Founder’s Speech at Willow’s 20th Anniversary Gala: “Mission Accomplished”

by | May 26, 2022 | Community, Homepage News

At our 20th Anniversary Green Gala, Willow co-founder Pearl Johnson shared these inspiring words:

“When I see what The Willow School has become today, when I look around this room tonight, what I think is: ‘mission accomplished.’

Over two decades ago, I had a vision of an intentional community. Brought into being by an inkling, a hope, and perhaps the deep knowing that something more was possible — that an ideal education was worth working toward, committing to, and fighting for — that original vision started to coalesce.

And it has been realized.

The creation of this Willow School Community has been made possible by every person sitting in this room tonight and many more who are not here: every student, every parent, every mentor, every teacher, every trustee, every volunteer, and every administrator. Everyone who broke ground, built buildings, laid pipe and wire, or maintained buildings and grounds. Everyone who chose elements in the curriculum, cooked food, read books, or organized them on shelves. Everyone who played music, planted plants, painted pictures, or showed up for a party. Everyone who asked good questions and listened for the answers that might emerge.

Courage and faith in the face of fear, persistence and determination in the face of obstacles, compassion and patience in the face of upsets, the virtues exemplified in our daily experiences. Mission accomplished. 

Gretchen and Jim Johnson, our Gala honorees and founding family, accept an award from David Wolfe, President of Willow’s Board of Trustees

My wish for this evening is that my parents, Gretchen and Jim, feel the enormity of the positive impact that your participation in the creation of this community has had on my life and on the lives of so many, young and old and everything in between; people you know as well as you know me, and people you have never met. 

Know yourself. Take responsibility for yourself. How does that happen between the ages of four and fourteen?

We can’t offer our students a certificate that says: Congratulations! Now you have belief in your own power to effect positive change. This is something they must f ind through the process of their own unfolding.

We can’t teach diligence, humility, and generosity. What we can do is offer opportunities for our children, our students, to experience these things in and of themselves along the way, with the hope that they choose to lean into the best parts of themselves; that they choose to stay curious, to keep learning about themselves and the world around them; that they strive to be open-minded and more tolerant than they were last week, month, year.

Thanks, in no small measure to the two of you, Mom and Dad, mission accomplished.

Thank you to everyone that has supported Willow over the course of our first 20 years! We look forward to the continued growth of our community in the next 20 years. Support us for the next generation. Click here to donate today!

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