Student, Murrah High School, Class of 2016,
Murrah High School is, in many ways, a poster child for the Jackson Public School system; our marching band is regionally acclaimed, our football team produces many successful alumni, and our Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC) is one of a kind in its ability to give Advanced Placement (AP) courses and fine arts instruction. However, this is not to say that other schools in our district are lacking in any way. With a total of seven JPS high schools, the chances of Murrah being the only school to have laudable opportunities for their students are slim. Regardless, Murrah’s APAC program has attracted over-achievers and the artistically inclined since its inception nine years ago. Since Murrah is the only high school in our school district that offers AP courses, our school often gets the brightest and most passionate students. This means that the typical Murrah High School student is motivated, smart, and socially-aware.
Motivation is a token characteristic of Murrah students. Since Murrah requires preliminary testing for students to get accepted into the APAC program, the students who apply are always driven. It requires a certain amount of dedication to allow yourself to get academically tested to get into a high school, of all places. Moreover, Murrah isn't a school that recruits students. This means that if a student wants to attend, then they need to be the ones who ask for additional information and resources on their own time. This approach by Murrah assures that only the most motivated students will end up attending.
Murrah students are also smart. By smart, I mean it beyond the dictionary definition of just "showing intelligence" (credit to Merriam-Webster). Students at Murrah are not only academically smart, but they're also smart when it comes to social interactions and decisions. Since the majority of students in Jackson, Mississippi are underprivileged in some shape or form, the children who attend Murrah know a bit about the world. These students are not sheltered to the harsh realities of gang violence, racism, or bigotry. These students have been raised in an environment that has consistently doubted and belittled them. While students at Murrah are smart in the traditional sense, they're also smart in the worldly sense. They know what lies out of the city if education doesn't save them, and that's why they're all that much more impressive.
Finally, students at Murrah are socially aware. They're self-aware of the privilege they have for attending Murrah, of the disadvantage they have for calling one of the lowest-ranked states in education their home, and they're self-aware of the importance of education. Murrah students know about the issues that women face in the workplace, that homosexuals face in the midst of the Bible Belt, and that minorities face practically anywhere. These student's Instagram’s and twitters are always full of the latest political event or social injustice, and it is incredibly inspiring. These students know what goes on outside the walls of the school building and more importantly, care about it as well. This is a very valuable trait.