A Letter To The Editor

Shakila Zuberi, MHS Sophomore

Dear Editor,

During my freshman year, I walked through the school campus, laughing with a friend while taking a mental health break from class when I encountered a PHS student. The student made fun of us for taking a break, assuming that MHS didn’t have much academic value. It felt like we were suddenly inferior to Piedmont – a community that swallowed us whole instead of welcoming us with open arms. I wasn’t sure how to feel; I just wanted to be understood, not pushed into a stereotype that isn’t true. I wanted the student to try and establish a bond between us. I wanted them to get to know us, because, in reality, we have more similarities than differences. 

I feel that every time someone who doesn’t go to MHS says ‘Millennium,’ they drag the word out, as if it’s some kind of mystery. Like it’s not a place of learning, but instead an unexplored, theoretical idea.  

Even though we are on the same campus, I feel undermined because of the assumptions that our classes are less rigorous or that we unfairly receive more privileges. False assumptions form an unnecessary separation and divide the two schools.  

Whenever I have a conversation with a PHS student or faculty member, they ask questions, as if we don’t use the same curriculum, have the same graduation requirements, and follow the same schedule. 

The differences that set MHS apart from PHS are structural differences. Thanks to our smaller student body size, we receive more individual attention. We have built a family and a sense of community, creating a place that’s really ours. At MHS, we value mental health as a whole, allowing empathy, self-discovery, and relationships to hold just as much importance as academics.

But, whenever I venture into PHS’s STEAM building, I feel a shift. Suddenly, I’m a tree branch, sticking out further than everything else. I can feel the eyes looking at my hair, my clothes, my brown skin. I feel suffocated. The assumptions are suffocating. 

Students at both schools need to realize that it’s 2023, and the estrangement between the MHS and PHS communities needs to come to an end. 

A lot of Piedmont’s Black high school students attend MHS, with plenty of them playing for the Piedmont women’s basketball team. While no one has ever said anything to my face, I have overheard antagonistic attitudes about MHS come from PHS students.. They falsely think something has to be wrong with a student, academically or mentally, for them to attend MHS. 

To combat false assumptions, to feel like a community, to create more open-minded, educated students, we need to continue to integrate the two schools through different social events. 

I encourage students from both schools to put aside stigmas and assumptions about the other school.  Before forming prejudices, see for yourself what the school is about. We are willing to finish building the bridge between the communities if you are willing to listen and welcome us.



Shakila Zuberi

MHS sophomore