Living the Allens’ dream

Author: Patrick Baker  • 

In the early 1880’s, the Allen family had a dream to create a school for boys and girls so that they could have opportunity. While the main opportunity was to provide a great place for children to learn, it was also so they could become prepared citizens of a struggling, yet growing nation.

In 2015, the nation has different struggles, yet continues to grow. Still, our school persists. It has seen 23 different presidents, world wars, multiple recessions, and the country as both hero and villain. It has also watched its neighbor and partner, Texas A&M University, grow in size, prestige, and global recognition. Allen Academy has also seen Bryan/College Station go from a railroad stop to a thriving community that was cited by Kiplinger’s as the #3 greatest place to live in the United States.1

This year, we celebrate the 130th year of Allen Academy. And despite all of the changes, one thing is unequivocally true: since 1886, Allen Academy has provided extraordinary learning opportunities for students in the Brazos Valley-whether as a refuge for rebellious boys, the highest-ranking military prep school for 60 consecutive years, or as a thriving co-educational, independent day school.  Home to National Merit Scholars, Division-I athletes, Broadway actors, and respected professionals in countless fields, Allen perpetuates a school culture where young people feel safe, validated, and challenged, developing the qualities that they will need to lead lives of purpose and find success.

We are proud of the fact that our school has adapted-and will continue to evolve-to best serve the needs of the students who walk our campus. As an independent school, we remain free to attend to our students’ passions and interests and build on our proud legacy of imbuing each with deep learning and a profound sense of purpose, work ethic, and service.

Since February of last school year, a dedicated team of alumni, teachers, board members, and administrators worked to mine what has been at the core of Allen for 130 years. What does our school truly value? Why do we believe that?

Allen values ADAPTABILITY. We believe that the willingness and skill to adapt has always been necessary for success and is becoming increasingly essential given the world’s accelerating pace of change.

Allen values INDEPENDENCE. We believe the future-defining power of self-governance and self-determination grows only where people have the freedom and support to try, fail, and learn.

Allen values PARTNERSHIP. We believe that healthy and productive independence forms best within an environment of healthy and productive interdependence.

Allen values INTEGRITY. While grounded in the traditional character traits associated with integrity, such as honesty and fidelity, our definition also extends to the concept of personal and institutional wholeness.

Allen values VIGOR. We believe that all learning-from facts, philosophies, and theories of core subjects to positive habits of mind and character-requires effort, energy, and enthusiasm.

While the school has championed other specific words as core values in different eras, we believe that these five values have typified this amazing school throughout its history.

On the opening day of school, I shared these words and their context with the entire student body, faculty, and staff. But these are more than just words. These are the sum total of what we do, how we do it, and who we are as a school. They are the DNA of the school, allowing it to continually redefine itself to be both relevant and excellent.

In the coming weeks and months, through social media, group meetings, and other communication we will continue to explore why these words are quintessential Allen values. Similarly, teachers, coaches, and advisors will continue to instill these values that set us apart from other schools in the area and in the state.

I hope you will join us in celebrating our 130 years of amazing history and touting what you believe makes Allen Academy remarkable.

My best,
Matt

1http://www.cstx.gov/index.aspx?recordid=7862&page=3084

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