The following is a blog post from Mr. Hickman's first year at Collegiate, posted 7/26/15.
Dear Collegiate School Community,
As I looked out over the eager crowd gathered for Commencement, I could not help but think back to September. It seemed like only yesterday when I was awash in a field of green and gold, preparing to address the Collegiate community for the first time. Where had the time gone? As the great sage Dr. Seuss once said…How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
Class of 2015
As I shared at Commencement, I owe a special thanks to the Class of 2015 for their warm welcome and for helping this Cougar neophyte acclimate. I have learned from watching them what is truly valued in this community and what it really means to be a Cougar. In particular, what this group of outstanding young men and women revealed to me was that to be a Cougar you must lead. Leadership is fundamental to the Collegiate experience. At Commencement, I shared these thoughts on leadership and the Class of 2015:
In my opinion, John Quincy Adams best captured what it means to be a leader.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Just 19 words…Maybe, defining leadership is not quite as difficult as it seems. To paraphrase Adams, leadership is about helping others do their best…helping others realize their full potential. I can’t think of a greater gift or a more powerful calling.
As is the custom in most schools, our seniors are expected to lead the Upper School. Many times this works out well…sometimes not so well.
So, did the Class of 2015 meet their leadership challenge? You bet they did. In fact, this group of young men and women led as well as any group that I have ever known. It took only a few weeks into the school year for me to know that.
I knew it when they opened every Assembly with a heartfelt and rousing welcome for their elected leaders.
I knew it when I walked the campus and they were quick to say hello and give me a warm smile.
I knew it when they cheered enthusiastically for every senior speech.
I knew it when I looked in the stands during an athletic event or in the audience during a play and saw the overwhelming support for their classmates.
I knew it when each and every senior advisory group shared with me that what mattered to them most about Collegiate was the strong sense of community.
I knew it when I saw them treat visitors to our campus with respect and genuine humility.
And I knew it by their outstanding achievements in the classroom, on the fields and on the stage.
Our community responded to the Class of 2015…They dreamed more, they learned more, they did more, and they achieved more. The Class of 2015 led.
Collegiate’s Centennial Year milestone is a remarkable achievement, and reaching it should fill us with pride and great joy. For me, our 100 years speak to the endurance of the Cougar spirit –a spirit that at its very core calls us to lead. As the Class of 2015 has so ably demonstrated, that spirit is alive and well today and will continue to inspire us as we enter our next 100 years.
As I end my first year, I am blessed to call Collegiate School my home. For that, I am grateful to many. Thank you.