By Meghan Chew
GFA engages students as partners in an innovative, inclusive and globally minded community to prepare them for lives of purpose.
Throughout the years, I've engaged with the GFA Mission Statement on multiple occasions. I've committed its words to memory, dissected its key phrases with students and faculty, and contemplated its meaning. However, it wasn't until recently that I had the privilege of revisiting and thoroughly analyzing it alongside other members of our community—our Board of Trustees. With parents from all three divisions, proud alumni, and even a grandparent, the insights were multifaceted and deeply layered. The diverse composition of this collective group offered a rich tapestry of viewpoints and unearthed deeper insights than I had initially anticipated.
Guided by Upper School English Teacher and Department Chair, Daniel Jump, several members of our school community, along with Board members, embarked on a collaborative and close reading of the GFA Mission Statement. As someone deeply dedicated to our school's mission, the experience of witnessing the Trustees deconstruct this statement was profoundly enlightening and fulfilling. In their roles as stewards of our mission, it is unsurprising that they brought forth some of the most profound insights regarding the nuances of its words and phrases.
One Trustee astutely noted the rhythmic cadence of the letter "p" within the concise 20-word sentence: "Partners, prepare, purpose."
One Trustee emphasized that the interplay between the verbs "engage" and "prepare" beautifully animated the very essence of the work that unfolds within our school each day. Another added that these two words may sometimes exist in tension with one another and continue to propel the work.
Another Trustee, an alumna of our school, underscored how the words innovation, inclusive, and globally minded within the mission are not merely forward-looking but also self-fulfilling prophecies, recalling earlier experiences at the school.
One identified key words like globally-minded as the phrase which drew them to the community in the first place. For others it was the identity of their children being partners with the institution as a calling from public schools.
Significantly, several Trustees observed that the deliberate absence of words like "college preparatory" within the mission statement is both intentional and worthy of note. They pointed out that as we examine lives rooted in purpose and preparation for life, the work is bigger than just preparation for school.
Another added that the mission statement successfully addresses the "who," "what," and "why." The next pivotal step in our mission stewardship involves envisioning the "how."
As we approach our centennial milestone, it is rewarding to reflect on the enduring aspects of GFA and to look forward to the work that lies ahead in the years to come.