(l to r): Andrew Benintendi, Ryan Korengel, Maggie Griffin and Eli Maiman
Four Madeira High School alumni returned to share their inspiring stories of perseverance and determination with third and fourth grade students at a school assembly December 21. ‘Madeira Strong - Know Thy Impact’ featured Madeira champions Ryan Korengel, Maggie Griffin, Andrew Benintendi and Eli Maiman.
Ryan Korengel ’14 overcame a traumatic brain injury after a tree branch hit him in the head during a windstorm while he was golfing in 2008. Ryan not only relearned how to walk and talk, he taught himself how to play golf one-handed and spoke to the students about overcoming adversity. He was the recipient of the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award from the Golf Coaches Association of America nd the subject of the Golf Channel’s film ‘Don’t Cry for Me – The Ryan Korengel Story.’
Maggie Griffin ’14 was recently awarded the prestigious President’s Prize from The Ohio State University. The award provides a $50,000 living stipend and up to $50,000 to fund Maggie’s Unity Fridge program, which will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to 12 families from five schools in the Columbus area. It will also provide refrigerators to store the produce. Maggie’s message to the students focused on serving others.
Andrew Benintendi ‘13 played baseball at the University of Arkansas before being selected in the first round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox. As the member of many teams on his way to the majors, he spoke to the 3rd and 4th graders about the importance of being a good teammate. Andrew has been named the SEC Player of the Year, the Baseball America College Player of the Year Award, and received the Golden Spikes Award.
Eli Maiman ‘ 04 was a member of several bands before joining Walk the Moon in 2011 on lead guitar and vocals. Three albums later, the group has become widely successful and has toured the world. Their hit song Shut up and Dance reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Eli and Walk the Moon were also recognized in Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the Music Category last year. Eli talked to the students about never giving up while pursuing their dreams.
Prior to the assembly, Ryan, Maggie, Andrew and Eli met with former teachers, family and friends. Afterwards they posed for grade level pictures, then lined up to give each student a high five on their way back to class. That afternoon each student wrote a letter to one of the speakers about how they inspired them, which were all later delivered to the alumni’s homes. Nine-year old Dylan wrote to Maggie Griffin, “I learned that anyone can change the world. You inspire me because you helped your community and you didn’t give up.”