BREAK FROM THE PACK
Many of his friends are choosing nearby high schools. But the boy has never followed the pack and doesn’t this time. He visits multiple boarding schools. They pitch new squash courts or massive collegiate campuses or classmates-as-family cultures. One school is different. There, they don’t talk about what they can give him. Instead, they describe a journey he must undertake - a ‘Hero’s Journey.’ Their curriculum is forward-thinking. The vision is purpose-driven. In a sea of uniformity, this place stands apart. It calls to him.
TRAVEL THE WORLD
The first new classmate the boy meets is Kuwaiti; the second is South Korean. Walking Garfield House is like traveling the world. Whether he comes from Alaska or Florida, plays hockey or can’t skate, speaks in accented English or with an English accent, each student the boy encounters has a unique story. Yet what strikes him isn’t so much their differences but their similarities. It is a life-altering realization and shapes his perspective of humanity forever.
LEARN BY DOING
His arms are sore and scratched, but he doesn’t care. As livestock graze on the North Campus meadows, he and his classmates are building a wooden bridge by hand. His teacher explains how to position the wood and the math behind it. Later, the boy carefully inspects soil color in the vegetable garden, eyes and fingers sifting for fertile dirt. He logs his findings as data. While peers at other schools study Sustainability in textbooks, the boy is learning from experience. It is a remarkable distinction that makes all the difference.
He was The Math Genius; he dominated every sport; he spent weekends learning the latest open source language; he studied every business journal he could find. Sometimes the boy felt like hiding his gifts in Middle School. Sometimes he felt like he was still searching. But his classmates and teachers at South Kent urge him to be who he wants to be – Rockstar Student, Budding Entrepreneur, World-Class Athlete, App Designer, Free-Thinker. More than just a school that teaches, South Kent is a journey that transforms. A boy invents himself at South Kent. It is where he begins.
He attends Chapel at South Kent. In the beginning, it’s frustrating. There are so many things to do, from schoolwork, to trips to North Campus, to soccer. He is always on the move; always looking around. But as months pass, Chapel becomes an unexpected sanctuary. It becomes a place he can reflect. He begins to consider his life. He begins to consider his purpose. These new ideas inspire him. The boy stops looking around. Instead, for the very first time in his life, he looks inside.
His teachers translate the language of his shrugs and decode the geometry of his frowns. They enhance his strengths and elevate his weaknesses. They encourage him at his lowest and humble him at his loudest. They find him - the real him - the boy only his parents know. They are mentors, role models, subject matter experts, confidants, sages, and cheerleaders. They invest their lives, so that he becomes his best self.
DISCOVER TRUE BROTHERHOOD
He and the other students are flying home from a climbing trip to Utah, and he is thinking about how his classmates - all gasping in thinning air - had helped one another on the mountain’s steepest inclines. They had looked out for each other. He recognizes that brotherhood at South Kent isn’t just fist-bumping camaraderie. His school has been conditioning him all along to put someone else’s needs ahead of his own. True brotherhood is selflessness. It transcends friendship. It transcends gender. The boy’s mind opens. Every human being is his brother.
He dueled quadratic equations in Mr. Farley’s algebra class and survived. He played Claudius in Hamlet, iambic pentameter and all. He competed in nationals and lost. He prepared venison from scratch. He designed a Sumo wrestling robot. He washed approximately 3,534 plates. He harvested crops. He found the artist in his heart (thanks, Ms. Moore). He ran all night for charity. He endured New England winters. He blazed a trail - literally. He debated faith with Father Klots (and barely survived). He campaigned for Prefect. He competed in nationals and won. His journey at South Kent gave him many things. Mostly, it gave him grit. He knows today that he can do anything. He will never quit.
After college, he will win the Pulitzer Prize. He will broker peace in a warring country. He will medal in the Summer Olympics. He will headline the fight for Civil Rights on the front page. He will star in one of the most groundbreaking television series in history. He will emcee the concert that defines a generation. He will captain an iconic basketball franchise back to glory. He will be a loyal brother, loving son, giving partner, devoted husband, and adoring father. He is a South Kent man. No matter his journey, He Will.