On the drizzly morning of September 10, students and faculty at Forman School gathered in the Jake Cloobeck '16 Theater of the Visual and Performing Arts Center for the first all-school assembly of the new year. Headmaster Adam K. Man, in his 11th year at Forman, welcomed the community and started off the year with a reminder of Forman's core values and guiding principles: truth, respect, and kindness.
In introducing a nuanced approach to truth, Mr. Man encouraged the students to see "truth" as more than being honest. It's also about being your authentic self as often as possible. To illustrate his point, Mr. Man showed a few photographs from "Touching Strangers" by Richard Renaldi, who traveled the country and asked strangers to pose for pictures as if they were close friends. The images are striking and reveal a truth about each subject. "I don't know what Renaldi said to his subjects," said Mr. Man. "If I did, I would say it to each of you. Be your honest, true self."
For respect, Mr. Man went to the source and played a video of Aretha Franklin singing "Respect" live in concert. He explained that the song had been written and first performed by Otis Redding, but had been permanently claimed by Franklin and then adopted by Black Americans during the civil rights movement in the 1960s and then by women in the 1970s. The journey of the song revealed how desperately we all need and want respect. Mr. Man closed by noting that freshmen and sophomores naturally look up to and respect upperclassmen but that juniors and seniors have an obligation to find something to respect about underclassmen because respect is a two-way street.
For kindness, Mr. Man reminded all that Forman is a family. "We all will help one another if asked," he said. "But try to extend kindness and offer help before it is sought."
In closing Mr. Man said, "Today is first day of the rest of your life. You're all A students and you have no missed commitments. All you have to do is maintain it."