It’s a common dichotomy in secondary education—college preparedness vs. real-world experience. In becoming a pioneer and national leader of Team Mediation at the high school level, Principia Upper School has found a way to succeed at both.
After hosting the nation’s first high school Mediation tournament in 2021, this year the School held its first in-person tournament. Twelve teams, representing seven schools, met at the Upper School in early November to take on real-world mediation cases. Hosted with the support of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR), the tournament provided an opportunity for students to gain crucial experience in collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.
“Mediation lines up perfectly with what the School is trying to do,” explains Patti Fox, who coached and advised Principia’s Mediation team. “The students learn collaboration, communication, and community; it’s such a great vehicle for developing those skills.”
Fox points out that Principia’s veteran mediators’ experience paid off in spectacular fashion: Quinna McCarty took Top Mediator honors, and Nne Ezi Okike and Zawadi Oyugi earned the distinction of Top Advocate: Client Pairs. Zawadi, Nne, and newcomer Amerie Alexander finished as Runner Up in Overall Top Mediation Team.
Says senior mediator Quinna McCarty, “As an advocate, you have to balance looking out for your client's best interests and being cooperative with the opposing side. Mediation is a great experience for any young person, and a great option for real world conflicts, as well.”
“I’m so grateful Principia has been willing to support this at the high school level and see the kids develop these peacemaking skills,” Fox concludes.
- Upper School