I, like many, remember listening to Mr. Lagarde’s convocation speech for years, excitedly waiting for my turn to stomp my feet before hearing speeches. This year, Mr. Lagarde’s speech had something different about it. The mission statement, which I had heard in speeches and seen in writing and on the wall for years, was slightly different. (The change on the wall is coming so look out for that!) I’m sure we all caught this minor change, but I knew it was impactful, even if only a few words were changed. So I sat down with Mr. Lagarde to ask what prompted this change, and what this means for our community.
Our mission statement was redesigned this year, for the first time in 15 years-since Mr. Lagarde’s first year at Severn. He, like the rest of us, felt this attachment to the old mission statement, and thought it worked with who our school community is. This changed when he was asked “Will it work for who we need to be?”
The Board of Trustees started thinking about this change in January, looking at the framework of our community to rediscover our values and mission. Their job is to think strategically about the future of our school, and they agreed that the mission should reflect our history, but also provide success for students today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.
This edit did not change the part about developing a lasting desire to service and achieve, because this is an important piece in Severn history. When our original mission statement was founded in 1914, Severn School was a naval preparatory school, and service was meant literally, as it prepared to send students to serve our country. Service and giving back to our community has remained important to our school’s culture, but they were looking for more of an inclusive, community focus in our mission statement, recognizing the world is becoming more global. Severn aims to prepare students to contribute to the world around, and create a culture of belonging.
Through many changes as a school throughout the years, the character, conduct, and scholarship aspect of the mission statement has remained the same since the foundation of Severn School, in 1914. Tradition is important, but this mission change ensures that we keep both our history and our future in mind.
“Severn School challenges its students to pursue excellence in character, conduct, and scholarship, to marshal the courage to lead, and to develop the lasting desire to serve and achieve. We believe this is best realized in a community where adults model these qualities and where each student is known and valued.”