Realizing What We Have. Carmel is more than an education; it is an investment in the self.

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w.GemelasA’s to F’s, first wins to championship losses, golden trophies to participation ribbons—these are all clues that tell us where we are in our lives, assessing our progress toward our goals. At Carmel, there exists that goal-oriented, may I even say goal-obsessed, culture that pushes us to go far, but it doesn’t capture the full Carmel experience. Don’t get me wrong: having such great, achieving peers creates a positive environment for success. It is what makes Carmel gleam in the ranks of schools. It is why so many athletic and academic teams stiffen at the Carmel name. Without the track superstars sitting in front of you in biology or the next Yo-Yo Ma practicing cello in the next room, nobody would be expanding their horizons. Yet, at the brink of graduation, I finish four years here knowing that this competitiveness, this measurable way of success, is only a characteristic. CHS, if you look a little closer, will enrich your life. Unfortunately, the reason why we sometimes don’t find school enriching is that as a society we have a skewed understanding of the school system. A revealing question is merely, “why do we come to school?” It’s to get an education, right? No, not quite. Getting an education is such a limited scope to what school is meant to be. The very connotation of “getting an education” implies what we slip into—expecting knowledge to be served by teachers on a platter, chewed and digested within a few seconds and spit right out onto the test. Yes, I do acknowledge that in today’s world having the necessary education and skill set will propel you toward post-secondary pursuits and then your career so that your pocketbook is fat and your life is good, but in all humility I believe that school is about becoming a better human being. How could we appreciate freedom if we didn’t know about the government’s struggles in U.S. History class? How could we develop our character without that dramatic fallout with a friend? How could we appreciate teamwork without the sweat and tears of athletics or performing arts? It is the sum of experiences in and out of the classroom that fulfill the purpose of school: to make us better humans beings. Whether or not you believe our school is doing a phenomenal job, there is no denial that our school provides an endless number of quality resources and opportunities, all for nearly free. Most have tapped into the reserves of Carmel, but the question is how can you continue to shape as a person? What will make you grow the most? Next year, my challenge to us is to see how great we can strive to be, not in the goal-obsessed way but in obsession to improve our lives. Invest in yourself. Don’t settle for “getting an education;” grab the reins and become a better human being. George Gemelas will be attending Yale University in the fall. Reach him at [email protected]