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A successful endeavor is true to its mission.

Posted By Karen Hallowell, Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009

Kevin Hang ’09, Terry Culleton, Nancy Starmer, Ralph Lelii, Haydee Lara ’12, Khadydra Hazzard ’12, Miranda Tarlini ’09, Tim Darby ’10, Paul Machemer ’65, Jackie Coren, Tingting Yu ’10, and Nancy Culleton listen closely as Performing Arts Coordinator Maureen West coaches them for our oral interpretationof the new mission statement. (photograph by Lisa Collier)
 
Every ten years, George School begins its accreditation process by rewriting its mission statement. In any institution this would be a complex process, for sure. Add in our Quakerly commitment to hearing each person’s point of view and arriving at a decision as a group, and the complexity is way over the top!
 
I know this from personal experience, having clerked the committee that wrote the George School mission statement in 1999-2000. We took the draft to the faculty more than seventeen times before it was wordsmithed into submission and approved. A composition-by-committee, it was a tribute to the inclusive process, but not a candidate for the annals of most streamlined writing practices.
 
In anticipation of the next round of accreditation and in conjunction with the strategic planning process completed in 2009, another stalwart group, albeit smaller and arguably more erudite, went to the mountain last year and returned with a new statement of vision for George School’s future. Assisted by technological advances made in the last decade, the new statement was accomplished in no less than eight months:
 
With Quaker tradition as its touchstone and academic excellence at its core, George School seeks to develop citizen-scholars cheerfully committed to openness in the pursuit of truth, to service and peace, and to the faithful stewardship of the earth. We want our students to treasure learning for its own sake and to use it to benefit a diverse world. Above all, we want them to "let their lives speak.”
 
Each generation has its way of saying it, but I am struck by how the core messages have remained constant over the years. Although the names and faces have changed, the mission of George School rings true to community members who have been here across the decades.
 
Judging from the contents of my inbox, I’m sure that part about "letting their lives speak” has been going on for a long, long time. (Keep those cards and letters coming in.)

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