Past its Prime Meridian


Meridian School. I don’t really know where to begin and I don’t want to ramble on (I’m not feeling very eloquent at the moment) so I’ll make this short and sweet.

On the 24th of May we visited the school building before it was torn down. In many ways visiting the building was like attending an open casket viewing. The body is not what defined the person, much like the building is not what defined the school. But it’s the last tangible thing that remains, and so it is to that shell that we say goodbye.

It was nice to be able to visit the old classrooms one last time and reminisce about all of our experiences there. Much about the school was still the same as I remember it, but many other things had changed and the school was in s state of disrepair. Each time I drive along 900 East in Provo I’m sure I’ll feel a little sad when I don’t see the old school building, but it was time for it go.

I’m glad I had the chance to attend the school in, what I would consider, its prime. I made friends I still have. I met my future (and current) wife. And I got a “real” education to boot. I often think back to my time spent at Meridian and I can’t help but smile.

And yes- I edited Andrew into the picture on the left. He was MIA when the picture was taken but he deserves to be in it.

21 thoughts on “Past its Prime Meridian

  1. Nice little Andrew add-in. Yes, the good ol’ days. You can make it short and sweet…while I can make it extra extra (kind of painfully) long.

  2. I loved the part with the classroom and everyone pretended to me back at Meridan! I felt like I could have totally been there…. but I was and doing who knows what at the Orem High 🙂
    I really like the Andrew edited in!!! It looks like he totally was there!

  3. Wow Cam, you don’t know how much that means to me. I keep seeing that same photo everywhere and me not in it. Thanks!

    Meridian was good times.

  4. Meridian…… Mixed feelings sure. A good experience, maybe? Does or did it compare to a real school experience, NO! Talk about living in a closet full or ignorance and artifical pride. Meridan may have fit the bill for a few only cause they had no idea how good high school could have been. Ignorance sure is a happy place:)

  5. Yes Tom,
    Perhaps ignorance is bliss…however, it does not apply in this situation. So I’m afraid your argument has no sway. I spent 10 years in public schools and I really don’t have anything wonderful to say about them. Certainly I had some good teachers and I definitely survived unscarred, but I have nothing of interest to report on public schools because they really weren’t terribly interesting.

    I was a “straight A” student through my public school days; I did what was required of me. I had my group of friends, we hung, we chilled, we did the things silly teenagers do. But once again it was all very unspectacular. Then my parents sent me to Meridian.

    Perhaps you think public schools are somehow a better experience because of their quality of education…excuse me while I laugh.
    My first few months at Meridian were definitely a challenge. Even though I had been a good student in public school and had gotten good grades, I was terribly behind the students at Meridian. It took a lot of work and some caring teachers to help me adjust and catch up.
    Getting straight A’s at Meridian wasn’t a matter of doing homework for half an hour every night, like in public schools, it actually took a lot of work. The teachers expected far more from you than their public school counterparts, but they made you believe in your own abilities-so you knew you could do it.

    The social scene was in EVERY way superior to public schools. And I do mean EVERY! There were no clicks, there really weren’t enough students to have them. The students at Meridian came from varied backgrounds and from every so called “group”: the jocks, the brains, the pretty boys, the skaters, the class clowns. Because of the small number of students you were forced to associate with those from groups that in public high school you would have had nothing to do with. And soon all those groups just melted into one: your friends. So to those ignorant advocates of public schools that would claim public schools are superior because of the greater variety or students, I would say that my friends at Meridian were far more varied in background, beliefs, and interests than their high school friends. I guarantee it.

    Though we were small in numbers we still had social events and sports. We had dances and prom. We had our basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams. Our small student count allowed kids to participate on our school’s teams that would never have made the cut at a public school. Most public school students don’t get to have the “team” experience but I did because I went to Meridian.
    So there you have it. I went to public school for ten year and Meridian for only three. But in those three short years I learned to love learning, I made friends that are still a big part of my life, and I had many great opportunities that I never would have had at a public school.
    At the end of those three years I was very prepared for college. After Meridian, college was no big deal. I didn’t struggle with the work load like many freshmen do.

    My final complaint about public schools is this: any institution that’s biggest hero is the quarterback of the football team is sad indeed. Have you ever run into the kids that were “popular” in high school? My husband has and they are generally working at a gas station or in construction. And these were the people that all throughout high school you were striving to impress and emulate? I can’t say anything worse about public schools because that is truly pathetic.

    Your artificial pride in your public school experience is rather embarrassing.

    Cam is that an adequate amount of the “Rachel Fire” for you? And Tom, I’m just sticking it to you. Don’t worry-I just get a kick out of intellectual sparring. It’s the feisty in me. I really do think I benefited greatly from attending Meridian though and if I am financially able, I plan on sending my kids to a private school.

  6. To the Intellectually Ignorant, aka “Rac”

    You must know nothing of my background and my association with the school. Meridian was and im guessing still is a social cop out for those who can’t hack it in the real world. Yes Meridian is very small and a very controlled social enviroment. If someone has there feelings hurt then the biosphere we call Meridian will stop spinning to help them back on their feet.

    Meridian for a large part can provide a much better academic experience than public schools. I would argue academics in many ways are not as important as a social education. Just take a look at much of the Waterford or Meridian Alumni. Socially challenged would be putting it lightly.

    I’m sorry but you are very wrong on trying to compare Meridian clubs and teams to those in the public system. It like saying your neighborhood t-ball game is the same as the big leagues. Same goes for Prom and other events hosted or sponcered by their respective schools.

    Go Mongose!!


  7. By the way Cam I liked your title for this entry. It was enormously clever…I’m sure you know that though 🙂

  8. Rac, “forced to associate” eh? I think I always suspected you felt that way. 😉

    Tom, Wow, you and I think very differently it seems. Personally I think the neighborhood t-ball game is far more entertaining and socially enriching than the big leagues. I went to a Mets game in NYC several years ago. BORING. The pitcher throws a perfect pitch, the batter hits it perfectly, and the outfielder catches it, over and over again. There’s no life in that.

    We’ve all heard the “social education” argument before and I’ll agree that there’s definitely value in the experience but one of the things I came to believe at Meridian is that scale has very little impact on variety of social experience. As Rac pointed out we had every bit as much variety at Meridian, probably more. And because the numbers are smaller each individual is more visible. You can’t go hide with your group of emos because you’re the only emo.

    I’m also suspicious of your anecdotal evidence that mongooses are socially challenged. Many of us are lawyers, small business owners, scientists, engineers, mothers-who-are-not-single (a huge accomplishment these days), and artists, and at least one of us is probably a spy. I’d guess that Meridian has much higher numbers of successful graduates than public schools do. There are some obvious exceptions but even those aren’t as maladjusted as a significant percentage of what the public schools churn out.

    I imagine you might argue, say, that uniforms suppress individuality. Uniforms force students to become individuals and learn to express that individuality through words and actions.

    And I’m pretty sure the ol’ biosphere never stopped spinning when my feelings were hurt.

  9. Andrew, your a true gentleman! One of these days I hope to watch Rambo with you and Cam.

  10. Tom,

    I’m very late on this comment due to vacationing but here is a condensed version anyway.

    I’m really not sure what Andrew being a gentleman has to do with anyone so I’m just going to ignore that.

    However, as to your comment on June 10th:
    I don’t think the social structure in public high school bears any resemblance to that of the “real world”. Those that do well socially in high school often struggle when they graduate.

    There were a few people at Meridian that were socially inept but most of the students were just normal kids. And how would you measure social success? Being able cope with your coworkers in a work setting? Being able to make and maintain friendships? Being able to have a successful relationship with your spouse or significant other? As Andrew pointed out, most Meridian graduates have successful careers and successful marriages. It is nearly impossible to have a successful career in a corporate environment without social skills and impossible to maintain a good relationship with your spouse without communication skills. So I can’t see how you are coming to your conclusions.

    Besides, I have plenty of friends. I am socially capable. As part of my job I have to give presentations in front of hundreds of people. I have no problems with this. I am captain of a soccer team. As such I have to deal with many personality conflicts amongst team members and am able to do this, for the most part, with diplomacy. The list of non-socially retarded activities I participate in goes on and on. So I am certainly not “socially challenged” as you put it. And if I am at all representative of other Meridian graduates then I don’t know why you think all Meridianites are social morons.

    If anything, when I went to Meridian I was a somewhat shy teenager, but by the time I graduated I was much more confident in my abilities and comfortable with who I was. I was much more vocal and comfortable in social settings. And yes, that confidence has stuck with me through my years of college and work.

    And as for sports…the skill level of the players has no correlation to their enjoyment of the game. Just because I am no Beckham doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing soccer just as much as he does.

    And besides, as unimpressive as Meridian’s soccer team was, public school teams generally aren’t that fabulous either.

    Thanks Andrew for the backup. 🙂
    And Cameron…thanks for nothing.

  11. I never saw Meridian in its glory days. When I got there (and I mean “really” got there, I was there for 7th grade and then left for a year or two for different schools), everything was very broken. There were clicks, which I had trouble dealing with for a long time. I ended up feeling pretty alienated; I never really got into any of them. The “stoners” and “techies” were equally easy to associate with, but to become a part of their group required leaps I never really felt like making.

    The teachers at Meridian were very smart, but they were equally unmotivated. Meridian had serious financial troubles during my time there, and it left a wide scar on both it’s reputation and presentation. A day didn’t go by without a teacher indicating they were dissatisfied with the school and its management. It’s no surprise that none of the unique and gifted teachers are at Meridian today.

    I don’t care about their customs, but I don’t care for them either. Uniforms were inconvienant, but I understood on an intellectual level their purpose (and there were always intellectual rebutals for their usage as well … a neverending argument in academic philosophy).

    When I attended Meridian, the quality of students was poor at best. I will say without delving too far into my own experiences that there was — and from what I know, continued to be — a serious drug problem at Meridian. Obviously, it’s hard to escape this is any large school, but you would think that a school as small and controlled as Meridian would be able to deal with “troubled” students. They didn’t, though, and I saw a lot of potentially great peers fall to their academic deaths. It’s very sad, and Meridian ceased to be for me once this took place. I was a good student and could have graduated with the respect of my teachers and an attractive GPA — instead, I left in disgust.

    I met Andrew Nelson at Meridian, and he was — and is — the best thing I found at Meridian. I’m pretty thankful that the click he joined (take a guess at what one!) mostly kept him from the darker corners of Meridian in those days.

    I won’t comment much about the Meridian Tom describes at the time he attended, but I can definately say that a lot of what he’s posted accurately reflects the Meridian I saw during my time.

  12. The popular phrase ‘to each his own’, probably applies here. Some people would gain more from Meridian, some from public schools. It depends what you’re looking for in life and what type of person you are. Educationally I have to say I thought Meridian was excellent. Was it the best? No, I’m sure there are schools with ‘better’ teachers that push you harder and are more exceptional, but Meridian was still an excellent education. Where there clicks? By the class of 2003 there were. Not many, but there were. There were members of the class that did not get along and it certainly wasn’t this ideal ‘class of one’ business.

    Besides, what public school are you exactly comparing Meridian to? There are good public schools and bad public schools. I know there certainly public schools that offer the same academic opportunities as Meridian if not more, and there are some that are horrible.

  13. Greg, Greg, Greg,

    I can’t say much about your Meridian experience since it differed so drastically from my own. I never saw or heard of any students using drugs.

    I will say this though-isn’t a Nelson the best thing about any experience?
    Just kidding.

  14. Sorry I haven’t weighed in until now! Busy, busy… Let’s see… I just made Andrew Nelson’s post visible (and by the way, congrats Andrew! I heard the wedding was spectacular from several sources).

    I’ve decided not to get into the mix too much. Everyone experiences things differently. Everyone has their own opinions and everyone is entitled to that opinion. Obviously Tom Allen’s comment is designed to elicit an emotional response. His post is blatantly hypocritical. Since he did not have my experience at Meridian his attempted comparison is meaningless. “Talk about living in a closet full or ignorance” for sure.

    When Tom said, “I would argue academics in many ways are not as important as a social education.” I had to chuckle a bit. He didn’t even spell Mongoose correctly in his attempt to mock our mascot. Hope that “social education” is working out for you Tommy!

  15. It’s my mascot to Cam. I bleed fuzzy critter blood like the rest of you “SCP’s” I am also the Captain of my Unreal Tournament 2004 Clan. I am the leader of hundreds and command my team to victory everytime I take to the battlefield.

  16. MMmmmm……nothing says social moron more than someone who plays video games nonstop instead of interacting with people in the real world.

    I’m not really sure what a SCP is but I will assume it is some sort of insult. I can’t believe you insulted me… 🙂

  17. I am so glad you alumni came to say good-bye to the old building that definitely needed to be torn down.

    I currently work at the school and have for 6 years. I came across your conversation during an internet search. Some things have changed at the school, some have not. No drugs. Fairly challenging academics. Great teachers (even got Anna Tueller Stone to come back to teach English this year). Some social misfits – plenty of “average” teenagers. Meridian has a nurturing environment where students can gain confidence in themselves. Still struggling financially.

    Please come by the new location and visit – just because we moved to a different structure doesn’t mean the end of Meridian. The spirit lives on even if the “body” is gone! We are at 280 South 400 East (across the street from Orem High).

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