What perfect timing that CMS grad, Mackenzie Morrison, reached out to us just before our Alumni Night event this Thursday!
Mackenzie started her Montessori journey with Ms. Jaya in Primary and ended with Ms. Rachel in 6th grade (before we started our Adolescent Program). After CMS, she was accepted into Whitfield School where she was outstanding in her academic success and community involvement. She is grateful and proud to be a part of opening All Among Us Women’s Care Center as well as working as a Child Welfare and Education Policy Intern with Public Citizens for Children and Youth, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit. Currently, Mackenzie is working on her Political Science degree at the University of Pennsylvania and is studying abroad in South Africa.
She just started her trip and has already gone on a morning jog with the president, hung out with elephants, and has bungee jumped all in one week! The excitement continues–just this week Mackenzie has accepted admission to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, where she will begin pursuing her Master’s in the Fall. Congrats, Mackenzie!
While she is obviously not around this year to join us for our special Alumni event, she very kindly offered words of reflection when thinking back on how her experience at CMS shaped her future:
What I remember most about my Montessori education is being constantly challenged to think critically and originally. I was never taught a collection of facts and told to memorize them, but rather, I was taught how to engage in critical thinking at a young age. I was never simply given the answer; I was given the tools and foundation to figure out the answer on my own, or in many cases, think of my own answer altogether. This is something that upon reflection, I definitely remember rather vividly.
There was always a deep intentionality in challenging students to question and think for themselves which many of my peers did not receive until much later in their academic careers. The other thing that I remember the most is the dedication and passion of the teachers. In fact, I still have relationships with several of my former teachers and know that many of these relationships will last a lifetime. Throughout my time at CMS, the passion exhibited by each of my teachers created a burning curiosity to learn as much as I could, to pursue learning about the things I myself was most passionate about, and to give back to the classroom all the energy and care they brought in each day. More than that, the teachers I had at CMS were critical female role-models in my life. They taught me not just academics, but what it means to be strong, independent, moral, and simply good individual.
I would say these things are also what prepared me to go into middle and high school as well as beyond. Now more than ever, my generation must seek to engage in critical dialogue to challenge the status quo and push our society forward. My Montessori education taught me to first seek to understand as many perspectives on the problem or task at hand, and then to find as many solutions to that problem. This has enabled me to engage in the kind of critical dialogue that is so very important in every aspect of my life. Being able to think for yourself and by constantly seeking multiple and alternative approaches is an invaluable skill which I am extremely grateful to have begun working on so early in life. I would also say that my Montessori education instilled and encouraged a deep sense of curiosity which has often ignited my passion for particular subjects and served me very well both academically and professionally thus far.
If that wasn’t inspiration enough, we look forward to seeing you at our Alumni Night on Thursday, March 1, 2018 from 6:00-7:00 PM, where you will hear from more of our outstanding alumni!