Name: Asher Leavy
Years at Shipley: 10
Attending in the Fall: Williams College
Major/Area of Interest: Economics and Computer Science
The Beacon (Head Editor); Computer Science Club; Athletics Committee, Varisty Squash
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
Mr. Goren was my most influential teacher because he made the learning experience fun and engaging. He always had a positive and energetic personality that put a smile on my face every class. He pushed me to dive deep into the material and was there for help whenever I needed it. His jokes, outfits, and demonstrations made classes very entertaining and made me want to learn. His passion for teaching is clear and his love of learning rubbed off a lot on me. Mr. Goren pushed me to become a better student and stretched my mind to its limits. My curiosity grew tremendously under his constant questioning of “how do you know that?” or “can you say more?” I now ask myself these very questions when trying to reason through problems in any STEM class.
What was your most memorable experience at Shipley?
My most memorable experience was when I reviewed my essay from 11th grade US history class with Dr. Gillin. I wrote a six-page research paper about the Supreme Court during the Gilded Age. I spent weeks on the paper and spent almost every day on it to ensure I had a complete understanding of my topic so I could make a sound argument. I turned in the paper confident that I had sent in my best work as I took hundreds of notecards and had spent time thinking through each part. The meeting was a bit underwhelming, as Dr. Gillin was able to spot several flaws in the paper from grammatical mistakes to deeper problems like the thesis statement. However, I realized in the meeting that there is always room to grow, and that learning is never perfect no matter how much time and effort you put into something. Dr. Gillin had a great influence on me in that she focused more on teaching me the process of learning, absorbing, and analyzing material rather than just knowing it.
What does Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing mean to you?
Courage for the Deed means stepping away from what everyone else is thinking or saying and doing what you believe is the right action at hand. For example, sticking up for someone who is being bullied when nobody has the courage to do it. Grace for the Doing means the execution of your action must reflect your intentions. In the bullying example, this would mean using words of kindness to help the kid being targeted rather than trying to physically harm the people bullying the kid. How you handle a situation is just as important as the intention, and that is why the Shipley motto is so applicable in life.
Complete this sentence: Shipley has prepared me to…
…go my own way and create my own path in the world. The School has shown me that with the right idea and right attitude you can achieve what you put your mind towards.
Reflections on your time at Shipley:
In my early days at Shipley, I remember instantly feeling a sense of belonging in Lower School. In particular, we were reading a book in 4th grade and I didn’t know the answer to a group question, but the teacher and students still encouraged me to contribute. Although I got it wrong, I felt more comfortable participating the next time. I learned that trying is better than doing nothing because mistakes are what teach us the most. I took this mindset of “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” with me every day beyond Lower School.
In Middle School, I developed social skills as a result of all the group projects. In an 8th-grade math class, we had a project where my group members and I disagreed on almost every problem. I couldn’t figure out how to convince them that I was right and I refused to believe they were right. Only when I thought about it from their perspective and where they were coming from could I learn to show others where their thinking is flawed or where I went wrong. I will take this lesson of putting myself in the shoes of others to better communicate with them to college and beyond.
In high school, I saw a lot more opportunities to take risks and see how rewarding it is to take a leap into the unknown. Blazing your own path can be difficult, but whether it was taking on the harder prompt for a school project or trying a new club or even committing to a sport 100% were all risks that had to be calculated and thought out. Everything was a major decision it felt like, and I learned how to deduce the best answer almost every time by weighing what mattered to me and what the decision what lead to.