A Feeling of Belonging in the MICDS Community

At the MICDS Virtual Open House on Saturday, October 17, Estephanie Estrada ’21, spoke to prospective families about her experience at our School. Here are her remarks.

Hi everyone! My name is Estephanie Estrada, and I am currently a senior. I came to MICDS in seventh grade, and before coming, I went to a public school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. I run for MICDS in the cross country program, and I also play varsity soccer; I am a co-head for FCA (also known as Fellowship of Christian Athletes), I am a Peer to Peer Mentor, I am a co-head for Rambassadors, and I am heavily involved in community service at MICDS. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for MICDS.

Like many of you, I was nervous when we first started the application process, but when I got here, I realized how much I wanted to be part of this community. At my previous school, I felt like a bit of an outcast, and I didn’t really fit in. As soon as I stepped foot onto campus, I felt like I belonged in this community. Even before getting into MICDS, I felt welcomed and wanted. I was afraid that coming in from a public school, I wasn’t going to fit in, but the transition from my old school to MICDS was surprisingly easier than I thought it was going to be. This is due to the School’s abundant resources they provide to their students to accommodate them in a new school setting. I remember starting the school year in seventh grade feeling overwhelmed, as it was a new school, and my classes were more difficult than I thought they were going to be. Yet all of my teachers were incredibly supportive, and every one of them reached out to me and made sure that I was adapting as best as I could.

I’ve noticed that this teacher support extends from Beasley all the way to the Upper School; every teacher wants to see us succeed. Although I came to MICDS in seventh grade, one of my cross country coaches is a teacher in Beasley, and he is one of the best coaches I’ve had in my life. This coach reflects something common in all MICDS teachers and coaches, no matter what division they are in: they are all passionate about what they do. The majority of teachers are also coaches or involved in extracurricular activities, and this is something that I personally love, as I can touch base with my teachers in many ways outside of the classroom. Because of this, I have connected with several of my coaches and teachers in ways that have allowed me to not just succeed academically, but also make sure that I am being my best self. A good example of this is in my sophomore year of high school, I was participating in the School’s musical, and the director of the musical was also my acting teacher. Because she knew what I was comfortable doing in class, she also knew what I would be comfortable doing in the production.

Not only does MICDS allow for their students and teachers to connect, but they also allow their students to touch base in a cross-divisional manner. There are many ways that students from the Upper School connect with both the Middle and Lower School, either through programs or athletics. For example, I am part of the Peer to Peer Mentoring Group, which is a group of high schoolers who are paired with 7th and 8th grade advisories, and we teach them about life as a teenager, especially in the Upper School. Additionally, there are many Upper School sports teams that will often go down to Beasley and teach the kids how to play field hockey or participate in their track and field warm-ups. There have been times when I have had the opportunity to work with MICDS’ Girls on the Run program, and I love spending time with girls who look up to us as runners.

Something that amazes me about this community is that it doesn’t matter if it’s robotics, theater, or athletics, MICDS has a Ram army that supports their fellow Rams in everything they do. I have seen how excited our Ram army gets in both Lego robotics competitions in the Middle School to state football games in the Upper School.

MICDS has also allowed me to explore my interests, both with my education and through different opportunities that I have had in the past. I’ve been able to explore a variety of passions, such as world languages. I speak English and Spanish fluently, but I have always wanted to learn French, and MICDS has not only allowed me to learn the language, but also completely immerse myself into the culture. For example, my freshman year I hosted a French exchange student, and it was an incredible experience. I connected with someone so different from myself, yet we came together over a shared language. This is just one of the many ways that MICDS has opened doors for me to explore my passions.

Ultimately, the reason why I love MICDS is because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This School offers an excellent education that challenges me to become a better learner every day, sports teams where I can play the sports that I love, and a community where I belong. These are a couple of things that I love about MICDS, and yet there is so much more that I could talk about. Quite honestly, I could talk about my experiences at MICDS for hours!