At orientation each year, the first person who talks to the students is me. I tell them of the stress that we place on character. I tell them of the rules of the school. And, most importantly, I tell them of the value of education. It is our task to make it very clear that success is earned through effort and that the rewards are positively life-changing.
Every child wants to be successful. No child ever went off to his or her first day of school determined to be a failure. This simple truth, combined with an emphasis on excellence and challenge, is at the heart of my philosophy of education–that students want to succeed and that each student has a right to do so. At York Prep, every opportunity is made so that, if they work, students can realize their unique talents and succeed.
We have been around long enough for us to be able to say that we stand for character values in a traditional sense, that we treasure our students, and take pride in our community. In our classes we emphasize this, as history teacher Michael Roper does when he brings in a Warsaw Ghetto survivor or a D-Day hero, as the coaches do when they put sportsmanship above winning, as the English department does when its theme of summer reading is justice for outsiders.
We continue to make our school a welcoming place—a place of joy! A community where we value all, including our maintenance staff and secretaries, our 6th graders and our seniors. We require that students introspect on how they have helped others. I believe that students who help other students in this school are performing a valuable part of our mission and of community service.
I believe that we should help young people face the ethical dilemmas that challenge them. We live in a society where temptations are thrown at us all the time, and knowledge of how others have made decisions in the past is potentially valuable in that instant when a decision needs to be made.
I can hire someone to fix my computer or my boiler, but I cannot hire someone to make life choices and decisions. But all the knowledge we have learned until that moment surely helps us make the right ones. And trying to help in giving that knowledge is why we teach what we do.
I am delighted that you are considering York Prep. We encourage parents and applicants to visit the school, sit in on classes and meet the faculty. Please accept my personal invitation to call and make an appointment for a tour and a meeting with me.
Ronald Stewart, Headmaster
York Prep School
Please browse our Winter Newsletter 2015 to read about the many exciting activities happening at York Prep!