Einstein and the power of a smile

One of our aims at AKS is to encourage students to develop success and value. I have mentioned before a quote from Albert Einstein “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”. This was not intended to be gender limited; we certainly hope our young men and young women will have the aptitude and confidence to have a positive impact on those around them. I see this in school every day and in the way our students interact with those beyond the school gates.

Sometimes one sees a photograph that captures not just a moment, but a broader concept too. The one attached was taken just before Christmas when our students continued their regular visits to local community partners – including care homes, hospices and schools. Whatever activity is planned, it is inevitably the individual human interaction that makes the difference. It is said, ‘I may forget what you show me, and forget what you tell me, but I’ll never forget the way you make me feel’.

I have been most impressed by a large team of senior school students who are taking forward a more ambitious and longer term project to connect with older members of our community, driven by their own desire to learn and make a difference. They are coming up with new ideas and ways of bringing them to fruition. Further to this, our Year 12 Ambassador programme currently has 30 students working on projects with partners such as N-Vision, Rotary and Royal Cross School for the Deaf. There will of course be an element of trial and error but I have no doubt that they will end up with success and value in equal measure.

In my experience, the empowerment that follows such enterprise can add motivation to achieve academically and in other areas of school, in order to maximise future opportunity. It is what might be called a ‘compelling education’. We may not have the academic profile of Einstein but we have enormous potential to impact on the people, the environment, the world around us.

Another quote attributed to Einstein is ‘Not everything that counts can be counted’. As with the power of a smile…

M H P Walton
Headmaster