Taylor Swift Celebrated At Maumee Intermediate School

Maumee Intermediate students and teacher Steven Kiss show off some of the many donations they collected for Nightingales Harvest in honor of Taylor Swift’s birthday. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN KISS

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee fifth-graders celebrated singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s birthday in style with a dance party and other Taylor-centric activities.

Maumee Intermediate School teacher Steven Kiss is a self-proclaimed devoted “Swiftie,” and enjoys incorporating fun facts and references to the world-famous star in his classroom.

Many of his students have also been fans of the singer-songwriter and are excited to dive deeper into her work, so when her birthday came around on December 13, it only made sense for the classroom to embrace the special day.

“We invited students to dress up in colors inspired by her albums or full Taylor Swift outfits,” Kiss said. “They were so excited to pick which era they wanted to represent for the day.”

Aside from the Taylor Swift merchandise and friendship bracelets adorning many of the students, they did more to honor her birthday.

Swift has been known to donate to several local causes while out on her Eras Tour, which inspired Kiss to do that, too. Intervention specialist Jan Schell helped Kiss pick out the perfect charity, citing local food banks and cancer research as two of the charity recipients most important to Swift.

“(Schell) realized she had a contact with a local food bank that had a similar mission that Taylor would look for. Nightingales Harvest is a local food bank that provides food and toiletries to cancer patients and their families,” Kiss explained.

Invitations to a dance party were sent out, encouraging students to bring donations for the nonprofit organization.

Kiss said the donations quickly rolled in, with students and their families, along with Maumee City Schools staff, providing generous help to the organization. Friends and teachers from other districts had even heard about the collection and provided donations, too.

Throughout the actual school day on December 13, Kiss led students through lessons inspired by Swift.

“Taylor Swift is a talented musician, but one of her best strengths is her songwriting. Music, regardless of the artist, is full of figurative language and symbolism,” Kiss said. “Throughout the day, we dug into several of her lyrics and focused on what the lyrics are really saying.”

The students were inspired to “Shake It Off” when negative behavior or mean people might be surrounding them.

They also learned more about similes and metaphors, picking out the figures of speech in her lyrics.

“I don’t think the students realized how complex her music was until we broke it down,” Kiss said.

At the end of the day, the students enjoyed a dance party with her songs and some of Swift’s music videos.

Parent volunteers brought in glowsticks, and one family donated a birthday cake for the students.

“While we had a great time with the academic learning aspect of the day, I loved seeing students express themselves and celebrate together,” Kiss said. “Even some of the students that roll their eyes when I talk about Taylor had smiles on their faces ad participated in all of the activities.”

The day brought fun to the students through music and also presented them with more unique learning opportunities.

“I hope that students take away that Taylor is more than just a music celebrity. While she gets a lot of attention in the media, she does many things that go unnoticed,” Kiss said. 

“Academically, they were able to break apart and understand complex figurative language and find the deeper meaning of her music, but this celebration also highlighted some of the other things that Taylor cares about, including charity,” he added.

Nightingales Harvest, the nonprofit organization the students provided for, can be found at nightingalesharvest.org.

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