St. Mark’s welcomed best-selling author and award-winning rower Arshay Cooper to campus as a Visiting Scholar on February 22-23. At a young age, Cooper fell in love with the sport of rowing and went on to captain the nation’s first all-Black high school rowing team.
Cooper shared his story at two special Middle and Upper School assemblies and visited English and journalism classrooms. He also met with St. Mark’s varsity crew team and ate lunch with varsity team captains and members of St. Mark’s Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council.
“You are the one that you are waiting for to make things better not only for yourself but the classmates who are sitting next to you,” said Cooper during a special Middle School assembly.
Cooper recalled a lesson from his high school rowing coach to always keep their boathouse clean, even if it meant cleaning up messes that he hadn’t made. This lesson soon translated into other parts of his life.
“As a young person, how do I leave my community better than I found it even if I didn't make the mess?” Cooper said. “If I can be a leader and leave problems better than I found them, even if it had nothing to do with me, it makes it easier for the next generation.”
Today, Cooper uses the sport of rowing to connect with low-income youth across the country. In 2017, he received a Golden Oars Award from USRowing for “outstanding service to the sport of rowing.” Cooper is the bestselling author of A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America's First All-Black High School Rowing Team, which was recently adapted into a documentary and is in development as a scripted television show.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.
St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.