Value in Versatility: The Old Brentonian Awards Ceremony

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - By: Glory C, Mackenzie '18; Photo by Vivian F, Hope '18

"Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value,” goes the famous quote by Albert Einstein. Is that the key to achieving success? Is that what sets individuals apart, causing them to go on to garner so many notable achievements under their belts? How can one be a “man of value”? These are the questions that ran through my mind as I stood in the lobby of the T. Gil Bunch Centre on April 28, 2018 for the Old Brentonian Awards Ceremony at the 48th Annual Brentwood Regatta. 

The lobby was packed with multitudes of people; the young, the elderly, the retired and the inspired: multitudes of Brentonians from different nations and generations came together to celebrate the success of three outstanding individuals, rekindle old friendships, and build some new ones. In the midst of all the chaos, I found myself extremely nervous as I approached this year’s winner of the Outstanding Brentonian Award, Tyler Wish, Whittall ’98, to ask him a couple questions about his career, while hoping to find the answers to the questions that raced through my mind.  

“Versatility is key in the current workforce,” Tyler said. “The demands of the world are changing so quickly; you need to constantly be learning and evolving in order to keep up with the times.”  With such a simple statement, I had found the answers to my questions.. To be a person of value is to be a person of versatility, and this was made evident to me today as I watched three exceptional individuals from completely different fields shake Mr. Patel’s hand and accept their respective awards. 

Heading into the ceremony, I expected to be surrounded by several amazing and accomplished people from previous graduation classes, and I wasn’t disappointed. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to be near tears as I listened to the speeches of the award winners. While each winner had a different background, the one thing that they all shared is that they each embodied the traits that are paramount for success, traits that are extremely admirable. “People always talk about hard work and how it’s super important and all that stuff,” said Malcolm Howard, Ellis ’01, this year’s winner of the Extraordinary Young Brentonian Award. “What Brentwood really taught me is the value of hard work and what hard work can achieve.” As a Harvard graduate, and a Gold & Silver medalist at the 2008 & 2012 Olympics respectively, I think it’s easy to say that Malcolm Howard has personified the term “hard work”, which made watching him receive his award all the more inspiring.

By this point, I was beyond convinced that these three individuals were well deserving of their awards, as not only have they accomplished outstanding achievements, but their diversity truly represents the form of versatility that Brentwood produces in students throughout their time on this campus. Then it hit me: Brentwood produces people of value, people who have an impact. By the end of the ceremony, as I walked out of the theatre after observing these exemplary individuals, I was reassured that, in the words of David Wilkinson, class of ’71, and this year’s winner of the Old Brentonian Lifetime Achievement Award, “One does not need celebrity status to have an impact on the world.”

Glory C, Mackenzie '18

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