A Day to Celebrate Memphis!

January 11, 2022

We celebrated our Memphis home with community speakers and games on campus before our varsity basketball Owls headed to FedExForum to beat MHEA, 44-41. Later, Beg To Differ sang the national anthem before the Grizzlies overcame the Golden State Warriors, 116-108. 

We are grateful to our speakers for providing students with insight on the opportunities and challenges facing our city and to all who made these events possible. 

It was a great day all around!
The day started with a school assembly in Hyde Chapel including the MUS Studio Band performing Memphis-themed music and an introduction to the day’s events from Headmaster Pete Sanders. Instructor in Religion Clay Smythe ’85 spoke on what makes Memphis unique and why the city offers a great return on investment of time, talent, and treasure, not to mention heart and imagination.

After the assembly, students met with speakers from across the community covering a variety of topics. 

Memphis Government
Introduced by Instructor of American Government Jason Peters ’88, Memphis City Council members and alumni Frank Colvett, Jr. ’88, Chase Carlisle ’03, and Worth Morgan ’05 spoke to eighth graders and seniors about the nonpartisan council, public safety, and what it means to be a public servant in Memphis. Peters asked questions composed with assistance from his AP Government students.

Memphis Entrepreneurialism
Instructor in Economics Orlando McKay introduced Mr. Andy Cates ’89, president and chairman of The Daily Memphian Board of Directors. Cates is also CEO of RVC Outdoor Destinations and a member of the MUS Board of Trustees. He spoke to juniors and freshmen about entrepreneurialism as a way of improving our city, using the example of the nonprofit digital news source The Daily Memphian.

Memphis Sports
Instructor of Fine Arts and NBA Photography Assistant Grant Burke introduced Memphis Grizzlies President Jason Wexler and Grind City Media Senior Editor Mike Wallace who spoke with sophomores and seventh graders about the team, its current winning trend, and the organization’s initiatives to celebrate and uplift Memphis.

Classes then broke into smaller groups to meet with a host of speakers from community outreach organizations:

Slingshot Memphis
Seniors met with Justin Miller, founding CEO of Slingshot Memphis, a “poverty-fighting center of influence that’s igniting a movement to revolutionize the way we fight poverty,” according to the organization’s website.

Anna Kathryn Word, chief development officer at MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) spoke to juniors about the organization and its mission to support the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis through partnerships with organizations, volunteers, and donors.

Calvary Episcopal Church Room in the Inn
Christine Todd, director of Outreach Ministries, led this talk with sophomores about actively loving their neighbors, and Community Liaison Darius (Mak) Clayton presented a spoken word poem. Todd encouraged students to get involved in projects such as Calvary’s Room in the Inn, a service that offers emergency shelter and recuperative care for people experiencing homelessness.

More Than a Meal and Samaritan Counseling Centers
Freshmen met Earle Donelson, co-founder of More Than a Meal, a program that invites homeless and hungry people to dine in the parish hall of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Donelson is also a psychologist with Samaritan Counseling Centers, a practice that provides professional counseling services and educational programs to anyone in need regardless of financial situation.

The Salvation Army
Major Maureen Diffley, commanding officer of The Salvation Army Purdue Center, and Christina Roberts, founder of The Salvation Army Give, Pray, Serve (GPS) Squad, met with Lower School boys. The Purdue Center offers residency and programs for women and their children facing myriad challenges. The GPS Squad is a group of young people dedicated to meeting the needs of Memphis.

The day concluded with lunch in the Dining Hall and activities including an inflatable jungle gym and jousting ring, gaming trucks, and a 3v3 basketball tournament before the Owls took on MHEA at FedExForum.