Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, your one-stop source for news about your son’s upcoming activities and events.

Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

scottUpcoming Senior Division dates:

Monday, Feb. 5: Black History Month special speaker Joshua Watkis: Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
Monday, Feb. 5: World Affairs Conference opening keynote by Geoffrey Hinton from Google and the University of Toronto, Laidlaw Hall, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6: World Affairs Conference, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (no classes)
Wednesday, Feb. 7: Jazz Café, Weston Hall, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 7 to Saturday, Feb. 10: UCC/The Bishop Strachan School musical, The Addams Family, BSS Theatre, 7 p.m.

During Monday’s assembly the boys heard from the three finalists running for the position of head steward.

All three candidates did a superb job of delivering their respective addresses and answering questions from their peers. It was clearly evident that all three students were pursing the position because they “bled blue” and want to do what they can to maximize their classmates’ UCC experience. I’m confident that any of the boys in the running will be an exemplary student leader in representing their peers and the College overall.

In reflecting on leadership, I was reminded of a talk I heard about the topic a few years ago. The presenter explored reasons why people pursue leadership positions and offered his take on the qualities of successful leaders. He referenced explorer Ernest Shackleton’s advertisement (pictured below) 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 members 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?”

Titled leadership roles are limited, both here at UCC and outside the College grounds. 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 aren’t always those in formally 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’s right. They’re the people who, in very ordinary situations, make a difference by inviting a boy who’s eating by himself to join their table, or by speaking up for someone, present or absent, who’s being ridiculed. Indeed, we can all be leaders and make a positive impact on our world and on those in it.

Here’s a brief, engaging and inspiring TED talk  delivered by a Canadian leadership educator who speaks about the significant transformative power of “Everyday Leadership.” I encourage you to watch the video with your son and to speak to him about the character strengths of true leaders – those who lead in very ordinary ways, gaining respect and recognition from their peers through their optimism, courage and a desire to serve others.

Thanks for reading,
Scott