A mission statement is the way we tell everyone what our school is here to do. At its best, a mission statement should be something you live by, make decisions by, and think of in every interaction you have. A great mission reminds us why we are here, why education is important, and even, dare I say, the kinds of lives we hope we can lead beyond our time here at Wheeler. The executive director or NEASC, Jay Stroud, which grants our school our accreditation, defines it this way: “The Mission is the horizon: always beyond our grasp, ever enticing, ever challenging, always restless. If a Mission relentlessly asks us to wonder about our next steps, assess the ones we took, measure where we are and where we'd like to be and act unambiguously, then we possess a real – and true – Mission.”
Wheeler School’s last mission has been in place for 25 years. While it was a beautiful description of who we are, many in our community felt that, as we embark on a new chapter of Wheeler’s 130-year history, we should look at our mission with fresh eyes.
Today, I am delighted to announce -- alongside a group of faculty, staff, school leadership, trustees, students, alumni, and parents who worked on our new mission over the past few months -- that the school’s new mission - our new north star, as they say, - is now: TO LEARN OUR POWERS AND BE ANSWERABLE FOR THEIR USE. A founding precept of Mary Colman Wheeler, her words emerged from our history as a powerful message for all of us. I spoke with you before about this precept, last year and this September, and about how well the words resonate with so many members of our community, from many generations of alumni, our youngest and oldest students, our faculty and staff, Trustees, and your parents. Best of all, when we met as a group last month, students told us that this mission sounded “just like us,” that it “made us proud to attend Wheeler.”
We also agreed in that group that we want to celebrate our new mission in several ways. Mrs. Flynn and others will be coordinating a group of students right after the holidays to help us roll out the new mission over the second half of the school year - we want YOUR ideas about how to take hold of it and make it live and breathe every day here at school. But for today, to begin, we have a special gift for you - a bracelet in purple and gold that you can take with you as you leave, with our new mission emblazoned on it.
Wear it with pride.
Thank you for joining us today! Have a gratitude-filled holiday.