Magis: The More
Ryan Szeto '14
“Isn’t it just a place that gives free cheerios?” asked Nick Elbert ’14. Far from it. Because the Magis program supports a group mainly composed of minorities, it often has a reputation for being exclusive from other students. At times, I've seen random students sheepishly stand at the door, as if awaiting an invitation to venture into such an unknown land. According to Mr. Abram Jackson, Magis Director, "Magis is two-fold, as it is a middle school enrichment program and a high school socio-cultural support program. Both programs work with students who may be one, two or all three of the following: first-generation college-bound, low-income or traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Our middle school students commit to being in the program for three years (6th - 8th grade) and not only at- tend summer school, but enrichment activities during the school year. The high school program is designed to support students and families with the college preparatory system. For some families, the experience of SI is very new and Magis is an additional support system in place at SI, offering support groups, one-on-one check-ins, Magis Movie Days about identity, and college workshops conducted by the Magis College Ad- visor, Anna Maria Vaccaro." Though it functions mainly for the students it supports, Magis is completely open to anyone looking for an engaging environment where all can express themselves freely.
Moreover, "an additional resource that the program provides is the office itself. Many of the middle and grammar schools that some Magis students attend are very different than SI. The Magis Office serves as a safe place for students to receive support and encouragement. The experience of being a minority at SI is complicated and the experiences are varied. Some students may have a hard time adjusting to a place that looks nothing like their community, old school, or family. Other folks may have a quicker transition. Nonetheless, Magis is there to support students in transitioning to SI and encouraging students to engage in all that the SI community has to offer. I believe that the Magis program is at the heart of our mission in terms of cura personalis and being "with and for others." I am very proud and excited about the great work of the Magis Office and even more proud about the accomplishments of our students", said Mr. Jackson.
One such student, Nasser Al-Rayess '14, stated, "To me, Magis is not a place, it's a community. People like Mr. Jackson and Mr. Balano have supported me through the last three years. They embody what Magis means--’the more’. The community is a major part of what has helped me and others grow and develop as students and people. I couldn't be more thankful."
The Magis office provides a safe place to relax with friends.
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