Yesterday at our Upper School Awards Ceremony, I shared some thoughts from Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers. Gladwell examines success: what sets the stage for success? Why do some people succeed, and what factors influence success? His study contends that those who are successful work many more hours than the norm. He mentions the 10,000 hour rule as being typical of someone who has accomplished excellence and accomplishment in a particular area. So while success surely comes from talent, there is no question that practice and dedication play a big role. All of our Tower Hill students who are becoming accomplished scholars, athletes, musicians and artists can surely start adding up their 10,000 Tower Hill hours!
However, an equally important, though oft overlooked message Gladwell conveys, is his description of an old Italian town south of Rome called Roseta. Ultimately it was discovered that people from the town of Roseta were less prone to heart disease and illnesss and after physicians conducted a study which included reviewing town medical and death records, and ruling out many medical hypotheses, it was proven that the “success” (in this case success of good health) was due to the strength of the community itself.
Gladwell said, "the people of Roseta visited one another, stopped to chat with each other on the street, they cooked for one another, and had three generations living under one roof, with grandparents and elders commanding great respect. There was a culture and community ethos which discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures. The Rosetans were healthy because of the world they had created for themselves.”
So while some of our students are recognized through academic and character awards at year end ceremonies, it is important to recognize that each of our students has a role in the success of the Tower Hill community. Like Roseta, Tower Hill's community has a strong ethos of caring, encouragement, and high standards. At Tower Hill, we are a community made stronger by the combination and totality of our gifts, whether they be recognized publicly or not.
We congratulate our students for their hard work this year. However, ultimately the real prize for each of us, is the opportunity and privilege we have had to work hard and to contribute to the greater good beyond ourselves. In life it is always nice to be recognized, however a true test of our integrity is to continue to try our very best, succeed at a high level, and do it for the sake of learning, while receiving no particular recognition.
Congratulations to our spring athletic teams and especially to our Varsity Boys Tennis and Varsity Golf teams for clinching the State Championships this spring. We are rooting on our Varsity Girls Soccer on as of this writing, as they play in the semi-finals of the state tournament. This team, along with four of our other spring teams also earned DISC titles! Tennis great Billy Jean King said, “pressure is a privilege. It only comes to those who earn it.” Our Hillers have certainly earned the privilege of learning, practicing, growing and competing at high levels in so many areas of their lives at Tower Hill.
As we prepare to take a breath together, celebrate the Class of 2017, and close the academic year, let's remember that excellence, high levels of achievement, and 10,000 hours of practice and dedication happen best in a warm, caring, supportive school environment in which dignity, respect, and kindness are the expectation for community norms. Soak up the last of our academic year with your children and help them humbly recognize their accomplishments. We are proud of each one of your children!