McConnell Takes Steps to Success with “ED Walks”


Gina Nguyen

Dr. Germain McConnell gives senior Loveish Sarolia advice.

Aiden Leise, Staff Writer

MSMS students have a new opportunity to communicate directly with administration through a new program known as the “ED Walks,” launched by Executive Director of MSMS Dr. Germain McConnell.  The program is simple: Every Monday and Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., Dr. McConnell will take a two- mile walk with a group of four to six students on the MUW walking track and discuss the various affairs and plans of the school and its students.

Gina Nguyen
Senior Madison Wypyski voices her MSMS experience to Dr. McConnell

However, the simplistic nature of the program hasn’t kept it from receiving praise from a number of students in the time it’s been running. Participating students have said that their walks with Dr. McConnell have had positive results when it comes to learning more about the administration’s plans for the school. 

“I think the ED Walks are a really good idea because Dr. McConnell is taking action and getting almost one on one conversation with the students,” said senior Kelsey Hollingsworth. “When we were doing our walk, we reported a problem, and he immediately pulled out his phone and reported it to Ms. Alexander to get it fixed as soon as possible. I think it’s a very good idea that he’s getting interactive with the students.”

The ED Walks are an idea two years in the making, but Dr. McConnell hasn’t been able to find time until now to implement it. The walks started as a plan for Dr. McConnell’s to become more knowledgeable about the thoughts and feelings of students about the school while also incorporating an aspect of exercise.

“I thought about doing lunch with students every week,” McConnell said, “and I could do lunch, but I [also wanted to] encourage exercise and the use of the MUW walking track.”

However, once McConnell implemented his idea, he still needed a name. Many names were proposed by MSMS students and faculty, including “Running Off at the Mouth” and “Burn the Concern,” but McConnell felt that “ED Walks,” combining the name of TED Talks and the concept of taking a friendly stroll with the Executive Director of MSMS, fell more in line with his vision for the program.

Another goal of the ED Walks is to help students be more comfortable talking to administrators about their experiences at MSMS. “Yes, I have a lot to do, and the first thing students tell me is, ‘Dr. McConnell, I know you’re busy but…’” McConnell said, “but I want students coming and asking, ‘Dr. McConnell, can I meet with you?’ Sure, administrators have a lot to do, but we are here to serve the students as well.”

Junior Garrett Wells, who participated in the inaugural ED Walk along with Tiwaniya Tyler and Jieying Wang, also feels that they are successful in making such exchanges easier.

“When you come to a place like this, and you see the person with the most authority here, it’s weird to talk to them and see their human side, and I think this kind of accomplishes making that less weird,” Wells said.

In spite of the time commitment it demands, Dr. McConnell believes that the ED Walks are, have been, and will continue to be beneficial to everyone involved.

“I think I’ve made the right decision to try to make sure that I’m listening and available to the students,” McConnell said. “As an educator, we love students and we want to make sure they excel, so anytime I have an opportunity to have an interaction in that way, it benefits me greatly. It’s personal for me. It’s professional, but its also for the benefit of the school and the students.”