Lessons Learned

Nick Sherod '16

Nick Sherod ’16

In my four years as a St. Christopher’s Upper Schooler, I’ve noticed a lot of very interesting things and have gained a lot of knowledge about life. Being a part of the class of 2016, also known as the greatest class of all time, has been a great experience, and inevitably the future classes will have big shoes to fill. While there is absolutely no chance the other classes will fill these shoes, I believe it is at the very least our responsibility to share some of the things that we’ve learned in our time so that you guys can make a decent attempt at reaching the lofty expectations that we’re leaving you off with. Here are two pieces of advice to help you have a fulfilling high school experience.

So about two weeks ago, I went to the bathroom after getting out of class early. I took care of my business, and after washing my hands, I was checking myself out in the mirror to see how my day was going to go. As I was looking in the mirror, I noticed a student leave the stall and head directly towards the exit. He didn’t wash his hands or anything. He just left. I looked at one of my friends who was also in the bathroom in utter disbelief. “Did I really just see that?” Unfortunately, the practice of neglecting to properly sanitize after using the bathroom is something that happens far too often. It takes 20 seconds of your time. We give each other high fives, we dap each other up, and we touch the plates and utensils at the cafeteria with all that filth from the bathroom still on your hands. That’s how the population shrinks due to a new plague developing, or how we have an ebola breakout at school because of the refusal to wash your hands. We also interact with girls throughout the day, and I can speak fairly confidently in the fact that no girl wants to hug or talk to a guy with dirty hands. Friends don’t let friends not wash their hands. As uncomfortable as the fact that you may be sitting beside someone who regularly leaves the bathroom without washing their hands, what can be even more uncomfortable are some of our hallway interactions.

We’ve all been there before. You’re walking through the hallway and you see someone you recognize but don’t really know. You both make eye contact. You’re not really sure what to do. You’re getting closer to each other. A sweat starts to trickle down your forehead. So instead of speaking, you either decide to pull out your phone or awkwardly look away like you didn’t just see the person making things even more weird. Because we’re a pretty small community, in my opinion it is pretty important that we all are at least somewhat comfortable around each other. So instead of trying to avoid talking to someone while walking through the hallway, just saying “what’s up” or “hey” can make things a lot less weird and can increase the level of comfort around the school. You never know, maybe because of this interaction you’ll be more comfortable telling that person you saw in the hallway to wash his hands when he inexplicably forgets to do so.    – Nick Sherod

Sam Cain '16

Sam Cain ’16

This is my 14th year at St. Christopher’s School. “We can’t all be scholars, but we can all be gentlemen,” they say. I’ve always loved that quote because they make the scholarly part seem optional… and all that is required is that I become a gentleman. So that is what I have done. I have spent my entire high school career trying to become a gentleman. I can tell you all pity my efforts but I promise you I have come a long way. The three lessons that stood out most to me were to respect your teachers and the classroom environment, to not be stupid on social media, and to take your hat off in the building. OK.

Lesson 1: respect your teachers and the classroom environment. Flashback to 9th grade Biology with Dr. Sutten. It was lab day and, as always, Jacob Pitney and Jack Spruill were my partners. Our objective was to look into the microscope and draw what we see, simple enough. The problem was that I was feeling extra jittery that day. There was a tank of tiny little goldfish about 5 feet from our lab station that suddenly caught my eye. I grabbed Jacob and we looked at it for a second, both pondering over what would be the funniest thing to do. My mind raced and I suddenly came to the conclusion that I shall rapidly squirt hand soap into the glass tank to see what happens. So that’s what I did. Jacob and I laughed for a brief moment but it was nothing special. I decided to go to the bathroom to get some air and think about how I could be funnier in the future. And about five minutes later I came back to the room to see bubbles all over the ground, cute goldfish with their bellies up, and everyone looking at me. In full on panic mode, I’m almost positive, and Dr. Sutten can correct me if I’m wrong, that I actually tried to convince you through a bunch of random hand movements that I was washing my hands and soap flew from the container into the tank about ten feet away. Everyone burst out in laughter…Yay, I finally got my laughs… The hours list looked something like, Sam Cain. Fish murderer. Breakfast club. Tune.  Dr. Sutten, I apologize.

Lesson 2: Don’t be stupid on social media. Flashback to late March, sophomore year. I was coming back from a JV golf match in which I played ever so poorly. Still thinking about my worm burner into the water on number 8, I walked to my car along the sophomore strip to find my whole back windshield shattered, with a baseball in the backseat. Infuriated, I turned around to see Ross Abrash directly in front of me. Before I could get a word out, he simply said, “It was a Christchurch kid.” That was enough for me, no questions asked. The only issue was that the team had left about 5 minutes earlier, so I could not express my displeasure directly. Welp, plan B. Twitter. I went home and came up with a well thought out, elaborate plan to tweet at the official Christchurch school Twitter account something like this: “Thanks for shattering my windshield. #yallsuck”… and that’s what I did. To this day I still don’t know what I thought the outcome was going to be. My mind was probably thinking it was either going to be a check in the mail, a signed team ball, or an email from the head of their school saying some kid on Twitter is directing vulgar language towards our baseball team. It was the last one. In the end, I wrote them a letter of apology, how ironic.

And finally, last but not least, Lesson 3: Do not wear your hat in the building. Let’s calculate this real quick. I am told to take my hat off approximately two times a day. There are around 200 school days in a year. And there are four years of upper school. I have been told to take my hat off in the building approximately 1,600 times in my high school career. Let me first start off by apologizing to the entire language department. Everyone knows the bottom floor is a trap and they are always on the prowl. But they are the nicest group of women you will ever meet and they genuinely just want us to look handsome. But if you find yourself being one of the 1600 reminders, I apologize. You shouldn’t have to take the time out of your day to tell me something I should already know. You never know, you might see new Sam, prancing down the hallways, hair flowing, hat in hand. I am blessed to be going to the best school in the world with an unparalleled faculty who builds character like none other. “We can’t all be scholars, but we can all be gentlemen.”   – Sam Cain



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