At the recent Board of Trustees Meeting, Malvern introduced a new plan that will change the face of the school. This initiative, named the 25:40 Initiative has one goal: to increase diversity here at Malvern Preparatory School, a place that for decades has been overwhelmingly caucasian males. A questions on the minds of many: will Malvern still be Malvern?
The name of the 25:40 initiative comes from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25 verse 40 where it is written “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This new strategy aims to help those students of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds than the typical 93.6% of Malvern students in order to enable students who are both academically qualified and underrepresented to have the opportunities to be successful at our school. As a result, these students will strengthen their own lives and add to the community.
The initiative will likely face some challengers who claim, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if one takes a look around, the realization something is not right becomes clear. Compared to our Inter-Ac peers and other competitors, Malvern shows a lowly 6.6% visible diversity among students. The next lowest of our peers is 18% while the rest seem to cluster in the high twenties. So why does it seem we fall so far behind? Some believe that Malvern’s current diversity status is due to its location, costs of attending, and a precedent that has been set, but this initiative looks to break that barrier.
The main focus of the proposal will involve offering admission and scholarships to qualified students of more diverse, neglected backgrounds. The goal 25:40 hopes to meet is to have 20% visible diversity by 2019. What may seem far away is only 5 academic years away. The current 6th graders will be entering their freshman year. Malvern will seem to change in the blink of an eye to some.
Many would agree a recipient of such a scholarship would definitely reap the benefits of a Malvern education, and to take advantage of the opportunities to excel in a variety of activities, sports, and academic ventures in the spirit of St. Augustine. But how exactly will the Malvern community benefit beyond competing with peer schools and their higher rates of diversity?
In order for a community to properly function and excel, it must consist of diverse members. If every member of a football team was a quarterback, the ball would never get snapped. The 25:40 initiative would embody the spirit of the brotherhood in the fact that the Body of Christ is made of many different yet all essential parts.
Malvern is a college preparatory school, a school that prepares us for our future endeavors in the real world. In almost all cases, students in a few years will be venturing to schools in which diversity is a central element in student life. This new initiative will give the typical Malvern student the chance to see different perspectives and encounter the differences in our world.
Doubts will surely be rampant, but when a proposal as monumental as 25:40 is introduced, we assume it has been carefully researched and planned. Finances will have to be raised, work will have to be done but the Board and the administration are prepared to bring the plan to life.
The BFC commends the goal of the 25:40 Initiative. For many years as students we have been taught to aid the least of our brothers. We experience the overwhelmingly rewarding experiences offered through the Christian Service Program. It is nice that the mission of Christian love will finally be apparent all over campus. If the plan is executed the right way, if we are doing this for the right reasons, Malvern will truly embody the brotherhood we attempt to establish. Challenges will arise, but anything worth fighting for is not immediately accepted.
Diversity is a noble goal and the 25:40 Initiative is Malvern’s best opportunity to meet the letter and spirit of Matthew’s Gospel. The Editorial Board is excited to see Malvern transform for the better under the vision of 25:40.