At the end of the day, the real question is, yes, Peter Buffett was here, we heard his ideas and his music, but did it have an impact on HC? Walking through the middle school hallway after school today, I grabbed three students (R to L: Emma Buckles, gr. 7; Maddie Meneguzzi, gr. 9; Alysha Law, gr. 12) and asked them, completely on the spot, what they thought of yesterday's festivities and the thought-provoking messages behind it. Needless to say, they were all quite impressed and each had the opportunity to learn something completely new.
Some pictures from Mr. Buffett's performance last night with cellist Michael Cott.
Sitting in the principal’s house eating amazing food and sharing a couch with Peter Buffett was a very surreal moment. He was very confident in a room full of women bombarding him with questions of his endless and diverse journeys around the world. But when the room cleared so that we could ask him the questions from a student perspective, I found myself awestruck at the enormity of his accomplishments.
The Institute at Havergal has helped us, the students, get our feet on the ground, and help us find the ways in which to make our impact. We aren’t big named celebrities, we haven’t seen the world or even ventured far enough to make a name for ourselves outside the ivy covered walls. So I asked how he did it, how he got his start because he didn’t have a Ms. Peel waiting to help him out. And his response was when you build something from the ground up, you need to make a name for yourself, stand out among the crowd, and show that you are truly passionate about something and people will want to work with you, to learn from you. This related back to when Katie asked for any wisdom or advice on how to start networking - to which he said the same, make it known that you’re are passionate about something and people will gravitate towards you - a “Build it and they will come” sort of attitude.
Lastly, we talked about vehicles for change. Katie being the head of Athletes in Motion, and I being an avid member we both use sport as our vehicle to help our community. But when asked what Peter’s way of making change was, his response went right down to the basics. Internally, he said, you need funding, you need a plan of approach and you need to put yourself out there, the business side of things. But I pushed further asking about the concrete way of making change. He said that there are many ways to make change. It’s about your targeted group and the culture around them. Like changing a girl’s life in Canada would involve education but very few boundaries other than financing would stand in your way. Whereas changing the life of a girl in Liberia you face way more obstacles including politics and differing values.
So, after an enlightening lunch, we’re off to class. We’ll be back this evening.
Recently, the Grade 5s have been focusing on empathy and decided it would be fitting to sing Mr. Buffett an original song upon his arrival to the Junior School library.
Meanwhile, the Grade 6s took it upon themselves to explore who Mr. Buffett is, what his message means and why he was coming to Havergal. The result of their brainstorming and research were strung throughout the library in preparation for Mr. Buffett’s talk.
During the Q&A session, one student asked “Why do you love what you do?” Mr. Buffett replied that he loves what he does because he feels that there is a purpose to his passion. I couldn’t help but think of how this statement reflected what happens here within these ivy walls. One of the goals of the Institute here at HC could be described as “Life is what you make it” because students are the ones who initiate ideas, create plans and essentially make their passions into something with a solid purpose. Mr. Buffett also mentioned that he loves creating music that is entirely new, something that can touch and inspire people. Where better a place to dream, create and then take action on that dream, than right here at Havergal?
Peter Buffett definitely made an impression. He really seemed to care about having his message heard, basing his message off of what the students wanted to hear, by fielding questions from the students, faculty and staff.
When asked what really matters to him, he said the most important journey in life is to discover what’s in your heart and to follow what compels you. He believes that who you are informs what you do. This really applied to students as we are all facing different phases in our lives as we are growing up. This message will really help us find our place in the world.
My life is what I make of it. Growing up at Havergal, it fit perfectly with our mission and Ellen Knox’s key phrase “What will you do today?” When the Institute asks us "what kind of world we want to live in", and how we are going to impact this world, at this school we are given the resources to follow Mr. Buffett’s message, not just through music but through following our own paths.
Mr. Buffett also encouraged us to create our own definition of success so we can look forward to waking up every day and being happy with who we are and where we are going. Whether that be music, sports or accounting and business, we will all find our passion and we can put it out to the world to make it a better place.
He also mentioned that working with others brings out parts of us that we never knew we had within us. This is true, as we know through our experience at Havergal. Through our partnerships, we bring out the nurturing and teaching aspects; through global experience we learn of cultures so different then our own. And through this we are leaving our mark, small as it may be, but they are experiences we will all look back on and remember for not only did they make an impact on someone else but ourselves. Although we may not be working with Akon or having our passions presented on television screens nationwide, we are still finding them and learning from them. It was interesting to have such a large concept put into words that we could all connect to – even if it’s on a completely different scale.
Mr. Buffett closed with an amazing piece called "Searching for a Place Called Home," accompanied by animated cellist Michael Cott. Havergal returned the favour by performing a closing piece composed by Tom Bell, part of our own Havergal community, and beautifully sung by the Chamber Choir which had us leaving Prayers on a high note for the day.
Havergal's Chamber Choir had a special surprise for Mr. Buffett during morning Prayers. They performed the following song as a thank you. Havergal commissioned the composition from Tom Bell with lyrics by Peter Buffett and Wolfgang Von Goethe. Lynn Janes conducted the Havergal Chamber Choir in this morning’s performance at Upper School Prayers.
Be bold, be bold! For boldness has genius, power and magic in it, So begin it, begin it now. Trust in the belief that the world is a good place. Not a perfect place as anyone can see but a good place and worth the trouble of making better.
So begin it, begin it now.
Music, music, music is your canvas, So paint a little, paint a little every day.
And begin it, begin it now.
Whatever you dream or dream that you can do, Whatever you dream or dream that you can do, Begin it, begin it now.