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2018-19 School Year

It’s Greek to me.

As middle school principal several years ago, I received a book from the Chairman of the Board of UMS-Wright at the time, Sandy Stimpson. The book, a 998-page mammoth read, with the title “Sparkling Gems from the Greek”, was in fact a 365-day devotional of Greek word studies.  I know, I too could hardly wait to start it!! On the inside cover, Sandy wrote, “use this as you guide the lives of our students”. I must admit, it was at least a year or two later that I picked up the book and began to read through some of the devotions.  What I discovered, was indeed a tremendous breadth of subject matter as the author, Rick Renner, translated many words of the scripture into Greek which seemed to bring tremendous clarity and depth to so many familiar scriptures.

That book still sits beside my bed.  Often, I find myself flipping through the pages and I have really come to appreciate the power behind so many of the Greek words translated throughout the book.  They contain so much depth, power, and promise.

Each year at UMS-Wright, we adopt a word which represents our “theme” for the year. In the past, the words hae been relationships, commitment honor, etc. Such words help clarify the Mission of our school by increasing the focus on mind, body, spirit and character. As I thought about this year’s word and the 125th Anniversary of our school, I searched for a word that would encapsulate all the nuances of our Mission as we strive to prepare students to reach their highest potential. Our goal is that each UMS-Wright student will demonstrate innovation, independence, and intensity due to the constant emphasis placed on perseverance, courage and self-discipline by devoted teachers, coaches, and administrators. With this school’s curriculum and co-curricular opportunities, students will be equipped to compete in any arena while they also display honor, respect, and humility. As I discussed my vision with our language chair Mirella Chavez in July, she said to me, “I have the perfect Greek word that embodies all those things.” As I began to study and dip deep into this word, Mirella was right. The word she gave me was PHILOTIMO.

In fact, PHILOTIMO is much more than a Greek word. Indeed, it is a way of life that makes up the DNA for many with Greek heritage as well as many others who want to live their lives in an honorable manner. PHILOTIMO is a word that represents all that is good in people and includes an unwavering commitment to excellence and a selfless desire to serve others. Finally, PHILOTIMO includes the belief that acting honorably should be the normal way of behaving.

PHILOTIMO is the essence of what each UMS-Wright teacher and student should strive to be as the pursuit to achieve the school’s Mission continues each day. Consequently, the word PHILOTIMO will be highly visible around campus throughout the 2018-19 school year. We will award and recognize students and staff who demonstrate this year’s theme through their daily behavior. Each member of the student body, faculty, and staff will be encouraged to concentrate on being honorable, selfless, brave, giving, respectful, and ambitious day after day until PHILOTIMO is internalized.

In the Greek culture, PHILOTIMO has even been described as being untranslatable because of all that it encompasses. We hope to see these traits that will truly set us apart, just as they did in Greek culture, become a natural part of a distinct UMS-Wright culture. These will be constant reminders and challenges this school to help students and teachers embrace PHILOTIMO. I look forward with excitement to recognizing students and staff who live in a manner worthy of the esteemed virtue of PHILOTIMO.

Parent Testimony part 2

As the 2017-2018 school year begins, I realize that we are starting our fifth year at UMS-Wright.  This year our children will be in 5th, 3rd and K5.  When we selected UMS-wright for our family, we knew it had an amazing reputation. Over the past four years, we have come to love so much about the school.

In addition to exceptional classroom learning programs for Math, Reading, English, STEM and History, there are numerous extracurricular activities and enrichments to participate in.  Our children have been part of amazing Lower School music and drama programs each year, teaching them to perform in front of classmates as well as teachers and parents.  Foreign language, Art, and counseling programs begin in K3 to start the fine arts foundation and allow kids to expand on their own creativity.  The athletics programs are outstanding and all teams perform at the highest level creating a winning environment that everyone wants to be part of.  Also, the academic support function has been remarkable.   Knowing that we can talk to the administration and the academic support team to ensure our children are on the appropriate educational path has ensured us that we are at the right school for all of our children. 

In the past four years, we have gained so much more than a school; this is our family.  Not only have our children made great friendships, but my husband and I have  as well.   We look forward to school functions and events to meet new families and catch-up with old friends.    I cannot wait to see what the next twelve years hold for us and UMS-Wright.


Parent Testimony part 1

Mind. Body. Spirit.  These qualities resonate throughout the halls of UMS-Wright.   You can hear them echoing in the classrooms, in the school prayer, in the honor code, in competitions, and in the arts.  At the conclusion of every musical, ballgame, and honor assembly we attend, my husband and I look at each other and say, "there’s just no comparison.”

It was important for us to find a school that emulated our desire for educational excellence and character development. These priorities run deep in our family and in the traditions of UMS-Wright.  This was evident the day we stepped onto campus for our tour.   The light in our daughter’s eyes when she saw Dunlap Auditorium was the day my husband and I knew what we needed to do.  There was no denying that UMS-Wright was the best gift we could give our children, and we were determined to make it happen no matter the cost.

Looking back, what we have given our children is much more than an excellent education. UMS-Wright is cultivating confidence, honor, leadership, integrity, honesty, and loyalty in our children. Because of UMS-Wright’s tradition of developing mind, body, and spirit, our children have identified with this culture of honor, and it has given them a sense of belonging. This gift is immeasurable, and once we realized that, we were unwilling to walk away from giving our children a gift that will change the trajectory of their lives.  Our only regret in coming to UMS-Wright is that we did not make the move sooner.  There really is no place like home. 


Welcome back!

Welcome to UMS-Wright. From its beginnings as University Military School, and Julius T. Wright, UMS-Wright has continually enhanced its legacy of excellence in teaching and learning while striving to meet the mission of educating the whole student in mind, body, and spirit.  In my time here since 1993, I have witnessed what I feel to be the bedrock of the successes our students enjoy from K-3 through their senior year: RELATIONSHIPS.

The opportunities our students enjoy have so much to do with these relationships. The K-4 teacher who offers a welcoming hug to students as they become “Bulldogs” on our campus; the thrill a student feels when he is able to complete his first reading assignment; the joy shared between the teacher and student when multiplication tables are mastered; the satisfaction felt as middle school teachers and students complete service projects together; the shared accomplishment felt by our sophomores and juniors as they celebrate with their teachers the excitement of the first ACT scores; the jubilation parents and students share with our college counseling department after learning they are accepted to their choice college; the encouragement offered by our coaches as these young people learn to “play the game with honor”; the presentation of flowers presented by our students to the director of the play after so much hard work and preparation.  All of these successes are not germane only to UMS-Wright and there are certainly schools in which students succeed.  But what I have come to see as common occurrence is the sincere appreciation expressed as our recent graduates and cast of alumni time and again speak of their opportunities at this school and the influence their teachers and coaches made in their lives…. RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships that challenge and support at just the right time in the lives of the students we serve.

We certainly understand the connections that are made between students and teachers are critical to the confidence our students possess which allows them to explore concepts, take on tough problems, perform on the athletic field and courts, accept the lead in the play, support a friend in need, and give back to their community.  This confidence ultimately allows them to become individuals who reach their highest potential in mind, body, and spirit.  I welcome and encourage you to visit our campus and see how RELATIONSHIPS truly set us apart and set our students on the path of success. 

Doug Barber

Head of School



Mr.  Doug Barber
Head of School


Contact Information

UMS-Wright Preparatory
Telephone:  251-479-6551
Fax: 251-470-9010




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65 Mobile Street, Mobile, AL 36607 |
Telephone: (251) 479-6551