyrical — it’s kind of like a more modern, contemporary dance - jazz.”
For Buehler, dancing is a release from the real world.
“My mom put me in it early, but then I fell in love with it and I never wanted to quit,” she said. When you dance, you feel so safe. That’s where you can find comfort — you’re just like in a whole different world.”
Buehler talks about high school and all her activities as someone who is grateful, and who has never taken a moment for granted. She will miss the people she has met, and the memories she has made there.
“It’s going to be hard to leave,” she said.
But she is just as excited and ready for the future. Buehler plans to study physical therapy at the University of Toledo, where she has already been accepted.
“I like working with people,” Buehler said. “I’m really social, and I kind of want to do it more for athletes — like an athletic trainer, and deal with injuries with athletes. And I can relate, because I’ve had injuries myself. Freshman year in volleyball I twisted my ankle. In track I’ve hurt my knee.”
In five years, Buehler wants to be living in a big city and to have a steady job. As much as she feels she has gained from living in a small ton, Buehler said she is eager for life outside of St. Marys, and the hustle and bustle of a bigger city.
“I like how it’s chaos,” she said. “I like how it’s just moving all the time. I’m excited to get out there in the real world and experience new things.”