McCallie is an All-Boys Private Boarding School and Day School, a Christian-based College Prep School. 
McCallie seeks out and accepts boys from all ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds and places a high value on a diverse student body.

A Word To The Wise

Kenny Sholl

Well men, you made it, at least to the first part of graduation weekend.

Members of the Class of 2019 at Baccalaureate

You added your own interesting touch to the traditional challenge to help some of you complete your coursework, laps, detentions, and work details…..However, I must confess that you did so with much less drama and suspense than many of those who came before you….In fact, the Headmaster had this huge project planned for those of you in need of work. In clearing out the old buildings and gnarly fencing to make way for what will soon be a beautiful green space along Dodds Avenue, there remains quite a bit of debris, sticks and rocks left over by the earth moving equipment. While a few of you got to experience this project first hand, Mr. Burns has had to resort to hiring faculty children to complete the job given the lack of labor we are accustomed to having during this time of year.

Remember, Gentlemen, there is still time for you to have the experience of cleaning and grooming this area to meet the Headmaster’s very high and exacting standards.

Your Senior Prank certainly had an obvious water theme to it as you got to be the first class to suds up the fountain.  I don’t know what you guys put in the water, but I have never seen bubbles reach a height of over 6 feet… I guess I really don’t want to know.  

And, to those of you who piled into my office to protest the belaying of the post Senior Assembly water balloon barrage, remember what you learned:

  1. Have a plan when you walk into the room about who is going to say what.

  2. Don’t get distracted by knick knacks in the office and start picking things up and making comments.

  3. Be sure never to interrupt the person who will make the decision when you have very little leverage to impact the outcome.

Thankfully and not unexpectedly, you followed our agreement to perfection and the tradition has a chance to continue for the Class of 2020!

It has been an honor, it has always been a pleasure, and it has been, at times, a challenge to be with you on this journey. I am sure you would have it no other way.

And to your parents, we thank them for partnering and sharing their sons with us during these formative years in your lives.

You men have come a long way since arriving on campus and have proven yourselves to be scholars, academicians, research scientists, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, thespians, community servants, servant leaders… on regional, state and national levels… and most of all McCallie Men of outstanding character. In this environment of learning that is the Ridge, we hope that you gained knowledge from us, but have no doubt that we learned from you as well.

While every school year has joyous and challenging times, this one was one of the most enjoyable I have had in quite a few years. My conversations with your teachers and deans were in the same vein. You were great partners with and stewards of the school community both in tangible ways and in spirit. The faculty and administration want to thank you for your leadership, understanding, resilience, encouragement, bold candor, and joy throughout the year. This was especially evident through your inspiring and thoughtful Chapel talks which focused on these central themes:

  • Make the most of your time at McCallie.

  • Be mindful of and take care of those around you.

  • Try new things and take healthy risks.

  • Take part in something bigger than ourselves.

  • Develop and hold fast to your own world view, but listen and be empathetic.

  • Forever remember the brotherhood that is the Ridge and take it with you.

When we think of your class, we will remember young men who were selfless, wise beyond your years, givers of unconditional love, happiness, support... and courageous, yet vulnerable and even a bit irascible.

Your accomplishments are far too many to name in the time we have, but I would like to share some words your faculty use to describe this great class, and I quote:

  • “I have never seen a group of guys truly pull for and celebrate each other’s accomplishments in such a selfless manner.

  • From Dean Bires...“These guys were not complainers. They went about their business and found ways to deal with things that were not perfect. They pushed for what they wanted, but didn’t hold a grudge if it didn’t work out.”

  • From Dean McCallie...“Instead of sitting on the sidelines, they have chosen to engage the world with all its beauty and it challenges; they have chosen to be difference makers, putting voices and action behind causes they believe in.”

  • From Dean Wadley...“This class of boarding seniors has led the way in a truly positive manner. They were part of several new initiatives and programs, but always managed to RISE to the occasion.”

  • From Dean Hopping...“A creative, energetic and generous group of young men. Challenging and awesome, but sometimes infuriating combination of difficult to wrangle and easy to work with at the same time.

  • “They were the most mature class I have ever encountered….knowing how to both nurture the underclassmen and work with adults.”

Class of 2019 that is quite a well-earned tribute!

Gentlemen, you are, simply put, just great guys to be around. I truly mean that. Personally, I appreciate the fist bumps, crazy handshakes, words of encouragement, and sincere questions about how I was doing on any given day. Your sarcastic -- as exemplified by the Senior Assembly Video -- and respectful humor made us feel very much a part of this great class. When I first came to McCallie, I was about the same age as the students and was treated as such.  Now I am old enough -- barely, I might add -- to be your grandfather. When hanging around with you dudes, I couldn’t tell the difference. We will fondly remember you for that, along with many other things.

It is comforting to know that you will be leading us in the future and helping to figure out how to fix some of the challenges our generation has left for you to solve.

Men, I hope the McCallie community has made a positive difference in your lives.  The Class of 2019 has left a lasting, positive impression on your school:

  • You created a vibrant and supportive school culture... and a very unique one at that.

  • You set the bar high for future McCallie classes in many areas of school life.  Your school is better because you were here.

  • You truly helped your school community navigate an ever-changing world with vigor of youth and the heart of an old soul.

  • You most certainly did so in your own special and dignified manner.

  • You truly are a worthy, but unique and beloved class of McCallie men.

Men of McCallie, congratulations on a job well -- well, almost -- done. The Headmaster will remind you of this fact in a much more eloquent and clever manner in a moment, but for now rest assured that when the diplomas are placed in your hands tomorrow morning it is done so with pride, gratitude, and anticipation of the remarkable things to come in your lives.

Now for the last time, if you men will so kindly indulge me, I feel compelled to give you of one more rendition of  Words To the Wise as you leave us to embark on your new and exciting journeys.

1.  Be where you really are… don’t be distracted too much by the clutter of technology and social media or hurry through your days.

2.  Commit to something larger than yourself… put yourself in situations where others are counting on you.  

3.  Don’t take yourself more seriously than your work... be willing to laugh at yourself, don’t be easily offended and strive to be self aware.

4.  Keep your ego in check and balanced so you can gain wisdom along the way.

5.  Next year, your freshman year in college, find a healthy routine and stick to it… and get plenty of sleep, eat well and move. The freedom of the college experience, alone, will be intoxicating enough… Be Well and Do Good.

6.  Love God with all your might… and Love your neighbor as yourself… Everything in life hinges upon this commandment and promise.

7.  And of course… continue to endeavor to overcome your underdeveloped, but most promising frontal lobes.

Finally, I close with a Charge and a Request:

The Charge: Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

The Request:  

Come back to visit us often in the coming years... and we truly hope you will. Know that all you have to do to make us proud is to strive to become good men who will further what you learned and earned on the Ridge.  

Congratulations and Godspeed, Gentlemen.  

We will miss you.  

We love you guys!

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

On this Mother’s Day, I want to share a quick story about my mom who passed away in 2008. One day when I was five years old, the snow cone man came down our street with the familiar, hypnotic tune that drew us to his truck. Having no money in my pockets, I ran inside to get some change from my mom to buy a lime snow cone. As soon as I asked for the needed funds, of course my sister had to have one as did my cousins who were staying with us. My mom said with a firm but regretful tone, “Not today, son.”

Well, I pitched a huge fit complete with breath holding, stomping, wailing, and weeping, but she didn’t budge. She retreated to the kitchen without saying another word.

Soon I heard a loud racket coming from the kitchen. I thought my mother was taking out her frustrations with me by beating the counter with a frying pan. I ran into the kitchen to find her pounding on a bag of ice cubes with a skillet intent on pulverizing the ice into the consistency of a snow cone. She soon scooped out a snow cone for each of us and poured concentrated, syrupy lime Kool Aid on top.

Even at my young age, I realized that my mom probably didn’t have enough money to buy a snow cone for all of the kids in our house. I walked outside with my “homemade” snow cone resting in my favorite cup and told all of the neighborhood kids that mine was much better than theirs. I didn’t know if it actually tasted better, but I realized that my snow cone had something that theirs did not... a mom’s love.

Men, parenting is the most difficult thing I have ever attempted. There is no single correct way to parent. The responsibility is overwhelming; it is emotional, it is exhausting, it is a fearful thing to undertake, and a parent’s work is never done regardless of age and stage of life.

Take the time to thank and appreciate your parents for the sacrifices they make for you everyday. Remember that they are human beings and prone to making mistakes the same as you. Rest assured that every decision they make is with your best interest at heart even if you don’t always agree. In summary, your job is quite simple: Be good sons!

With appreciation,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

The last few weeks, I have been fortunate to happen onto the movie "The Darkest Hour" several times in the evenings. It is about the Nazi invasion of Western Europe and specifically focused on the month of May in 1940 when the British troops were trapped on the French coast at Dunkirk and the island of Britain was facing imminent invasion by the German army. The government was in turmoil and, out of desperation, Parliament elected Winston Churchill as the Prime Minister. Even though his record in public service was spotty with several significant failures, the people of England knew he would never give up the coming struggle regardless of the difficulties and duration.

Clementine and Winston

One of my favorite parts of the movie occurs when Churchill is at his lowest point in the early days of his administration. His own party is pushing him to sue for peace with Germany….which he is very much against.  He has the weight of the world on his shoulders and he finds himself giving way to his life-long struggle with depression. His wife, Clementine, finds him sitting alone in his bedroom in total darkness. She turns on the light and encounters this great leader and orator sitting on the bed mumbling to himself. After acknowledging the dire situation he is facing and the unimaginable strain he is under, she says this…..and I number them for effect:

1. “These inner-battles have actually trained you for this very moment.”

2. “You are strong because you are imperfect.”

3. “You are wise because you have doubts.”

I find these words to be incredibly profound and so simply put:

Inner struggles train us.  
Imperfection makes us strong.  
Our doubts give us wisdom.

Gentlemen, let us endeavor to make the best of every opportunity, struggle and doubt to prepare us to make the world a better place.

With respect,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

I hope you are enjoying your T-Term experiences.  There are some really cool and enriching things your faculty have put together for you.  I trust you are taking full advantage if them. Not many schools can pull off such a program.  It is because of who you are as young men that allows us to have such unique, not-part-of-the-grind, experiences.

I have been pondering as of late over the fine, but essential, art of acquiring wisdom.  Part of it is due to the thoughtful Senior Chapel talks we have had this year. Secondly, earlier in the fall, a group of us took a battery of tests that revealed certain traits and strengths with wisdom being one of those.  Finally, Dr. Eastman asked me to moderate a discussion on wisdom with one of his classes. This compelled me to seek the best definition of wisdom - apart from natural born intelligence - and to determine methods to gain and acquire it over time.  

The Definition from the online Merriam Dictionary:

Wisdom: knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life. : the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand. : knowledge of what is proper or reasonable : good sense or judgment.

I am going to focus on the first and last segments of this definition; knowledge gained from experience and having good sense and judgement.  Here, in my opinion, are three essential practices and endeavors needed to be a wise person.

  1. Self Awareness: The first step in gaining wisdom is to be completely honest and truthful about who you truly are as a person.  It is amazing how many intelligent people continuously fool themselves on a daily basis. Endeavor to know yourself well enough to accept your strengths and weaknesses.  If you are not truthful with yourself, you will never acquire wisdom.

  2. Humility:  If you are unwilling to listen to others, continuously seek credit and acknowledgement, and constantly focus inward, wisdom will be difficult to find.  I heard a wise man say about someone the other day… ”I fear his ego is too big to allow himself the opportunity to gain wisdom from his mistake.”

  3. Empathy: This often gets a bad rap and is confused with a lack of decisiveness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Empathic people listen and attempt to identify with the perspectives of those around them.  Identifying with these perspectives in no way commits us to agreeing with everything we hear. Strong opinions and civility can go hand in hand.  We learn so much more and get so much more accomplished.

Let me say it another way:  Know what makes yourself tick.  Don’t always lead with your chin.  Listen to the perspectives of others.  If you endeavor to follow these simple guidelines, you are on your way to being a wise person.

 

With true appreciation,

Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

The other day I was reading some articles from a 1952 “Reader’s Digest Anthology”. I have read this book many times and know most of the short stories and articles by heart. However, this time, I happened onto one that captured my attention and heart due to the season of the year and the main character….a determined young man.

A censer.

The title is “When the Wise Man Appeared” written by William Ashley Anderson around 1942. This was an early and worrisome year of World War II and the country was in need of hope. The storyline centers around a young boy who needs his father to drive him to school on a cold snowy evening to perform his part in the school play. He is to play a wise man and is in full costume that includes a large censer, which is a large pot for burning incense. His father is none too enthusiastic, but agrees to drive him to school in spite of the storm.

Soon after getting under way, the old car sputters to a stop and will not start. After quickly building small fire in his censer, the determined wise man heads out on foot to fulfill his commitment. Due to being delayed by the stalled car, he has to take the shortest possible route to the school, which takes him through many yards in the neighborhood. He arrives just in time to perform his part in the
play.

The story concludes with his father making it to the school in the nick of time after getting the old car running again. Upon their return home, they are met by the boy’s mom, who has been called by many of the neighbors reporting the sighting of a wise man trudging through the snow. Each caller was overjoyed by the sight that gave them such hope and comfort.

The last paragraph of the story is written in the person of the boy’s father and it reads:

Those folks hadn’t seen a vision that night, but had seen something far more impressive than an apparition: a flesh-and-blood small boy with a promise and commitment to keep. It was not for me or anyone else to deny the courage and faith that I saw in my son’s eyes that night. Yes, I believe God is close to us in this season of the year.

Reminds me of some guys I know on the Ridge.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

I hope you have noticed the star in front of our house on campus. I have constructed it for the last 22 years, and it remains one of the highlights of the season for me… even though as I was making last minute adjustments to the top of the star, I slipped, rolled down the hill and cracked a rib... That is why I am walking at a “10 ‘til 6 angle” as of late.

Here is why I love the star:

One is for what the star represents:

Hope...Forgiveness...Eternity...Guidance...Glory

Two is the process required to make the star geometrically sound:

The 5-point star is a fun and challenging shape to construct. It requires a piece of rope with the dimensions marked, 10 stakes, about 10 strings of lights, some good climbing shoes, a rubber mallet, and a few good helpers... which are usually from my two sons.  

First, choose the location for the top of the star. Second, strike a straight line with the rope and place stakes in the ground at the tick marks on the rope. Third, create an isosceles triangle with the rope at the top of the star and place the fifth stake in the ground at the base angle of the triangle. From here continue to move the rope in a straight line placing the stakes along the way
.

I am not going to claim this as a “real world” example for using geometry, but the star can’t happen without it.  

Two of the coolest things about this year’s version of the star is that it has blue lights to go with the white ones and it can be seen from McCallie Avenue as you head east toward the tunnels. While you must keep your eyes on the road at all times, I hope you can catch a glimpse of it when you are at a stoplight!!

Men, while we only have about three weeks before Christmas Vacation, it is going to be a busy time as you prepare for your end of semester projects, tests, and papers.  

Be Well and Do Good in this Season of Giving!

With my compliments,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

I hope you are enjoying the cooler weather and beautiful fall colors on the Ridge. It is truly amazing and a wonderful gift from God. Just so you know, they make articles of clothing called jackets and coats to stave off the cold and keep one dry in the rain... I am quite impressed, by the way, with the number of seniors who remain committed to the shorts. I think it is a record.

McCallie Tie and Diploma

I spoke to you men about this in Chapel several weeks ago, but I thought it would be timely to remind you about the purpose for wearing a tie even though we don’t require you to make it visible during the colder months of the school year. The tie is a well thought out component of the dress code.

The tie represents the following:

  1. Providing attention to detail. For most of us the tie is the last thing we put on when we get dressed in the morning, and it takes the most effort to wear. Use the tie as a reminder to be uncommon in paying attention to the little things.

  2. Maintaining decorum. A necktie signifies being dressed for “important” occasions that require a certain type of behavior, respect and mindfulness. While we want you to be happy and relaxed at school, we also want you to remember that you are here to do important work and to treat each other with grace and humility.

  3. Being part of a community. We are one of the few schools that still have the tie as part of the dress code. It is a symbol of being part of the McCallie community. While we want you to wear styles and colors with which you are comfortable….for the most part anyway….the tie is the defining component of our dress code….It is our uniform and represents being part of something larger than yourselves. It is not negotiable.

Finally Gentlemen, I want to remind you about the culture of your school. It is one of Honor Truth Duty. This means we shouldn’t have to make you reveal your tie if it isn’t showing.

If you are of the mindset “if you can’t see it, why to I have to wear it?” then you are missing a crucial aspect of McCallie. We put our trust in each of you so we can worry about more meaningful, important things than giving you demerits for dress code violations. Men, you are caretakers of this culture. It is your responsibility to nurture, protect and further it.

The Tie:  It separates us. It makes us uncommon. It makes us McCallie.

With the hope and trust of understanding and with appreciation,
Dean Sholl

PS: Happy Thanksgiving!

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

Here is the traditional letter which I emailed to you and your parents. Make good decisions this week and make some great memories!  Be Well. Do Good. Be Uncommon. Be McCallie Men.

Dear McCallie, GPS and Baylor Students:

When we return from Fall Break our schools will begin the time-honored tradition of Rivalry Week. Once again, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to demonstrate what it means to be part of these school communities.

We will start the week with the GPS/Baylor soccer match on Tuesday, October 9, hosted by GPS. On Friday, October 12, Baylor will travel to the Ridge and join McCallie and GPS in Spears Stadium/Pete Potter Field for the annual matchup between the Red Raiders and the Blue Tornado.

As students, you are vital partners in making these events a success. It is our hope that we will jointly demonstrate a healthy respect for competition while modeling McCallie, GPS and Baylor spirit with honor and proper decorum. In the days leading up to the game, we expect students from each school to exemplify leadership and character and not engage in any acts of vandalism or inappropriate behavior in the community or on the Baylor, GPS or McCallie campuses. When students of our schools violate the property of others, or defame their school’s good name, they are showing disrespect and a lack of honor. We should never allow the collective spirit of the week to become overshadowed by the negative actions of a few.

As with any major school event, we expect all students to abide by the high standards which each school embraces. As we prepare for the game, there are some specific expectations which each school fully supports and intends for all students to uphold. Students from each school are encouraged to show their spirit and excitement for the game on their home campuses. Students are not to “advertise” the game in local neighborhoods or in the greater community by painting or vandalizing municipal or private property. “Underground” t-shirts will not be permitted. Students should remember that the games played during the week, including the football game on Friday night, are played by the teams on fields, not in social media. Inappropriate posts will not be tolerated. You are responsible for what you post!

Finally, during the last few years we have seen an increase in students cutting flags off vehicles. Please understand the administrations at McCallie, GPS and Baylor consider this destruction of others’ property and view it in a similar light to vandalism.  Do not risk your participation in this great week and attendance at the game over such a foolish and dangerous act.

Most of all, it is important that, as students, you make responsible and safe decisions and remember who and what you represent as students from three fine schools. We encourage you to put your energy into showing pride for your school with character, and to demonstrate how to win or lose with integrity, dignity and pride. 

Working together, we believe that this much anticipated week will be a wonderful and memorable experience for McCallie, GPS, Baylor and the entire community.

Go Big Blue(s) and Go Big Red!

 

   Kenneth Sholl                       Dr. Autumn Graves           Shaw Wilson

   Assistant Headmaster          Head of School                Assistant Headmaster

   McCallie School                               GPS                       Baylor School

Kenny Sholl

A man must see to the needs and comforts of others before seeing to his own. 

The term gentleman has become less than complimentary and misunderstood over the years. It is surprising that the definition from the Urban Dictionary is spot on as a way for a man to conduct himself:

A gentleman is a man who does not cower to outside forces, he is strong and true to his word. He does the right thing, even if the right thing does not seem the popular thing. His strength of character is apparent in his presence as he enters a room and exerts not arrogance, but confidence that is contagious to others. A true gentleman never lacks a friend, because a true gentleman is a friend. The word 'Gentle' in gentleman is not in the sense that he is soft, but that with his confidence and aura, others might feel comfortable in his presence. He listens and is aware of and kind to others. He is more concerned with the well-being and comfort of others before himself.

 

 

A Gentleman: 

  • Stows the phone and greets people;
  • Gives credit to others, doesn’t marginalize them:
  • Shows restraint;
  • Is courageous;
  • Carries a handkerchief;

and a Gentleman is always:
 

  • Honorable
  • Respectful
  • Forgiving
  • Courageous
  • Truthful
  • Courteous
  • Humble
  • Resilient
  • Tactful
  • Attentive
  • Resourceful
  • Gracious


Have a great week, Men of McCallie,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

It is hard to believe that we are beginning the 6th week of the school year.  I want to thank you for being so willing to embrace the new initiatives and I am very grateful for the leadership of the Senior Class.  

During Convocation, I shared with you the “Be Well. Do Good. Be Uncommon. Become a Man” maxims.  In the coming months, I am going to unpack each of these and expand on them.

1.  Be where you really are. Don’t hide behind your phone and headphones…Don’t use technology in community spaces when you should be acknowledging those around you…This is common sense and the rule. Talk to each other!

There are many incredible pieces, both tangible and intangible, that make up the culture on the Ridge. First and foremost, in my opinion, are the deep and abiding relationships we share with each other.  It is rare, and we are blessed, that these bonds extend beyond student-to-student and faculty-to-faculty, but also student-to-faculty! The “we are all in this together” culture of our school makes us very unique.  Men, it is impossible to maintain these friendships if we don’t talk to each other…..to include the pleasant, heartfelt greetings we share in community spaces.

Gentlemen, I am well aware that smartphones are simply part of our way of life.  It is difficult to navigate and remain relevant without one. I am quite dependent on mine and have difficulty putting it away at times. Even so, it is crucial and foundational that we focus on those around us and not on our devices. Being fixated on a screen….even if you are texting or talking to someone very important….is still impolite and rude.

Finally, one of my favorite things about McCallie is being around young men who “get it”.....so to speak. Throughout the years, you men have never failed to step up and do the right, good, and proper thing when needed.  Young men of your caliber do not need a complex set of rules to encourage you to do the right thing.

  • When it is time to go to Chapel….go to Chapel.

  • When it is time for class….go to class.

  • When it is time for RISE….go to RISE.

  • When you are finished eating….return your dishes and push in your chair.

  • When you are in a community space….stow the phone and connect.

Men of McCallie:  Be Well. Do Good. Be Uncommon. Become a Man.

With much appreciation and affection,
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

MAXIM: Not a magazine with questionable content…..a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct and demeanor.

I am honored to share the following maxims with you this morning.

1.  Be where you really are and don’t hide behind your phone…..Don’t use technology in community spaces when you should be acknowledging those around you…..This is common sense and the rule. Talk to each other!

2.  Develop healthy habits and routines and remember your bodies are the temple of God and constructed to move….get plenty of sleep, pay attention to your nutrition and move everyday.

3.  Commit to something larger than yourself and be willing to take healthy risks….put yourself in situations that challenge you and where others are counting on you. You will earn self-esteem and gain confidence.

4.  Endeavor to become self aware and don’t take yourself more seriously than your work...be willing to laugh at yourself and don’t be easily offended or defensive to the point where you cannot accept helpful input and criticism.

5. Be inclusive and build consensus….be a furtherer who makes others genuinely feel part of things and connected.

6.  Lean forward and don’t forget...carry a sense of gratitude while you forge ahead with your life goals.

7.  Mine/dig for hope everyday and be willing to instill it in others….wake up each morning with a relentless desire to be hopeful. If it is one of those days when this is challenging….ask for help. Be there for your friends when they need support….

8.  Love God with all your might and love your neighbor as yourself….Everything in life follows after these commandments. It literally gives us freedom!

9. Honor Truth Duty and Man’s Chief End....do not take breaks, vacations, or time off…”We Are McCallie”...

10. Be Well….Do Good.....Be Uncommon….Be McCallie Men….take care of yourself and endeavor to develop a strong, healthy vision of Manhood.

Thank You, Gentlemen….Have a great year...Go Blue!

Kenny Sholl
BACCALAUREATE ADDRESS – MAY 19, 2018
 
Well men, you made it, at least to the first part of graduation weekend.  
 
You added your own interesting touch in the traditional challenge to help some of you complete your coursework, laps, detentions, and work details…..However, while some of you gave us a brief scare…..I must confess that you did so with much less drama and suspense than many of those who came before you….
 
Even so it was “amusing” to observe many of you serve as mailmen…..in fact, two of our package toters left some boxes on a porch at the Assistant Headmaster’s house that is never accessed…..the deliveries were rained on for three days……., book carriers, furniture movers, vehicle washers, and personal assistants to the staff.  
 
For a fleeting moment, Mr. Burns and I almost decided to bring back the “clover eradication program”, but felt it was cruel and unusual punishment. The most perplexing aspect of it was that, while you men were indeed working hard….most of the time, you seemed to enjoy still having to be on campus.
 
I am not sure how to explain it, but you did great work and it was nice having you around a bit longer. It has been an honor, it has always been a pleasure, and it has been, at times, a challenge to be with you on this journey.  
 
I am sure you would have it no other way. And to your parents, we thank them for partnering and sharing their sons with us during these formative years in your lives. You men have come a long way since arriving on campus and have proven yourselves to be scholars, academicians, research scientists, entrepreneurs, athletes, debaters, thespians, community servants, servant leaders….on regional, state and national levels…and most of all McCallie Men of outstanding character.  
 
In this environment of learning that is the Ridge, we hope that you gained knowledge from us, but have no doubt that we learned from you as well.   While every school year has joyous and challenging times, this one was one of the most enjoyable I have had in several years.  
 
My conversations with your teachers were in the same vein. You were great partners with and stewards of the school community both in tangible ways and in spirit.  
 
The faculty and administration want to thank you for your leadership, understanding, resilience, encouragement, and joy throughout the year. This was especially evident through your inspiring and thoughtful Chapel talks which focused on these central themes:
  • Make the most of your time at McCallie.
  • Leaders are empathic and resilient.
  • Try new things and take healthy risks.
  • Take part in something bigger than ourselves.
  • Live each day in the moment and with a sense of gratitude.

When we think of your class, we will remember young men who were selfless, wise beyond your years, givers of unconditional love, happiness, support…….and courageous, yet vulnerable and even a bit irascible…. Your accomplishments are far too many to name in the time we have, but I would like to share some words your faculty use to describe this great class….And I quote…..

  • “Some truly memorable chapel talks answering the question: Am I my  brother's keeper?  With the answer being a resounding YES.”
  • From Dean Bires...“This group of seniors simply won't go away...in a good way! It feels like a larger number than usual are sticking around and enjoying the last few days as students at McCallie....even if it means getting more demerits.”
  • From Dean McCallie... “This class as a group was strongly opinionated and willing to argue at length for a point, especially when related to a larger held value.”
  • From Dean Chakwin...“You had to earn respect from this group of guys. It was not automatically given just because you were the teacher.”
  • From Dean Hopping...“A challenging and awesome, but sometimes infuriating combination of difficult to wrangle and easy to work with at the same time.
  • “These guys took full advantage of what this school has to offer….more than any class I have ever worked with.”
  • Greatest Senior Assembly and Video of all time.”

What a tribute…......Thank you, Men!

Gentlemen….you are...simply put...just great guys to be around.  I truly mean that. Personally, I appreciate the fist bumps, crazy handshakes, words of encouragement, and sincere questions about how I was doing on any given day.  

And, when I went down with shoulder surgery this winter, doors would open for me like magic, packages would get carried to my office and even food was taken to my table in the Dining Hall.  I never had to ask one time or even look pitiful or helpless to get your help….it was always there.  

Finally, you were most kind and complementary in my desperate attempts to hang onto what little fly and swag I can muster as a 61 year old.  I will fondly remember you for that...along with many other things. It is comforting to know that you will be leading us in the future and helping to figure out how to fix some of the challenges our generation has left for you to solve.

Men, I hope the McCallie community has made a positive difference in your lives. The Class of 2018 has left a lasting, positive impression on your school:

  • You created a vibrant and supportive school culture….and a very unique one at that.
  • You set the bar high for future McCallie classes in many areas of school life.
  • You most certainly did so in your own special and dignified manner.
  • You truly are a worthy, but unique class of McCallie men.

Men of McCallie, congratulations on a job well…...well almost…...done…..The Headmaster will remind you of this fact in a much more eloquent and clever manner in a moment, but for now rest assured that when the diplomas are placed in your hands tomorrow morning it is done so with pride, gratitude, and anticipation of the remarkable things to come in your lives.   

Now for the last time, if you men will so kindly indulge me, I feel compelled to remind you of one more rendition of  Words To the Wise as you leave us to embark on your new and exciting journeys.

1.  Be where you really are…..don’t be distracted to much by your smartphone or hurry through your days.

2.  Commit to something larger than yourself….put yourself in situations where others are counting on you.  

3.  Don’t take yourself more seriously than your work...be willing to laugh at yourself and don’t be easily offended.  

4.  Next year, your freshman year in college, find a healthy routine and stick to it….and get plenty of sleep, eat well and move.  The freedom of the college experience, alone, will be intoxicating enough….

5.  Love God with all your might…..and Love your neighbor as yourself…….Everything in life is simpler with this commandment and promise

I close with a Charge and a Request:

The Charge: Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

The Request:  Come back to visit us often in the coming years...and we truly hope you will...Know that all you have to do to make us proud is to become good men who will further what you learned and earned on the Ridge.  

Congratulations and Godspeed, Gentlemen. We will miss you.

We love you guys!

 
 
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
I sent this to your parents on Friday.  Thank you for your partnership and mature dialogue!
 
Parents,
 
As you may know, students at schools around the country have been planning a National School Walkout for next Wednesday, March 14, to raise awareness and promote discussion about ways to prevent gun violence on school campuses.
 
This effort was in response to the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. From its founding, McCallie has been a school whose purpose is to build men of honor and character who are prepared to engage with their world and make it a better place.  
 
We want to support the students in their efforts, and they have partnered with us to ensure that this effort is focused on what is important to us all — the safety of all students at their schools. Following Chapel next Wednesday, students will be allowed to gather in the Chapel lawn for a time a prayer, reflection and conversation regarding this serious and complex issue. This gathering is purely voluntary and is being organized by students as a way to open lines of communication.
 
The student leaders behind this effort want this to be a time of inclusion and remembrance. As I have said previously, the responsibility of solving the problems we face today will fall to these boys as they grow up and assume leadership roles in our society.
 
I am proud of the maturity they have shown in finding ways to express themselves about difficult issues in an inclusive manner.
 
As always, we appreciate our parents and your trust in us as we strive to keep McCallie the special place it is. Our amazing school community of parents, faculty and administrators will continue to look for ways to help these boys grow into exceptional men.
 
With appreciation,
Kenny Sholl
Assistant Headmaster  
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
Thank you so much for your attention and response in Chapel on Friday.  I am grateful and blessed to be part of a community that allows us to speak openly and honestly about serious and complex topics. Below is an email I sent to your parents on Friday. 
 
Note at the bottom of the email is a link to the video of my comments in Friday's Chapel. I appreciate you men!
 
Dear McCallie Parents, I spoke to the Upper School McCallie Men at the end of Chapel today about last week’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It is yet another reminder of what uncertain and troubling times we live in.
 
Here at McCallie, our boys were shocked and concerned by the loss of life at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the news of this incident has sparked many conversations across campus. These conversations are important, and we at McCallie will support our boys as they seek to find ways to process what has happened and express themselves in a way that is constructive, productive and respectful.
 
Sorrow, fear and anger are common feelings, but inappropriate humor and unfounded rumors are also a risk. In the current environment, I have asked the boys to be careful about discussing things that they don’t know about and making statements that could cause unintentional harm. As faculty and administrators, we encourage boys to share their thoughts and concerns, and we ask that they tell someone if they know of anything that could put themselves or others at risk.
 
We take the safety and well being of our students and faculty very seriously, and we will always act appropriately on any concerns the boys or you may have. The problems we face as a society are not the kind that can be solved quickly, and we are counting on these boys and young men to grow up and help solve the problems we face today.
 
Please know that as a school committed to building good men, we intend to support them and equip them to help make this world a better place. As always, we are grateful for your trust and for your commitment to making McCallie the special place it is.
 
It is rewarding to be in a school community of parents, faculty and administrators that allows us to have honest, direct and sincere conversations with the boys.
 
With appreciation,
Kenny Sholl
Assistant Headmaster
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
I hope your T-Term courses are going well.  I visited several T-Terms this week and am excited about your opportunities; encouraged by your focus and attention; and impressed by your outstanding teachers for the effort put forth to make the courses pop.  
 
T-Term is becoming a very cool tradition on the Ridge. Several weeks ago as I was walking to the Dining Hall for lunch, I happened upon a lonely tumbler (glass) that had been left in the grass near one of the dorms.  
 
As we all know the rule is that we do not take these tumblers out of the building.  However, this rule is impossible to enforce without some kind of draconian response by the school.  
 
Along the same lines, we are supposed to clean up after ourselves after we finish eating….but again, impossible to enforce without expense or ridiculous punishments that waste your time.  
 
At first I was pretty angry about finding the glass on the ground so close to the Dining Hall and considered some over-the-top responses that would impact all of us in a negative fashion…punishing the group for the errors of a few is not something we believe in at McCallie.  
 
So, I gave it a bit more thought and tried to put it in perspective in a rational way.  Maybe the student who dropped this tumbler:
  • is lazy and concerned only about his convenience.
  • was in a hurry to get to class on time and planned on returning the glass to the Dining Hall on his way back.
  • did so in haste to help someone in need.
  • has determined that the school can afford to buy more.
  • is a “first time offender” and feels really bad about it.

Men, we don’t go crazy on enforcing this policy because we want you to learn something about yourselves and we trust you to do the little things right.

As a McCallie Man, if you take a glass from the Dining Hall, it must mean that you are really busy and are the kind of person who returns it to its rightful place. Be self-aware enough to know that you are the kind of man who returns the tumbler to the dish return.  

If you are not yet that man, either become him or leave the glass in the Dining Hall. Doing the little things properly and consistently is not something we see much of in our world today.  It is uncommon.

Men, commit and endeavor to be UNCOMMON even with the smallest things in life.

GSGB!!

Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
Once again this year, I would like to share with you some greatest hits from my three favorite Christmas Specials.  
 
Christmas Mornings, Memories, and Dropping the Blanket
 
One of my favorite things about the Christmas Season are the TV specials and movies.  I record most of them and watch them throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.  It is something I look forward to every year.  On this Christmas morning, I share some of my “greatest hits”, a childhood memory of Christmas, and The Christmas Story.
 
A CHRISTMAS MORNING : Ralphie's Gift I am sure that most of you have seen the movie A Christmas Story.   It is the one that is on TV for 24 straight hours during Christmas Day and is about Ralph’s quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.  
 
A CHRISTMAS CAROL MORNING: What Day is Today? This is my favorite version of the Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott.  Scrooge awakens after a long night of dealing with the three spirits to find that he hasn’t missed Christmas Day.  
 
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY: When I was a young boy, still somewhat unaware of time, I knew that Christmas was near as we began to sing Christmas carols in church and when my Granny Grunt and Pap pulled up in their archaic Plymouth coupe.  Of course they had their dog, Buttons, and mynah bird, Pete, with them as well.  As I threw open the door of that ancient car, the musty smell of old upholstery was fanned by the tornadic action of the dog and the wings-a-flapping bird. Even my Pap’s profane attempts to calm the pets couldn’t dampen my excitement.  
 
I knew that the Christmas tree, once-a-year treats, and presents were soon to come. One package, shaped like a perfect cube, has caught my attention.  Could this box hold the official leather NBA basketball that I asked for?  
 
On Christmas Eve, with everyone at the other end of the house, I manage to un-wrap the gift without tearing the paper or compromising the scotch tape.  It is the basketball!!  Obviously, I can’t dribble it in the house.  So I begin to do my famous ball tricks...you know the spinning ball on the index finger move.  
 
Unfortunately, I arouse Old Pete, the mynah bird, who is obviously unimpressed with my ball skills and begins to cackle in a sarcastic manner that sounds a bit like laughter.  In fact, this bird had developed quite a vocabulary of four letter words that he learned from my grandfather.  I quickly re-wrap the package, attempt to quiet Old Pete, and resolve to wait until Christmas morning to open my gifts!
 
THE CHRISTMAS STORY ( LUKE 2:1-35 ): Linus: The True Meaning of Christmas It is easy with the rush of Christmas obligations and the need to meet high expectations to lose sight of the peace, hope, and courage that the birth of our Saviour gives us each and every day….if we will just claim it.  If you click on the link for the YouTube video above, take note of what happens at 1:37 as Linus quotes from Luke 2….. ” Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” ….Linus drops his security blanket for the only time in his life as a Peanuts character!   
 
Dear McCallie Community, I wish for you peace, joy, hope, and courage on this Christmas morning.  May we all “drop our blankets” in the New Year.
 
Merry Christmas, Gentlemen.
Dean Sholl
 
PS:  As I sang in Chapel a few weeks ago….”Christmas morning, Christmas morning, Christmas morning...Oh what a glorious sight!”  
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
I hope you enjoyed the snow “day” on Friday.  I have been watching weather around here for most of my adult life….That came out of nowhere! It is hard to believe that we will be on break again in a week or so.  
 
Even so, it is going to be a busy time as you prepare for your end of semester projects, tests, and papers.  
 
I hope you have noticed the star in front of our house on campus.  I have constructed it for the last 15 years, and it remains one of the highlights of the season for me for several reasons.
 
One is for what the star represents…...Hope...Forgiveness...Eternity.
 
Two is the process required to make the star geometrically sound.    
 
The 5-point star is a fun and challenging shape to construct.  It requires a bit of trigonometry, 10 stakes, about 10 strings of lights, some good climbing shoes, a rubber mallet, and a few good helpers…..which are usually from my two sons.  
 
First decide on the length of the sides of the star…..this year they are 12 ft.  
 
Then it is time for a little trig…..the sine of 18 degrees equals the opposite side divided by 12...aka the hypotenuse.
 
Multiply this number by 2 and you now have the base of one of the five isosceles triangles that make up the star.  
 
Set the measurements, hammer the stakes in the ground, string the lights, and enjoy. I am not going to claim this as a “real world” example for using geometry, but the star can’t happen without it.  
 
One of the coolest things about this year’s version of the star is that it can be seen from McCallie Avenue as you head east toward the tunnels. While you must keep your eyes on the road at all times, I hope you can catch a glimpse of it and embrace all that it should mean in our lives!
 
Stay well men!
 
With my compliments,
Dean Sholl  
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
I hope you are enjoying the crisp autumn air and the hint of color that is finally beginning to emerge on the Ridge.  
 
This is an awesome time of year...one of my favorites. I ran into a high school classmate of mine the other day…...hadn’t seen the guy since graduation.  He is doing fine with a steady job he likes, a nice family, and some grandkids to boot.  Of course we shared some old stories about our high school days.  
 
At the end of the conversation, he thanked me for stopping to talk to him and for being his friend in high school.  I did the same.  As we parted company, I had this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.  It wasn’t exactly guilt I felt or even regret.  It was the uneasiness one feels when given undeserved credit that wasn’t really earned or justified.
 
You see, this person I encountered wasn’t always treated very well in school.  He was never physically bullied or made fun of in a cruel way.  There was no racial or ethnic aspect of his treatment…....He was just “put in his place” so to speak by a certain group…….I was in that group.  
 
While I never actively took part in any of this and remained his friend, I never really stood up for him as I should have.  If it got too out of line, I would say something, but never to the point that it impacted my status with the group.   
 
As I was walking away from my old classmate, I found myself wishing I had it to do over again. Impulsively, I turned around and caught up with him to tell him how glad I was that he had the life he wanted and was happy.  I thanked him for fondly remembering me after so many years.  He shook my hand thanked me again.   I felt a little better, but it wasn’t enough.
 
Gentlemen, be the one who stands up for others and makes them feel included.  Doing just enough in an attempt to assuage your “uneasiness” is not enough….even 40 years later.  
 
Sometimes, Men….Silence is NOT golden.  Be the difference maker NOW!
 
With the hope of understanding,
Dean Sholl
 
P.S.  Burger King just came out with a video that is very compelling. Bullying Jr  
Kenny Sholl
Dear McCallie, GPS and Baylor Students:  
 
On October 13, Baylor will host the McCallie and GPS communities at Heywood Stadium for the annual matchup between the Red Raiders and the Blue Tornado. Once again we have the opportunity and the responsibility to demonstrate what it means to be part of these school communities.  
 
As students, you are vital partners in making this event a success. It is our hope that we will jointly demonstrate a healthy respect for competition while modeling McCallie, GPS and Baylor spirit with honor and proper decorum. In the days leading up to the game, we expect students from each school to exemplify leadership and character and not engage in any acts of vandalism or inappropriate behavior in the community or on the Baylor, GPS, or McCallie campuses.
 
When members of either school violate the property of others, or defame their school’s good name, they are showing disrespect and a lack of honor. We should never allow the collective spirit of the week to become overshadowed by the negative actions of a few.  
 
As with any major school event, both schools expect that all students will abide by the high standards which each school embraces. As we prepare for the game, there are some specific expectations which each school fully supports and intends for all students to uphold. Students from each school are encouraged to show their spirit and excitement for the game on their home campuses.
 
Students are not to “advertise” the game in local neighborhoods or in the greater community by painting or vandalizing municipal or private property. “Underground” t-shirts will not be permitted. Students should remember that the games played during the week, to include the football game on Friday night, are played by the teams on fields and courts, not in social media.  Inappropriate posts will not be tolerated. You are responsible for what you post!  
 
Finally, during the last few years we have seen an increase in students cutting flags off vehicles.  Please understand that the school considers this destruction of others’ property and views it in a similar light to vandalism.  Do not risk your participation in this great week and attendance at the game over such a foolish and dangerous act.  
 
Most of all, it is important that, as students, you make responsible and safe decisions and remember who and what you represent as students from three fine schools. We encourage you to put your energy into showing pride for your school with character, and to demonstrate how to win or lose with integrity, dignity, and pride.   Working together, we believe that this much anticipated event will be a wonderful and memorable experience for McCallie, GPS, Baylor and the entire community.  
 
Go Blue(s) and Go Big Red!  
Kenneth Sholl                       Dr. Autumn Graves          Shaw Wilson
Assistant Headmaster           Head of School                 Assistant Headmaster McCallie School                    GPS                                   Baylor School      
Kenny Sholl
Men of McCallie,
 
Well we are now into the third week of school and I am sensing the “romance of the routine” is settling in by now. I hope and trust that you have gotten your schedules..to include your afternoon activities..worked out and that things are going well.
 
On the first Wednesday of school I had the honor to deliver the opening Chapel Talk to the Upper School and will share it with the Middle School on September 6.  
Here is the  VIDEO of the Chapel program, but below is the outline I used for the talk to include the videos which don’t show up very well on the screen.  Thanks for listening, reading, and/or watching!

Gray Smoke….Blue Heart....Blue Collar

August 16, 2017

1. Gray Smoke---Blowing a Gasket---Selfishness: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others: Truck on Highway 27 Video Blowing a Gasket : Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

2.  Blue Heart---Rejoicing in Teamwork--- In ancient times the Blue Heart represented trust, harmony, peace and loyalty. Selflessness: Having or showing great concern for other people and little or no concern for yourself: The Twins Winning at Wii Bowling. Video Celebrating Victory : 2 Corinthians 10:15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.

3.  Blue Collar---Going to Work---Self Importance: An individual who engages in manual labor, such as a construction worker or factory worker and is typically an hourly wage earner paid only when on the job: Dad’s Work Shirt in His Closet Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Video Blue Collar :

Summary 1. Don’t blow a gasket by being focused on yourself…. 2. Be a great teammate, friend, brother, etc...Find joy in the collective successes…. 3. There is no such thing as a self made man….

Finally, the Traditional McCallie “Being Uncommon” Maxims

1.  Be where you really are …..Don’t use technology in community spaces when you should be acknowledging those around you…..This is common sense and the rule

2.  Commit to something larger than yourself…. put yourself in situations where others are counting on you.

3.  Don’t take yourself more seriously than your work... be willing to laugh at yourself and don’t be easily offended.  I think it is one of the most significant challenges in our nation and world today.

4.  Lean forward while looking back ...carry a sense of gratitude while you forge ahead with your life goals

5.  Honor Truth Duty.... does not take breaks, vacations, or time off

6.  Love God with all your might….. it is the closest thing we will find to true unconditional love

7.  Love your neighbor as yourself ….Everything in life follows after this commandment…… Men, my prayer for each of is to have a year of growth, learning, fun and good health.  

Thanks so much...Good Stuff Go Blue!

Dean Sholl