Head of US Scott Small Speaks at Prize Day

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students gathered in Brauer Auditorium for Prize Day, an annual tradition dating back decades. With parents of prize recipients in the balcony, Head of Upper School Scott Small addressed the audience at the end. Here are his remarks.

Mr. Rainey, Dr. Maxwell, award recipients, faculty, staff, students, and parents, thank you for sharing part of your afternoon for our Prize Day celebration. CJ Price wrote the following to his colleagues in 1963:

Office Memorandum
November 27, 1963

To: All Employees

At 12:38 p.m., Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and Texas’ Governor John Connally were brought to the Emergency Room of Parkland Memorial Hospital after being struck down by the bullets of an assassin.

At 1:07 p.m., Sunday, November 24, 1963, Lee. H. Oswald, accused assassin of the late president, died in an operating room of Parkland Memorial Hospital after being shot by a bystander in the basement of Dallas’ City Hall. In the intervening 48 hours and 31 minutes Parkland Memorial Hospital had:

1. Become the temporary seat of the government of the United States.

2. Become the temporary seat of the government of the State of Texas.

3. Become the site of the death of the 35th President.

4. Become the site of the ascendency of the 36th President.

5. Become site of the death of President Kennedy’s accused assassin.

6. Twice became the center of the attention of the world.

7. Continued to function at close to normal pace as a large charity hospital.

He continued:

What is it that enables an institution to take in stride such a series of history jolting events? Spirit? Dedication? Preparedness? Certainly, all of these are important, but the underlying factor is people. People whose education and training is sound. People whose judgment is calm and perceptive. People whose actions are deliberate and definitive. Our pride is not that we were swept up by the whirlwind of tragic history, but that when we were, we were not found wanting.


C. J. Price

I believe that we are today celebrating similar attributes and aspirations that Mr. Price highlighted in this letter to his community in the wake of some daunting challenges. Principles of leadership, intellect, conscience, and character. We have highlighted initiative and responsibility and clarified those concepts that we believe are critical to embrace as a community if we are, as our mission statement calls us, to “meet the challenges of this world with confidence” and truly aspire to live “lives of purpose and service.”

Just as I think Mr. Price was calling out in his letter to his community—not everyone will receive public accolades, but whether heralded or not, so many of you have met the moment in front of you and, most importantly, prepared for the many challenges and opportunities to come. To our deserving award recipients today, I congratulate you on your many accomplishments, your deep commitment to impressive standards—and I implore you to continue to aspire to even greater heights.  To all of our students, those recognized today, those worthy but who have yet to receive public recognition, as well as those still working to find strength of action to match potential, I would humbly suggest that this world desperately needs each of you—your initiative, your inquisitiveness, and your conscience so that when tested, we will not be found wanting either. Thank you.