A guest post by 12th grader Maia
I've participated in Exhibitions twenty times. This is what happens when you’ve been at Meridian for six and a half years. Each of these years, I learn what it means to be in this community.
It’s the students that make the difference. Conversations carry on outside of the classroom as we struggle with controversial topics and try to help each other to better understand them. In our small cohorts, we grow to know each other in deeply personal ways and come to recognize that sometimes a student can explain a subject better than a teacher simply because of this bond.
These connections go beyond helping each other understand content; we also motivate one another. Watching others around you push themselves makes it easier for you to work and challenge yourself. Exhibitions makes this most apparent. In the preceding days, I walk down the hallways and you see that nobody’s project is completely their own. Students run to lend a helping hand to their peers and work together to make sure everything is ready. We know what it means to show our work and support each other through this process.
In all of these ways, Meridian is like a family. Sometimes we’re focused on different pursuits, and sometimes we don’t see things the same way, but at Exhibitions, we all come together. It’s exhausting, but more than that, it’s rewarding.
Everyone at Meridian can look back at all of the work they've shown and think of at least one piece that they are especially proud of. For me, it was a wooden box that I made with poems typed onto each piece of wood. In part, it’s my favorite because it can come apart and then get put it back together, and I’m just proud of how cool that is. But it’s also my favorite because of the day that I showed it to the class. Everyone had to present their autobiography project, and as people went up to speak, I realized that my project felt a bit more vulnerable and personal than some of the others. Public speaking is certainly a fear of mine, and knowing that I was sharing a more personal part of myself than I realized didn't help. But when I got up there and started to present my project, everyone sat very quietly and listened to what I had to say. Of course, I immediately dropped at least one part of my box, but then a student in the first row picked it up and handed it to me without hesitation. After I finished, everyone clapped, and the same attention and care was given to be next presenter.
For me, that embodies Exhibitions: a group of people who care about presenting their own work and celebrating the works of others. That is what Meridian is on a daily basis.
So, yes, I've been to twenty Exhibitions, and at every single one of them I have loved my Meridian family more.