Student, Murrah High School, Class of 2016,
The three most popular extracurricular activities at Murrah High School are the Speech and Debate team, Student Council, and the publication team Pleiades. There are well over 50 team members in the Speech and Debate team this year, and although the Pleaides staff isn't extremely large, there are still over a dozen members who strive to publish quality artwork and literature. Additionally, Student Council has always been a popular extracurricular at my school due to the passion many students reserve for changing their educational environment. The extracurricular activities that I would most recommend would be the Speech and Debate team as well as our science program called Base Pair. As a member of the debate team over the past three years, the knowledge you learn as a member is incredibly valuable. There are three different types of debate events: Public Forum, Policy, and Lincoln Douglas. I have tried both the Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas debate and loved both of them. The topics of debate can range from anything involving nuclear proliferation to automatic organ procurement of the deceased to food allotments in the Sahel. Most debate topics are incredibly timely, and feature topics that are popular on an international and national level. Because of this, competing in debate creates students that are very well-informed and passionate about current events. Those members can then share their knowledge with other students, and the cycle continues. Participating in debate also exposes students to useful life skills, such as partaking in amiable debates with those who have different opinions than yours. Members of the debate team learn very quickly that you won't win a round through yelling or incoherent stammering, but through strong empirics and logic. This life lesson is applicable to almost every aspect of the "real word", and the Speech and Debate team is the best place to learn this lesson while in high school. For those with a love of science, Murrah's Base Pair program is the best way to go. Although this program is very selective, the benefits that this program provides are innumerable. If any high school student has ever considered becoming a doctor or a scientist, then there is no better way to gain real field experience than through Base Pair. What this program does is select a small group of students (this year there are only 8 of us!) who have a strong aptitude for science and then pair them up with a mentor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. This mentor is a qualified scientific researcher at the hospital who will take the Base Pair student under their wing and show them the ropes of researching. However, this program isn't merely a mentorship. Students in this program actually partake in scientific research themselves. In my research lab, we're studying the effects that leptin and Endothelin A (ET-A) antagonists have on the progression of renal injury associated with obesity. In other Base Pair student's labs, research on the effects that antidepressants have on autism or ways to cure preeclampsia are just a few things among many that students can research with their mentor. Involvement in this program assures that a deep knowledge of scientific research will be obtained, along with important scientific skills such as running protein assays or completing successful surgeries. For a science geek like me, Base Pair is an incredible program that cannot be matched.