By Anna McConaghie, High Meadows Class of 2008
Anna attended High Meadows School from first through eighth grades. She graduated from Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia, and then earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College in Arkansas, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2016 with distinction in two majors: Anthropology and Spanish.
When I think back to the educational experiences that helped form the person I am today, I realize that much of my identity developed from the values I learned during my earliest years at High Meadows. Perhaps most importantly, High Meadows encouraged my natural curiosity to learn more. I didn’t push myself because I wanted good grades or praise; I did it because I genuinely had the intrinsic desire to discover more about the world around me. This love of learning and desire to know more have remained with me throughout my entire education.
As a young student at High Meadows, I discovered my passion for learning about different places and peoples (topics that still fascinate me today). High Meadows, as an IB school, offers students a global perspective and provides them with opportunities to delve deeply into subject areas that engage them. My teachers were passionate about their subject matter and about teaching. They encouraged my curiosity and helped develop my love of other cultures and languages.
One of my fondest memories from High Meadows is “Emphasis,” a time each year when the entire school from Prekindergarten to Eighth Grade studies one large topic, such as China, Whales or Beauty. During Emphasis, students have a great deal of freedom to choose varying types of personal or group projects. We students eagerly worked together to create unique methods of demonstrating what we had learned about our topic. Students may present a skit, a model or artwork. On Emphasis Night the students and their families come to see the students discuss and display their work. In my eight years at High Meadows, Emphasis offered a broad range of topics from every field, inherently demonstrating to students that all subjects should be valued and that all our passions were valid.
In addition to my experiences at High Meadows, I was lucky enough to travel extensively growing up, and I remained fascinated by other cultures and languages. In high school, I hoped for a career path in which I could pursue these topics further. In my first semester of college, I discovered anthropology. When I enjoyed reading the textbook for homework, I decided to declare it as a major along with Spanish, another subject I first discovered at High Meadows.
From High Meadows, I learned that my passion to learn and discover should guide me, not merely a salary or others’ expectations. While friends of mine are attending medical school or law school after graduating, I am living in Madrid, Spain, working as an English Teaching Assistant. I am having the time of my life, getting to use my gift and my passion every day. My life would not have had the same outcome if I didn’t attend High Meadows. And, for that, I thank those teachers who helped form me into the person I am today.