Your Name: McClain Thompson
Describe what you are doing professionally now.
After I graduate from Harvard Law School in May, I will spend one year clerking for a federal appellate judge in Kansas City, Missouri. Then, in September 2015, I will begin work as an associate at Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm in Chicago.
Do you have any distinguished professional accomplishments that you wish to share?
I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism. In law school, I received Dean’s Scholar Prizes during both semesters of our first-year Legal Research & Writing class. I also won a "Best Brief" award in a moot court competition.
Please list all of your academic schools and the years you attended those schools, starting with Franklin.
Franklin Middle School - 2000-2003
Rock Bridge High School (Columbia, Missouri) - 2003-2007
University of Missouri - 2007-2011
Harvard Law School - 2011-2014
How did Franklin’s Gifted Program better prepare you for where you are today?
When I think about Franklin Middle School, I think about Mr. Flohr and the influence he had — and continues to have — on my life. Mr. Flohr was my sixth grade social studies teacher, my cross-country and track coach, and my first mentor.
In social studies class, Mr. Flohr required his students to submit a current event report each week. Through those reports, Mr. Flohr taught us a valuable lesson: care about the world around you and learn how to think about the issues facing society. To this day, I spend an hour or two each morning reading the news. I am confident that Mr. Flohr similarly inspired hundreds of students to appreciate and analyze business, political, and socio-economic issues.
Personally, Mr. Flohr was most influential as a cross-country and track coach. He emphasized — and prepared us for — the three most important races: city, sectionals, and state. On our more difficult training runs, Mr. Flohr would ride along on his bike and offer support. In the spring, when regular track practice ended each afternoon, Mr. Flohr held an optional practice at Southeast HS. He was fully invested in us, and we all respected and admired him deeply. I fell in love with running because of Mr. Flohr and haven't yet kicked the habit. On my daily run, I often think about running loops on Top Hill Lane or being greeted by Coach Flohr at the finish line of the city championships at Lincoln Park.
What are some of your favorite memories of Franklin?
In 2002, the boys cross-country team qualified for the state championships; at the time, it was pretty rare for a Springfield middle school to qualify. That same season, I set the school record for the 2-mile. I am less proud that classmates once voted me "Biggest Flirt" during the end-of-year superlatives!