Twice-Told Tale

The Student News Site of Lake Highland Preparatory School

Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

New Dean Doubles Duties

Mr. Garth Parke
(Above) Mr. Parke was a chaperone for the 6th grade Washington D.C. trip when he snapped this selfie in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. “I’m a huge quotes guy,” Mr. Parke says as he pulls up his favorite from MLK quote and reads it aloud: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Everyone, no matter who you are, knows Mr. Garth Parke. This is his fourth year at LHP, and he’s already known as a man with a big spirit and a big heart. From the very first Unity meeting, he had the entire Upper School on their feet. Mr. Parke led a cheer of, “One Highland!” to the sound of thunderous applause. Never before had I witnessed someone shift the energy of the auditorium so quickly and powerfully like he did. The school year of 2023 had started, and so did Mr. Garth Parke in his position of the Upper School Dean of Students/Leadership and Character Development. 

If there’s one thing that can define a person, it’s knowing what quality they consider to be the most important. And especially in this case, Mr. Parke’s answer of, “Integrity” makes complete sense. He explained, “Life is [too] short to pretend to be someone you’re not. Our time is limited, so don’t waste your life living someone else’s.” Everywhere, I see footprints of his mindset of, “Living the dash.” This philosophy, pioneered by Linda Ellis’s poem “The Dash,” refers to the tiny line that separates the year you were born from the year of your death. That short dash is life. That’s all we have, so we have to make the most of it. 

It’s clear that Mr. Parke is filling his dash with things about which he’s passionate. As he so eloquently states, he has a, “Personal mission to educate, motivate, and inspire the next generation of student leaders through teaching, mentoring, counseling, and coaching.” Still, not all aspects of his job are easy. There are difficulties having to choose the appropriate response to, “Redirect misguided behavior” on campus. But in simple terms, Mr. Parke is here to, “Help students solve problems.” He loves, “Learning about [students’] passions, strengths, and accomplishments” and, “Embracing the opportunity to help [them] discover the best solutions….which can be both humbling and rewarding.”

As incredible as he is at accomplishing just that, pause for a second, and imagine if Mr. Parke were in another job what would he be doing? Mr. Parke’s face lit up with a smile, “I would either be a master sommelier, a professional taste tester, a travel tour guide, or the official concert DJ / hype man for Drake.” His enthusiasm is contagious. And the funny thing is, I can truly see him exceling at all those and more. Mr. Parke adds, “I would love to create a mentoring scholarship program for high school students who are passionate about achieving their dreams and solving problems in their local community.” And I believe him. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that Mr. Parke cares. He cares about the school, the Lake Highland community, and each of us as individuals. 

An ideal day for Mr. Parke would, “Involve karaoke with friends and family, eating chicken wings and watching a good sports documentary, snacking on Gummy Savors or white cheddar cheese popcorn, reading and writing, exercising, or taking a walk while listening to a good podcast or Spotify playlist.” At the end of his long list, Mr. Parke chuckles humorously, “Basically, anything that allows me to take a break from issuing lunch detentions for dress code violations.” 

  Mr. Parke’s life outside of school continues being filled with joy and laughter. The five closest people in his life are his wife and four children — Mrs. Tiffany Parke, Josiah, Isaiah, Saniya, and Mariah. Every night, they have a beautiful family tradition of a family huddle, which is their, “Chance to reconnect, laugh, play trivia games, and check-in with one another.” Also, just like the rest of us, Mr. Parke has spent countless hours binge-watching TV shows. In fact, the longest time he’s gone without sleep was watching The Tiger King on Netflix during the pandemic. He loves Rocky, Creed, and cinematic productions of musicals. When I asked him about the the craziest thing he’s ever done, he answered, “Skydiving and zip lining on a volcano.” These two events didn’t occur on the same day, he assured me. There are so many fantastic stories and experiences that I could go on and on, but I’ll let you ask him to learn more. 

Closing up the interview, I had to end with a bucket list. I believe one of the best ways to get to know someone is through learning about their aspirations. Here is Mr. Parke’s in no particular order: “Compete on American Ninja Warrior, DJ Homecoming pep rally, visit every NFL stadium, visit all 50 states, attend every major college football rivalry game, and create a scholarship fund for aspiring student leaders.” I closed my laptop and smiled, feeling rejuvenated and inspired. I guess that’s just something that happens when you have a conversation with Mr. Parke. 

I can’t wait to have more interactions with him in the future. So the next time you see him around campus, strike up a conversation, ask a question, or share a story. He’s told you his, so tell him yours. 

(Above from left to right) Mr. Parke, Isaiah, age 9, Saniya, age 7, Mariah, age 4, Josiah, age 10, and Mrs. Tiffany Parke using their annual passes for a fun day at Seaworld. Being Jamaican American, Mr. Parke’s parenting style is influenced by his own upbringing in a very large and social Caribbean household. “You can always catch us laughing,” Mr. Parke grins while listing some activities they do during the weekend also known as family days. “Eating junk food, making memories, watching movies…family is a big core value of ours,” he added. (Mr. Garth Parke) 
(Above) “It was pretty risky to climb out [there] and sit,” Mr. Parke laughs about this picture taken during his trip to the Grand Canyon in 2017. He loves the outdoors, doing hikes, and exploring. To Mr. Parke, this photo represents how every day is an adventure. There’s something about how vast canyons are that made this his favorite hiking trip. It’s one of those places that, “Allow you to feel limitless, like you don’t have to hold back and there’s so much more out there.” (Mr. Garth Parke)
(Above) “I’m super proud of all the young men and women who have competed the program,” Mr. Parke says of the 2023 Blackwatch and Dara (not depicted) tribe. To quote Reverend Sims, “It’s something better experienced than explained.” Participants are stretched in the four areas of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, which are ultimately all interconnected. It’s an experience that pushes people out of their comfort zone, and allows them to accomplish things they haven’t been able to do before. “I’m really grateful to work on a team where we get to plan and prepare for this trip. It’s definitely an experience you’ll never forget,” Mr. Parke says. (Mr. Garth Parke)
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About the Contributor
Serena Young
Serena Young, Director of Photography
Serena Young is the Director of Photography of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale, a publication ranked first in the nation by American Scholastic Press Association. Young is the Co-founder of Athena Sisterhood, a community of over 1.6k women, and was a teen speaker at the Global Youth Mindset Summit. She has traveled to 30+ countries, volunteered over 1,500 hours of community service, and has 7M+ views on Google Reviews. Young started her personal development journey at the age of seven and has attended Tony Robbins's Unleash your Power Within, Global Youth Leadership, Business MasteryLeadership Academy, and Date With Destiny. When not taking a good nap, Young enjoys gourmet food, running long distance, watching award winning movies, and spending quality time with family and friends.

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