McLain Teacher Telling Stories, Changing Perceptions


Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 9:21 pm
By: Emory Bryan


A teacher from McLain High School is working to change perceptions of the school, and the students, by writing down their stories and sharing them on Facebook.

For most people, it's easy to judge McLain High School from the outside without every stepping foot in the door. The struggles of the school are well known. That failing image of McLain didn't match what Teacher Cindy Haley was seeing in her students.

"I was always astounded at the stories they were telling me and the things they're living through, or they've overcome, or they're facing on a daily basis," Haley said. 

Hearing the stories and remembering her own years of high school she said she "felt so alone and so isolated." It prompted her to start recording those stories.

"I can use my knowledge of how that feels to make sure no one else feels alone," Haley said.

She interviews McLain graduates, students, and takes pictures to go along with the narrative. She posts those stories on a Facebook page called "I am McLain." The stories focus on dreams, accomplishments, fears of being different or lonely, and struggles never shared.

"It's a powerful tool for changing hearts and changing mindsets - not just within the school but within the community," Haley said.

Malachi Knighton, a junior, said his story surprised even some of his friends.

"Nobody knew what I was going through, except the people at home," Haley said. "A lot of times the ones with the deepest stories are the ones who never talk."

Haley believes she's tapping into the real story of McLain - one of overcoming, where no one is forgotten, and no one is alone.

"If everyone realized what everyone else was dealing with and what everyone else is bringing to school with them, I imagine everyone would be kinder to one another," Haley said. 

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