Chinquapin has always been about the future. After all, we prepare young men and women to succeed in college and beyond. We strive to keep our instruction, facilities, and technology as current as possible. We look to the future to anticipate needs and search for solutions so we can continue to provide a relevant and meaningful education for our students. As we wind down this school year – our 50th – it’s also good to reflect upon the past.
At the end of the following day, the very first issue of the student newspaper, The Burr, was produced. The lead story read, “The Chinquapin School opened for the first time yesterday with new games, with good classes, and a store. It will be the finest thing ever to happen to us students.”
Fifty years and over 500 alumni later, I think many of our former students would concur with the writer of that article. Chinquapin remains a refuge from over-crowded classrooms, unsafe neighborhoods and unmotivated peers. Here, students don’t feel like just another name in the gradebook. They feel accepted, nurtured, challenged and respected. We give our students experiences like field trips to colleges, musicals and Washington DC. We give them a great deal of freedom and responsibility and expect them to make good decisions with both. Most crucially, we give them hope for a brighter future and the tools to make it a reality.
While the school may now have nicer facilities, a student population that is a bit more than half female, and – gasp! – air conditioning, we haven’t altered our original mission, spelled out by Bob Moore in his initial letter to several hundred St. John’s School alumni: “I am going to start a school for underprivileged youngsters, young men who are the potential leaders of their communities. I want to take the capable youngsters, those both culturally and economically deprived, and prepare them for college…”
The alumni at our recent gala offer substantial proof that the “experiment” Bob and Maxine launched 50 years ago worked. As I look at the faces of our senior class, I am confident that the school still provides the foundation for a brighter future for its students.
Cheers to 50 years!
Laura Henry, Ed.D.
Thank you for making a difference