A commute of an hour and 15 minutes is rare in the Memphis area, but after stepping foot on campus for the first time, Ava Dickson and her parents agreed to do whatever it would take for her to attend Hutchison for high school because of the many opportunities available.
During her freshman year, Ava and her mom drove back and forth from Jonesboro every day. Ava used this long drive to study, but now, she has a home in Memphis where she lives during the school week. Hutchison has families from all over the Mid-South with similar experiences. Girls live in various areas of Shelby County, including Atoka, Millington, and Eads; Hutchison also has students in Tipton and Fayette counties and in several cities in DeSoto County in Mississippi, such as Hernando and Horn Lake.
Switching from public school was a culture shock for Ava, but she adjusted pretty well. Ava was named the new student of the year in ninth grade.
“I didn’t know a single person. When I came to campus for the first time, I felt so welcomed and felt at home. I could see the impact that Hutchison has on people,” Ava said.
From dressing as a Teletubby on Black and Gold Day to making memories with her flower girl, Ava has embraced Hutchison traditions.
Ava has found her place at Hutchison as vice president of her class, editor-in-chief of Signpost Magazine, a track & field athlete, and a cheerleader for Memphis University School. She said Hutchison has changed her life and given her all the tools to succeed.
“Hutchison offers an education I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. I have been able to excel in AP classes and balance athletics because of the resources Hutchison provides,” Ava said.
Ava also appreciates the relationships she has made with teachers. She is grateful that Hutchison’s teachers provide personalized attention. “You get to talk to your teachers one-on-one all the time. At some schools, that’s a rarity, and at Hutchison, it’s an everyday thing,” Ava said.
As vice president of her class for four years, Ava said she has learned how to be a leader. She said it has been an honor to represent the class of 2022. “It means so much that my class would think of me to represent them. I love getting to help people, hear their ideas, and advocate for what my peers want,” Ava said.
When Ava started at Hutchison, she did not know anything about digital media. She took Lacey Hudman’s class and fell in love with it. She got involved with Signpost, and she enjoys sharing stories of the Hutchison community, especially when she is celebrating students who make the school special. One of her favorite stories she has worked on was a profile of Amelia Hausmann ’21. Digital media sparked Ava’s interest in advertising and public relations, and Career Shadow Day gave her a chance to further explore this field.
“Digital media gave me a creative foundation. I shadowed at Archer Malmo, and it made me think about how this is something I want to do,” Ava said.
Ava will attend Southern Methodist University. She has been interested in SMU since seventh grade, and she is thankful to Hutchison’s college counselors for helping get her there.
“SMU feels like home the way Hutchison does,” Ava said. “There’s nowhere else like Hutchison in the Mid-South. It’s a special place to my family and me.”