"Think of Life as an Adventure" Says Headmaster David Trower
At the first Wednesday Morning Meeting after Spring Break, 9th Grader Akanimo Umanah '17 served as master of ceremonies. He introduced the various presenters, including School Pianist Aleeza Meir, who played "Impromptu in G flat major" by Franz Schubert, and Music Head Michelle Demko, who led Middle and Upper School boys in singing "The Bare Necessities," one of their favorites.
Then Akanimo introduced Mr. Trower, who said it was a pleasure to be able to welcome everyone back after the break and to see so many happy, engaged faces.
Mr. Trower reminded the audience that April’s "word of the month" iscreative—or as the Allen-Stevenson Code states,At Allen-Stevenson we inspire boys to become creative. He thanked Ms. Meir for her sensitive interpretation of the Schubert piece, one of his favorites, and explained why he considered her rendition so creative.
Mr. Trower emphasized that becoming creative is a process everyone is capable of. Using aphotograph that had been cleverly adapted in Photoshop, he showed how creativity sometimes comes from using familiar images to make the viewer look again. He added that the creative process often requires the use of all five senses or a combination of some of them. He also used the clip of an owl to stress that becoming creative starts with paying attention.
Using "The Monkey Business Illusion," a YouTube video clip, Mr. Trower demonstrated that focus on one challenge alone can blind viewers to other activities that may be taking place at the same time. In addition, he used another animated YouTubevideo clip called "Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset" to explain another key to becoming creative. Originated by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, the concept of fixed and growth mindsets points to a person’s attitude about facing challenges and recognizing them as opportunities.
The Headmaster also asked his audience how many found the world interesting, and most every boy raised his hand. Mr. Trower then quoted something he once wrote about the School’s approach to educating boys: "At Allen-Stevenson we believe the world is an interesting place and that a good education unlocks its mysteries." He urged the boys to be open-minded and to see life as an adventure, even when it feels hard.
Mr. Trower concluded by pointing out that all these possibilities can lead to creativity. He said, "Think of educational experiences as added tools to understand the whole world and how things work. Seek out and soak up as many of these tools as you possibly can, and your entire life will be immeasurably enhanced."