InSight: A Newsletter From BWS

James Woody's Farewell Message
James Woody's Farewell Message
When the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys (BWS) first opened its doors to students in the fall of 2008, the country was in the throes of the Great Recession––a devastating economic downturn that caused countless people to lose their life savings, jobs, and homes. Tragically, 12 years later, the world is enmeshed in a global pandemic that threatens the health and well-being of millions, straining world economies and rapidly upending the way we live our daily lives.

In the decade and a quarter between these two cataclysmic moments, the Bishop Walker School became a place of refuge for boys whose lives are often buffeted by treacherous storms, even when the world around them appears peaceful and prosperous.

At BWS, many unsung heroes have worked faithfully and anonymously in the development of the Bishop Walker School and its mission, away from the glare of the spotlight, performing tasks for which they’ve gained little acclaim. While I am exceedingly grateful for the each individual and group that has toiled and sacrificed over these years, I owe a singular debt of gratitude to one person in particular.

Valerie, my wife of 45 years, has been––in addition to a keen and generous chronicler of the school’s history through her professional photography services––the anchor who has kept me grounded to our mission. She has been a counselor whose advice has been wise, honest, and empathetic; a trusted confidant who has witnessed my disappointments, doubts, and fears with compassion and without judgment; and a cheerleader who, in the face of daunting tasks, always made me feel I was up to the challenge. When I look back across all the special moments, both monumental and mundane, I will see her fingerprints on each one and cherish how she chose to immerse herself so fully in the fulfillment of my calling.

As I conclude my tenure at BWS, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to play a part in such an audacious undertaking. I am honored to have gotten to know so many of you and will think of you often. The school is on solid footing and I leave it in strong, capable hands. By the grace of God, and with your continued support, BWS will weather this current crisis, just as it withstood the one during which we were launched. The boys who look to us for refuge are counting on you to provide an anchor that will hold them fast as they cling to their dreams of a future full of promise and possibility. I know their trust is well placed and look forward to cheering everyone on as you continue the important work that has both inspired and united us.

James R. Woody, Executive Director & President

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