Letter from the student body president

courtesy of Cyril Leahy ’21

Many of my underclassmen friends have asked me for advice on their Haverford journey at course registration time, and I usually give the same advice: build a bond with your advisor, keep a few strong friends, always push your limits. 

     My advice culminates with the same course recommendation each time, though: any course with Mr. Hightower. I am one of the many students at Haverford that has taken a music class, but I am one of the not so many that has taken them all (except for the guitar class, which was a shame). 

     Taking Intro to Music Theory, I got to have some real fun learning about music with kids I had never met before, while also enjoying great seasonal games of football. I still see the guys from my class, and we talk about “Snow Bowl,” “Turkey Bowl,” or my personal favorite, “Bowl Bowl.” From there I underwent Music Composition/Music Production and Recording, where my peers and I got to explore the technical aspects of beat making and modern music technology while making fun songs on our own. In Advanced Music Theory, my classmates and I sweated through music history and learned about five of five chords.

        The class taught me a lot about music, but the content has little to do with this mainstay advice. The classes are always my recommendation, no matter your musical prowess, because of the instructor behind them. Mr. Hightower, who is also my advisor, is the most fascinating teacher I have ever met. He is constantly working on music, teaching students new tricks to better them and sometimes himself. 

     Simultaneously, Mr. Hightower’s character is on display in each class. With his Third Form class, Mr. Hightower shows a fun-loving ideal for a teacher of young adults. Sometimes classes are focused, sometimes we discuss his time in North Carolina or sacking Matt Ryan (the NFL guy), and sometimes he’s outside catching passes with his students. 

     In his intermediate courses, Mr. Hightower balances allowing independence through solo projects while guiding students through honest feedback and cool suggestions. Finally, his advanced class teaches students what it means to be at a high level of craft; he has fun giving quizzes just to finish them in five minutes by himself. Mr. Hightower moves to the beat of his own drum, and his philosophy that students get out what they put in gives Haverford men a dose of reality.

I have found my best experiences in school have been spent when my classes mix, having a great time and learning valuable life lessons.

        This letter may seem a bit strange, as it does not have a singular purpose; yet, I would have been remiss if I had not given my fellow Haverford students a final bit of advice on how to spend your time at this school. Taking music has nothing to do with music. 

     Rather, I have found my best experiences in school have been spent when my classes mix, having a great time and learning valuable life lessons. Mr. Hightower is definitely that guy. So take my advice or don’t; as Mr. Hightower might say, “it’s all about choices.”