As a school that emphasizes student voice and perspective, enabling a senior student to manage our Instagram account has been a great initiative at Linden. Grade 11 student Mieko Yao, who excels in all things tech, was a natural fit for this role. Most of the moments showcased by Mieko would have been hard for a marketing team to capture and produce during the course of a day. Mieko’s Instagram stories come to you unmoderated and unfiltered, presenting Linden in a truly authentic light which is both engaging and fun for current and prospective students.
What follows below is a brief interview with Mieko showcasing her accomplishments and perspectives:
Linden: How do you feel about using Instagram for Linden in an official capacity?
Mieko: Using Instagram for Linden in an official capacity as a Grade 11 student has been an honour and my biggest accomplishment to date, as well as a big responsibility, since it provides the closest picture of an authentic Linden experience. It’s been really cool to learn how to use Instagram in the context of school. Instagram is an important tool that provides a platform for young people to express themselves, which fits exactly with Linden's goal of promoting student voice. Successfully tailoring content to fit the brevity of social media, while still representing my school well in front of such a large potential audience has been really fulfilling.
Linden: What other co-curricular activities kept you busy this year?
Mieko: I was involved with the Cross Country, Track, and Ball Hockey teams. I also helped edit the Linden Yearbook, acted and stage-managed two Drama Club plays, and played the violin in the Linden Chamber Strings Club.
Linden: We must also congratulate you on receiving Linden's top honour this year—the Linden Mission Award!
Mieko: I am elated to have received the Mission Award, amongst many individuals who are all deserving. Instead of picking a valedictorian, Linden supports a genuinely student-driven leadership culture by recognizing a student who, in the eyes of the entire school community, most embodies the school's mission.
Linden: Have you had a teacher who inspired you at Linden?
Mieko: A teacher that has inspired—and is still inspiring—me is Nasrin Matini, my Math teacher. I aspire to mirror her commitment to not only her students, but also to the school as a whole to make sure everyone is engaged.
Linden: What will you miss most about Linden once you graduate?
Mieko: When I graduate next year, I will miss the community at Linden the most, where I was able to interact and feel 100% comfortable with individuals from a wide range of ages.
Linden: How has Linden prepared you for life after graduation?
Mieko: At Linden, I've been taught to not be afraid to speak up, whether I am seeking clarification or questioning an injustice.
Linden: So far, what has been your most memorable experience at Linden?
Mieko: I will especially remember this year's Linden Carnival—when the entire school has fun together on the last day before March break—because my class’s hard work organizing it paid off when we saw the younger students enjoying themselves. It was an exhilarating feeling.
Linden: What advice would you give to new students?
Mieko: I would advise new students to join clubs and sports teams and be involved in the school’s community activities, as they'll be able to connect with people they wouldn't normally interact with during class, and make some really genuine friendships.
Linden: What is the one piece of advice you would give to younger students?
Mieko: Respect everyone, especially yourself.
Linden: What are your long-term career plans?
Mieko: I hope to work in the technology industry, and be able to use it to make meaningful changes to the world.
Linden: How have you spent summer?
Mieko: This summer, I volunteered with the ROM's summer camp and took a Data Management course in summer school.