MCKENNA REITZ, Springfield High School

McKenna Reitz is a TEDx speaker and a Challenge Coach who works with men and women to reframe life’s challenges into gifts and opportunities so they can pursue their purpose with clarity and confidence. After losing all her hair due to Alopecia, she uses her journey of having this autoimmune disease to help others overcome the loss in their life by resetting the mindset of their “loss” into growth and opportunities in their lives. She has taught AP Psychology and coached varsity volleyball for the past 16 years at Springfield High School.

Reitz has raised over $50,000 for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) by competing in triathlons, the Rocket for Alopecia Gala 2020, and the Alopecia Awareness Golf Outing 2021. She has teamed up with professional sports teams in Toledo and Cleveland for Alopecia Awareness games every year and surrounding Toledo businesses to raise money and awareness for the NAAF. She has also been recognized as a coach of the year, teacher of the year, and advisor of the year, to name a few, and has won various awards along the way.

According to Reitz, for teachers / coaches, community involvement and advocacy is often accomplished outside of committees and most powerful when done to enlighten / empower youth into action. For over five years, she has challenged students to identify / act on issues that they care about. Together, they have effected a cultural change in the school (service isn’t a requirement). Each school year Springfield’s students compile over 30,000-plus service hours to regional organizations including but not limited to: ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Toledo Children’s Hospital, 180th Fighter Wing, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, Seagate Food Bank, Springfield Alumni Association, and Cherry Street Mission, among others.