by Jaclyn Lanae
Meghan Mordhorst Mack is a teacher. She gets up every morning, gets her little ones to daycare, and arrives at her classroom, like so many teachers do every day. She manages students, creates lesson plans, administers tests… Meghan’s classroom though, is unlike most others. There are tables and there are students, but there are no chemistry sets or crayons …. because Mrs. Mordhorst Mack is a prison teacher.
It certainly isn’t the job she thought she’d have, it isn’t one she dreamed about, but her work is incredibly important to her and to her students. She is giving them the chance to live a different kind of life.
Meghan was born in Rapid City but spent most of her childhood in Gillette, Wyoming. Before her sophomore year of high school her parents, Tim and Sandra, along with her sisters Sarah and Katie, moved back to the Black Hills, and Meghan found herself a student at Central High School. “I didn’t handle the adjustment well,” she chuckles. But adjust she did, and in 2004 she graduated and moved to Vermillion, South Dakota to study music education at the University of South Dakota (USD).
“I think ultimately I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she muses, “but I quickly discovered I liked making music. Not teaching it.” Inspired by her professor of Honors English, Meghan discovered her spark. She relished in analyzing stories, picking them apart, seeing them through a historic- or genre-specific lens. She loved to dig into the influence politics and culture had on the narrative. “It occurred to me that I could feel about English the way I felt about music, and that perhaps English was a more practical application.” So she switched majors and delved into the subject she loved.