As head of school for one of the nation’s largest independent schools teaching bright students with learning differences due to dyslexia, ADHD and central auditory processing deficit, Tony Kemper has witnessed literally thousands of inspiring life lessons happen right before his eyes at the de Paul School. Kemper, who lives in Georgetown, Ind., with his wife, Carol, and their two children, took a moment to share a few life lessons.
• The founder of the de Paul School, Sister Anne Rita Mauck, inspired me with her tremendous entrepreneurial spirit as an educator. The most important life lesson she passed along to me was to always make decisions with the child’s best interest in mind … to keep the child in the center of every discussion.As long as I did that, the decision would be correct. I learned that it’s important to set aside any agendas, politics and even the comfort of others and instead focus on what is best for the child in any particular situation.
• As a teenager, I was fortunate to be able to spend time with and watch my father work at Kosair Orthotic and Prosthetic Facility. Witnessing his work ethic and his ability to serve people through his work was a great life lesson for me and my siblings. Every day he demonstrated the importance and value of hard work and commitment to the job.
• When people visit the de Paul School, they often comment that the school is remarkably congruent. There may be different classrooms, teachers and goings-on — but guests always notice recurring themes during their tour. This is no accident. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we have learned as educators is to provide a structured learning environment that revolves around our mission.Children who learn differently can rely upon the promise of a shared purpose that permeates the entire school and creates a community of success.
• After nearly 30 years as an educator, I continue to be impressed by the power of a passionate teacher. Many children who learn differently have not had positive experiences in school. Here at de Paul, our teachers are driven to uncover the hidden individual — the artist, author, athlete, the leader, or the ambitious executive-to-be. The highly dedicated teacher guides students to discover strengths and embrace challenges with confidence and enthusiasm.Watching this happen repeatedly each week in our classrooms is the driving force behind my passion.
— As told to Ken Neuhauser, The Courier-Journal