Dear KES Family:
Our debating programme is growing. What Jenna Pennington and Nick Szymanis have done over the last two years is really impressive. This last weekend we hosted our first tournament, and I was fortunate to be a judge for the Junior debates on Saturday.
The afternoon’s resolution was: “This house believes that every home should have a robot.” In each debate, robots were defined as machines with limbs which could do everything from homework to household chores. Apparently, robots look after children very well and care for seniors even better. What fascinated me was that the arguments against having robots in the home were all about people losing their jobs (cooks and gardeners and caregivers losing their incomes), or about safety (what if it malfunctions?), or cost (If a MacBook costs about $2,000, how is the government going to afford a robot for every home?). Not one debater mentioned anything about whether it would be better for children to be tutored by an actual person, or that seniors homes might be a wee bit lonely and impersonal if staffed by machines.
What I did not hear from the younger generation were any doubts that robots would not be able to do anything that people can. There was not a single remark to cast doubt on the assumption that robots would be great at helping with homework. Really? Houses would be clean, food prepared, dishes cleaned, laundry done, and all of it with the perfect ease of artificial intelligence and mechanical agility.
Whatever happened to our skepticism about technology? How have the lessons of Doctors Jekyll and Frankenstein, or the creators of Jurassic Park, been lost? Is this generation too young for the Terminator movies or the book/film I Robot by Isaac Asimov? A part of me wonders if these cautionary tales are not considered cautionary at all, but as mere entertainment, meant to be enjoyed but not taken to heart.
Or maybe I am just old, making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe if I had a robot that made lattes and massaged my sore neck I would feel differently. :)
On Saturday, November 25, 2017, three King’s-Edgehill School Math League teams visited Acadia University to compete in the first contest of the year. After a round of ten team questions and the pairs relay, and with only the individual relay remaining, our Math League Team of Phoebe Yuen, Yufei (Jessica) Wu and Jiashu (Jay) Liu finished it first; another of our Math League Teams of Qianhui (Venus) Hong, Ziyue (Shell) Jiang, Hsiao-Yu (Mia) Chen and Yue (Rebecca) Yu finished it third.
Congratulations, mathletes, and don’t forget we have practices on Tuesday evenings led by Captain Linxuan (Skyler) Li, and teachers Mr. Chris MacLean and Ms. Michelle Moon.
We hope to see interested mathletes at our next practices!
Dear KES Family:
The Admissions Office has been very busy and, as a result, I have had the pleasure of interviewing over a dozen excited (and nervous) teenagers this week. With the exception of one, all would be terrific additions to KES next year. Each interview takes on a life of its own and goes in different directions, but one of the questions I ask is whether there is anything about coming to KES that worries or scares them.
The consistent answer to this question is making friends, of being liked, of being accepted within our community. That “what if no one likes me” fear is very real. The thought of being alone, or being lonely, is scary. I don’t think it matters what stage of life one is in, I don’t think there is anything more challenging than that feeling of being isolated and separate. Belinda and I recently watched the film “Our Souls at Night” starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. Their characters live across the street from each other and each is living alone after having lost their spouse many years before. The film starts with Fonda asking Redford if he would consider coming over at night to sleep with her. Not for “that” she says, but for company, so that she can sleep. “The nights are the worst,” she asks, “Don’t you think?” Eventually he says yes and they become close friends.
One cannot guarantee that every student will find a best friend at KES, but I am confident that our School community is sensitive and thoughtful enough that no one ever eats alone in the Dining Hall or feels excluded from School activities. Empathy is highly valued in our School culture. It is really important to all of us that people are treated with dignity and respect, and that everyone feels valued and welcome.
One of the unique aspects of KES is our good fortune to have a School Reverend. Especially at Christmas time, Reverend Curry is masterful at demonstrating that we are not alone. As he explained the story of Mary and the symbolism of the Advent Wreath in Chapel this week, I could not help but draw comfort from his words. It is Reverend Curry’s way that even if one has deep questions and is undecided about one’s faith, everyone is invited to participate in our services together.
As December is upon us and our whole-School Carol Services this weekend beckon, I cannot help but contemplate how fortunate we are to be part of a community that is so inclusive and thoughtful, does so much together, and envisions a world that is not empty, alone, and godless.
Topics: About King's-Edgehill School
The arts make up one of the essential four pillars of a King’s-Edgehill School education. Some aspects such as Drama, Music and Visual Art, are part of the regular academic curriculum and are available as IB courses as well.