by John Bishop, Director of Communications
On January 18, Lawrence Academy's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration continued as Marcelous Atmore '07 and Vic Howell '08 spoke to students in the Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (RMPAC) via ZOOM in a call moderated by Associate Head of School Raquel Majeski and senior Maddie Gibson.
Throughout the discussion, both men reflected on the MLK quote used by LA this year to center the school's discussions regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
"Light has come into the world," said Dr. King. "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness.
"This is the judgement," continued the late civil rights champion. "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others."
To that question, Howell answered that service is a determination, not an accident.
"What comes to mind is kind of the intentional decisions that I think you have to make in your day-to-day to go out and help others," said Vic to the RMPAC. "We can easily get caught up in this rat race and trying to provide for yourself, your family, trying to build [your life]. You can lose track of taking that time to help other people.
"It's like going to the gym," said the former Spartan football player. "You can make an excuse why you're not doing that, but at the end of the day, you have to carve out that time to do that intentionally."
Like Atmore, Howell works in financial services and speaks to the economic realities of service and his chosen career.
"How do I help them build or create exposure to experiences... like some people helped me at one point to have?" asked Howell, rhetorically, regarding mentoring people via his chosen vocation.
"And then there's also the guidance and direction that I can provide folks through my walk of life and my experience that can help them avoid making some of the same mistakes; to learn from someone else's experiences versus having to learn the harder way.
"I like to see people accomplish their goals," added Vic. "It is gratifying to see someone whose life may have had a barrier or a feeling like that.
"It's gratifying to see them break through that ceiling," he concluded.
Atmore explained, "I think the saying I want to use is 'lifting as you climb,' right? How do you continue to propel yourself up and help others in the same capacity?
"It's important to [be aware] of the inefficiencies that are taking place in the world," said Atmore of the artificial barriers impeding so many in today's reality. "Although it's easy to yell and scream and point to someone else to make a change, you must look within yourself and say, 'What are you doing to contribute to that change?'
"If you think about changing service or volunteering or even reflection," continued Marcelous, who said it's important to volunteer your time and get "out of your own day-to-day, to help someone out potentially.
"And I can look at a number of ways: Are you volunteering within your community? Are you helping out in certain places? A big thing for me is going to be financial literacy.
"I think that you should be able to service your community or service individuals in a way that's beneficial to them using your greatest strengths."
Both men, who dreamed of NFL careers, spoke to the need to stay pragmatic in any approach to the future, knowing full well that the best way to help others (and oneself) may be to hit the books - hard!
"I would tell myself to really dial in," said Howell to a question about what he would tell his LA student self. "Have fun for sure, but dial in and approach the academic realm like it's your job.
"Try to learn and find things [you're] interested in and lean into them," continued Howell. "Your future depends on it."
Atmore agreed, adding, "Fully embrace everything that Lawrence Academy has to offer, right from day one... all the way to [Winterim].
"I'm big on traveling now," he said. "What better way to get out there and see the world
"Just experience whatever it is that LA has to offer.
"I think the more that you're able to expand your experience and just engage in different things," expanded Atmore. "The more of an interesting person you are, the more those skills are transferrable in other ways that you might not even see manifest [immediately]," said Atmore.