ZainabThis is Zainab’s second year at MPA. She joined in eighth grade and is currently in ninth grade.

What do you love about MPA?
What I love most about MPA is the community and environment. Not only does MPA provide students with a supportive community, but it also gives an environment that encourages curiosity, and it pushes its students towards improvement rather than pressuring students to constantly succeed. MPA makes me feel safe and respected, which I feel is vital in high school. I have never dreaded going to school at MPA. Everyday feels like a new and exciting experience. MPA truly is one of a kind––not only in its beliefs, but how it implements them to create an experience for each of its students.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA wholeheartedly encourages its students to institute change, gives students the support they need to pursue their passions, and teaches students that everyone can make change. We are not treated like we are ignorant of the “real world,” and instead, given room to grow as individuals. I have felt that this treatment encourages us be unafraid of uncertainty and pursue happiness.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I believe that teachers at MPA fully believe in the philosophy, and truly care for their students. The amount of dedication I have felt from teachers is almost too good to be true, and makes me feel like the experience a student would get at MPA is unrivaled. My teachers have shown an unconditional willingness to go above and beyond for the purpose of helping their students, whether it be understanding a concept or talking about a bad day, MPA’s teachers are unrivaled in their care for students.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
MPA’s welcoming community provides me with a place where my education can thrive as well as my character. I feel I am encouraged but not pressured to succeed, while at the same time feeling like success is not a measure of who I am as a person. I feel encouraged to succeed for myself, and not for the sake of the school.

What would you tell another student your age considering MPA?
Coming to MPA is the best decision you will make in your high school years. Because of the inclusive and welcoming community, it is never too late to start. MPA makes it so that you feel like teachers care more about students as people, rather than grades or another face in the classroom. MPA is so accommodating to its students, and shows that they truly care.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life beyond school?
MPA has successfully prepared me to not only implement change for myself, but for others. Being taught to take care of each other is a message that MPA successfully implements into its students. MPA teaches open-mindedness, and has taught me to be engaged in the world around me.

What’s your big dream?
To be honest, I have trouble imagining life without imagining me at MPA, but I hope to get a P.h.D. in chemical engineering one day!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
As a person of color, I have never felt more welcomed anywhere than my time at MPA. Not only do my teachers make me feel included, I have never felt othered at MPA. MPA has helped me to grow into who I am, without making me feel like I have to abandon parts of my identity to fit in and feel like I am part of the community.

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