The Warpath

Mariemont Leaders: Post-High School


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BY HANS HINEBAUGH

“Scholars of today, leaders of tomorrow.”  All students in Mariemont High School have at least heard this catchy phrase, but does it truly apply beyond high school?  While Mariemont students might be scholars here in Cincinnati and leaders in the community, after the fourth year of high school, it seems some graduates would not define themselves by this description.

Mariemont's Class of 2013 represents a diverse set of college choices, ranging from ivies to local schools to no college at all.  Mariemont's goal is to create leaders, no matter where students end up after high school.

Mariemont’s Class of 2013 represents a diverse set of college choices, ranging from ivies to local schools to no college at all. Mariemont’s goal is to create leaders, no matter where students end up after high school. (PHOTO BY mariemontschools.org)

Last year, Mariemont High School’s Class of 2013 graduated students with plans ranging from the Bridgestone Racing Academy in Canada, Harvard University, and  the University of Cincinnati just minutes away.  The class found a diverse range of post-secondary options, but did Mariemont High School prepare them adequately to meet the challenges of these schools?  Did these graduates feel that they entered their colleges ready to take on leadership roles Mariemont claimed to prepare them for, and are students graduating in the future receiving the skills to truly become leaders?

Allie Frey, a 2013 graduate attending the University of South Carolina, remarks, “I feel like Mariemont does a good job building leaders, but honestly I think it is based off of the individual.”

According to Frey, the leadership development at Mariemont does exist.  There are tools with which students can prepare themselves, such as the high school’s many extracurriculars.

However, extracurriculars at Mariemont are  common.  Many students take part in more than just one club, sport, and volunteering agency (as evidenced at the Spring “Meet the Teams” Night).  Lakmal Ekanayake, a freshman at the University of Cincinnati, adds, “Everyone takes part in sports, clubs and the occasional volunteering that is mandatory for graduating seniors.  Be different than your classmates, do something that will really have an impact on you and set you apart from everyone else.”

For Ekanayake, college is not simply about grades or leadership, rather it has been about taking on responsibility and developing a work ethic, the base of which he says was laid in Mariemont’s schools.

One responsibility, for University of Pennsylvania student Sophie Erhardt, has been studying.  Looking back on her time in high school, she wishes she could have learned better studying techniques.  Having to study on her own, without resources like review sheets and workbooks, has been “a big adjustment” for her.

Though Frey, Ekanyake, and Erhardt admit that Mariemont taught them concepts in writing, math, critical analysis, and researching that has allowed them to outpace their peers, they agree that their education has required less regurgitation in favor of more understanding.  Erhardt has found that, while memorization can be important, understanding and application of concepts is more essential.  “Essentially, more than just brute memorization is expected at the college level,” she says.

Otherwise stated, Frey has found that the “busy work” of high school has been entirely lost in college.  If something could have prepared her better for the work load she has taken on this year, it would have been better training in studying habits in high school.  She says, “You don’t want to spend your first semester or first year trying to figure out the study techniques that best fit you.”

Mariemont High School is a place of choices, but weighing down your plate with every option available can sometimes be exhausting, if not detrimental to your health.  However, Mariemont’s goal is to turn you, the student, into a leader beyond these four years.  According to those who have graduated and moved past the fourth year, leadership is not taught in any classes, nor is it implied when the Mariemont education is listed on a resume.  Does Mariemont create leaders: yes.  Is this automatically guaranteed? According to last year’s graduated seniors, it is not.  Ekanayake best states it, “I don’t think anything can really prepare you for your first year at college but I believe that going into college with an open mind and a good work ethic will serve as a solid foundation for exponential growth.”

Erhardt reminds current students to get help with any questions or problems they have now in high school.  She says, “The resources you have are awesome and extremely accessible, so take advantage!”

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Mariemont Leaders: Post-High School