Around F.C.

Meridian Graduate Reflects on Extraordinary Teen Recognition

The word “extraordinary” can carry a lot of meaning when describing a person. However, for one recent Meridian High School graduate, “extraordinary” may not be enough to describe his accomplishments. 

Alex Steinbach, who graduated from Meridian this spring, was recently named an “Extraordinary Teen” by Arlington Magazine for their annual Extraordinary Teen Awards. Steinbach, who transferred to Meridian from Germany during his senior year, said this recent recognition is “surreal.” 

“It’s an honor that you don’t even compute the reality of it,” Steinbach said. “I didn’t feel like it actually happened until I was looking at it in the magazine at Barnes & Noble.” 

A transfer student from Germany, Steinbach began his senior year at Meridian, which he said made him worried due to fear that he would not have any friends. However, after reading American television producer Shonda Rhimes’ novel “Year of Yes,” Steinbach said he was inspired to say “yes” to organizations and clubs offered to him by the school.

Transferring from Germany to Meridian during his senior year, Alex Steinbach created the Mustang Mysteries organization due to his love of true crime. (Photo: Alex Steinbach)

Steinbach’s list of involvements can raise an impressed eyebrow. Chamber Singers, theater (both in school and competitively), singing for the guitar band, VHSL Quiz Bowl and emceeing for coffee houses are just some of the many clubs and organizations Steinbach took part in. In Meridian’s fall production of “Pippin,” Steinbach portrayed the second male lead of “Charlamagne.” He also won the Hoover Prize for Writing for his personal memoir excerpt on “grief, perseverance, the beauty of life and music” and his experiences with the deaths of his grandparents.  

However, Steinbach might most be remembered for his creation of Mustang Mysteries, a true crime/murder mystery club. Steinbach said he came up with the idea of Mustang Mysteries after his “shared love” of true crime with a fellow transfer student during their senior year orientation.

With the sponsorship of history teacher Natalie Glees, Steinbach said Mustang Mysteries grew into one of the largest active meeting clubs at Meridian. On top of being a unique concept for the school, the organization also raised $2,377 for the Innocence Project — a nonprofit committed to exonerating individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. 

“I’m so excited for that club, because it’s going to keep going after I’m gone,” Steinbach said. “I’ve created my legacy.” 

At the end of September, Steinbach will be heading to Paris to study filmmaking, a “goal in his life.” He said this interest came about when he wrote his first script in sixth grade for a school project and his love of telling stories. This has led Steinbach to have currently written 20 episodes of a sitcom, eight episodes of a murder mystery series, two plays and a feature length movie script. 

For those who may find themselves in Steinbach’s shoes as a transfer student, his advice is to accept that the situation is “scary,” but to figure out what “you like and see where you can go with that.” 

“I made my own and it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it,” Steinbach said. “If someone offers something that isn’t going to endanger you, even if it’s something that doesn’t immediately sound really fun. What’s the worst that can happen?”