The Secret Struggles of a School Role-Model


Le Anh Metzger

Student Body President Maria Dilbeck found a lot to smile about during the first spirit week on campus in two years, a product of her hard work and leadership.

As the Sophomore Class President – turned – Student Body Activities Director – turned – Student Body President, Maria Dilbeck has made a name for herself at Mayfield. She’s often referred to by friends as “Madame President.” 

Confidently addressing the school each week at Community assemblies, Dilbeck appears to be a born leader who has it together all of the time. Although she puts tremendous efforts towards leading, she sometimes struggles as the “face of Mayfield.”

The following interview has been edited and condensed for the purposes of this article.

How does it feel to be the representation of Mayfield?

I try not to think about it because if I do it freaks me out. I knew going into the position you are kind of known as the person, which is definitely scary; you feel like you always have to put on a persona of ‘everything’s okay. I’m totally okay,’ which is definitely a challenge sometimes. Like if I’m having a bad day, I feel like I can’t always broadcast that. 

What qualities do you think a leader must have? What life skills have you learned from being on ASB? 

I think they should be personable, easy to listen to. I would say commanding, but not demanding, which I think is something that I work on because I try very hard to make sure that my message is getting across, like in meetings, but also in Community, but without being mean about it. I think honesty is also important. Like if you can’t do something, and you need to be able to ask for help. Being Student Body President has taught me to say yes and no, because I think that the position puts you in a position where people think of you first when they need something, which in the past I would usually say yes, even if I knew I was overbooking myself, but I think this year, in particular, it’s taught me also that I can say no. 

It’s also taught me a lot about how to speak in front of people and be comfortable with that. Ultimately I want to go to medical school and be a doctor, and I think you need a certain amount of leadership to be able to do that. You need to be able to talk so that you can verbalize to your patients what is happening. 

 I think it’s also taught me that I need a leadership aspect to be a part of my school life, especially in college. A lot of the schools I’ve looked at, I’ve tried to see what their Student Government opportunities are or what kind of volunteering or leadership opportunities that I could be involved in. 

What has been your biggest struggle in your work with ASB?

Time management, probably because Student Council isn’t the only leadership I do; I’m also involved in Retreat planning and ALC (Athletic Leadership Council) too. And people ask me to do a lot of different things on campus, which I like doing and I think I kind of sign myself up for that, but I think that’s just been a little bit stressful to be like, okay, I don’t know how I’m supposed to plan an ice cream sale right now. It’s definitely been hard as we’ve gotten more AP classes and as we’ve gotten older, homework has gotten harder. I think that’s been difficult. And then also definitely it’s sometimes hard to deal with some of the other members of Student Council just because it’s been a challenge occasionally just to kind of remind people what their role is and everything. Just how to give a helpful push in the right direction.

I also pray all the time and every day. And I think that has saved me in a lot of aspects, because there is definitely a lot of stress that comes along which I don’t think necessarily a lot of people know– I think a lot of people are like, ‘what do you guys even do’ and that’s so frustrating because we do so much. So I think my faith does a lot to center me and helps me be like, ‘okay, just get through this day and then we will deal with the next one.’

Who are your role models and/or icons?

Definitely past Student Body Presidents,– I think that’s like a realistic icon because I’m where they were. I loved Obama, and definitely Michelle Obama; the way she speaks is just incredible, and she really knows how to captivate an audience. I don’t know if I’ve ever like thought her as like, oh, that’s my role model, but she’s definitely someone I look up to – the characteristics she has and definitely her ability to make people listen when she says something. And she just sounds graceful, so I would probably say one of the Obamas, primarily Michelle.

What is your favorite memory of student council?

I would probably say Sophomore-year Red and White Day. I thought that was really fun. I also loved Rory Burke when she was our President, because she was really easy to be around. I mean Red and White Day is just always my favorite thing because I like being able to explain the games and I mean obviously it’s also fun to definitely participate, but I think it’s good to see the hard work that we’ve all put in pay off and to have people be like, wait, this game’s really fun, and I’ll be like, ‘that was my idea!’ or whatever. I think that’s definitely very rewarding.

What is your favorite thing about being in Student Council?

I would say the relationships that I’ve been able to make, because I think the extracurriculars and sports are the only time we have a lot of interaction between grades. So when I was an underclassman, it was really nice to have that upperclassmen relationships, so I could ask them questions like, ‘oh, what classes did you take? What should I take?’

What do you hope your legacy will be after leaving Mayfield?

I hope that people think of me positively and that people look back on and think that I did good for the school – that I was inclusive, welcoming, fun, but also knew how to get the job done. I don’t feel like I need to be remembered in a perfect way because I was in no way perfect. I just hope that people remember me as being approachable and as being somebody who knew how to lead, and lead effectively.