King’s Academy celebrates Founder’s Day every year on January 30, His Majesty King Abdullah II’s birthday, to honor his founding of the school. On Thursday, to mark the occasion, Head of School Peter Nilsson led a special school meeting in the Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium during which he reflected on the vision for King’s Academy.
“As a time for reflection, it gives us a chance to ask some of the big questions,” said Nilsson. “Like why does this school exist, and why are you attending it? What can the story of our founder tell us about these questions?”
To answer some of those questions, Nilsson read excerpts from His Majesty’s autobiography, published in 2011, in which the monarch writes about the values he observed at his high school, Deerfield Academy, which inspired him to found King’s, including: curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, community service, an egalitarian spirit, tolerance, friendship and leadership.
In his autobiography, His Majesty wrote: “In May 2000, twenty years after graduating from high school, I went back to give the commencement address… I reflected on the quality of education I had received. High school had taught me to be curious, to question what I was told, and to come up with my own solutions to problems. It taught me how to think, not what to think. It encouraged critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. I began to think that a school like this would be a great benefit to Jordan and the region. I had seen how my classmates had grown up to become leaders in business, science, and politics. Why was there nothing like this in Jordan? A young boy or girl in Jordan, Palestine, Egypt or the Gulf states should not have to travel to America to get a first-class education.”
Nilsson went on to speak about the school’s mission statement, asking students to reflect not only on the purpose of the school, but on their purpose in being there.
“You are the realization of His Majesty’s vision and the school’s mission. A mission to empower students to further become critical thinkers, a school that fosters curiosity and friendships, that builds bridges across difference, that stokes the fires of interest that you have, whether for sports, for song, or for service and civic engagement.”
Following school meeting, the school community gathered in the Hess Family Dining Hall, which had been decked out in Jordanian flags for the occasion, for a traditional lunch of mansaf, Jordan’s national dish. After lunch, students, faculty and staff moved to Refectory Square to continue their celebrations with knafeh for dessert and lively dabkeh dancing.
- Founder's Day
- King Abdullah II