Alumni Return to MHS
St. Louis is a city of bountiful history. To many residents, St. Louis has been known as a sports city, supporting multiple franchises at different points in time. With Imo’s, Ted Drewes and Anheuser-Busch among many grassroots companies founded in St. Louis, it makes for great tradition.
On a smaller scale, MHS also has its traditions. Every year students experience Wacky Olympics, Powder Puff, and Homecoming. Sometimes, students return to those traditions as teachers.
Jessica Brown, language arts teacher, has been experiencing these traditions since MHS first opened its doors.
Brown’s first year as a student at MHS was in 1993, the school’s inaugural year. Brown was a part of MHS’ second graduating class and graduated in 1997, marking the first class to attend all four years at the school.
“When MHS first opened, I was a freshman, and the only other class of students were the tenth graders,” Brown said. “We had no upper-classmen, so it was up to us to pave the way and begin the traditions. It was not the ‘conventional’ high school experience that most students today have.”
Initially, MHS was a much smaller school. Brown said she cherished having the ability to influence the future of MHS.
“I loved the sense of community,” she said. “Everyone knew everyone, even if they weren’t part of the same social circle.”
Subsequently, when West County grew in population size, so did MHS. In order to accommodate the rapidly growing school, MHS created temporary trailers on, what would later become, the bus parking lot.
Technology teacher Kevin Sharitz, class of 2000, recalls the ramifications made to keep up with the growing population.
“Where the bus lanes are now, we used to have a row of trailers,” Sharitz said. “It was fun. The teachers kind of treated it like their own little island with their own rules. It was also nice just to go outside during the day.”
After college, Sharitz recalls all the circumstances had been right for him to return.
“I loved the school and it was walking distance from where I lived,” he said. “I also knew the majority of the staff which made it the most logical. I believe some of the staff members used to joke with the principals by saying, ‘You hire Sharitz yet?’”
Sharitz said MHS has taught him that as a teacher it can be fun to go to work, and, through the many relationships he has made with students and teachers, he has learned more than he ever expected. The most life-changing event, he said, was meeting his wife, Brittany Sharitz.
Later MHS expanded to accommodate its growing population of students. PE teacher Jenna King, class of 2005, was a student when the G-Wing was constructed in 2001. The new addition to the school allowed for a permanent solution to the influx of students.
King said she loved the social aspect of MHS, and the vast size and population of MHS allowed her to succeed. Later she returned to MHS as a teacher, joining other alumni including Sharitz.
“I knew that MHS gave students a great education, required hard work and prepared them for the future,” King said. “I wanted to be a part of helping prepare students for life after high school and MHS was a great opportunity.”
King said the school increased even more in size when she returned. And with that growth, she observed new fashion trends and the growth of technology in schools.
“When I was in high school, everyone wore jeans every day and cell phones were just becoming a thing; not everyone had them,” she said. “Your cell phone could only call and text people, that was it.”
Eventually, Brown also returned to MHS after teaching at Selvidge Middle School for 10 years.
Brown said she wanted to continue sharing the English language with older students. To share it with the students of MHS, she said, felt like a natural career path for her.
“I wanted to move back to high school,” Brown said. “It was just a gravitational pull. There’s a comfort in being at a school that I helped build. There’s more ownership, I guess.”
Brown doesn’t regret her return. When people ask her that traditional St. Louis question – What high school did you go to? – Brown is proud of her answer.
“While it has certainly evolved, MHS is my school, and I’m certainly proud to be a part of it,” Brown said.
Carter Van Buskirk, sophomore, is a staff reporter for the Messenger. Carter plays varsity soccer for MHS. He is a board member for the sophomore class...