Worthington City Schools recently had the opportunity to host a panel of speakers for a TEDx Talk on ideas about education for our community and the world.

Worthington City Schools recently had the opportunity to host a panel of speakers for a TEDx Talk on ideas about education for our community and the world.

One of the speakers, our own Anna Farrell, a senior at Thomas Worthington High School, brought a message that reflected what we hope to instill in our schools -- our mission to empower a community of learners to change the world.

The premise of Farrell's talk was that she refuses to be a transcript. No, she's a person and has a lot more to offer beyond good grades. She would like to see the entire education process reflect that idea.

In a world where high school students often feel themselves thrust into a competition with one another, always aiming to earn that recognition that will propel them to a better college, Farrell admitted to finding herself caught up.

Following a stretch that caused her to break down in class, she admitted that all the focus on success actually "demotivated" her, where schoolwork just became another checkmark on a To Do List. Her creativity was dulled.

This made her reflect back to her time in elementary school and then Phoenix Middle School where the focus is on developing the individual and allowing students to inspire each other and explore passions. She spoke of opportunities at Phoenix such as Discovery Day and the Middle East Summit, where learning happens through hands-on, student-driven life experiences. Learning wasn't just dictated by a school bell, but included opportunities that helped mold students into contributing, caring citizens well before they graduate and go on to adult life.

Thinking back caused her to focus on the big picture and her own positive experiences, and she began to approach school with new energy.

Farrell reminded us to remember that evidence of a good student can come in more ways than by honors on paper, but also from curiosity and hard work. In Worthington Schools, we want to create more than just a statistically pleasing result in our students.

We still need to focus on the things that measure progress in our schools, and colleges will continue to look at academic achievements as a barometer for success. But I believe at the same time, we can offer an education in our district that creates a well-rounded group of young people who are ready to take on life's challenges in the classroom and in the world around them.

Superintendent's notebook is provided to ThisWeek Worthington News by Worthington City Schools. Trent Bowers is the district superintendent. He can be reached at 614-450-6000.