Message from Scott Cowie, head of Senior Division
Friday, Oct. 17: “Friday Night Lights” Varsity football game vs St. Michael’s College School, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 21: Professional development afternoon focus day; classes end at 1:15 p.m.
Your sons are very fortunate to hear from many noted speakers at some of our weekly assemblies, but sometimes the best messages are delivered by homegrown talent. Such was the case this past Tuesday when the boys heard a very brief but very poignant message from one of their own, Sam Mandlsohn ’14.
Mandlsohn was here to accept the Grant Medal, which is awarded to the leaving class student who has achieved the highest IB point total in his grade. Receiving this honour of distinction gave him a lot of “street cred” with his audience, which clearly recognized that he’s a student who knows much about learning and academic achievement.
Mandlsohn conveyed that UCC provided him with a top-rate education, but he reminded his peers that learning takes place in many different ways: through classroom instruction, involvement in co-curriculars and interacting with all sorts of people. In focusing on the value of connecting with others, he said:
“The conversations I had with all these people taught me how to look at things from a different perspective. Sometimes the conversations were five seconds long, other times they lasted an hour. The people here have a lot to offer you and, believe it or not, you have a lot to offer them. So have conversations and meet new people … it’s a great way to learn.”
Last June, through the generous gift of a donor, a group of us from the Prep and Upper Schools travelled to Bangalore, India on a five-day journey with a focus on leadership development. We partnered with an organization called Leaders Quest that created a specialized itinerary for us that was full of varied experiences to help facilitate learning and personal growth. It was an amazing experience.
In reflecting on Mandlsohn’s insights from Tuesday morning, I now realize that the outstanding program we experienced in India had so much impact because all of the activities planned for us provided numerous opportunities to interact with diverse groups of people. While there, we spoke with: executives from one of the world’s top tech companies; founders of charities who’ve committed their lives to serving the poor and needy; pious devotees of Krishna; men and women who collected garbage to earn a living; and school children from the lowest caste of society. It was through conversations with these dear people that we learned so much about problem-solving, perspective, optimism, hope, courage, selflessness and the true value of education.
I encourage you to speak to your son about Mandlsohn’s assembly address and the value of making meaningful connections with all types of different people during his time here at the College.
You might also want to keep this Chinese proverb in mind:
“A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books.”
Thanks for reading.