Is MX Good?

Two Second Year MX Heads Debate MX


Harry – pro:

I’ll be honest, when I decided to run for Morning Exercise (MX) Committee Head, it was a compulsion. Also, Tess Wayland said it was a good idea so there really wasn’t any question. However, while running for the position and in my time holding the position, I have had the chance to reflect on the institution of MX. And my verdict is that it is positive in the Parker community. 

There are some MXs that we can all agree are winners. Short films, 12 Days, talent shows. I even believe we can all appreciate some presenters that aren’t meant as pure entertainment. Valerie Jarret, AFS students, Scholastic Bowl. But there are a lot of MXs that we don’t really appreciate. I don’t intend to convince anyone that they enjoyed MXs that they didn’t enjoy. Even I get bored during MX quite often.

However, I believe we need to take a step back from just dismissing each MX as either funny, boring, or dumb. Instead, we should appreciate the great things about MX and change our self-centered mindset.

MX does not owe us anything.

It just doesn’t. We have all signed on to go to a school that has MX. Where did we get the idea that its sole purpose was to work for us?

I generally enjoy MX. That is because I am not judging the presentation as I am watching it. I accept that someone put work into preparing it and my job is to support them. It doesn’t matter whether I got something out of it or not, because that MX was not about me.

MX being cut down to twice a week was probably a good move. My point is that MX doesn’t need to always entertain us, but it should be revised as needed and it should not become too great of an inconvenience to any of us.

MX is special because we are all together. Whether you leave the auditorium feeling tired or amused, you can talk to your friend about it and know that your entire community sat through the same thing. There is something unique about being at a school that regularly puts you face to face with all the grades of your community. I get that some people might want to passively attend Parker and never really consider what it means to be here, but I like to think that some people care.

I don’t care very much about people skipping MX. It is not my job to make everyone come and I understand that everyone has very busy and tiring lives. However, in my opinion, it is pretty lame. You may not want to go to MX, but by deciding you don’t have to, you are saying your time is more valuable than everyone else’s.

You may be thinking “I won’t learn anything at MX” or “no one really cares if you are there.” In response to these claims, I say again, it’s not about you. You should go to MX to support the presenter and be part of your community, whether you want to or not. That being said, I will say again that I don’t care all that much about any of you skipping MX and I would be remissed if your only takeaway from this opinion piece is that I am complaining about people skipping MX.

I agree that some MXs are pointless and rather than wasting everyone’s time, we should give free periods to everyone when possible. However, by going down to two MXs per week, we have mostly cut out these useless MXs, the MX calendar is booked for most of the year already with necessary presentations.

I hope that all of you will attend the next MX with a new point of view.


Arjun – con:

I, like Harry, am an MX head. But I don’t like MX. Infact, I only ran for MX head because it was an unopposed position. MX feels to me less like a useful hour and twenty minutes and more like a vestigial organ, taking up useful space in the calendar. 

Even worse is the committee. Every Tuesday, the four committee heads and the faculty sponsors gather at roughly 7:30 to go through a form, send a few emails and schedule a few MXs. Contrary to popular belief we have no control over what MXs we have unless someone drops out at the last minute (and the faculty never seems to like the idea of a free period no matter how much I suggest it). This job doesn’t feel like it’s useful for students to be involved in. At this point, it really doesn’t feel like a job a human even needs to be doing, but I digress. All in all the committee really exemplifies the image of student leadership: elect students to meet once a week and schedule things students really have no control over to give the illusion of student input. 

Now to the meat of the article: the MXs themselves. I have always found MX to be a dull and mind numbing affair. As young as 12, when I came to Parker, an age much closer to the age most speakers were presenting to, I felt this. 40 minutes is far too long to be hearing from the dull speakers, most of the speakers especially MXs presented by students, and too short for the once or twice a year the MX is actually interesting like when Wes Moore (now a governor elect yay!!) came and I wished that the school had utilized the time we had with him better. But those are the exceptions not the rule. A vast majority of the time, I’m bored and uninterested in the topic, and while it does allow me to hone my ability to quip and criticize, it does little else to stimulate my brain.

Now, I think the MX has been made better by moving from three MXs a week to two. There tends to be marginally less filler and just having it twice a week is less mind numbing simply by having 40 less minutes of MX. 

Some may suggest that the importance of MX comes from it as a communal activity where the community gets stronger through sharing. I don’t agree. I don’t think there is a greater bond between divisions because twice a week they watch the same things. The younger students might get a look at what the older children are doing and the older children what the younger are doing, however, for me at least, that doesn’t happen. Often, when I watch MXs with younger children, I suddenly think that the actor in Problem Child is a wunderkind, and have to remind myself not to be too harsh, that they are just learning to read and speak. 

All and all I think MX is largely a waste of time. But I also understand that it won’t go away. And twice a week is a lot more bearable than three. But in a perfect world, I would reduce it to one or no MXs a week. I’d use that time for other things like a dedicated time in the schedule for club meetings. And when occasionally they bring in an important speaker, I would use that club time and extend it into the following time to provide adequate time for the speaker. Additionally, I would try to split up the speakers by division so that the speaker doesn’t have to appeal to people ages 8 to 18. Will any of this happen? No. But hey, I only have a year and a half left. That’s only around 100 MXs!