By Thea Flanzer
Laurel Springs School helped alumna Maggie Schneider realize her dreams of becoming a musician. Fast forward to her postgraduate years, she has performed with the acclaimed band State Champs in front of a sold-out stadium, produced an EP with drummer Rian Dawson, and is currently working on her debut album. Maggie balances her career as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter with her studies as a full-time student at the Savannah College for Art and Design.
Maggie describes her nine-year Laurel Springs experience as life-changing, valuing the freedom that came from completing her education at home. It was one conversation between Maggie and her mother that spawned the search for an online high school.
“She looked at me one day – and, I mean, it was just a bad day at school – and she said, ‘Alright, we’re going to make a change. We’re going to do something about this so you have a happier experience.’”
Proficient at guitar, piano, ukulele, and some bass, Maggie is quick to explain that being a student with Laurel Springs allowed her to become a better musician, as the flexible schedule meant she could devote extra time to studying music. Extremely modest about her humble roots, she explains that it took an incredible amount of inspiration and hard work to create songs that she was proud of and stresses, “Everyone starts out with really bad songs.” She believes that Laurel Springs provided an inspirational environment that helped her evolve as a musician.
Laurel Springs’ National Honor Society and Songbirds Club provided Maggie with platforms where she could share her love of music with peers from all over the world. The Laurel Springs Songbirds Club meets once a month and is effectively a “jam session” supervised by Dr. Paul Human. Dr. Human created an environment where students could practice creative, independent thinking and present their compositions.
When Maggie wasn’t sharing her songs with her fellow Songbirds, she was volunteering with the OnStage Atlanta Theatre Company, where she performed in productions of Into the Woods, Honk, and Dear Edwina. Maggie credits musical theatre as being the gateway to her current career as a musician, learned important performance skills while volunteering as a teacher’s assistant and helping with lights and sound at the theater.
Maggie is constantly creating new songs and believes creativity should never be forced, advising that it’s better to take “inspiration from around you.” Whether that inspiration comes from watching Netflix or eating sushi with her mom, she incorporates her life experiences into her songs.
Maggie’s early musical influences included stars of the Disney Channel, specifically The Jonas Brothers, but her inspirations have evolved to bands like Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Panic at the Disco, and Paramore. As a performer, she believes in the importance of being herself and standing up for what she believes in, but admits she’s struggled with confidence. She’s taken inspiration from poised performers like Lady Gaga, and Maggie would love to one day start a charity like Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, a charity focusing on mental health and bullying with an aim to create a kinder, bolder world.
Maggie is proud to attend the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), noting, “The minute I walked into SCAD, I knew I wanted to go there,” and credits her never tiring of school to the endless amount of electives offered. Originally majoring in Television Production, she switched gears to Creative Writing with the help of her Writing for TV & Film professor. Maggie’s love of writing and literature didn’t spontaneously appear, however, her mom and classes with Laurel Springs, specifically AP Literature and Composition, helped her develop a love of language.
Still, Maggie has big aspirations for an entertainment career. A lover of music since she could crawl, she is currently recording her first album and has dreams of going on tour in the future with the hope that her travels take her to London. She also hopes to reconnect with live theatrical performance in the future since she is a “theatre girl at heart.”
Maggie leaves readers with her favorite quote from her favorite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”