Preparing the Whole Person

July 8, 2013

During the summer weeks, "From the Director" will bring to you some of our favorite entries from previous years. Today's blog first appeared Feb. 15, 2011.

My hope for students is that they have the opportunity to sample the broad buffet that a comprehensive education provides. That they experience both academic and non-academic programs, and both athletic and non-athletic activities. That they are a starter in one and a substitute in another – even a star in one and a scrub in another. That they perform in both team and individual sports, in solo and ensemble, onstage and backstage. And that they experience both winning and losing in generous proportions.

Any student who feasts on most of that menu will be ready for life – ready for life’s ups and downs and all the changes the future will surely bring.

In an address to Catholic school educators in England, Pope John Paul said:

“. . . the task . . . is not simply to impart information or to provide training in skills intended to deliver some economic benefit to society; education is not and must never be considered as purely utilitarian. It is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full . . .”

High scores on standardized tests are terrific and training in vocational skills is desirable (I sincerely wish I had scored highly and could make something with my hands). But neither will save the planet.

The best hope we have for securing this planet for the generations who follow is forming the whole human person. And that is much more likely to occur through diverse and deep curricular and extracurricular programs of full-service schools, delivered by passionate educators.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.