From The Ridge - The McCallie Blog

Lee Burns

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A Message from the Headmaster

Posted by Lee Burns on April 24, 2017

To the McCallie community,

For more than a week, our community has been united in prayer and concern for eighth-grader Jackson Standefer, who has been missing in the Grand Canyon along with his step-grandmother LouAnn Merrell after falling into a fast-moving creek in Grand Canyon National Park. We have remained hopeful that Jackson would be found safe as emergency workers from the National Park Service and others searched around the clock in the area where he went missing.

During this uncertain time of sadness and fear, I have seen our community rally together to love and support one another. Boys have linked arms to pray, cry and comfort one another. Faculty and parents have prayed and been shoulders to lean upon and cry upon.

The search for Jackson and Mrs. Merrell has been unsuccessful to this point, although there are still efforts underway to locate them. Over the weekend, the Standefer family came to a decision to hold a celebration of Jackson Standefer’s life and to allow Jackson’s friends, family and the entire McCallie community to gather in prayer and show our love and support for the Standefer and Merrell families.

This celebration will be held Wednesday, April 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the McCallie Chapel. The entire McCallie community is invited to join Jackson’s family, friends, classmates and teachers. Friends of Jackson and his family from the community and other schools are invited to join us during this time of celebration, remembrance and reflection.

Jackson is a beloved boy with many friends and various activities within and beyond the McCallie community. Friends and faculty talk about the smile on his face, the sparkle in his eyes, and his positive attitude. He is active in the McCallie outdoor program and Young Life and  has been a member of the McCallie crew team this year after playing baseball and lacrosse for McCallie earlier in previous school years. A boy of character and kindness with many talents and interests, he is the embodiment of what it means to be a McCallie boy.

A teacher wrote of Jackson: “I have both coached and taught him as a student. Jackson has a willing spirit and easy smile. When he encounters something difficult, he approaches it with grace and resilience. Jackson has the rare gift of lighting up a room without saying a word. He has a quiet sense of humor and is a joy to teach.”

One of Jackson’s classmates said: “Jackson is always optimistic. He always sees the good in things. He is always cheerful and has a big smile. He loves soccer and watching the Chattanooga Football Club games in town. He is friendly and caring of others.”

I hope you will join us as we celebrate this special and beloved boy and that, as we gather, we find, amidst tears, comfort and strength and the peace from God that passes all understanding. And may we continue to love, support and pray for the family of Jackson Standefer this week and beyond.

Lee Burns ‘87

Parking information for Wednesday evening's service:
The Chapel lot lot will be reserved for parking by the Standefer family for the Memorial service. 

Parking elsewhere on campus will be available until all spaces are filled, at which point satellite parking will be available at Notre Dame High School with shuttles delivering guests to campus. Follow the instructions of McCallie security staff on where to park when you arrive.

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Topics: school news, From the Headmaster

Our Simple Yet Secret Recipe

Posted by Lee Burns on May 09, 2016

By Headmaster Lee Burns '87

Locked in a vault in Atlanta is the secret formula for Coca-Cola. Kentucky Fried Chicken likewise has its secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices to give their chicken its distinct flavor. From Apple’s code for its operating system to Google’s search algorithm, successful companies have carefully-guarded, proprietary information, processes and products that account for much of their success. In short, they each have a secret formula or recipe.

What’s McCallie’s secret recipe?

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Topics: boys, faculty, First Person, mission, priorities, relationships, Posts from the Ridge, rules, O Captain! My Captain!, teachers, values

The Stories That Shape Us: Christmas 2015 Reflections

Posted by Lee Burns on December 11, 2015


Headmaster Lee Burns '87

Transcript of Chapel talk given by Lee Burns '87, McCallie Headmaster, on December 10, 2015

On July 27th, I happily noticed on my calendar that I had a meeting with sophomore Benjamin Stipanov. I look forward to and enjoy meetings with students, especially ones that students take the initiative to arrange.

Benjamin brought in a large bag. I had no idea why he wanted to meet or what was in the bag, but I was curious.

“Remember what you said during your chapel talk last December?” he began. I did recall my chapel message, and I was delighted that he seemed to as well. I know from personal experience that teenage boys aren’t always apt to enjoy, appreciate and remember formal and sometimes preachy talks by adults, so I was surprised.

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Topics: atari, boys, Campus Life, christmas, First Person, inspiration, mindset, motivation, Posts from the Ridge, O Captain! My Captain!

Details and Duties

Posted by Lee Burns on August 18, 2015

McCallie School Headmaster Lee Burns '87
Convocation, August 17, 2015

Good morning, and welcome to the 111th opening of a McCallie school year. I especially want to extend a warm welcome to the many of you who are new to McCallie this year.

As a student body of 935 boys, you have joined McCallie from 24 states and 8 countries. Among the 6th grade alone, you represent 28 different elementary schools. There is something special about McCallie that has drawn you to this place. There is something special about you that has caused the school to select you from the many, many other people who wish they were here.

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Topics: Featured, First Person, Posts from the Ridge, spotlight

Signing Day, Stars and the Super Bowl

Posted by Lee Burns on February 06, 2015

By Lee Burns '87, McCallie Headmaster

If you follow college football, you probably know that today is national signing day, when some senior high school football players sign their national letters-of-intent, committing themselves to play football at their selected colleges in exchange for athletic scholarships.

In recent years, a system has emerged to rate high school football players who are likely to be recruited by colleges. It’s a star system, from 1-5 stars, with five stars being reserved for the most talented, elite and sought-after players. From what I gather, the stars are largely based on talent (real or perceived) and related physical attributes such as size, strength, speed, vertical leap and so forth.

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Topics: details, Featured, First Person, good to great, process, recruiting, Posts from the Ridge, spotlight, success, talent

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