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We are getting ready to close out the community survey that has been running the past few weeks. Thank you to the more than 200 parents who took the time to fill out the questionnaire. Above is an early data point on parents’ collective thoughts about the core values in the mission statement. My takeaway: Every word in a mission statement matters, but Marshall’s core competency has been and always will be the best academic preparation in the region.

Our faculty are particularly fond on the phrase “intellectual curiosity” and ranked that number one. This phrase highlights our goal to nurture each student’s love of learning and provide them with the skills needed to explore and challenge new ideas. In a world where the amount of information doubles every 18 months, learning how to learn (and liking it) is essential for future success.

If those two values serve as the bookends for our list, the pages inside are filled with essential chapters on how to live your life. The values of respect, compassion, integrity, and self-discipline are directly taught in our classrooms and advisories, as well as on our athletic fields and our music classrooms. Author Henry James, talking with his nephew in 1902, once said: “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

So, I guess an apology is in order. Asking you to pick just one word from our mission statement as the most important was not kind.