Inaugural Beauregard School Meeting Features Mykee Fowlin
Psychologist, performer, and poet Dr. Michael “Mykee” Fowlin was the featured presenter at the inaugural Joseph Hilliard Beauregard ’18 Memorial Generosity of Spirit School Meeting, which was held February 7 in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre.
The event honors the memory of Beauregard, who attended Mercersburg for three years and graduated with the Class of 2018. He passed away in October 2018 during his freshman year at the Savannah College of Art and Design; the speaker series has been established in his memory and with an eye toward furthering an ongoing and powerful message of recognition, respect, and caring that were a part of Joe’s life. The series will be held on an annual basis.
In an emotional and inspirational presentation, Fowlin spoke from his own experiences as a mental-health professional and simply as a human being who has battled depression and anxiety for much of his life. For portions of his talk, Fowlin assumed the personages of different characters, from an anxious 6-year-old child to an adolescent girl and a college football star—all of whom wrestle with different issues in their lives.
"If the only people who talk about oppression are those who are being oppressed, nothing will ever change," Fowlin told the assembled students and faculty in his presentation, which he titled "You Don't Know Me Until You Know Me." Fowlin talked about the concepts of individuality versus group identity and the danger of labels and stereotypes created by society. "Your story cannot be replaced; you cannot walk in anyone else's shoes except your own.
"Pain is your hurdle, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You are more powerful than your pain, and more beautiful than any words."
Fowlin was introduced at the school meeting by Mercersburg alumnus Cole Kissam ’18, a close friend of Beauregard’s and a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“This series is for all the future Mercersburg students who, sadly, will never be able to experience Joe’s passion and generosity,” Kissam says. "We’re honoring Joe by doing our best to continue to share his spirit with others, just as he shared himself with us. As a friend of Joe’s, it means that while his body won’t be back to Mercersburg to laugh with us, his spirit will always be here, urging us forward and toward a truer self we didn’t know we could be.”
“Joe was a family member to us, and having an event to honor his memory is indescribable,” says fellow classmate and friend Shayan Ghodsi ’18, who is attending Northwestern University. “Personally, though, I feel as though I've kept an unsaid promise, because I know that if the tables were turned, Joe would do the same for me. It was his nature to be so kind, so I'm just proud to be doing what he would have done.”
As a student at Mercersburg, Beauregard was active in Stony Batter Players (the school’s student theatre company), a member of his Class Council and the diving and track & field teams, and a declaimer for the John Marshall Literary Society. The fund supporting the speaker series was established by his classmates and his parents, Kristin and David Beauregard of Richmond, VA.
Fowlin holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Rutgers University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Evangel University in Missouri. Fowlin has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad with all different age groups; his mission is to create an atmosphere of worldwide inclusion—not just tolerance—toward all people.
Fowlin’s presentation included multiple recitations of the Langston Hughes poem I'm Still Here, which speaks to perseverance through adversity: "I been scarred and battered/My hopes the wind done scattered/Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me/Looks like between ’em they done tried to make me/Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’– But I don’t care! I’m still here!"