Letter to NHS Selection CommiteeMarch 8, 1993
To The Faculty Committee for the selection of National Honor Society Members:
Zak has certainly shown responsibility, integrity, self motivation and academic leadership equal to what we see in many professionals beyond the high school setting. He is willing to discuss with anyone anything from philosophy or literature, to math, chemistry, physics or his favorite, computer programming, Those with whom he shares ideas include fellow students in the high school setting and the college setting and more importantly people in the world of adults.
His leadership may not be as visible in high school as it is in the global network of computer communications. We view high school as one resource to help him prepare for the world beyond, in which he is already a leader in developing programs for very specific network problems. Others in this field, many years his senior, may have the programming ability but have not defined the problems, or vice verse. Not only did he define the problems but learned the necessary programming on his own to solve the problems. (Neither of us are computer programmers.) We consider this a very special kind of technical leadership.
Very often the best visionaries and leaders are not conventional. To the contrary, very often throughout history leaders, scientists, and inventors have been something closer to challengers of the accepted answers. It has been important to us as parents to see that our children are never discouraged from creative thinking. It is too difficult to reclaim once it has been limited by some conventional attitude. Just try to visualize four dimensions as Stephen Hawking suggests. It is important that the high school faculty and staff be careful to not overlook leadership in our children because it does not fit an easily defined (conventional) model within the high school setting.
We heard Dr. Box say this evening that tolerance, acceptance of differences, is one of the goals for students at AHS. We interpret tolerance as recognizing that not everyone has the same talents, abilities or personality type (Myers-Briggs). It follows that it would be a mistake to send our next generation of potential leaders the message that only a person who leads in a defined setting or organization is a Leader.
Our hope is that, in the future, the faculty committee will put less emphasis on a list of high school activities, that reflects only a small arena for leadership and service, and evaluate the leadership qualities of students by something more comprehensive. The present system that does not even request a self nominating essay gives the impression that quantity participation and not quality leadership is what is being valued.