Wooster School, Past & Present

The Reverend Dr. Aaron C. Coburn, Wooster's founder and the first headmaster, was a powerful man who knew what he believed in and had a very clear idea of why he started a school, and what sort of a school it should be. It was natural, therefore, that during his lifetime and for some years thereafter (in some ways it may even be forever after), his personality and spirit should pervade the atmosphere. The source of Dr. Coburn's power was the strength of his convictions and the sheer force of his personality.

Honesty was another characteristic of Reverend Coburn. It was not merely a question of not telling lies but of not hiding anything. Perhaps his most significant legacy to Wooster's future was his own passionate devotion, his own self-sacrificing dedication to the school itself. He had a singleness of mind about Wooster School to which all else came second.

The legend is that sometime during the year 1925, Dr. Coburn was sitting on the back porch of the Rectory of St. James Church, Danbury, of which he had by then been Rector for 15 years, and suddenly turned toward the Senior Warden, George Green (destined to become a trustee for nearly 40 years) and said, "You know, in all the years that I have been Rector of this Church, I don't think I have saved a single soul. The trouble is, they're all too old. Let's start a boys' school. Maybe if we begin working on younger people we can do better." So the charter of Wooster School was registered with the State of Connecticut in November, 1925, and the school opened the following fall.

The ideals of Wooster's founder, Dr. Coburn, and later our formal mission statement, have guided the School through the years since 1926. The Mission Statement reads:

The mission of Wooster School is to educate the minds of its students, to cultivate their ethical understanding, to develop their artistic appreciation and expression, to promote their physical well-being -- thus to prepare each individual for college and for a useful life.

Specifically, our mission is to foster the commitment of each person at Wooster
  • to strive for the highest level of learning he or she is able to reach, and to develop curiosity, passion, and habits of hard work conducive to a life of learning;
  • to speak, to write, and to act honorably at all times;
  • to cultivate his or her own religious understanding, and to be open to the ideas and beliefs of others;
  • to honor diversity in all its dimensions as essential to the nature of the institution and to the student’s experience in it;
  • to act in ways this School has stood for and celebrated since its founding in 1926, in kindness, in service, in fair play, in humor, in delight in the well-being of others.
  • Inspired by our founder’s commitment to religion, intellectual excellence, simplicity, and hard work, we are guided by
  • our School Prayer to be gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave;
  • our Honor Code to support Wooster’s community of trust;
  • our Warner Rule to insist that no one may impede the learning, growth, or well-being of another;
  • our Self-help tradition to expect our students to take responsibility for the condition of the campus, for their relationships, for themselves; and
  • our School Motto, to draw from each according to ability and to give to each according to need.

~Approved by the Wooster School Board of Trustees, August 2010

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