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Horizon News

The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

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Encinal community mourns the loss of Maggie Adams

Ms. Adams on a family day excursion to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

On April 1st, 2024, the Encinal and Alameda community lost beloved teacher, business owner, wife, mother, and friend, Maggie Adams. Recognized for her creativity and compassion as an individual and teacher, Encinal students and staff mourn her passing. 

Cherished by her students, Adams created a haven for all demographics of students through her love for film and art. She provided a safe space for students to be themselves and explore their creativity.

“She became that safe adult for a lot of our students, that’s where they’d go to take a break or hang out,” said Encinal High School Principal Kirstin Snyder. “That project-based learning style of teaching she had was conducive for a lot of our students. She was talented and had a great eye for film, arts, and media in general.”

When Horizon staff asked students how they would remember Adams, many were very forward and had a lot to share. She proved to be a trusted mentor and a safe adult and nourished her students’ personal growth.

“Mx. Adams was a welcoming and understanding person. She would frequently ask how I was doing and wanted to know me on a personal level,”  Sophomore Amaru Guerra said. “What I miss about Mx. Adam’s the most is how highly she talked of me. I loved her compliments, it meant more than she could understand.”

Other students echoed these sentiments.

Mx. Adams and Senior Niya Epps take a moment to snap a selfie before filming the Homecoming assembly on September 22, 2023. (Photo: Niya Epps)

“Mx. Adam’s was the best class I could ask for, this was my second year taking her class, and I just enjoyed having conversations with her about anything. She was an easy teacher to talk to about anything,” Junior Elyssa Leota said. “That’s what I enjoyed about her. She was always there to listen to you.”

Adams earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California College of the Arts in Film before starting her career as a Digital Film teacher in San Francisco. Outside of teaching, Ms. Adams had a passion for botany, opening Magpie & Thorn in May of 2021, where she sold plants and spiritual knick-knacks. 

“Maggie opened Magpie & Thorn because she loved adding more exotic plants to our home during the pandemic. She always loved finding rare and unusual gifts, and had always dreamed of opening a shop,” said Colin Adams, Magge’s huband. “Outside of teaching, Maggie loved antiques, documentary filmmaking, raising her two young children, and she loved animals. Over the years she rescued dozens of animals and fostered them until they found new homes. At the time of her passing, she had three dogs, four cats, and chickens.”

Mx. Adams’ notorious fashion sense was adored by her students.

Ms. Adams joined the Encinal family in 2022, transferring from Mission High School in San Francisco. She not only revived the Digital Film program after quarantine, she temporarly taught Radio while Kevin Gorham, the current Radio and Leadership teacher, was serving as an administrator.

“We got Film back up and rolling because it took a big hit after the pandemic. She seemed to be a good fit and was hired for the following year and she’s been here ever since,” said Gorham. “It’s been a great collaborative effort and she always came in with a smile and willingness to want to do the best that she could on behalf of the kids. Her strongest qualities were being able to design a lesson and design a curriculum that was student-friendly and allowed students to convey their voice through film.”

Since her passing, Ms.Adams’ students have reflected on how the Digital Film program and class space have changed, as well as what they will miss most about her following her passing.

“She was very light-hearted and had good humor. She was flexible with work,” said Junior Levi Harte. “The classroom energy is very different, it’s more of a serious workspace now.” Adding on, Senior Portia Cooper reminisced about her time with the Encinal family. “I’m going to remember her unique style of clothing. I always loved how she added her personal touch to everything,” said Cooper. “I’ll miss her way of teaching and personality, she was so bubbly and lovely.”

The Encinal Community is currently fundraising for Ms. Adams’ family. Derrick Lyons Marketing students are working on a greeting card fundraiser to raise money to support. They worked alongside Felicia Vargas, head of CTE programs at Encinal and Alameda High School.

“[Vargas] came up with something that she wanted to say ‘Let’s help this family, once you’re a part of our family’,” said Lyons. “When she explained the idea to me, I immediately said yes, and many students gravitated towards wanting to help.”

The passing of Ms. Adams’ passionate and creative soul inspires reflection and memoriam within the Encinal community.

“The community has been impacted in really huge ways, something I struggle with is we have these big things that keep happening lately,” said Snyder, referencing the recent school lockdown and various student altercations. “It has been really hard to fully process one thing because then we get dealt another thing to kind of get through as a community. I think it’s always important to remember and not just keep moving forward.”

The student body and administration plan to make a senior tile and plant a tree in dedication to her memory and time at Encinal.

Donations to the Adams family can be made here.

About the Contributors
Maleia Ferguson
Maleia Ferguson, Copy Editor
Maleia Ferguson is a second-year writer for the Horizon. She is a Junior, Class of 2025, and joined because she enjoys journalism and DIY, basically DIY-ing the yearbook. She is also on the tennis team and enjoys the fall and winter because it reminds her of Twilight and Gilmore Girls.
Samantha Cleminshaw
This is Samantha's first year as a publications staff member. She is a junior in the class of 2025 and joined Pubs because she adores writing, photography, and fun, which yearbook is all about! Sam is extremely passionate about theatre and is the president of Encinal's Drama Club. In her free time, she loves to scrapbook, take pictures with her film camera, hang with her cats, and eat ice cream!
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