We grown-ups do a lot of talking. We talk and we talk and we talk. When it comes to the hot topics of the day, we got it all figured out.
Education? Oh, yeah..We know exactly what’s going on in our local schools and across the country(whether or not we’ve actually stepped foot on a campus or a classroom in the last ten years). We know what the teachers are doing wrong, what the parents are doing wrong, and what the students are doing wrong(who cares about what these folks are doing right; that’s just no fun to talk about).
It’s amazing, really, the uncanny ability that each of us have — regardless of our real-life professions and personal experiences — to simultaneously assume the role of professional educator, parent we’ve never met, and student we don’t know at all.
What is even more impressive is the fact that most of our “expert knowledge” of what is happening in the Meridian Public School District comes from nothing more than pure, old-fashioned gossip. Whether we heard it on the street, at the dinner table, or online, it is what it is. I am guilty of it. You are guilty of it. We are human and, therefore, imperfect. Moving on…
The rest of our expertise in the field of education comes from all sorts of other “trained professionals” in this area: politicians, activists, cable news hucksters, and a countless number of other folks who have never heard of Harris Elementary, Magnolia Middle School or Meridian High.
Yes, we all talk about education. But rarely do we listen to the very people whose well-being we are talking about — our students.
Sometimes, we actually give our young people a voice. And sometimes — every now and then — we actually slow down and listen to what they have to say.
And when we do this, we become the ones getting educated.
Let the enlightenment begin…(I’ll stop talking now).
Ms. Alexa Chisolm is a Senior at Meridian High School. She currently has a grade point average of 4.33. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is currently ranked 18th in a Senior class of 406. She is also a varsity cheerleader, having lettered in academics the past two years. She is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and attends St. Patrick Catholic Church. She is a member of the Dusty Social Service Club, an organization through which she has completed over 20 hours of community service.
She is a product of the Meridian Public School District.
PSW: Alexa, you are a Senior this year. I know this is an exciting and bittersweet time for you and your classmates. If you could sum-up the last three years of your experience as a student at Meridian High School in one word, what would that word be?
AC: Amazing. I know that sounds completely cliche but that word describes it best for me. I have learned more than I ever thought possible, but it was the people at Meridian High school — the student body, my friends and teachers — who made the experience what it was.
PSW: I’ve heard you say before that you could have gone to any other High School in the area — including private schools — yet you chose Meridian High. Why?
AC: I choose to go to MHS because I honestly believe it is a great school. I know that I could not have gotten a better education anywhere else. Not to mention the great tradition. I will be proud to tell people I meet that I graduated from Meridian High.
PSW: Have you found your classes at MHS to be challenging?
AC: Having taken honors and advanced placement classes all of my highschool career, I can say for a fact that I have been challenged. But, more importantly, in all of the classes where I found the curriculum difficult, I found a teacher willing to help; a teacher who not only wanted me to pass her test, but who really wanted me to grasp the concept for further use. Because of my teachers, I have not only been challenged but have overcome the challenges placed in front of me.
PSW: This one will sound ridiculous, but I have to ask: Have you ever feared for your personal safety at MHS?
AC: When I was first asked this question I was completely taken back. I have never feared for my safety at Meridian High. MHS has a truly diverse student body with people from many different backgrounds. I believe that some people in our community think this is a negative. However, I see it as a positive. Because I have gone to school with — and, therefore, grown up with — different types of people with diverse personalities and beliefs, I consider myself more well-rounded and ready for the real world that someone who has not had this experience.
PSW: Have you ever been exposed to anything at MHS that you think might have a lasting, negative effect on you?
AC: Of course, there are people at MHS who could have had a negative impact on my life. However, there will always be people who can have a negative impact on my life. What is positive about this is that I have had different choices as to who I’ve wanted to surround myself with and how I’ve wanted to spend my time.
PSW: If you had to do it all over again, would you attend Meridian High or somewhere else?
AC: If I could do it all again I would definitely choose to go to Meridian High. I have had a great highschool career that I do not believe would have been the same if I had not been a Wildcat.