I am proud to be a Bengal. Yes, faculty, parents, students, and staff … we are all part of this community that we call Bengal Nation and all hold a stake in making it great and singing its praises. I don’t know that I can list all of the reasons that being a Bengal makes me ferklempt (Yiddish, for being overcome with emotion), but in the last few weeks alone, I was proud of our students and how they came together as a community to show their spirit and raise money for Bengal Games. I watched a number of young high school students donate blood at the first opportunity their age would allow. We had students fight hard on the field in the Face-Off Against ALS Challenge against Page, and our drama students put on yet another remarkable show. I am sure you can add to this list of accolades and boasts.
Throughout the year I enjoy attending our sporting events because our fans display great sportsmanship and our athletes make good on their promise to be both students and athletes. The most recent example I can share with you that brought me pride is our boys basketball team who was invited to participate in The Dick's Sporting Goods National High School Tournament. The Dick’s tournament is comprised of eight boys teams and four girls teams that are invited to participate. GDS was one of two 'traditional' schools invited, meaning that our team plays under a state association. The invite to participate is very prestigious, and includes the entire cost of travel, lodging and food for the team. Our team is the first team from North Carolina to be invited twice and the first team from North Carolina to win a game in the tournament. Set aside the distinction of simply being invited, and there is still even more to beam about.
Since the team returned they have been humble and focused on their academics. They have not neglected the “student” in student athlete. I have heard that there were boys who did work while they were away and that at least one chose not to go so that he could focus on his schoolwork. I have also heard from several sources about how these boys comported themselves while in New York. A TSA agent stopped one of the coaches and told him how impressed he was with the manners of the players as they went through security at the airport. A volunteer in the school cafeteria where they ate their meals, complimented the team on their manners while going through the food line. A member of the tournament operations teams stated that, "GDS was the most enjoyable team to work with and be around during the tournament." The Nike High School Basketball Rep came into the locker room after the season ending loss and told the team how proud he was of their efforts and that he enjoyed watching the Bengals more than any other team in the tournament because they played the game the right way, with hustle, unselfishness and a good attitude ... things that we believe they extend far beyond the court.
In the New York Times, Rebecca Sabky, who worked in admissions at Dartmouth College, wrote about kindness as a trait often overlooked in the college admissions process, yet one that is “irresistible” and distinguishing among a sea of incredibly bright and talented applicants.
Our Bengals are incredibly talented, intelligent and kind and I am proud that as a school we pay attention to character and ethical development of students across divisions. Our students abide by an honor code and older students visit younger divisions to talk about sportsmanship and leadership. When kids make mistakes our response is not simply punitive, but restorative and helps students learn the value of forgiveness of themselves and others. I am proud to be a Bengal because we live our mission to address the intellectual, ethical and interpersonal foundations our students will need to be constructive contributors to the world. Whether their futures take them towards careers in politics, the arts, medicine, professional sports, business, education, or our military, I am proud to be a Bengal because I trust that our students will be the thoughtful, gracious leaders who model the generosity of spirit needed to carry our school and our world into the next generation.
Director of Student Life and College Counseling