Dear Alumnae & Alumni,
The pages of this issue of Alumni Horae are filled with fond memories of the 142nd Anniversary and Graduation. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you during the receptions, lunches, dinners, Form meetings, and other events of that busy weekend.
The Reunion reports in this issue reflect your devotion to the School, your appreciation for your years together here, a dedication to the future, and a desire to be involved. During the Reunion receptions or dinners, I appreciated your caring, thoughtful questions about the future plans for the School.
For several of you, it was the first time you have returned to St. Paul’s School for some years. The School has grown and changed over the years, given new opportunities and technologies that are enhancing our life here in Millville.
I continue to be impressed by the deep love that you have for St. Paul’s School, and I am truly grateful for your ongoing support.
The Anniversary and Graduation events capped off a year in which all constituencies of the School – alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and trustees – have been engaged in creating a vision for our future. As members of the St. Paul’s family, we are collectively working on an important task: to clarify our mission and plan strategically for the 21st century.
Last April I asked for your help in identifying important elements for that vision and your responses have been enthusiastic.
One of the key elements of the vision will be a new mission statement. The care and consideration you gave in responding to this request was impressive. Your thoughts will guide our work in developing a mission statement that reflects the entire St. Paul’s family.
One of the most exciting results of the process was the significant consensus from every individual about what makes St. Paul’s School an important part of their lives.
As graduates of St. Paul’s School, you agreed on the following key elements, in order of importance:
• retain and strengthen the foundations of moral education and Christian values which have guided the School;
• the School should be accepting, compassionate, and tolerant of a variety of opinions, while having a clear sense of its own mission;
• prepare students academically for college – but with a clear sense of the meaning of personal and social responsibility as part of a “holistic” approach to education.
Other members of the School community felt the same way.
Students said their priorities were to achieve the best education possible, understanding the value of living together in community and developing life-long relationships, and be prepared not only for college, but for life after college.
Staff members concurred with educational and moral values as priorities, adding the benefits of community service outside the environs of St. Paul’s School as well as greater tolerance and respect for all members within St. Paul’s community.
Faculty noted that care for others in the form of community service should be a guiding principle, with a clear commitment to the education of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – highlighting the need for tolerance in all areas of life. They also want the School to achieve more diversity within the staff, faculty, and student body.
Parents emphasized community and family atmosphere as essential to the education of the whole person in academics, character, ethics, morals, and service to others with a vision and mission as a religious boarding school.
Although a summary of these findings does not do justice to the many thoughtful and reflective comments and reminiscences that I was privileged to read, I am pleased to report that all of you agree that you want to see St. Paul’s School offer a comprehensive program which prepares its students by focusing on:
• a holistic and excellent education
• commitment to service
• strong community and family ties
• tolerance and respect for all persons
• ethical and moral concern grounded in religious conviction with an Anglican/Episcopal heritage, and
• learning responsibility in preparation for further academic study and vocational and personal relationships.
The Trustees of the School are very much in agreement with this consensus.
Where do we go from here?
In the coming months, I shall share with you the mission statement as it is articulated. The mission statement will help us define a vision. From the vision we will develop a strategic plan and propose steps for implementation to guide us into the new century. This articulation of our goals and values will be especially helpful as we begin a curriculum evaluation in the coming year. By early next year I hope to bring our strategic plan and proposed steps for implementation to the Trustees.
This process has started a wonderful dialogue among us as we have worked to define our feelings and hopes for this School. It is an on-going effort and I continue to look forward to hearing from you and seeing you here at St. Paul’s this year.
Craig B. Anderson