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Midlo Scoop

Midlo Through the Years

Teacher perspectives on how Midlo has changed over time
History teacher Morgan Gilbert after graduating from Midlo compared to her teaching now
History teacher Morgan Gilbert after graduating from Midlo compared to her teaching now

Midlothian High School was first established in 1911, and over its many years of operation, it’s changed a lot. Midlo was originally located on Route 60, on the grounds of what now is Midlothian Middle School. Later in 1984, the school moved to its current location. In the beginning, it housed a total of 25 students, grades 1-12; a big difference from today’s nearly 2000 students.

However, the school building isn’t the only thing that’s changed at Midlo. For one, technology has come to play an increasingly larger role at the school over the years. Back in 1998 when current principal Shawn Abel was the tech coordinator, teachers had just begun to use computers. “Some were very standoffish, and, I mean, they didn’t want to use computers at all. [They] didn’t see a use for them,” Abel said. 

However, after Covid forced students and teachers to work from home, there was no other option. “They were hitting it pretty good just before Covid, transitioning, and then Covid just smacked them in the face and said, ‘You have to do it.’ It was kind of a weird blessing, with all the curses that came with it,” Abel said. 

With the evolution of artificial intelligence, learning and teaching methods have continued to change over time. “Students have access to much more on the internet as far as cheating,” English teacher Molly Palenski said. As technology has progressed, teachers have been forced to change their teaching styles in order to accommodate students better. Palenski, who taught English at Midlo at the same time as her mother, Amy Tucker, said that Covid had changed the way she and her mom taught. “My mom’s way of teaching is not necessarily the way that I teach now,” Palenski said.

The clubs and extracurricular activities available to students have also changed. “It’s weird. Like, you have more, but you have less, if that makes any sense,” English teacher and senior sponsor Melissa Joynson said about the extracurricular choices available to students now. Joynson, who graduated from Midlo, remembered being a part of the Key Club, a club for community service. Joynson’s neighbor, who also graduated from Midlo, had asked who did community service now that the Key Club no longer existed. “I was like, ‘I think like all of them,’” Joynson said. Joynson also remembered that the options for sports were more limited when she attended Midlo — for one, there was no lacrosse team.

Pep rallies are also different now from how they were a while ago. “There wasn’t the throwing of the pep rallies,” Joynson said. “You guys are intense and kind of scary, not gonna lie.” Joynson also mentioned that senior participation in pep rallies has gone down. “But it’s fun, because, like, seeing what the freshmen did last year for their freshman dance for the pep rally, and then seeing what they ended up doing this year, and the growth,” Joynson said. 

Emily Pfund, English teacher and cheer coach, agreed that the pep rallies were one of her favorite memories from attending Midlo. “As fun as they are now, they were, like, times ten when we went here. They were crazy. And that’s when the auxiliary gym was the main gym, and so packing the whole student population in there was insane, but it was really, really fun,” Pfund said. 

Class times have changed as well. “The best thing was Midlo Morning [MAP]. It got introduced when we went here… It was the first, like, 30 minutes of school, and you didn’t have to come, so we could just come to school late if we didn’t want to go to Midlo Morning,” Pfund said.  “I think they shut that down right after we graduated.”

However, despite the many changes at Midlo, the character and values of the students who go there has stayed relatively the same. “The thing that I tell everyone — and I hope this was true when I was a student here because I didn’t pay attention to it as much — but, as a rule, most of the kids are pretty nice kids,” geometry teacher Adam Layton said. Layton also told a story about his first day teaching at Midlo. “I was at lunch duty, and the bell rang, and everyone got up and there was no trash on any lunch table. And I was like ‘What the heck, where am I?’” 

Dr. Abel agreed that “the community feel” is one of his favorite parts about Midlo. “If you need to raise money to support a cause or an endeavor you can, you can raise money pretty quickly. I just feel like it’s a community that kind of looks out for one another still, which I think is a little lost in some schools,” Abel said.

First-year history teacher Morgan Gilbert, who also attended Midlo, agreed. “To be here in such an awesome community surrounded with people that saw me grow up and helped me grow up as a high schooler and now get to help me in my career as an adult, it’s… Midlo’s awesome,” Gilbert said.

While many aspects of Midlo have changed over the past hundred years, one fundamental thing has not: Midlo students are proud of their school. “Everyone, I think for the most part, enjoys going to school and is proud to say that they’re a student here,” Pfund said.

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About the Contributors
Catherine Walworth
Catherine Walworth, News Writer
Class of 2027 Catherine Walworth is serving her first year on staff. In her free time she enjoys playing lacrosse with her friends.
Olivia Tonn
Olivia Tonn, News Writer
Class of 2027 Olivia Tonn is serving her first year on staff. She enjoys reading and writing in her free time.

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  • AbelMar 30, 2024 at 8:07 am

    Great job, Catherine and Olivia.

  • Nancy Redmond CoveyMar 25, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    I graduated 60 years ago and it seems like some things have changed very little. Glad to hear the enthusiasm for the Midlothian Spirit is still alive and well!