First ‘21 Talks’ seminar considered a success by panelists and attendees


Courtesy of Madison Meeks

Senior Class President Madison Meeks started “21 Talks” last year to encourage discussion between seniors and juniors.

Jillian Snodgrass, Staff Writer

“21 Talks” has started for the 2020-2021 school year, with the theme of the first seminar being “MSMS Traditions and Tips.” “21 Talks” was founded last year as a mental health seminar by Senior Class President Madison Meeks. 

Meeks wanted her seminar to be a place where everyone felt comfortable.

“I wanted to recreate a safe space for everyone to just peel the layers back and ask questions,” Meeks said.

The first seminar covered topics from study skills to friendship tips to club participation. Alongside Meeks, seniors Muneebah Umar, Ian Avant and Brayden Bailey answered questions and offered advice. 

Before the day of the seminar, Meeks asked students to submit any questions or concerns they had about MSMS. During the meeting, she first introduced the seminar and how it was founded and then turned it over to the panelists to introduce themselves. Following introductions, the panelists discussed students’ queries. Each question submitted was separated into a section (academics or student life). At the end of each section, Meeks allotted time for questions from the floor. 

Junior Jordan Isbell felt the seminar showed how connected the MSMS community is.

“Five minutes into the seminar, I knew this was going to be a conference I’ll be looking forward to in the future,” Isbell said. “I love how our concerns and challenges aren’t ignored or unacknowledged, and it’s more comforting knowing people go through the same issues.”

The panelists hoped that they helped make the juniors feel more supported after the seminar. 

What I hope the juniors got out of it is that we are here for them and that we struggle or have struggled like they are [or] have,” Bailey said. 

Meeks made it clear that she plans to focus future meetings on juniors especially. 

“With the juniors not being able to experience MSMS for what us seniors know it as, I wanted to cater to [them] this first semester with ‘21 Talks,’” she said.

Additionally, Meeks and the panelists encouraged students to get out of their comfort zones. All four seniors emphasized the importance of reaching out to classmates, friends and teachers both for assistance and to form connections. 

I wanted to reinforce the idea of forming more relationships amongst the student body while getting help on whatever their problems were,” Meeks said. 

Overall, Meeks and the panelists felt that the seminar was a success. 

“The questions Madison had prepared were great and covered issues and concerns I know all students face when they first start at MSMS,” Umar said. 

For juniors who missed out, Meeks has many more “21 Talks” sessions planned.  

“ [Juniors who missed the first seminar] definitely will want to be at the next ones!” Meeks said.