Maritere Crum (’91) returns to her Oakcrest roots as she takes on the role of President of the Oakcrest Alumnae Association this year. While she only attended Oakcrest as a junior and senior, Maritere says, “They proved to be the two years that formed me the most into the woman I am today.”
Maritere has many fond memories of her years at the Yuma campus. Her favorite class was history with Pat O’Donovan, whom she credits with giving her a love for writing. Outside of class she participated in soccer, softball, yearbook committee, Prom committee, and Student Ambassadors.
After graduating from Oakcrest, Maritere attended George Mason University, where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in English. During her freshman year, she met her future husband, Richard. They married in 1995 and now have eight children. They have moved around Virginia, Connecticut, and Florida, and recently returned to Virginia, not far from Oakcrest. Maritere is currently a stay-at-home mother who is dedicated to sharing the rich intellectual tradition she received during her Oakcrest years with her children.“The education I received at Oakcrest truly provided me with the foundation necessary to excel in college,” she notes. “Our teachers expected a lot out of us, showed us the joy of learning, and allowed us the freedom to formulate our own thoughts and not to merely accept everything that was thrown at us; something most children are not offered in school. As a mother, this is what I am trying to pass on to our children.” She hopes to send her daughters to Oakcrest when they are old enough.
She loved how Oakcrest gave her the freedom to be fully herself and learn without worrying about how she looked in front of others. She found the transition from a co-ed to an all-girls environment to be a change for the better. The academic work was more challenging at Oakcrest, but Maritere relished the challenge. She felt she could fully focus on pursuing her interests, taking risks in the classroom, and speaking up when she had questions or thoughts to contribute. She grew in confidence and knowledge. The interdisciplinary nature of the liberal arts curriculum also played a huge part in forming her interests and worldview. “Being encouraged to defend my thoughts helped me gain the confidence I needed once I was away from my protective bubble,” she says. “Being exposed to classical literature, foreign languages, the arts, sports and musical theater presented me with a more rounded view of the world.”
Maritere lives by words that Pat O’Donovan once shared with her class: “Do not go off and be merely lumps of flesh occupying space.” This thought has inspired Maritere through every stage of her life, whether at school, work, or raising her family. It’s a sentiment that she repeats to her own children often.
To all future Oakie alumnae, she says, “Know with confidence that Oakcrest has prepared you for college – college may even seem easier because of how much your Oakcrest teachers pushed you more than you’ve probably ever been, or will be pushed in your life, to be the best version of yourself.”