Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Emma Donnelly Bullington (Central High School)
Memphis Central High School opened in 1909 and has had a rich history of excellence since that time. The mission of THE High School, as stated on their website is “for each student to achieve the academic and social skills necessary to be competitive in a global environment and to be successful workers, citizens, and lifelong learners through the completion of all graduation requirements and participation in co-curricular and extracurricular learning experiences.” According to the media, this mission has been lost. According to the media, my school is out of control.
Recently, Central has been experiencing some issues with fights. Two weeks ago, a news station ran a story about several fights that occurred at Central that Wednesday. Videos of these fights spread via social media, leading parents to panic about the situation at Central. I will not say that parents should not be concerned.
However, I will say that as a Central student, I am appalled by the media’s treatment of this issue. The story only contained quotes from one parent; it did not show the point of view of the students, teachers, or administrators. The discussion of this problem was horribly skewed, only providing problems, not solutions.
Central High administrators and students will be the first to admit that there is a major problem. Because of this, we have already started working on a solution. Administrators, teachers, and students have partnered to help solve this issue through community building discussions with homerooms every Wednesday. We started this practice a few weeks ago and though we have not had an incredible turnaround as of yet, we are working on it. Change like this will not be easy and it will not be immediate, but it will come.
The article failed to mention this fact along with the fact the Central High students are doing incredible things in the Memphis community. Twelve of our seniors have been named Academic All-Stars in the Commercial Appeal this school year, our Student Council planned and executed a march from City Hall to the National Civil Rights Museum in response to the movie Selma, the band played for a young child over Thanksgiving weekend whose parents saw the band perform during the homecoming parade fromLe Bonheur, and the choir performed with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Al Kapone, and and Justin Merrick in a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although all of these events made the news, they aren’t the type of news that is made accessible. In fact, while writing this blog post, it took me way too long to find the article about the band.
These things are good news and they should be celebrated. Central High students are constantly making news, not just bad news. Focusing on the bad keeps us from seeing the good in ourselves. We can’t keep criticizing ourselves and others without offering solutions.
A version of this story previously appeared on the Bridge Builders CHANGE blog and can be found at thememphisflow.wordpress.com