At MICDS, the Opportunities are Endless

Hope Abel ‘19 shared her MICDS experience with prospective families during this fall’s Open House. Here’s what she said:

I have been at MICDS since 2006 or the SK level so, needless to say, I know the ins and outs around here. Throughout my time, I have been stretched, encouraged and pushed to go deeper, to think critically and to analyze not simply summarize. This is especially true in high school as the drive to reach your potential becomes more independent. In other words, you’re successful when you want to learn for a deeper understanding rather than just a test. You have to have a passion for the material and the rest follows.

Passion is the key word. If you have a passion at MICDS, there is an opportunity to pursue it. For me, my passion is acting. Beyond participating in our four yearly productions, I’ve been able to take a unique schedule to accommodate taking both drama and choir. This has allowed me to hone my craft, explore its possibilities and discover what I want to pursue further in college and professional life. I chose to apply for the additional class instead of having a free period, or study hall, because it was the best decision for me personally. While my schedule is unusual, this sort of thing of being able to mold your schedule around what you love, is not. STEM-oriented students often double up in math or add science electives. Foreign language scholars sometimes start a new language once reaching proficiency in the first one. However, core curriculum and graduation requirements still provide the guidelines, so all students are well-rounded in addition to having more choices. Yet, through this flexible schedule, every student is being challenged to go further and strive for their potential.

When talking about my activities with my college counselor here, we discussed that while of course you can pursue internships, jobs, community service and other activity engagements outside of school, MICDS provides a wealth of resources to pursue your passion and especially to discover new ones right here. For me, when I came to high school I knew I wanted to get into theater, and that was really all I knew. I joined Drama Club and auditioned for the shows. However, I my advisor also encouraged me to try writing for the school newspaper as he was the faculty sponsor. After joining, essentially on a whim, working on the paper surprisingly brought me a lot of joy, and now I am the editor-in-chief. Another example was during my junior year when a teacher gave a presentation encouraging students to join a new club for board game enthusiasts. My sister and I decided to sign up, and in addition to playing games, we ended up designing our own game, which placed in the top 20 of a professional regional competition. If someone had told me my freshman year I would be a board game designer, a newspaper editor or planning prom, I’d have thought they were crazy. I could have never dreamed I’d be able to do so many disparate activities in addition to coursework and my main focus of theater. That’s the beauty of MICDS. No student is just one thing. No student fits into just one box.

There are many more opportunities as well, such as athletics. We have multiple State Championship sports teams, and some of the most popular include Lacrosse, Football, Field Hockey, Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball, Squash and Track and Field. We also have Water Polo, Golf and a new Cyclo-cross Bike team. Off the field, community service outreach programs are popular especially the longstanding relationships or School has developed with the Food Bank, North Side Community School and Best Buddies. It’s commonplace at MICDS for students and families to participate in bake sales and drives for either food or toys during the holidays. Finally, study abroad opportunities are a very cool resource the School provides. Many students go on the service trip to Peru or language-immersion trips to France, Argentina or China. For example, I went on a three-week summer Shakespeare course with one week spent in London. It was my first time outside of the U.S. and an unforgettable experience.

To sum it up, if you want to do something at MICDS, you can. Even if it seems impossible, the School will work with you to create a path to do it. There’s nothing limiting us at MICDS; instead, the opportunities are endless.