Wes Johnston’s Feb. 17 letter on Good Will-Hinckley offers a heartfelt wish that the school preserve its founding principles in its present work with children and young adults. Rev. George Walter Hinckley in his long lifetime never altered the principles he began with: faith in God, work, play, study, life in a community that includes the natural world.

However, only after trying a dormitory style of housing did he settle on his dozen-per-dwelling setup in family settings. Only after trying a trade-school setting (in what is now L.C. Bates Museum) did he settle on what then was a college-preparatory curriculum for his students. That is, he adapted as he saw need to, and his school grew.

Hinckley finally built a village that survived in essential form for 120 years — not bad for one man’s faith energizing so many over that time. That village/school grows again today, its work based on its early principles, and many believe it is earning a far longer life. And we forget at our peril that no school survives unless its surrounding communities believe in it.

Every morning now across the middle of Maine, men and women rise, have breakfast, and drive through weather bad or good to the campus at Good Will-Hinckley, where they spend their day in support of children and young adults, in giving them role models, and offering skills they can use to build their own lives.

These are the reasons my wife and I continue to support the school and its people.

John H. Willey


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