I have just recently finished reading the autobiography of tennis hero Andre Agassi – my favourite tennis player ever – although the book have been on the shelves since last year. I found the book to be both sad and inspiring – I’ve read many things in the past about his life, but rarely in his own words (or well, with a co-writer). It’s called Open.
But I don’t want to go too much into the book, there’s too many details to share. There was one thing at the end of the book that jumped out at me, however.
Throughout his book, Agassi spoke about wanting to help others, and do things for people who had less (or none at all) opportunities. So, among his many philanthropic efforts, he built a school called the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy (or Andre Prep, as he casually refers to it in the book).
The website for the school describes itself as such:
The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy (AACPA) is a model charter school whose goal is to offer academic programs designed to enhance a child’s character, respect, motivation and self-discipline. Located in the heart of Las Vegas’ most at-risk neighborhood, AACPA was created specifically to improve skill levels and combat lowered academic expectations while creating a climate of hope among this community’s most challenged children. Advanced technology, smaller class sizes and extended school hours are just some of the practices the AACPA utilizes to achieve a higher standard of education.
The one thing that really spoke out to me was The Code of Excellence that the school makes its mantra. In the closing chapter of the book, Agassi explains that he occasionally just randomly appears in a classroom and get the students to recite the code with him. I’m sure there are many reasons how it came about, but if you read Open from start to finish, you would understand also that this is the product of Andre’s tumultuous life as a tennis player, son, friend, husband and father.
I also like how the school doesn’t have a Code of Conduct or a Code of Excellence (it does speak of its commitment to excellence, however, which is very diferrent) but instead uses respect as the focus point for discipline.
I want to share the code here with you because I think it is a strong code, has so much meaning, and is so important to the way we live our daily lives, which most of us just go through taking for granted.
The essence of good discipline is RESPECT.
Respect for authority and respect for others;
Respect for self and respect for rules.
It is an attitude that begins at home, is reinforced in school, and is applied throughout life.
The Andre Prep goes on to elaborate on this, and you can read it here.
9.05am Malaysian time(+8 GMT)