St. George’s to Host Education Symposium

On March 22, 2010, in News 2010, by Mark Norris

ERIC SMITH | The Daily News
March 22, 2010

St. George’s Independent School has commemorated its 50th anniversary in traditional ways, such as publishing a book on the school’s history and printing posters with the slogan “Celebrating Our Stories, Inspiring Our Tomorrows.”

But two years ago, when administrators began planning for this momentous year, they also sought to mark the occasion with an event that transcended the typical fare.

So the school decided on a symposium where parents, teachers, administrators, public servants and business leaders from around the area could have a dialogue about ways to foster citizenship and prepare the next generation of civic leaders.

“Cultivating Citizens: How Schools Can Promote Civic Engagement in the 21st Century” will be held this weekend. The event will open Friday night with a dinner at St. George’s Collierville campus and will continue Saturday with the four symposium sessions at Rhodes College.

“Making a meaningful contribution has always been one of the cornerstones of St. George’s Independent School, so it’s only natural that part of our 50th anniversary would include some component that involved community engagement,” said Bill Taylor, St. George’s president. “A symposium centered on citizenship is what you might expect from a school like St. George’s.”

The symposium is co-sponsored by Rhodes, Hyde Family Foundations and Tennessee Association of Independent Schools.

Also, FedEx recently joined as a sponsor, and its commitment will allow public school teachers to pay only $90 instead of $130 for Saturday’s sessions.

St. George’s, a coeducational independent school with campuses in Collierville, Germantown and Memphis, is hosting this event because it is committed to teaching students how to be “citizens for tomorrow’s world,” said director of communications Sarah Cowan.

“St. George’s has always had the philosophy that citizenship is very important,” she said. “We’re a highly academic school, but we also realize that citizenship and character reputation are just as important as the academic lessons in the classroom.”

Out of that approach, Cowan said, came a desire to bring together some of the most prominent names in education, business and philanthropy to share best practices for cultivating citizens.

Speakers and panelists include Rhodes president William Troutt, FedEx executive Tom Schmitt, state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris and best-selling author Hampton Sides.

Taylor said landing a group of dynamic speakers was paramount for pulling off a successful event, which will be an appropriate way to bring St. George’s first 50 years to a close.

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