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

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

I write to you today, the “official” last day of summer break for me, with renewed excitement about the coming school year. I remain proud, grateful and in awe of your efforts last year to keep us in school. It was gratifying to be on that rugged and challenging journey with you.  

I have done a lot of reading, as I trust you have as well, this summer. I found myself drawn to books that focused on trying times in the history of our country and the response of the leaders and the citizens to overcome the challenges of the day. The list includes:

Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle
Don Malarkey: Easy Company Soldier by Don Malarkey and Boy Welch
Franklin and Winston: A Portrait of Friendship by Jon Meacham '87
Devotion by Adam Makos
Parachute Infantry by David Kenyon Webster
The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses by Dan Carlin

As I read these books, some recurring themes began to emerge:

Beliefs
Bonds
Brotherhood

I will expand on these more in the coming weeks. I am excited to share my thoughts with you and to hear and learn from you men as well. 

Finally, as a result of the strong response to the school’s CoVid 19 vaccination plan, we will not be as bogged down with the myriad of protocols from last year. I will have more say about this at the end of next week.

With excitement and anticipation,

Dean Sholl

GSGBB!!!

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl
Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

Well men, you made it, at least to the first part of graduation weekend.  This line has opened every one of the Baccalaureate Reflections I have had the honor of giving over the years. While these words had a different meaning and feel for the men of the Class of 2020 which was about finally celebrating their McCallie graduation, for the remarkable Class of 2021, this statement is much more meaningful and packed with more than we could hope to cover if I spoke for the next two hours…..which I will not do of course…..You might remember the opening Chapel back in August when I shared with you the frustration and exhaustion I felt on the first day of school encouraging, cajoling and scolding you guys to mask up, stay apart, wash your hands, etc. I ended that day by “catching” one of our coaches with his mask down as he worked with his team.  Suffice it to say, my approach to him required an apology later that afternoon.  I realized that, while my intent was doing whatever was necessary to keep you guys on campus, my motives were confused with a self righteous personal investment, fear and pride.  I had to admit that my approach wasn’t sustainable and that it was….and I quote from the words of Abraham Lincoln….up to you through the better angels of your nature.  Suffice it to say “you made it” is certainly something for the McCallie Class of 2021 to celebrate, because none of us would be here today without your leadership, cooperation, maturity and encouragement.  

As I have said many times before, I am grateful and honored to have been on this path with you.  Your unique approach to life as a group and your willingness to be kind, understanding and selfless was the key to remaining on this Ridge together for the entire year.  So, it has been an honor, it has always been a pleasure, and it has been a unique challenge to be with you on this journey.  And to the parents of this great class, we thank you for partnering, trusting and sharing your sons with us during these formative years in your son’s lives.

In that same Chapel Talk, I asked each of you to consider Honor-Truth-Duty  in a different light as we found ourselves in unprecedented circumstances.  

Honor: Comes from Living Responsibly with Freedom  

Galatians 5:13 "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

The words of Eleanor Roosevelt: Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.

Truth: In the Form of Love and Forgiveness  

1st Corinthians 13: 1-8*

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

Dr. Martin Luther King once said: He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. 

Duty: As Relentless Selflessness

Leviticus 19:18 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Selfless is defined as: being concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own.

Gentlemen, you modeled these foundational principles under trying circumstances throughout the year. 

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

While every school year has joyous and challenging times, this one, while having its own set of unique obstacles, was still one of the most enjoyable I have experienced in quite a few years.  You men were the reason. 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.  I will remember you as well for some of your recurring “one liners”:

I forgot my mask.

When can we have a dance?

I have an idea.

Boarders: When can we leave campus?

Day Students: When can we come back to campus?

Can I make an announcement?

You need to cull the herd….. 

And of course, QUACK…..great Duck Day by the way

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…..

The seniors thoughtfully looked out for one another. I'm not sure if it's a result of COVID and appreciating their senior year, but they really did look out for another and had each other's backs. Seniors holding their peers accountable seemed more apparent this year.

These guys crammed a semester's worth of extracurriculars and support for each and they grilled and consumed a year's worth of hamburgers and hot dogs in about a two week window in the spring. They enjoyed spending time together and didn’t take it for granted.

This Class of McCallie Men led without needing to be seen as being in control and instead of just retreating to "how can we get through this", they actively looked for ways to make this a great year….and did so.

Where some people see obstacles, the seniors saw opportunities. This class embraced the oddity of a socially-distanced school year and made it uniquely their own. For example, the obstacle of the face-coverings became an opportunity to grow a mustache and/or beard. This spirit of making the best of a bad situation will be one of the memorable legacies of the Class of 2021. 

Gentlemen….you are...simply put....an incredible collection of young men.  I truly mean that.  Personally, I appreciate the fist bumps, crazy “fake” handshakes, words of encouragement, and sincere questions about how I was doing on any given day.  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 can’t tell the difference.  

I will fondly remember you for that...along with many other things….Thank you for being encouragers. 

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 seemingly daunting challenges our generation has left for you.

Men, I hope and trust that the McCallie community has made a positive difference in your lives.  The Class of 2021 has left a lasting, positive, and memorable 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 and a pandemic with vigor of youth and the heart and wisdom 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 and you will not be defined, labeled or remember by CoVid 19.

Men of McCallie, congratulations on a job well done….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 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 be it, your freshman year in college, a gap year or beginning your career, find a healthy routine and stick to it….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, 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.  And….because we all spent the year with most of half our faces covered….be sure to tell me who you are and I will do the same….

Congratulations and Godspeed, Gentlemen.  

We are proud of you.  We will miss you.  We love you guys!

And even though you cannot yet stand up and be the first to leave…... as you are accustomed….I can’t help but say it one last time…..Seeeeeenyahs…...Thanks Men!

 

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

The traditional AWTTW for this season of the year!

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. I now share some of my “greatest hits”, a childhood memory of Christmas, and The Christmas Story. All are about Christmas Mornings…..!  Note: The video links are provided to include the rendition of “Christmas Morning”!

A CHRISTMAS MORNING: Ralphie's Gift

As Mr. Burns mentioned in his recent Chapel talk, 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 CHRONICLES MORNING: HO! HO! HO!

This one just made my greatest hits list. The graphics are awesome and the movie “explains” how Santa pulls off gift-giving around the world in one evening.  It has a great storyline as well.

 

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 unwrap 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...What a glorious sight!

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

 

Men of McCallie,

I hope you stopped by to look at the star in front of our house on campus. Mrs. Hughes refers to it as the LZ…..Landing Zone…..as it is about 30’ by 30’!  I have constructed it for the last 24 years, and it remains one of the highlights of the season for me….For the first time in four years, I didn’t fall while constructing it!

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 desired 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.  

Men, I wish you well as you head off for Christmas vacation and Holiday celebrations. I know it has been a challenging semester for all of us, but “We Made It”. Be sure to rest, refit, reflect and recommit to doing the things that kept us in school this fall. I hope you enjoy this well-deserved break. Please say thank you to your teachers, Men!

Be Well, Stay Safe and Continue to Do Good in this Season of Giving!

With my compliments,

Dean  Sholl

GSGBBBCV-19!!!

P.S.  Men, thank you for all you did to support the kids at West Side school who wouldn’t have a Christmas without you!

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

Dear McCallie, GPS and Baylor Students;  

Soon our schools will begin the time-honored traditions of Spirit Week.  Even though the pandemic has necessitated some adjustments, we are still endeavoring to maintain the spirit of these traditions.  We will start the week with the GPS/Baylor soccer match on Wednesday, September 30, at 7pm, hosted by GPS. On October 2, the McCallie, GPS and Baylor communities will gather at Finley Stadium for the annual matchup between the Blue Tornado and the Red Raiders. 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 our campuses.  We should never allow the collective spirit of the week to become tarnished by the negative actions of a few. 

As with any major school event, we expect all of you to abide by the high standards which each school embraces. As we prepare for the week, there are some specific expectations which each school fully supports and intends for all students.  You are encouraged to show your spirit and excitement for the game on your home campuses.  You should not  “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 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 the administrations at McCallie, GPS, and Baylor consider this destruction of others’ property and view this as a form of vandalism and will treat it as such.  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 you make responsible and safe decisions. 

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

Go Big Blue(s) and Go Big Red! 

Kenneth A.  Sholl, Assistant Head of School , McCallie School
Dr. Kirk Walker , Interim Head of School, GPS   
Shaw Wilson, Assitant Headmaster, Baylor School

 

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

Men,

We Must Be Great!

Thank you for your attention today and for the positive and cooperative attitude you have had these past few weeks. It has been great to be back on the Ridge with everyone.

Note these reminders from this morning's Chapel:

1. The kind and hardworking folks who prepare and serve our meals are going above and beyond to find a way to feed us and still keep us safe. As a result, they are not able to offer as many options as we have come to know and love over the years. Due to health and safety guidelines, the prepared items must be boxed and sealed.  They realize that what is contained in the container may not be sufficient for you. As you may have noticed, they are adding several grab-and-go items that you can add to your box. These include fruit, extra chips, sandwiches, Crustables, etc. Please feel free to supplement your lunch with these items......And, thank them for their efforts. We are asking a lot of them.

2.  We also need to thank the custodial, maintenance and grounds staff for all of the extra work they did to prepare the campus for our safe return to the Ridge, and for the work they do on a daily basis to help us remain together as a community.  Please remember to empty the bottled water you get for lunch before tossing it in the recycle container (you should drink all of it by the way).  Leaving the water in the bottle makes it very difficult for those trying to move the trash and recyclables due to the excess weight.

3.  Sit on the BLUE DOTS in the SAC and put on your face covering as soon as you are done eating.  Remember, mealtime is for sustenance and not community time at the present. Go outside and continue your conversations! 

4.  As Dean Chakwin shared this morning, don't lose your intentionality and resilience in wearing your preferred and approved face covering when under roof or near others when outside. This is crucial.  

5.  Remember that we can't whip CoVid-19 by being just good enough in our efforts. WE HAVE TO BE GREAT!  

Thanks, McCallie Men!  

Assistant Head of School Kenny Sholl

 

Gentlemen,

If you are sitting 6 feet apart and wish to do so, you may remove your mask.

It was an honor to spend most of our summer working with your teachers, administrators, support staff and all who take care of us in so many ways to develop a comprehensive plan to enable us to be here this morning.  It is an emotional moment. I am particularly grateful to Mr. Burns whose vision and unwavering commitment to being back on campus provided the foundation for the protocols we have developed.  After thorough study and advice from our medical team, we have a plan that is easy to follow and up-to-date.  It is based on best practices and practical scientific data we could find.  It is not based on politics or personal opinion….yours and mine included.

Selfless: concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish.

The key to being successful is for each one of us….students, faculty and administration to consistently, encouragingly and selflessly follow the following foundational principles of the PLAN.

Men of McCallie: The Five W’s: Wear, Watch, Wash, Where, Wellness

Wear a face covering when under a roof.

Watch and keep your social distance at 6 feet.

What constitutes close contact and what constitutes exposure to the coronavirus?

Close contact to COVID-19 occurs when you are within six feet of someone who is showing symptoms or is asymptomatic for at least 15 minutes while not wearing face coverings. If you wear a face mask, it is not considered exposure.

Wash and disinfect your hands regularly.

Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Be mindful of Where you are and your off-campus social footprint.

This is the challenge. Don’t let your guard down. It affects all of us.

Check your Wellness every morning.

Fill our the Basecamp Ascend App every morning.  If you don’t, we will find you. The McCallie culture of toughing it out and coming to school sick doesn’t apply this year.

Abraham Lincoln delivered his Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861, speaking in his high tenor voice with a Kentucky accent. The nation was on the brink of Civil War as seven states had already succeeded from the Union.  He closed with this paragraph

Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

These are: empathy, self-control, the "moral sense," and reason

Men, let’s call upon, and resiliently rely upon, these better angels of our nature. 

I have never wanted anything more for a group of young people than for you to be in school on this Ridge with your brothers.

Go Big Blue!

 

Kenny Sholl
Kenny Sholl at Baccalaureate

Well men, you made it, at least to the first part of graduation weekend.  This line has opened every one of the Baccalaureate Reflections I have had the honor of giving over the years. Never has this simple line been more meaningful and poignant than in this address to the great McCallie Class of 2020.  And on a more specific note, two of your classmates and I have been trying to schedule a relic hunting trip, but for many reasons, including the CoVid 19 disruption, we had to cancel everytime we had it planned. I bought a metal detector just for the trip and I have promised them I will not open the box until we make it happen. Likewise, Men, the 2019-20 school year was not going to end until we could all gather back on the Ridge to collectively celebrate with you. 

It has been an honor, it has always been a pleasure, and it has been a unique challenge to be with you on this journey.  And to your parents, we thank them for partnering and sharing their sons with us during these formative years in your lives.

Back on August 21st of 2019, almost a year ago, I had the privilege to offer the first Chapel Talk of the year. I am pretty sure the title and message has been lost over these last 11 months, so if you will indulge me, I would like to remind you of the key points of the message. The title was: Honor  Truth  Duty: These Are Your Words.  With these key points:

The choice is yours….Make decisions based on HONOR.

Proverbs 21:2  All deeds are right in the sight of the doer, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Seek the TRUTH in all things like a relentless Warrior Poet, define your education, become who you want to be and gain wisdom.

Proverbs 18:15 The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

It is our Duty to “Be the Miracle for Someone Else”.

Luke 12:48  From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

You exemplified Honor Truth Duty in countless ways and it made a difference.

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 and champions….on regional, state and national levels…and most of all McCallie Men of outstanding character, understanding, empathy and wisdom.  In this environment of learning that is the Ridge, we hope that you gained knowledge from us, but have no doubt that we learned much from you as well.   

While every school year has joyous and challenging times, this one , while having its own set of unique obstacles, was still one of the most enjoyable I have had in quite a few years.  You men were the reason. 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.  I will remember you as well for some of your recurring “one liners”:

Well, I had a good run.

I know you didn’t say that.

Where is the vegan option?

What are we/you going to do about that?

It is always a pleasure.

And of course, QUACK…..

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…..

  • Curious about the world and willing to travel to see it and learn firsthand

  • Able to engage in the issues of our time, interested enough to probe more deeply into challenging and potentially uncomfortable topics and learn facts and reality instead of simply accepting surface explanations

  • Stubborn in beliefs, but open to talking and hashing out differing opinions

  • Have a particular heart for young kids; willing to take extended time to play sharks and minnows or shoe-base baseball with the campus kiddies

  • It is easy to be there for State Championships and chapel talks, but the Class of 2020 took care of each through a pandemic and some unprecedented challenging times.

  • They responded to adversity with grace and perseverance, even when that adversity affected them directly. They kept their wits and their humor about them. And a special shout out to the guys who gave Zoom chapel talks; they kept the ship steaming through some very challenging seas.

  • These seniors got fewer demerits and walked fewer laps than any other senior class in the last 20 years, especially second semester. 

  • The Class of 2020 probably came in thinking that they were better than they actually were, but then, they went out and proved that they were as good as they believed.

Gentlemen….you are...simply put....an incredible collection of young men.  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.  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….Thank you for being encouragers. 

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 2020 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 in the most trying of times 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 and you will not be defined by the events of this spring.

Men of McCallie, congratulations on a job well done….Rest assured that when the diplomas are placed in your hands later this evening, 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 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 be it, your freshman year in college, a gap year or beginning your career, find a healthy routine and stick to it….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, 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 are proud of you.  We will miss you.  We love you guys!

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

As this school year draws to a most interesting and, seemingly, underwhelming close, I am grateful for the opportunity to reach out to you one more time through the Ridge Report….which has been fantastic, by the way. 

I have been pondering on what we all have experienced and learned over the last two months. It is mind-boggling in every sense of the word. In my struggle to get my mind and spirit around it, I keep coming back to the “G’s”:   Gratitude   Grit   Greater Good

Gratitude: While we have lost so much of our daily lives, there have been things that have come from this for which I am very grateful.

  1. Continued good health

  2. Time with family

  3. McCallie School in a community sense

  4. Your teachers

  5. You men with your cooperative spirit….especially the intrepid Class of 2020!

Grit: While we pride ourselves as a resilient community, and rightfully so, we have been compelled to learn a new type of grit due to this virus. For me, it has been the need to focus on the present and take the future as it comes. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you given that you are in the “future business” as part of your education. Some grit lessons to consider:

  1. Be where you really are.

  2. Work on and solve what you can and take the rest as it comes.

  3. Continue to learn with an uncluttered mind.

  4. Take care of unpleasant tasks while you have the time...decluttering for example

  5. Resolve not to focus or obsess on what you have lost.

Greater Good: While it is tempting and easy to focus on all we have lost due to the shelter in place rules and such, the consistent practice of “gritty gratitude” should move our attention away from our own plights and more on the difficulties others have faced.  This focus should contain the following and more:

  1. Be thoughtful of and respectful of those who are more likely to be more impacted by this virus. WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC!

  2. Pitch in where you can with your time and resources even if you can’t be present.

  3. Obey the guidelines even if you don’t agree with them.

  4. Endeavor to be an encourager and not one who drains the emotions of others.

  5. Be part of the solution to get us back to our lives and not a hindrance.

Finally, gentlemen, the key to being able to return to the Ridge in the fall will be practicing Gratitude, Grit and the Greater Good. Your willingness to accept personal and consistent responsibility for the health and safety of others is the only way our community can successfully beat back this virus and be back on the Ridge in mind, body and spirit. I am looking forward to sharing this challenge with you and have every confidence that you will do whatever it takes. My thoughts and prayers remain with you. Have a great and safe summer!  I love and miss you guys!

GSGBB!!!!!
Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

As has become my tradition, I share this Mother’s Day message each year on the second Sunday in May. 

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

The Past: The Present: The Future

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

The Past

C.S Lewis: Most of all, perhaps we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.

This is an excerpt of an essay that was written by scholar and theologian C.S. Lewis just as World War II was beginning to unfold. He was answering the lingering and rhetorical question about why young men and women, who would soon go off to war, should continue with their education. The point Lewis makes is the importance of studying the past and asking pertinent questions. So, in these unprecedented times, here are a few questions for you to ponder…..and there are many others.

  1. Scientifically:  What led to this outbreak?

  2. Politically:  What hindered us from being better prepared?

  3. Media:  What role did news and social media play in the solution?

The Present

Sir Isaac Newton: Angela Duckworth writes: In 1665, Cambridge University closed as the bubonic plague swept across England. Isaac Newton, a 22-year-old student, was forced to retreat to the family farm, Woolsthorpe Manor. Isolated there for more than a year, on his own he revolutionized the scientific world. 

Optics: He discovered the fundamentals of color by conducting experiments with prisms. 

Gravity: Sitting in the orchard behind his farmhouse, he considered two orbs in his view, the moon and a single apple. Newton wondered if the force that drew the apple to the earth was what held the moon in orbit. These musings led him to later construct the laws of gravity and motion that tied everything in the universe together.

Calculus: He wrote three papers inventing calculus. (Shortly afterward, Gottfried Leibniz came up with the same principles.) Thinking about the rate of change as an object accelerated falling to earth, he realized that one could get an accurate total of the area under a curve by summing the rectangles, down to the infinitely small rectangles, that made up this area. 

Angela Duckworth is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  This is an excerpt from a letter she wrote to her students upon the decision to close the university for the remainder of the spring term.  Note how eerily similar the circumstances were for young people in the dark days of the bubonic plague of 1665. Newton had to move and adopt a “safe at home” strategy.  During that time, he decided to focus on new ideas rather than be bogged down by the current conditions.  I challenge you to use the time you have to:

  1. Explore new ideas and interests.

  2. Make a difference for others….even if it is your own family.

  3. Practice the art of gratitude.

The Future

Tom Brokaw: Those who lived through the Great Depression and World War II made up "The Greatest Generation" to date. I agree, but feel it important to analyze what makes up a Great Generation, to substantiate my opinion.

To date, they have been the Greatest Generation because the situation and circumstances they had to respond to required involvement of all people within that generation. It was a generation that distinguished itself from others, by means of total sacrifice, commitment, and belief in their cause. It is important to note that their "Greatness" was achieved out of necessity, having to respond to a situation, and having to deal with certain circumstances. I feel these men and women could not have distinguished themselves in the same way, had it not been for the exceptional challenges of that era.

Brokaw’s book is special to me because my parents and grandparents were part of this group of Americans. They lived through the Great Depression; Helped the Allies defeat tyranny in World War II; And, fought in a foreign country, now South Korea, whose freedom was under attack. These great folks came home determined to work hard, raise families and live normal lives. They were very determined to make the world a better place where history did not repeat itself….even if, despite their best efforts….this happened from time to time.  As Brokaw writes, the reason this generation distinguished itself, was commitment “to total sacrifice, commitment and belief in their cause”. I think yours can become the next great generation. Consider the following:

  1. Make the most of your time at McCallie to prepare yourselves.

  2. Continue to focus on the greater good.

  3. Learn to debate with scholarly integrity and reasonable responses and don’t take “no” for an answer.

Men, I remain humbled by your response in this unprecedented time.  I appreciate your kindness and patience as we sorted out how to keep some semblance of life on the Ridge.  I hope you find a way to “Spring Break”. I know it will not be what you planned or hoped for, but make the best of it.  We remain committed to reassembling on the Ridge as soon as it is safe and allowed. Again, to the great Class of 2020….You will have a graduation and all of the “trimmings”.

We will “see” you guys a week from Tuesday!

Dean Sholl

Kenny Sholl

Be the kind of people who need minimal governance, not draconian responses!

Men of McCallie,

This is a line pulled from one of my AWTTW pieces back in March of 2014. The reason for the essay that week was a lack of attention to detail regarding the dress code. I confess this is something that happens almost every year….to include this one. It is addressed, you guys get it and we move on. My purpose in bringing this up in 2020 is prompted by a completely different set of circumstances.

Our experiences these past two weeks have shown me that you are the kind of people mentioned above:

We are really not taking attendance, but you are “in” class.

You have gladly done everything in your power to help your teachers.

You have consistently considered the greater good over what you have lost.

I am sure you saw the interviews and heard the quotes from some of the “Spring Breakers” after the beaches were closed:

“This is my time. I don’t care if I get the virus. I am young and I will be fine”.....was the common theme of those who were interviewed.

Take note of the key words; “my”, “don’t care”, “I will”.  Improper use of and actions that often go with these words lead to draconian responses, because they are selfish. If we are selfless, put others first and consider the greater good, then we require minimal governance.  You are people, McCallie Men, who require minimal governance and you are displaying this at a time when it is needed the most. 

I am extremely proud of and grateful to you,

Dean Sholl


 

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

I hope you stopped by to look at the star in front of our house on campus.  Mrs. Hughes refers to it as the LZ…..Landing Zone…..as it is about 30’ by 30’!  I have constructed it for the last 23 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 for the third year in a row…...

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 desired 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.  

Men, I wish you well as you head off for Christmas vacation and Holiday celebrations. I know it has been a busy time for you to prepare for your end of semester projects, tests, and papers.  I hope you enjoy this well-deserved break. 

Be Well and Continue to Do Good in this Season of Giving!

With my compliments,

Dean  Sholl

GSGBB!!!!!

P.S.  Men, thank you for all you did to support the kids at Westside school who wouldn’t have a Christmas without you!

Kenny Sholl

Men of McCallie,

This coming Monday is one of my favorite days of the year. It is the day that Dean Bires and his “elves” deliver the presents for the Westside Elementary School Angel Tree. It reminded me of several of my “greatest hits” coming from the kids at the school when they see the incredible number and variety of gifts you guys provide for them. 

About five years ago, as we walked through the gym, there were a bunch of little kids taking P.E. class. I think they must have been kindergarten age or so. When I came through the door carrying a bag in each hand, a little girl dropped her hula hoop, through her head back, and with her arms outstretched yelled,

“I just love presents” followed by, “I just love Christmas”.

She then proceeded to follow me peppering me with questions until her teacher told her to get back to the hula hoop……..

Later that evening, my wife, who teaches at the school, told me that one of her 1st graders…..a lively lad…..came to her and whispered,

“Mrs. Sholl, Santa’s elves came to school today…….But, they were disguised as regular humans. You should have seen all of the stuff they brought us.”

Taking part in this special day makes me happy because I know that the gifts are going to bring some big smiles to some small faces. It makes me proud because of the incredible generosity I have witnessed on the Ridge for many years. It makes me remember how blessed I am in so many areas of my life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Men. I hope you do well on your exams.

Dean Sholl

 

Kenny Sholl, Assistant Headmaster

Men of McCallie,

I keep thinking about the Upper School Chapel, a week ago Monday, when we recognized the veterans in our community. I was truly touched by the program (our thanks to the Richey men) and by your response to it. From my readings and discussions with those who have served, it seems that the most compelling and lasting values each person experienced were the opportunities to be part of something larger than the individual, loving those you work with and endeavoring to be more concerned about their well-being as your own.

Many McCallie Men have proudly answered the call or chosen to serve in the Armed Forces over the years. While this is not a path everyone will take, it is very important, particularly in the formative years of our lives, that we find meaningful ways to be part of something larger than ourselves. 

  • Putting others first keeps our egos in check.

  • Thinking of others first keeps us from dwelling too much on our own condition.

  • Putting the greater good above self is the foundation of leadership.

  • Choosing service and gratitude are actually good for you….not mention those around you.

  • It creates life-long, meaningful memories and stories to tell for the rest of your life.

Men, if there has been a common theme in the Senior Chapel Talks this year, it is to become part of a team, group, organization, or activity that has a common goal. I, along with the seniors, challenge each of you to put yourself in a position where others are counting on you. It will build your self confidence and self worth…….And, it will make a difference.  

I remain thankful to be in a community that embraces this and is willing to help provide the opportunity.

With appreciation and Happy Thanksgiving!

Dean Sholl 

Kenny Sholl, Assistant Headmaster

Dear McCallie, GPS and Baylor Students:

Soon our schools will begin the time-honored tradition of Baylor-McCallie Week, starting with the GPS/Baylor soccer match on Wednesday, October 2, at 7 p.m., hosted by Baylor. On October 4, Baylor will then host the McCallie and GPS communities at Heywood Stadium for the annual football matchup between the Red Raiders and the Blue Tornado. Once again, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to positively demonstrate what it means to be part of these school communities.

As students, you are vital partners in making this event a success. We hope all 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 games, 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 school event, we expect all students to abide by the high standards each school embraces and the specific expectations each school fully supports and intends for all students to uphold. Students from each school are encouraged to demonstrate their spirit and excitement for the game on their home campuses. Students are not to promote 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 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 McCallie, GPS, and Baylor administrations consider this destruction of others’ property and view it as a form of vandalism. Do not risk your participation in this great week and attendance at the games over a foolish act. Gentlemen, leave the flags alone! We cannot stress this enough!

Most of all, it is important that 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 honor.

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, Go Bruisers and Go Big Red!

 

Kenny Sholl
Assistant Headmaster
McCallie School

 

Autumn Graves
Head of School
Girls Preparatory School

 

Shaw Wilson
Assistant Headmaster
Baylor School

 

Kenny Sholl

We Are McCallie!
Convocation: August 20, 2019

1.  Commit to something larger than yourselves and be willing to take healthy risks… put yourselves in situations that both challenge you and where others are counting on you. 

2.  Be humble, willing to listen and learn to enable your life experiences to give you wisdom… try to say less than you hear. Wrestle with Angels to gain wisdom.

3.  Be inclusive and build consensus... be a furtherer who makes others genuinely feel connected. 

4.  Be where you really are and don’t hide behind your phone, headphones, or ear buds… Don’t use technology in community spaces when you should be connecting with those around you… This is common courtesy, the rule and it applies to everyone, young and old, present today. I challenge you to gently remind us as we will remind you.

5.  Develop healthy habits and routines and remember your bodies are temples of God and constructed to move… get plenty of sleep, pay attention to your nutrition and move everyday. Be Well and Do Good!

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

7.  Accept that gratitude and hopefulness are choices and learned behaviors to be practiced and shared... develop a genuine sense of gratitude and help others to the same.  

8.  Love God with all your might and love your neighbor as yourself….Everything in life follows after these commandments. Men, this is living your faith on the Ridge.

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

10. Own Your Decisions, Define Your Education, Be The Miracle… these are Honor Truth Duty in action.

Gentlemen: We are McCallie! Have a great year. Go Big Blue!

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