John Elmore, Head of School - REPOST from July 2016
Success in anything takes sustained, consistent effort over the period of days, weeks or even years. Think of the shots Steph Curry has taken throughout his lifetime. During the off-season, Curry makes at least 500 shots per day. He says, “I only count makes….And whatever goal I set before the workout is the goal. I won’t shortcut it. If I play Around the World, I have to make 10 out of 13 at each of the seven spots to move on. If I don’t, I sit at the same spot until I do.”
“I don’t enjoy writing, but I enjoy having written.” Those words, often credited to Dorothy Parker, illustrate one universal attitude toward composition. The process is dreadful; the triumph lies in walking away. Knowing when to submit a piece of writing can save a lot of energy, but it’s an incredibly hard thing to learn. For students, this poses an especially daunting proposition, doubtless because of increasing pressure to be “perfect,” but when it comes to writing, as with most things, the perfect is the enemy of the good.
Driving to school one morning, my five-year-old began to talk about her future. At one point she stopped to ask: how do I get money? My answer about getting a job only elicited more questions: “how do they know I want a job?” “Do they just give me a job or do I get to choose?” As I patiently worked through the process of graduating college, applying for a job, setting up a bank account, and getting a bank card, she quickly diverted, as only a five-year-old can, to asking, “why do we die?” “where do we go after we die?” There it was: the essential question of “why are we here?”
-- excerpt from the Class of 2018 Baccalaureate Address
One part of constructing a life of significance is to define for oneself what is meaningful. Each one of us has to determine what is important in our lives and what we are willing to work and sacrifice for, but I encourage everyone to define success not only by the accomplishment itself but also by the impact it and your life have on others.
When you hear these words from your children, do you feel pressured to resolve this by offering technological entertainment or structured activities? As parents we struggle to find the balance between all that technology has to offer our children and setting good screen time limits. I want to challenge you in this struggle to consider the benefits of actually encouraging your kids to choose the option of "doing nothing" and discovering that boredom is good for them.
Jackie Cavallini, former Upper School English Teacher
“Diversity.” The word has been politicized in recent years, particularly in a relatively young country whose rapid ethnic evolution is unrivaled by many. Although conversations about diversity are vital to any society, we tend to approach them with trepidation. If nutritionists advocate for a colorful diet and if colleges value the well-rounded applicant, then why does this word occasionally create feelings of negativity?
There is something simplistic about swimming. The kicking of the legs and movement of the arms to propel yourself through the water. Submerge your face and suddenly you are alone with your thoughts and are far away from the busy, pressure filled lives we lead. If the workout is difficult, you are almost void of thought altogether and the rhythm of breathing and repetition can almost be meditative. I have long known, I will leave the pool happier then when I walk on deck.
We have all been taught and told that there is no " i " in the word team. There is no place for individuality in a competitive team environment. We all win together and we all lose together. No one individual should stand up and take all of the glory or shoulder all of the defeat. Maybe not, but it is the effort of the individual that creates the strength of the team.
On February 2, O’Neal’s seven Model United Nations delegates were fortunate enough to hear Former Ambassador of Argentina to the United States, Cecilia Nahón, give opening remarks at the AMERIMUNC V conference. Students from eleven states, Washington D.C., Canada, El Salvador, and Egypt convened on the campus of American University for the fifth annual Model UN conference. Her message was simple and echoed Dante Alighieri’s famous quote from his Paradiso: “from a little spark, may burst a flame.” Though the comments were catered to young, aspiring diplomats, her message can be applied to all walks of life. Each of us has an inner spark to ignite.
College Admissions Testing: These three words elicit anxiety in high school students, parents and college counselors alike. The questions abound on this topic; Who needs to take it? When? How many times? What scores are high enough? Which test should I take or should I take both? Should I take SAT/ACT prep? What about taking subject tests?
How do we as parents and educators face the inevitable time when our child makes a misstep, does not meet an obligation, or makes a poor decision. As a parent, the most trying times we can face are when we have to “discipline” our child. It is much the same for teachers. It is never easy or pleasant to see a child face the consequences of their actions. It is the single hardest thing to do as a teacher or administrator. We know that we do our children no favor by shielding them from the consequences of their actions, but at the same time we should never pursue cold-hearted punishment.