We should support our school to raise people that will drive our nation and country to the future

Prof. Dr. İlter Turan, TAC'59

Donation Type: Campus Naming

To be able to appreciate how your school contributed to you and made a difference in your life, you need to go back to the period when you had that experience. Some of the things you did not even realize in your school years, some things that you perhaps mocked or that really bored you seem completely different when you look back and reassess, and it becomes clear how they helped to shape your ideation and character. Let me give you an example. In middle school, I found it exhausting that Mr. Webster tried to teach us how to outline. But when I started university, I realized as I took notes and wrote long essays how I had gained the very important skill of systemizing and organizing my ideas. Similarly, while I enjoyed the Wednesday evening meetings at Mrs. Kesselheim’s in house where they would play and talk about classical music back then I wan not even aware that they opened the doors for me to access world culture.

I understood much later how the school strived to transform us into people with strong characters and how the school environment served as a tool for this purpose but for me this process actually started on the day I set foot in the school. Let me tell you. When we arrived at the school, we saw Mr. Maynard who gave me a slip showing that we had paid for my books. I was supposed to take to slip to the bookstore and get my books. It was probably due to my excitement of entering a completely different environment at just 11 years old but I lost the slip. I was crying. My mother took my hand and we went to Mr. Maynard’s room again. He didn’t ask anything and just gave me a new slip. He just said, “If you find other slip, just tear it up.” I realized much later that it was a very important lesson about trusting people.

Tarsus opened many doors for me. I started middle school in 1952. In the 1956-57 academic year when I was a freshmen in high school I won the American Field Service scholarship, which had only started that year in the school, and went to the US. When I earned my high school diploma in the 1957-1958 academic year in California, I did not return to Tarsus. So my friends graduated high school in 1959 while I had already graduated in 1958. That year I spent in the US also paved the way for me to attend college on full scholarship in the USA. The habits I gained at school (like using the library well) and the skills I developed (like ten-finger typing) helped me in ways I could not have foreseen. The school also taught me to organize volunteers, take responsibilities and do what is necessary; in short to stand on my own feet, use my own reasoning to reach conclusions and make decisions. And of course, it gave me a circle of friends who always welcome me warmly, embrace me with love and never hesitate to lend a hand when I need help.

We should take ownership of the school, which shaped us as versatile individuals, guided our development and became the foundation of our success in life, to make sure that it survives, prospers and continues to raise people that will drive our nation and country to the future. In this rapidly evolving world, where the communities that cannot keep up with the fast pace of change inevitably get left behind, and especially at a time when our own education system is going through a challenging period, ensuring the sustainability of Tarsus and sister schools is essential for offering educational opportunities for the talented youth of this country, regardless of their financial means.

Interview Date: January 2018

Röportaj Tarihi: Ocak 2018