Middle School

Talking Up the Crowd: Division 1 Reflects On Their First Exhibitions

The morning after their first Exhibitions in December, Division 1 students could be found in their classrooms dismantling displays, reading visitor comments, and sorting their essays, stories, and other projects into portfolios. These activities might look unremarkable to an outsider, but the room held palpable enthusiasm and relief.    

Exhibitions, which occur three times every year, hold both excitement and trepidation for many students, who not only display their finished projects but discuss them with outside guests. As visitors move from classroom to classroom, students teach them about the essays, stories, experiments, sculptures, labs, and other projects they’ve completed in the past trimester. As 6th grader Ibrahim said, this process makes the work pay off because students get “to meet new people, and after they see your work, you got to see what they thought, which gives you new ideas.” Talking to new people can also be challenging for younger students, and Exhibitions provides them with the chance to practice this skill and gain greater comfort speaking publicly. “By the end of the evening, I felt a lot more confident talking about my work,” said 7th grader Jack.

At this Exhibitions, Division 1 students showed a wide range of work in terms of both form and content. In Humanities, they displayed thesis essays arguing whether Atalanta, the character from Greek mythology, is a hero or a villain, original myths that explain natural phenomena, and pottery sculpted and illustrated to demonstrate themes from these myths, among other projects. In Math, Science, and Technology, they exhibited Lego robots that they had programmed along with equations they wrote in order to manipulate those robots in a repeatable and systematic manner. In Español, they, along with many other students, sang the Mexican folksong “La Bamba” live in front of the entire Meridian community accompanied by Meridian’s Ukulele Army.

As she filed her papers and projects into her Humanities portfolio, 6th grader Isabel explained, “I really like this part of Meridian: the opportunity to show our work to other people, and for them to be inspired as well."

"Irreplaceable" Opportunities in Meridian's Model UN Program

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and it’s been an exciting fall for Meridian’s Model UN program. On October 26, juniors Isaac, Madi, and Max -- longtime MUN participants and current leaders of our middle school program -- were invited to join an exclusive UN Day luncheon hosted by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

The event gathered leaders from the business, policy, and academic communities for a dialogue on world affairs, and it included special guest Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the new Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN. UNAGB set aside special time for Meridian students to speak with him about his work, and the event helped expose the real world of the United Nations.

As Isaac said, “It was really interesting to talk to people who work in embassies and consulates, who are actually in the world of international diplomacy. We’re used to working in Model UN, but they’re actually
in the United Nations.”

“The ability to attend something so much larger than the small community of Model UN is irreplaceable,” said Madi. “I got to meet people who inspire change on an international scale every day.”

The following day, Isaac, Madi, and Max led the middle school Model UN group to a no-prep UN simulation at the Massachusetts State House, where students were given a short time to read informational packets, prepare statements, and caucus with other delegates towards a solution on their assigned issue. The high school leaders felt that this was an essential piece of preparation for full-scale conferences, particularly for students who are participating in Model UN for the first time.

“When we were in 7th grade,” explained Max, “the three of us had no idea how a committee session ran until we were in the thick of it. Having a low-stress experience to get a feel for how a Model UN actually works is going to be really helpful for the middle schoolers in the future.”

Reflecting on the simulation, Madi said, “It's cheesy, but each year the students provide for me more than I probably provide for them. To see kids who have never done Model UN before get up and speak is so humbling. They far surpass my expectations.”