The Upper School recently held its annual Honor Society Tapping Ceremony
. It is a time when students are inducted into national and international honor societies that celebrate outstanding achievement and participation in academics and arts. Honor is a key requirement for many of the organizations.
Like some of our students, I was never inducted into an honor society during high school. I am aware of what it is like to see “everyone else” be honored. We were taught to celebrate the successes of our classmates. We were also counseled to set goals and work to earn the right to be admitted into those societies, other organizations and teams that were important and meaningful. Those lessons are more meaningful today than ever before.
I am proud to be in a school community that publicly celebrates the achievements of the top performing students. In most cases those students have worked hard and have made sacrifices to earn entry into honor societies and to receive academic awards given by the school. I am also proud to be a part of a school community that recognizes students for the progress they make on a day to day basis. Some of those students may never be acknowledged in front of the full assembly but they know and their teachers know that they have made important progress.
Being the recipient of an award at Shorecrest is an honor. We have hundreds of talented, hard working students. The deliberations in which the faculty engage to determine recipients of awards are serious. Unlike the often ridiculed little league program in which every child is a “winner” and gets a trophy, we are intentionally more selective.
I go back to the fundamental lesson my parents and a few of my coaches and teachers taught - if you want something, set goals and work on them. Yet, today, I believe there is more to success than having dreams, setting goals and working toward them. Having the right teacher, coach or mentor often makes the difference between good and great performance. Knowing ourselves is critical in setting the right goals. Being flexible and willing to pivot from one approach to another can help some people achieve goals. One can also change goals. Think about how many boys dream of being a major league pitcher. Some learn by eighth grade, others by senior year of high school and others after years in college or minor league play that being one of the 390 people who get to pitch in a major league game takes more than hard work and a dream. However, many of the 3 million children who will play on little league teams in the United States this year will learn lessons, develop friendships and in some cases develop dreams that will be life-changing. Those dreams and goals have nothing to do with baseball.
As much as I like seeing students honored at our ceremonies, my long term interest is in having awards and award ceremonies be one of many springboards for the future of all students. If an award during Lower, Middle or Upper School is the highlight of a Shorecrest student’s life, we have not done our job. Our job as defined in our Mission is to inspire students to be lifelong learners in the pursuit of personal and academic excellence, physical well being, creative achievement and the development of a commitment to social responsibility. Yes, it can be gratifying and humbling for students to be recognized with an award at Shorecrest. The extrinsic acknowledgement can be motivating but nothing causes our students to strive for personal improvement and excellence more than the intrinsic motivators they develop over time. The child driven by personal growth will be better equipped to meet new challenges, rise above adversity and use success as a springboard for future success. Together, families and the school work every day to help our students and children to develop the internal strength to be self motivated and focused on continued improvement. There may not be an award when this is achieved, but very likely a better person.