When you think of what the model student looks like, you probably imagine someone who gets good grades, participates in extracurricular activities, and maybe has a good attendance record. Although those are definitely positive attributes for a student to have, another powerful, but often overlooked, trait of the model student is civic responsibility. That was demonstrated by one Battlefield High School student a few months ago.
Christopher Berger, an 18-year-old senior at Battlefield High School in Gainesville, is responsible for saving a man’s life. Almost three months ago, Berger was on the scene of an accident where a flipped SUV was on fire with a man trapped inside. Berger ran to the vehicle and got the man out before things got too serious. Then Berger left. He didn’t expect or want any particular recognition for his actions.
Berger exhibited humility, bravery, and a civic respect for his fellow man—attributes not common in many people, much less high school students. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Berger was honored in a surprise ceremony at Battlefield High School.
For many people, school is all about academic achievement. But in addition to teaching our children the intellectual skills needed for the outside world, schools should also be instilling civic pride and responsibility in our youth. What good is it for a student to go out in the world capable of great things but without the inner compass to guide his or her achievements towards the good of his society and fellow man?
We see that people often shirk their responsibility to participate in our election process. We see people disengaged from their communities, their governments, and their neighbors. We see people out mostly for themselves, with little thought given to those who cross their path.
Remedying this is, of course, not the main priority of the classroom. A person is shaped by multiple influences – parents, friends, role models – in addition to schools. But by honoring Berger, Battlefield is showing that the selfless actions of this senior are exemplary and something that other students should look up to. Aspire for greatness, the ceremony implies. And don’t worry about the credit. Those who do truly great things – with humility and care – will get the recognition they deserve.
So, in Christopher Berger, we get an example of what we should all be trying to do in one way or another: look out for our fellow man.
To read more about Berger, his actions and the Battlefield ceremony, go here.