Learning resilience through school admission

We are counting down to this year’s announcement day for high school acceptances. The season begins with boarding school announcements this week; Augusta’s magnet programs will announce their acceptances at the end of March; Augusta’s independent schools are already admitting applicants.

Jane Foley Fried, dean of admissions for one of the most prestigious and selective boarding schools in the world, posted an insightful, considerate, and utterly compassionate blog entry with wise counsel regarding what to do while waiting for – and after  receiving – The Envelope.

The harsh reality remains that we do not learn resilience without failure, and often repeated failure. We test the truths within our souls under such circumstances.

I have paraphrased and shortened this from Seneca’s thirteenth letter. “It is only in this way that the true spirit can be tested – the spirit that will never consent to come under the jurisdiction of things external to ourselves. This is the touchstone of such a spirit; no prizefighter can go with high spirits into the strife if he has never been beaten black and blue; the only contestant who can confidently enter the lists is the [one]… who has been downed in body but not in spirit, one who, as often as he falls, rises again with greater defiance than ever.”

What lessons will we teach our students in the long hours of waiting before the envelopes arrive?

What lessons will we teach our students in the moments after the envelope is opened?

Will we act with maturity – as Kipling, to “meet with Triumph or Disaster/And treat those two imposters just the same”, or will we be something less than what we ought to be?

The young royalty watch us, and will remember the lessons of our actions long after the envelope has been forgotten.


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