Any time there’s a snow day for Jackson-Madison County Schools, Madison Academic High School Principal Chad Guthrie expected a phone call about flooding in the school or water leaks in classrooms from the melted snow and ice.
Walking in the new Madison building on the University of Memphis-Lambuth campus on Monday, Jan. 10, Madison students and staff didn’t have to worry about water leaks or the heat not working, Guthrie said, noting the staff’s comments.
The new school creates a better working and learning environment for staff and students – an environment that makes students excited to learn and that makes them proud to be Madison Mustangs.
Guthrie loves the newness, but his favorite part of the school is that each teacher has his or her own lab equipped for either the biology or chemistry classes. The old Madison had one lab for the four biology and chemistry teachers to use, meaning they had to schedule classes based on lab availability.
Being able to use properly equipped labs whenever needed is important for students who are going to spend a lot of time in biology or chemistry labs in college, Guthrie said about Madison preparing students for education after high school.
Madison has always offered a rigorous college prep curriculum but being on the University of Memphis-Lambuth campus expands those opportunities for Madison as a dual enrollment high school.
The 58,800-square-foot school accommodates Madison’s average class size in contrast to the old building having some classes that couldn’t seat more than 16 students.
“The kids just love the new building,” staff told Guthrie.
Senior Millie Treadway loves how open and spacious the new Madison is, such as the giant windows that let in natural light.
It creates a nice learning environment that makes learning easier, she said
“It makes it easier for us to become excited about learning, especially taking into consideration everything we’ve been through in our four years,” Treadway said. “I think this new building will motivate and encourage students to work hard and want to earn their place at Madison.”
Treadway and her classmates have been educated in a pandemic that started during the spring semester of their sophomore year. Even so, they’ve endured the challenges of virtual learning, student and staff isolations, struggles with mental health and more while striving to meet the expectations set for Madison students.
“Even in our old building, we didn’t realize what the proper environment can do for our mindset,” she said. “I’m hopeful that everyone’s mindset about learning will improve. I’m also hoping that the new building will instill a lot of school pride.
“A lot of us are really proud to go to Madison, and I think the new building will encourage that. It already has. We’re all just really proud to be here and to call ourselves Madison students.”
To Treadway, the new Madison is like a bright light through the dark experiences of the pandemic.
Guthrie is thankful for the public-private partnership that made it happen.
While Treadway won’t get to experience more than a semester at the new Madison, she hopes that everyone can be grateful for in-person learning and what that brings.
“Obviously, it’s hard to say goodbye to something that’s been your comfort, where you’ve had a lot of experiences and where we’ve done a lot of growing up,” she said. “While it is really hard to say goodbye, we’re all excited to have this new experience and be in the new building for one last semester of learning before we graduate.”
Lasherica Thornton is The Jackson Sun's education reporter. Reach her at 731-343-9133 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @LashericaT
This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: Principal, student say new Madison creates better learning environment