Building Community

Meridian students have a considerable voice in the life of the school. They are relied upon as equal partners in sustaining an intellectually and emotionally supportive environment. Students are involved in creating the goals and rules of the school, and they recognize their responsibility in solving problems that they and their peers face. 

Students also take an active role in maintaining the school. Our all-student Tech Committee sets up and maintains our computers and network. Our Pizza Committee collects funds to provide takeout lunch each week. In addition to these student-generated groups, the entire school cleans up all classrooms and hallways at the end of each day. Students are also involved in the selection of new faculty, helping to interview applicants and providing valuable insights into our candidates. Student voices are always encouraged at Meridian and often propose new committees, initiatives, and changes to policy.

Meridian's emphasis on community can be seen in our non-curricular activities and groups:

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Community Groups – These cross-division groups consist of eight to ten students and a faculty member who meet weekly. They take on collective projects in order to to build connections between students of different ages and social groups. Community Groups play games, create art projects, cook meals, take field trips to local parks and eateries, and take on in-house community service efforts, such as Project Linus and Cradles to Crayons (external efforts are handled by Committees, see below). They also serve as the teams for Meridian’s Spirit Week and Field Day.

 
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School Life and Beyond/Student-led Activity Block (SLAB) - Students and staff meet every other week for all-school SLAB. These meetings are planned by the Student Government and can be a presentation by a student group (e.g., the Environmental or Social Justice Committees), a guest speaker, or a discussion of school life in order to make plans for new programs at Meridian or to consider proposed changes to the Student Handbook. Some meetings are led by students and some are led by the faculty.

 
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Mentoring and Peer Support (MAPS) - MAPS fosters mentoring relationships between Meridian students. Each new student is partnered with an older returning student who provides a consistent peer resource to support the transition into a new social and academic environment. Partners meet weekly to engage in collaborative activities, set goals, answer questions, and discuss how the year is going. The program is mutually beneficial; mentees receive guidance, support, and institutional knowledge, and mentors develop leadership, strong communication skills, and expertise to aid them in college and beyond. Both groups of students develop skills of listening, empathy, conflict resolution, and personal development. Beyond the individual impact on mentors and mentees, MAPS is designed to build a strong community throughout Meridian as students forge lasting cross-grade friendships and take greater responsibility for their peers.

 
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Committees - These groups involve students from all grades in engaging efforts that improve the school and the broader community. Students form committees at the start of each year and seek out a faculty advisor who will supervise their efforts. Committees often take turns leading SLAB in order to inform the school of an important issue and how to take action, they propose and implement initiatives, such as improved recycling throughout the school, and they organize community service and social opportunities for the students.

 

Current Committees Include:

Audio-Visual-Tech: The Audio-Visual-Tech Committee works to maintain school and equipment and to document school activities. Students work collaboratively to take care of school resources such as printers, desktop computers, and our laser cutter and 3D printer. Additionally, students take photos of major events and produce short videos about Meridian for external use.

Community Service: The Community Service Committee supports volunteer and fundraising opportunities both locally and globally. Through the non-profit Birthday Wishes, we organize monthly parties at a Jamaica Plain family shelter. At an annual Supermarket Drive, we raise donations for Our Place, a family shelter in Cambridge. We've organized school fundraisers to support Cards4aCause and the Hurricane Maria relief effort in Puerto Rico, and we run a semi-annual menstrual products drive for the Brookline Food Pantry.

Entertainment: The Entertainment Committee provides a variety of fun and creative events for the Meridian community. Students are responsible for the planning and execution of these events, which include Movie Nights, Game Nights, Open Mic Nights, the Spring Party, and Cuttlefish on Ice, an annual winter tradition of ice skating at the Frog Pond in Jamaica Plain.

Environmental Action: The Environmental Action Committee's goals are to reduce Meridian's environmental footprint and to make Meridian's space more hospitable for all. We make it our job to inform and guide the school's waste disposal practices, to procure and care for plants to beautify the school, to engage the community in improving our environmental impact, and to educate students, faculty, and families on global environmental issues.

Literary Magazine: Meridian's student-run literary magazine, The Equatorial Editorial, gives students a public outlet for their poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The students running the club receive training in the skills needed for literary publication. Through writing competitions, themed supplements, and the publication of one official magazine per year, The Equatorial Editorial aims to generate energy and enthusiasm for the written arts at Meridian.

Scaly Animal: The Scaly Animal Committee, established in 2014, is responsible for the care and keeping of our school's bearded dragon, Galileo (Leo for short). We raise all our funds through bake sales and other events, and use them to feed our dragon and maintain his habitat.

Social Justice: The SJC is a diverse group of students who meet to learn about various aspects of social justice and then disseminate that information to the rest of the community. Within the SJC is the Mental Health sub-committee, whose focus is reducing stigma around the conversation about mental health. We work on several projects throughout each year, including SLAB presentations, hosting guest speakers, and community activism at Meridian and in Jamaica Plain.

Student Government & School Store: The Student Government meets biweekly to propose, debate, and refine changes to school policy. The committee is also responsible for facilitating discussions about Meridian culture and regulations during all-school assemblies, and it makes decisions about how to grant school store profits to support student endeavors.

Theater Design: The Theater Design Committee organizes and catalogues Meridian’s small but mighty costume and prop closet. We are often knee-deep in wigs, hats, and velvet! The committee helps actors look their best – and brings characters and story alive – in Meridian's fall and spring theater productions.

Yearbook: The Yearbook Committee is a student-directed group that combines organizational savvy and artistic enterprise to produce a yearbook for every student. Complete with senior pages and a full spread of Meridian "sports" (including Poetry Out Loud and Model UN, as well as our sailing, rock climbing, and cross-country teams), our final product helps maintain the year's highlights in our memories (and in perpetuity through the Meridian Archives).