Whitney Daly is on a mission. She’s been at Gilmour Academy for 14 years, including 12 years teaching in the theology department. For the last two years, she’s been director of mission integration tasked with encouraging students to engage in the school’s core values, which include diversity, equity and inclusion. Based in the Holy Cross tradition, Gilmour Academy’s mission — to develop the competence to see and the courage to act in creating a more humane and just society — drives everything Daly does. This summer, she recently recruited more than 60 future, current and former students, along with faculty and parents, to participate in a virtual book club focused on better understanding racial issues.
What really impressed me from the day I stepped foot on campus was the way that their mission is integrated into everything they do. No matter who you talked to, students or teachers, the mission was real and was something that people strive to live.
A good teacher needs to love to be bothered by young people.If you enjoy being around them and are passionate about what you’re doing. They will reciprocate that, and it’s that energy that makes education exciting.
Everything we're learning should be a tool to help us create a more humane and just society. You’re not just learning something so that you can do well on a test, or so you can write an amazing paper.
If you're learning about history, it should be informing the way you’re seeing our world today, learning from our mistakes of the past and being inspired by people who have been courageous and worked for justice.If you're in physics class and you’re learning about bridges, how can you use that knowledge to do city planning in third-world countries? How could someone with the knowledge of structural engineering have helped before the earthquake in Haiti?
Whatever our teachers are teaching, they strive to make it understood in a real-world context, and within that context, understood that we’re learning this to strive for justice. Where we're at right now [in the world], it’s speaking to Generation Z, and it’s empowering and challenging them to take action.
The students give me tremendous hope. I’m inspired by their vision, by their enthusiasm and just the hope that they have. We're really trying to model our mission to be something that everyone can understand and everyone can live.
We have students who are coming from China who don’t even really have a context for Christianity. But what’s interesting is no matter where they’re coming from, our mission is something people are able to grab on to.