One of the essential elements of the school’s mission that I think about often is the section that charges the school “to develop its students into leaders, [and] to train its students toward a useful contribution to the democratic society in which they live.”
There were many occasions in the past year when Woodberry students and alumni made important contributions to the community or region around them. For the second fall in a row, the sixth form traveled to southwest Virginia and worked with the Appalachia Service Project providing essential home repairs in one of the nation’s poorest regions. In May, the entire student body, joined by many members of the faculty and staff, gave back to our local community by participating in Madison Day. At the same time that the on-campus community was uniting in service, alumni around the country, organized through their regional chapters, repaired hiking trails, worked with the homeless, and supported a food pantry.
These acts of service — useful contributions to the society in which we live — are made possible thanks to the sustained generosity of alumni, parents, and other friends of Woodberry. There are other examples of how this generosity helps students serve. Over the past year, William Bledsoe ’23 used funding from the Noland Fellowship to install a hydroponics system at the Catawba Science Center in his hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. And Dan Chen ’24 and Nate Stein ’24 used a grant from the Class of 2008 Community Service Fund to provide free swimming lessons to elementary school students from Orange and Madison counties.
Your gifts to Woodberry Forest School and the Campaign for the Boys — whether contributions to the Amici Fund, capital gifts to support our endowment, or bequests made through the Walker Society — enable us to deliver each day on the school’s mission. The opening lines of the mission say that “the purpose of the school is to develop in its students, under Christian principles, a high sense of honor and moral integrity, a deep respect for sound scholarship, a full acceptance of responsibility, a love of excellence, and a will toward personal sacrifice in service to others.” Long experience tells us how to develop these traits in young men through providing them with an all-boys, all-boarding education on our beautiful campus in the Virginia countryside. We know boys learn best from faculty who aspire to know, challenge, and love each one of them.
This past school year was Woodberry’s 134th. Much has changed since 1889, but the core values of the school have remained constant. Whether an alumnus graduated when J. Carter Walker was still headmaster or received his diploma a few months ago, his time on campus was marked by our unwavering commitment to intellectual thoroughness and moral integrity. Thank you for your steadfast support of Woodberry and this critical work of educating young men and for all you do to advance the school’s mission.
Headmaster Byron C. Hulsey ’86 (P ’22)