10 Most Beautiful 2012

Meet the 20 women who were chosen as finalists to compete in the 417 Magazine 10 Most Beautiful Women contest.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

(page 13 of 20)

Marcella Swatosh, 39

Occupation: 6-12 Principal Norwood School until June; Assistant Superintendent at Sparta starting in July
City: Ava
Family: Husband Chris Swatosh, 10-year-old Reagan, 3-year-old Brock, 3-year-old Grant

What is your charity of choice, and why is it important to you?

The Jacob Yeates Foundation. It was founded by Jacob Yeates’s parents. Jacob Yeates was killed in a car accident November 25, 2006. He was 17 years old. He loved to help others with a friendly smile and a helping hand. After his accident, his family found that he had been helping many of his classmates with needs that they had. The foundation was set up to continue his spirit of giving and showing someone that they were loved and someone cared about them.

The purpose is to provide grant money to school districts, so they can help children in their district with school-related financial needs. The school districts have been able to help children with shoes, glasses, field trip fees, school pictures, coats, club dues, a yearbook and many other items that a child needs but many times cannot have or participate in because of financial limits.

This foundation is important to me not only because it is in memory of a great young man but because the foundation is based off the spirit of giving back to students. I have been able to see how this foundation directly helps students in our school and it truly makes a difference.

 What do you think makes a woman beautiful?

I believe that a woman’s actions are what make her beautiful, and it’s what’s on the inside, and in her heart. It’s also how she contributes back to the world in a small or a large way.

Why do you think you’re a 10 Most Beautiful Women finalist?

I am a finalist because I am blessed and humbled to be nominated by my 10-year-old daughter who believes that I am beautiful because of what I do to help others. I think as a mother that is possibly the best compliment that I could receive—that my daughter believes in me and what I do.

Do you volunteer, or are you involved in any philanthropic or community organizations?

• This past year, I along with our staff developed the First Annual Make a Difference Day at Norwood School. Students in grades six through eight stayed at school that day and made ornaments to be given to nursing homes for Christmas, and they wrote letters and cards to veterans. Our students in grades nine through 12 volunteered that day and went to nursing homes and senior centers, and helped with the Angel Tree Program. Our seniors planned, cooked, hosted and served a dinner for senior citizens at the school.

• As principal, I see many students in need. Our motto at Norwood School is “Every Child, Every Day, Whatever it Takes” and I take that to heart. I try to do what’s best for students. Doing “whatever it takes” is by far not the easiest solution or quickest fix to the problem. I try to listen with my heart, and if there is a need I try to quickly help. I also believe that it is crucial that students participate in extracurricular activities in order to feel like they are a bigger part of something and that they also have great memories of high school. I financially try to make sure that students have money to buy basketball shoes, have their hair done for prom, money to get into a ballgame, lunch bills paid, graduation items, clothes for students, as well as meeting parent needs. I also do all that I can to make sure that all students participate in graduation. It’s one of the biggest highlights of their lives, and they need to be a part of it.

• I work with local agencies such as law enforcement to ensure that students who are struggling receive help such as drug rehabilitation, places to live, food stamps and a chance to start over. Students always know that they can be honest with me, and I will find them help.

How are those experiences meaningful to you?

These experiences are the reason that I went into teaching as an occupation—to make a difference. I can’t explain the feeling you get when you get to see the results of helping a child. It can make all the difference in their lives and the direction they choose to take. One positive relationship with a student can change the world.

Tell us what you do for a living:

I impact students daily and try to help make a difference in their lives. I try to remove all barriers that might hinder learning and try to ensure that students have a great school experience.

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was when Norwood School was recognized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as being a 2010 Gold Star School (only 1 of 6 schools in Missouri). It meant that all of the hard work and effort that the students, staff, community and school had placed into being the best academically was finally being recognized and acknowledged. Our school had committed to being focused on individual students and making sure that we did whatever it took for students to improve and achieve, and the award meant that we had finally excelled.

What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome?

My biggest hurdle to overcome has been when people are judgmental of children or don’t want to give 100 percent to kids. I see good in all kids. I believe that people should give with an open heart and not judge what people do with it, once it has been given. Being judgmental holds people back from what they could really accomplish.

What are three words that describe you?

Focused, compassionate, motivational.

What’s your favorite feature about yourself?

My favorite feature would be my sense of humor. I love life and laughing. I enjoy the planning and carrying out of the jokes. I love people. I have a theory that if you don’t love going to work every day, then you have chosen the wrong occupation.

When you were a child, who did you think was the most beautiful woman?

The most beautiful women to me have always been my four sisters and my mom. They are some of the kindest, strongest, most compassionate, hard-working people that I have ever met. My family has always taught me that beauty starts with your heart and how you treat others, and I am blessed to be surrounded by women who exemplify that characteristic.

What’s your favorite source of inspiration?

My favorite source of inspiration would be all the kids who I’ve been blessed to work with for the past 16 years. I enjoy hearing from each of them and hear how their lives have been successful. I love meeting their spouses and children. It inspires me to continue making a difference by working with kids.

What advice would you give to a young girl about being beautiful?

My advice to a young girl about being beautiful is to just be “you,” and be compassionate of other people. Don’t let other people determine how you should be. Do the things in life that you want to do, and be the person that you want to be—not what other people want to mold you into.

What are your favorite ways to spend a day off?

My favorite way to spend a day off is with my husband and children doing the little things in life, such as going to the park, having a picnic or hanging out at our house. Those are my favorite memories of childhood, and I want my children to have those same memories.

What is your most prized possession?

My most prized possession would be “Pa’s quilt” that my husband had made for me this past Christmas. My dad passed away of a massive stroke in January 2011, and I was devastated. My husband had the quilt pieced together with shirts that my dad had worn over the years. It’s my favorite thing that I have in my home, and I love covering up with it after a long day. It makes me smile because it holds so many memories of my dad.

What is your Facebook status right now?

“Finished Education Week today with a great K-12 Assembly with staff dressed as super heroes. I'm blessed to work with staff that continues ‘to do whatever it takes for students.’ Even better, my daughter is still speaking to me after the assembly.”

If you could have one talent that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I’m always amazed to see students at school and people at church who can sing and play musical instruments. I would love to be able to sing or play a musical instrument. It’s an amazing talent.

What’s something that might surprise us about you, or a story you love to tell?

People would be surprised to know that I met my husband in my classroom—and no he wasn’t my student. I was working as an English teacher and yearbook sponsor, and he used my classroom in the evening to teach college-level law classes. I stayed one evening to tell whoever was using my classroom to not erase the board or bother with items on my desk. To make a long story short, when he walked into my classroom, I suddenly didn’t care about the board or the items on my desk. We went on a date later that week, and, well, the rest is history.

Head to voting!

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