Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Upcoming Senior Division Dates:
Monday, May 11 – Friday May 15: IB2 Exams continue
Monday, May 11: IB1 Extended Essay Day, no classes for IB1 students
Monday, May 11: International Trip Fair – 6 p.m.–8 p.m., various Upper School locations
Tuesday, May 12: Final Version of Extended Essay due
Correction notice: Please note there was an error in last week’s message about laptop return for IB2 boys. The correct date of the Leaving Class Dinner is Friday, May 22 and the correct date for the Leaving Class Ceremony is Monday, May 25.
This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to listen to an inspiring message about leadership delivered by a current parent. His talk highlighted a number of character strengths that every leader should aim to develop.
To start, his speech referenced Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s advertisement that apparently appeared in a newspaper prior to his second attempt to cross the Antarctic in the early 20th century. While there’s speculation by some that such an ad is simply folklore, I suspect that the crew who joined Shackleton on that particular expedition were well aware of the grave danger they’d be facing before they left. Yet, they still decided to join him and risk their lives. This perhaps teaches us about courage, but may reveal more about the compelling desire for honour and recognition.
Acknowledgment from others is something we all want, but we need to consider the reason why we yearn for recognition. Those of us in the audience were asked to think about what drives our need to stand out amongst the crowd: “Is it about being the best in the world, or about being the best for the world?”
Further, our speaker identified that successful leaders make an effort to maintain a positive attitude. He reminded us that being optimistic is not a personality trait, but rather that optimism was a conscious decision made by individuals on a daily basis. Here’s a link to a 50-second video he shared that demonstrates the power of positive thinking.
After watching the video, a simple question was asked: Do you think Jessica is going to have a good day?
Titled leadership roles are limited, both in the work place and here at UCC. Thus, not all of us will be able to achieve the formal recognition we desire. Yet, it’s important to remember that the most effective leaders are not always those in recognized positions. They’re often the people who point to positives in difficult situations, see opportunities when others see issues, help those in need and stand up for what is right.
I’d encourage you to speak to your son about the character strengths of true leaders – those who gain respect and recognition from their peers through their optimism, courage and a desire to serve others.
Thanks for reading,