University School of Jackson

Headnotes: The Bruin Walk


The Bruin Walk


For those who proudly wear the Red and Columbia Blue, this path isn’t just special but treasured. It stands as a symbol of accomplishment. Emblematic of success. This leads to an important, if not existential question: Just how is this success defined?


We at USJ often speak of it. Of whom we are and aspire to be. We proudly (and rightfully) affirm the accomplishments of merit scholars, state champions, celebrate the elusive 4.0, or the ultimate score of 5 on the AP exam. Even as adults, we define our own measures of accomplishment: the well-earned promotion, new title, or corner office. Although these are all worthy of respect, one could make the case there are higher things for which to strive.


I would pose authentic success is measured in standards over status and can only be achieved by first growing our character. We must, as we are often told by our elders, get our priorities right. A learner must often ask himself the question, what do I truly value? What am I putting first in my life? What is most important to me?


For example, am I putting grades before learning? Popularity over principles? Results rather than fundamentals? Every day we are forced to make choices that really begin with our own ideals and values. When I complain instead of encouraging or lash out instead of showing restraint, it almost always begins with my poor attitude. I too easily get caught up comparing myself to others or mired in temporary, shallow disputes that reflect my own misaligned priorities.


You see, the Bruin walk isn’t a place as much as a mindset. The Bruin walk is the daily process of growth, striving for improvement, even greatness. Integral to this process is practicing and studying harder, putting others first, and the desire to “be” good as well as to “do” good as we advance our mission. When one treks daily toward virtue, discipline, and growth, success in many forms tends to follow. This journey leads to excellence, and one never completely arrives at its destination.


It is truly an honor to daily walk this path with you.


Thank you for your support, and Go Bruins!


Don Roe

Head of School

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