This weekend I attended the Round Square America Regional meeting at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton. Round Square is comprised of over 160 schools in over 40 countries. While all Round Square member schools share a belief in, and a commitment to, the following IDEALS: Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service, each is also unique. As such, schools become resources for one another regarding innovative programs and instructional best practices. As stated on the website for the organization, the Round Square network affords each member school with “a framework for excellence and continuous improvement, along with structured opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers around the world.”
Round Square believes that each of us as individuals and schools should emulate explorers- searching to learn within the context of the IDEALS. A key component to being an explorer is asking questions and being curious in discovering what is around one. Having said that, I believe that our network of Round Square schools wishes that wherever our students’ explorations and questions take them, their purpose will be to ensure the betterment of lives around them.
The opening speaker for our meeting was Peter Diamandis, a serial entrepreneur who is the founder of over sixteen high-tech companies and the author of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, and Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World. Peter’s provocative talk focused on how technology is changing the way our students will experience the world. As Diamandis says, “With the increasing rate of change, enhanced computational power, and a slough of technological tools, our students will have the power to do what they want when they want.” Diamandis’ fundamental belief is that we must nurture our students to find their ‘massively transformative purpose’ and to allow them to spend time searching for answers to support it. Whatever their purpose may be, our students must be encouraged to be inquisitive and to ‘solve problems as if they were a man with his hair on fire looking for water.’
Our last speaker at our meetings was Dr. Charles Masaki, a man strongly influenced by Round Square having travelled from a village in Kenya to Nairobi as a boy to attend the Starehe Boys’ Centre, one of our Round Square Schools. Charles brought us full circle as he reminded us of the impact that Round Square can have on nurturing explorers.
Charles spoke of his journey from school to where he is now: a doctor studying psychiatry and in particular, global mental health. Charles attended Harvard Medical School, was a Rhodes scholar, and then remained at Oxford to complete a PhD in public health. He shared the words of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, founder of Starehe Boys’ Centre, who said, “Whatever your duty, do it as fully and as well as you can and then go and support those who are less fortunate than yourself.” Charles told us that his Round Square experiences have informed his ability to consider others’ perspectives and ideas as he learns. As Charles shared many of his questions about mental health and global issues, it was clear that he was- and is- an explorer seeking to learn with a clear purpose.
The two days of meetings were fruitful both in engaging colleagues about the work being done by Round Square and, more importantly, in reminding us as members of the importance of nurturing explorers who seek to learn and grow, and who wish to foster better lives for those around them.