2020 has proven to be an exceptionally challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic, historic in its scope, has impacted the lives of people globally and forced everyone to adjust daily living to meet requirements of public health and safety. COVID-19, though at the forefront right now, joins a host of other challenges—environmental, social, economic—that our younger generations face as they work to find their paths toward fulfilling lives.
As a 30-year teacher, I remain more convinced than ever that excellent education is essential not just for the health and happiness of individual students, but for the success of all communities, locally and globally. Our new mission statement reflects this priority: “To inspire and educate students to become socially aware leaders and innovators, who positively impact their communities around the world.” Our goal is to foster creative and innovative people with the tools and potential to soar into personal success and understand that having a positive impact in their communities is their responsibility as well.
Community is a vital ideal at WNA. We celebrate the diversity of our local and international populations and simultaneously stress building the skills to communicate and work collaboratively across the distances of varied backgrounds. Currently, the flags of 89 countries and territories hang proudly in our dining hall where students from around the United States and globe gather for meals and meetings and to experience a variety of speakers from all walks of life. Within the confines of our beautiful 100-acre campus, our students learn how to respect and care for themselves and each other and the environment we all share. They also learn how to translate that care and respect into their wider roles in the world and in their futures.
Right now, we are grateful to have our students present on campus. Masked and socially distanced as we are, the energy of inspired teachers and determined learners is undeniable. Though some of our international students could not arrive at the start of the school year, our adjusted schedule ensures they can be present in our classrooms virtually until they are able to join us on campus. In this health emergency, we can’t do the trips we normally do on the weekends to museums, restaurants, and theaters in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Still, our ecologically diverse campus offers room to roam and explore. Our coaches continue to run practices and train students for competitions that will resume eventually. Our creative Student Life team makes sure our campus-bound activities offer students the time they need to socialize and interact and rest from the rigors of classwork.
At WNA, we welcome our students to a school that offers the best of all worlds. Our storied history includes signers of the United States’ Declaration of Independence and the founders of University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Princeton University. The traditions and notoriety of our past form the foundation for our progressive vision of the future. Our Environmental Sustainability Program, our state-of- the-art Innovation Center, our professional Artist-in-Residence Program, and our focus on thinking critically and writing across the curriculum combine STEM and the humanities together for a full and unique college preparatory experience. The variety of our after-school programs brings athletics into the mix and ensures our students can choose activities from Student Environmental Council to robotics to soccer to basketball and more.
WNA is so much more than I can write in this small space. I extend my sincere invitation to you to make contact and get to know for yourself the worlds of possibilities WNA offers our students.
To our alumni and the wider community, I offer a warm welcome back to WNA once we can all move about safely again. The WNA community resides here on campus and in all the people, places, and experiences that have been and are a part of West Nottingham Academy. I look forward to seeing you all when we move past the requirements of this health emergency.
The long history and proud legacy of WNA is a testament to the truth that we are resilient and capable of learning and innovating and meeting life’s challenges. During this time of pandemic, we are focused on ensuring education continues safely and vibrantly at our school. But, we always look forward. As dedicated educators, we continue to inspire our students to work toward the amazing futures they envision for themselves and our world.
Virginia Kennedy, Ph.D.
Head of School