Recently I have read several articles and commentaries about the value of a liberal arts education at the post secondary level. See this Bloomberg article for reference. There are lots of valid reasons for these debates and many reforms necessary that may help our college systems. However, whether it is post secondary education, or K-12 education, I don’t believe anyone can debate the importance of a broad-based education that creates citizens who have the ability to think, write, analyze, problem-solve, show resolve (grit), and create. These are 21st century skills that are critical for future employability.
I have a friend from the Worthington High School class of 1991 who serves as a case in point. I met Joe Boyd somewhere around our middle school years when his family moved to Worthington and we began to attend church together. I still remember seeing Joe for the first time, standing in his royal blue Kentucky basketball shirt. We remained friends throughout high school and when we went to college we went our separate ways. Our relationship now consists of a yearly email exchange on our shared birthday and being Facebook friends.
However, Joe is a fascinating study. After high school Joe went to college to become a preacher. He eventually migrated to Las Vegas and helped create a church that has grown past 10,000 members. In his early 30’s he decided to become an actor and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Today he is doing both: preaching and acting. Joe is a teaching pastor at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati. (I often download his sermons from iTunes and listen to them on my morning runs.) But, Joe is also the President of a company he founded Rebel Pilgrim Productions and Tuesday they released the trailer for their new movie which will be released in September called “A Strange Brand of Happy.” Furthermore he’s the author of an allegorical fantasy “Between Two Kingdoms.” (He also makes me wonder, what I’ve been doing with my life….)
Here’s the thing. The Joe I remember from high school was a shy kid. He didn’t act in any of Bronwynn Hopton’s plays and he didn’t win any awards in AP Lit. He was a normal guy who enjoyed history with Mr. Ellwood and played better basketball than one would think he was capable of. But, obviously, Joe learned the skills needed for 2013. He is creative, he’s entrepreneurial, and he has stayed the course when things have not been easy (I know his book took many years to write, and who makes movies….?)
You never know where our students will go after leaving the halls of Worthington. Our job is to prepare them for a future that neither they, nor we, can yet imagine. Our teachers are working hard to infuse creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication into every one of their lessons. Our students will need these skills, and some, like Joe, will go forth and prosper in ways not even their closest friends could imagine.
* A Strange Brand of Happy is going to be available locally at the RAVE Polaris 18 on Sept 13,14, 15. You can purchase tickets at http://seatzy.com/main/citydetail/a-strange-brand-of-happy/59 Invite your neighbors, your friends, and even random strangers you meet at the Farmers Market this summer. Worthington graduates go on to do all sorts of cool things. Let’s support Joe’s work.