Message from the Assistant Headmaster, 1/27/17
The value of nurturing and sustaining strong relationships with our alumni and their families can never be overstated. Recently, we were extremely fortunate to have two former students return to campus and speak with current boys in various Form levels about how their respective experiences at Priory helped to shape their future. In reading about and listening to their inspiring stories, I was reminded of how various key elements of our program serve to help each of our young men to develop his full potential as a child of God.
One of these elements is our continued emphasis on mandatory athletics throughout the majority of each boy’s six-year program of study. In addition to developing those athletic skills necessary to maintain a competitive sports program, our coaches aim to encourage each athlete to equally grow in the development of the virtues of good sportsmanship, teamwork and collaboration. For Ken Barry, ’94, full-participation in our program required him to learn critical life skills, such as self-discipline and time management, which he carried with him to college and beyond. At the same time, the athletic program at Priory was just one of the ways that Ken was able to connect with his classmates and nurture a brotherhood that he now describes as “irreplaceable.”
This same concept of brotherhood and the influence of our school community was echoed in last week’s presentation by Paul Jacobs, ’03. Paul both began and ended his presentation with a slide containing photographs of him and several of his Priory classmates (including current faculty members Mike Nickolai and Ryan Niemann) to convey to students the impact that his time at Priory has had on much of his life since he graduated almost 15 years ago. Currently a product manager with Google, Paul spoke to Junior and High School students about his work in engineering, business, and the sciences. One aspect of his presentation centered on the use of design thinking in his work with fellow team members at Google. Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO, one of the pioneering groups credited with formalizing the process, defines design thinking as “human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” This particular approach to innovation has been incorporated into various curriculum efforts in K-12 education over the last several years. At Priory, we are excited to explore its potential for enhanced student learning in our own development of our science, computer science, and entrepreneurship programs.
I want to thank Tom Fiala, Director of Athletics, and Andrew Erker, ’11, Computer Science faculty member, for bringing Ken and Paul back to campus to speak with our students and faculty. We encourage all of our alumni to stay connected to our school community and invite them to visit and share their personal experiences with their youngest Priory brothers. The bonds of this place are far-reaching and ever-growing, and, like the monks’ vow of stability, last a lifetime. In the meantime, we remain a community that blends the traditions of the past with the innovation of the present, as we continue to prepare our students for the future.
Dr. Jared Rashford