written by Lara Brockway
Kyle Paul is an alum of Menaul School and graduated in 2014. He spent all of his middle school and high school years here, with a mother that worked in the same position that I do now. Prior to the interview, Head of School Lindsey Gilbert Jr. described him as being one of the most hardworking and best students that he has seen come out of Menaul. He gave a moving speech at his high school commencement ceremony, and has only moved forward from there. Speaking with him, though, all one can feel is his humble nature, and excitement to make the world a better place. He wants to make his hometown proud. Below is a transcription of a conversation that I had with him.
Can you give a highlight of what your time at Menaul was like?
I was here from 6th grade through senior year. My class was a smaller group, which gave us the opportunity to get to know each other very well. I think the best thing [about the small class size] is that it gave me a lot of one-on-one time with teachers. It made me feel like I was being supported throughout my whole time here. Because I had teachers, administrators, and a college counselor who cared about my future, they led me to opportunities that I would not have gotten elsewhere in New Mexico. I was able to apply myself and attend a great school in Massachusetts—Tufts University—where I received similar support while focusing on children’s media. That led me to pursue a masters degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which I just graduated from in May. And now I start my first job this month!
Compared to the education of your peers at these east coast universities, did you feel like your education matched or came close to theirs?
It was definitely different. Especially at Tufts: there were very, very, very few New Mexicans. When you met them, it was a freak out because they were the only people who knew about good chile. I think one of the things that I was intimidated by at first was that some of the schools that other students came from seemed more rigorous on paper. I didn’t have an IB or AP background. However, I think one thing that came to my advantage was having an interdisciplinary focus at Menaul. I graduated feeling comfortable about learning a variety of subjects and skills because that’s what we we did at Menaul, which was helpful going to a liberal arts school like Tufts. It helped me feel well rounded. I think the other thing that was unexpected was the presence of international students. Being here and interacting with students from Belgium, Germany, and China, I felt a lot more comfortable interacting with the international community at Tufts and Harvard, which both had a large presence. Now, I’m planning to one day visit all the international friends I made! I feel like my connections are even broader because of the basic skill set I gained socially through my peers at Menaul.
What is your first job that you are moving on to now?
I will be working at Disney Junior’s Educational Resource Group. They help integrate social and emotional learning curriculum, as well as diversity and inclusion, into Disney’s shows aimed at children ages 5 and under. Because this was my focus at Tufts and Harvard, I’m so excited to join a team that shares my passion to have a positive impact in children’s media!
What is a favorite memory that you made while going to school here?
One of my favorite [memories] was my advisory group. I was with Mr. Lucero, who was the Upper School English teacher at the time. He was someone that challenged us every time we had our group. My classmates and I were able to hang out in a ‘Breakfast Club’ kind of style because he was open to hear about our lives and what was happening in the world. He also had a secretly hilarious side— I regret not being able to use a rap he wrote for one of our advisory group videos. He was just so wise and inspiring. I think that advisory was the best 20 minutes that we had every day, which I truly cherished through graduation.