The Maria Wright Foundation to benefit students at IRE

Maria Wright’s love of art and music will live on through the newly created Maria Wright Foundation to benefit students at Irene Reither Elementary School (IRE). A generous donation of $10,000, raised by her loving community, will go toward purchasing new musical instruments and art supplies for the school.

Mrs. Wright taught first grade and music at IRE for almost 30 years and was well known and loved by both students and staff.

Anatalia Wright, daughter of Mrs. Wright, said the inspiration for the foundation came from Mrs. Wright’s passion for all of her children.

“As her child, I got to meet generations of people who were impacted by my mom’s kindness, love, generosity, and passion for the arts,” Anatalia Wright said. “We wanted her legacy to live on, so we discussed how we could make a positive impact locally, and the Maria Wright Foundation was born.”

Art teacher Sarah Updike said she remembers Mrs. Wright’s commitment to and love for the Meridian community and its children and her love of the arts.

“She had an understanding that creating art and music enriches the life of the individual who creates it but also the lives of those who experience the art,” Updike said.

Mrs. Wright is remembered for more than just her compassion and positivity. She was also well known for her love of food, her famous fried rice and chocolate chip cookies and for always having an extra bag of jelly beans or other candy whenever she taught. Because of her long career and warm personality she was known and loved by many.

“Mrs. Wright was very generous with her time and resources,” said third grade teacher Glenn DePeralta. “Her impact on our community goes beyond Irene Reither. It’s obvious her loss was felt by many. It’s a testament that her influence spans across many families and generations. We have a thriving music program because of her efforts. Her legacy and her smile lives on in our memories.”
Parareducator Lori Routhe shared that Mrs. Wright was known for her bubbly and positive attitude, her smile, her storytelling and her compassion for everyone she met.

“She had a passion to leave this world a better place,” Routhe said. “She had an unconditional love for children and could make each child feel special.”

Anatalia Wright said the hope is for the foundation to continue for years to come and the funds will continue to support students at IRE.

Maria "Nita" Wright

Maria “Nita” Wright