Being challenged – intellectually, physically, morally – means you will encounter setbacks, but these setbacks will humble you.
Humility will make you see that that you are not living your life for yourself, but for others.
These were some of the ideas shared by Miller Bethea ’14 at Upper School Community Time on November 30, 2015. A midshipman in his second year at the United States Naval Academy, Miller was a speaker for the Naval Academy’s OPINFO program, visiting Randolph and other area schools. He spoke with the Upper School about what it’s like to attend a service academy and start a career in the United States military. Afterwards, Miller met with a small group of students interested in learning more about applying to a service academy and exchanged greetings with teachers and friends.
“We have spent a lot of time and effort this year talking to students about how we can make the most of our time together as a community and in Advisory,” said Upper School Head Ryan Liese. “Students want to ‘do more and talk less’ in their advisory groups, but they also want to hear from interesting speakers with a wide range of experiences. We hope that what they are hearing in Community Time will help inform the actions they take going forward.”
"You are not living your life for yourself, but for others."
While at Randolph, Miller sought opportunities to further his growth as a leader both in and out of the classroom. The Senior Capstone Seminar served as a culminating experience for his already challenging course load. For his project, Miller opted for a final product that would push him out of his comfort zone; he explored the tension between science and religion through the medium of filmmaking.
Miller was equally engaged in life at Randolph beyond academics, serving as the president of the Honor Council, the president of the Conservative Club, and a captain for the football team.
Comparing the USNA degree requirements with Randolph’s broad course requirements, Miller said, “You can’t be a complete person or a complete professional without both sides of the picture. You can have the science and the math, but if you don’t have the English, you won’t be able to express yourself, and if you don’t have the history, then you won’t have the context or the understanding.”
Another way that Miller felt well prepared by Randolph for the Naval Academy was through the honor system. “When I tell people we had an honor code and an Honor Council at Randolph, they look at me like I’m crazy because they had never heard of that until they came to the Naval Academy.”
“You can be the smartest, most talented person in the world, but if you’re not a person of character, honor and integrity, then you have nothing. That’s the most important thing. I might not have the highest grades there, or be the strongest or the most fit, but if you can keep your honor, that’s really all that matters. If you graduate with honor from this school or any institution thereafter, then you will always have that; no one can take that away from you."
“I have already learned a lot about service from those who have gone before me at the Naval Academy. You don’t have to join the military or go to a service academy to give back, but you want to live your life for other people, not for yourself. You want to give back to your community, to your school, to your friends. You want to give a good life to your family someday. You want to live your life knowing that every day when you wake up, you are doing something for somebody else. Your life is a lot bigger than just your immediate world. I think I had to learn that a lot at Randolph. The Naval Academy humbled me; that was something I always struggled with, and once you learn humility you can live your life for other people.”