Dr. Myron Rolle, a Bahamian-American neurosurgeon, former NFL football safety, and Rhodes Scholar, spoke to the Andover community during last Friday’s All-School Meeting (ASM). Coming out of a 24-hour shift at Mass General Hospital, Rolle discussed his transition from childhood to adulthood, the evolution of his philosophy in the process, and his numerous life journeys and accomplishments.
Rolle’s visit was hosted by the Caribbean Club. Nick Donaldson ’23, a co-head of the club, later spoke of the reasons for hosting Myron Rolle as an ASM speaker. While the co-heads were originally interested in exploring Rolle’s experiences as a Caribbean man, they believed that other facets of his identity and his determination could resonate with many people.
“He provides a perspective for everybody on campus. He’s an athlete, he’s a Rhodes Scholar. He’s a Black man, he’s a Christian. He can relate to so many different areas of identity. [His visit] wasn’t just about him being Caribbean, even though that was why we first were interested in him. He provided such a diverse perspective that we thought the whole school could benefit from hearing from him,” said Donaldson.
During the ASM, Rolle encouraged students to focus on the personal growth of four prongs of life: school, support, service, and spirit. As for service, he highlighted the importance of aiding those who are of underprivileged communities and the pleasures that can come from helping others.
“That’s what service is about. Leading from behind, pushing people forward and saying you can do it. I’m telling you, when you can do that, your life will be that much more fulfilling, too. You will feel to yourself, ‘I’m accomplishing something, I’m doing something good, because I’ll help someone else achieve their goal.’ And it all sort of rolls back to you. A rising tide lifts all boats,” said Rolle.
Attendee Siena Pradhan ’24 reflected on her former perception of self-improvement, which focused on doing things solely for oneself. After hearing Rolle’s words, Pradhan explained how her ideology shifted to also include providing for others.
“I feel like when you think about improving yourself, I don’t usually think about helping others, I think [I usually think of it as] trying to strike a balance between helping others and yourself. But I never thought about [them] not being mutually exclusive things and by helping others, you can grow as a person too,” said Pradhan.
Rolle challenged the audience to take away at least two percent of his advice and apply it to their lives. This request was on account of his mentality called the two Percent Way, which urges everyone to seek new ways to make every day two percent better than the day before.
“It’s how I go through life, getting two percent of increase, two percent of edification at all times in anything that you do. Any chance encounter that you may have and a book that you read and an experience that you may have, grab a little bit of something, use it, apply to a journey in life, and it’ll allow your trajectory to move forward onward and upward,” said Rolle.
Alice Fan ’23 commented on Rolle’s encouragement of becoming 2 percent better everyday, relating it to a similar attitude that her former swim coach had. Fan expressed a desire for Rolle to have commented on allowing imperfection and allowing people to take a chance to rest.
“I feel like it’s a good mindset, but also it’s okay to go two steps backward and one step forward. I feel like two percent implies that you need to have a good day every day, that you need to make the most of your day, but it feels like you can’t really make a mistake in the two percent way. I wish he had touched a little bit on the fact that you don’t have to squeeze every second out of your day,” said Fan.
To end, Rolle extended words of encouragement to the student body, as he motivated the audience to believe in their capabilities and to promote one’s spirit. He assured that with a positive attitude, greatness is achievable for anyone, regardless of identity.
“If you believe that you are good enough to do it, which I know you are… and you know your purpose is now, that spirit’s going to drive you forward to accomplishing those things. Because success can look like you, success looks like what you look like. Success comes from where you come from. Success sounds like you, success smells like you smell like, success has the same hair color, the same street address. Honestly, I go through life now with my head held high, with my Bahamian heritage, with my parents, with my faith, with my family, … knowing that I’m here doing good work because my spirit is right,” said Rolle.