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Exhibitions: Opportunities for Independent Scholarship
In the St. Andrew’s exhibition process, students learn to self-critique and revise both their thinking and writing, and to engage in complex, dialogic reading and writing processes. The exhibition process is born out of an approach to learning that assumes learning never truly concludes, and creates a collaborative space for deep learning, rather than strategic learning “for a grade.”
“Best academic experience of my life was the Senior Exhibition. It was harder than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was going to be very hard. But it was so rewarding to work out those difficult thoughts, and to go into that exhibition feeling confident that I could identify the strengths and weaknesses of my argument and have an insightful conversation about the book with some really awesome teachers.”
VI Form Student
The Arts at St. Andrew’s
St. Andrew’s provides students with an environment in which they can explore their artistic interests and passions within a master-apprentice system of teaching, and without fear of judgment from peers. The student community prides itself on its genuine and intense support—without regard for typical social expectations or level of expertise—of the artistic efforts of all its members.
Joe Baker ’24 Breaks School 2k Record
Joe Baker started rowing competitively last year, and already he's one of the top recruits in the country. Read about his journey to St. Andrew's and rowing a sub-6:10 2k here
Since the founding of the school in 1929, St. Andrew’s has been a school affordable to all students who are qualified for admission, regardless of their financial means.
What matters most is your character and the contributions you will make to our community and our world.
of your family’s financial need will be met if you are admitted to St. Andrew’s
For 93 years, we've offered revolutionary need-based financial aid to all admitted students. Our mission is—and always has been—to be a school accessible to all, regardless of means
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We not only learn together, but live together—and that fundamentally changes the nature of your high school experience.
Hear from current students on the ways in which living at St. Andrew's has transformed them.
Sophie Forbes ’25 receives recognition for pen-and-ink drawing and years of dedication to the craft
Journeying through Cheung Chau this past summer, Sophie Forbes ’25 was immediately struck by a particular street lined with clotheslines and the shadows of locals’ balconies. The composition of the street would not only make for an interesting drawing, the artist thought, but would represent the overall experience of taking in the sights of Hong Kong.
The pen-and-ink drawing this V former subsequently created based on this street in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong—titled “Old Street”—recently received a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the highest regional award given by this art and writing recognition program for teens.
“Hong Kong, for me, makes up a big part of my identity,” says Forbes.
Ever since Forbes delved deep into art in middle school, the pen-and-ink medium has stood out because of how the technique can create a variety of strokes in terms of size and shape.
“[I can] pick up a pen and then suddenly it’s all these lines that I make from these pens, which have an image, they have a story,” says Forbes.
Navanjali Kelsey, visual arts faculty member, says that while Forbes is especially skilled in the pen-and-ink medium, she is consistently impressed with the student’s strong proficiency across media.
“In Painting I, Sophie was bold in terms of color usage with oil paint,” says Kelsey. “Having been well-versed with pen and ink prior to St. Andrew’s, Sophie wielded sophisticated rendering capabilities in Drawing I, with detailed and sensitively depicted charcoal and pastel images. Sophie has an incredible capacity for presenting detail, and I am so thrilled that the Scholastic Arts Awards have also recognized Sophie’s talents with a Gold Key.”
Forbes had the opportunity to see the piece on display at the Delaware State University Arts Center/Gallery. The experience of seeing the personal artwork in the gallery wasn’t exactly normal for this artist.
“It definitely felt a little weird,” says Forbes. “But it felt very [fulfilling], seeing my own work of art and seeing … something that represents me and my identity just displayed on the wall for other people to see.”
This wasn’t this go-getter’s first time submitting work to the Scholastic Art Awards. However, it’s the first time that Forbes’s submitted work has received a Gold Key. It was rewarding to finally have fulfilled this accomplishment, which has been a long-time coming, says the artist. This award is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
“I don’t like using the word ‘talent’ to describe art, because I feel like artistic skill does not come to you naturally,” says Forbes. “It’s something that I feel like you have to spend a lot of time building, and it is not something that you can just … wake up with one day and do. It is just practice and practice and practice. And I felt like all these skills that I’ve been practicing since seventh grade have really shown to pay off.”
John Plummer ’25 on finding himself through wrestling
When John Plummer ’25 opened his eyes, he saw a trainer checking his pulse.
“Do you know where you are?” asked the trainer. Yes, Plummer replied, at a varsity wrestling tournament. He had momentarily passed out after giving everything he had to win—which he did.
He got himself partially up, and extended his hand to shake the trainer’s.
It’s customary at a wrestling tournament to shake the hand of the other wrestler’s coach, and Plummer, without a clue what had just happened to him, managed to remember that he didn’t shake anyone’s hand yet. Even as he was regaining consciousness, Plummer had one thing on his mind: good sportsmanship. In a haze, he settled for the hand nearest to him.
Plummer’s qualities add up to everything that makes for an ideal wrestler: his strength, his determination, and of course, the spirit of sportsmanship that marks every great athlete, regardless of the athletic arena.
“John always gives 110%,” says wrestling Head Coach Phil Davis, who calls Plummer a “true team player in an individual sport.”
Plummer has always played different sports, but the pieces didn’t come together for him until his IV Form year when he found himself in the wrestling room.
He grew up playing ice hockey and sailing competitively. Ice hockey ran in the family, as his father was a semi-professional hockey player.
“I was always expected to be good at hockey,” says Plummer. “I’m an incredible skater, but I really struggled with puck skills.”
As a III Former, he tried his hand at swimming and rowing, but he didn’t get the rush of adrenaline he was looking for from the pool or the pond. (It didn’t help that the shoe literally didn’t fit—rowing shoes were particularly uncomfortable for Plummer to wear.)
But something clicked when he found wrestling.
“The first thing I noticed about the team is it was very warm,” says Plummer. “It was like a family.”
That family feeling didn’t lessen the anxiety he felt about starting the sport, particularly after witnessing the strength of the other wrestlers on the team. But Plummer put his doubts away, and went all-in.
He dedicated himself to the challenge, especially with the help of coach Davis and coach Donald Duffy. Plummer says that he has ADHD, and that the coaching staff on the wrestling team individualizes a coaching approach to suit his needs.
“They know exactly how to coach me,” says Plummer. “I’ve never had a coaching experience like that where they know how to get my attention, how to keep my focus.”
The coaching staff takes the extra step each practice by not just telling, but showing. Plummer says they’ll put themselves fully into it, demonstrating how to do a move, which fits his preference for a more physical style of instruction.
Plummer and the coaching staff’s diligence paid off last season. He remembers his first win at a tournament at Polytech High School.
“I wasn’t expecting to win at all that day because I had this mindset of, ‘I’m a beginner so what can I do?’” says Plummer. “I went out, and I don’t know what I did, but I came out on top.”
He has continued to come out on top: Plummer said he went 7-3 last year and this season, as of Jan. 26, he is 22-1, including JV, varsity, and exhibition matches. Even with such a great record, he sets the standard high for winning graciously and staying humble.
“Because I’m so new to [wrestling], it’s easier for me to have a good mindset. I know that I will win some and I will lose some,” says Plummer. “Humility is important in this sport because there are people who have been wrestling since they were three.”
But his success has given him a sense of accomplishment and confidence that he never really knew before.
“As soon as I started doing well, I immediately got a confidence boost and it has tremendously helped me,” says Plummer. “The person I am now because of wrestling is completely unrecognizable from the person I was before.”
Plummer’s love for the sport has become so deep that even in the off-season, he goes out of his way to develop his skills and get more practice at tournaments he finds on his own.
“On the school’s first long break John didn’t just sit around, he attended a large wrestling tournament in Pennsylvania with over 1,500 wrestlers,” says Davis, who adds that Plummer also attended wrestling camp over the summer to better his skillset. “John represented himself and the school very well. This was not just a wrestling tournament, this was a test of John’s will to win.”
After taking the time to truly find himself in the sport, Plummer says showing up at wrestling meets and tournaments feels completely natural to him.
“I think that it’s really easy to give it your best effort in wrestling, more so than in other sports,” says Plummer. “The adrenaline you get from what your body thinks is a fight takes care of any lack of effort.”
Davis sees no lack of effort when it comes to Plummer. “I can teach anyone to wrestle, but I can’t teach heart,” Davis says. “John has plenty of that.”
On the first day of math class, I write an equation on the board:
love = attention
Each school year, I work to create a classroom culture that helps the students in the room feel safe and loved. I tell the students that I love them, and I ask that they love one another. We set the ground rules of listening to each other. We are polite. We ask questions. We work together. And, I remind them, whenever our attention is divided—whenever we are distracted—we miss an opportunity to love.
I believe our work as humans is to wake up to our lives. As we practice waking up together, we cultivate the ability to focus our attention and, therefore, our love. By writing this equation on the board, I call on students to sow the seeds of mindfulness and love for each other. When we become aware of the intrinsic relationship between attention and love, it is an opportunity—as Sharon Salzberg says—to do something different with our lives.
Though my SAS nametag states I am a teacher, I am a student, too. As students, we are seekers. As seekers, we wonder about the nature of ourselves, our world, and our lives. I have many teachers, including Dipa Ma, a Buddhist adept, who was once asked whether she recommends mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation to students. Her response was that for her, there is no difference between the two: “Meditation is love. Enlightenment is great love.” So Dipa Ma is also the first mathematician that the students meet in my class; she is the author of the equation above.
Another of my teachers was Dave DeSalvo, legendary SAS math teacher and chaplain. In his last year of teaching, I overheard Dave end some of his classes with the goodbye, “I love you; God loves you.” As a secular Buddhist, I usually think “universe” when I hear “God.” By virtue of the very fact of our existence, the universe, itself, quite literally, is “aware” of us. You could say that we are being loved into existence in each moment. I think Dipa Ma and Dave are sharing two perspectives on the same truth. It is this truth that I want my students to glimpse. I believe The Beatles were right when they harmonized: “All you need is love.” Our lives consist of waking up, over and over, to the truth that love is all there is.
Does this mean that there is no hate, sorrow, war, or division in the world? Of course not. I would argue that these rise in proportion to our collective mindlessness. In Buddhism, there is the concept of bodhicitta, the aspiration “to wake up with wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings.” In our age of distraction, I have found this to be both a skillful and timely prayer. Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice about meditation puts this idea another way:
“Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it.”
The work of inclusion and belonging at St. Andrew’s is to lift up the voices of our students, faculty, and staff; to appreciate the diversity of our community; and to fully recognize each other’s humanity. Our classrooms, our residential spaces, and our playing fields offer countless opportunities for us to embrace inclusive practices, celebrate differences, and consider our collective responsibility to create the just and equitable world in which we want to live.
To share a bit about myself, I am a native Delawarean who also calls South Carolina “home.” I am a fourth-generation educator who follows a long maternal line of Black women who’ve served both within the classroom and in school administration. My great-grandmothers were teachers and principals in segregated high schools in Montgomery, Alabama. My grandmother and mother, both English teachers, were outstanding influences in my life—and are the reasons I chose English as a major in college. My late mother, Alice Carson Tisdale, was selected as District Teacher of the Year in Smyrna, Delaware, in 1986. As one of a handful of Black teachers in the district at that time, this distinction was one in which she, and our entire family, took great pride. My mother retired in 2019 after 21 years in secondary education, and a subsequent 25 years of service as a college administrator.
Standing on the shoulders of these women, I see education as a calling and feel grateful to work at a school where my talents can be put to good use. I am a very proud graduate of Spelman College, a private, historically black, women's liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. I completed an M.A. at Temple University and a doctorate at Emory University. My career has taken me all over the country, and I have had the great fortune of working in both higher and secondary education settings. To share what I’ve learned as a student, as an educator, and as a servant leader with this community is an incredible privilege.
My decision to join St. Andrew’s as a dean of inclusion and belonging was not made lightly. In my first conversation with Head of School Joy McGrath ’92, however, I began to understand just how special this school is and how committed our students, faculty, and staff are to the practice of inclusion and belonging. When I visited the school last spring, I met with students who were enthusiastic about rolling up their sleeves and working diligently to ensure that St. Andrew’s is a place where all students can thrive. I was also deeply inspired by the faculty and staff whose unwavering commitment to students is unmatched. I knew, after that visit, that St. Andrew’s was not only a place where I could be impactful, but a place where every day would offer me—and my family—opportunities, as American author and social activist bell hooks writes, “to work in community, and to be changed by community.”
I am honored to be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of building upon the foundation laid by those committed to this important work at St. Andrew’s before me: Treava Milton ’83, Stacey Duprey ’85 P’04,’10, Giselle Furlonge ’03, and Devin Duprey ’10. I lift these names up to acknowledge the considerable contributions of alumnae of color whose dedication to advancing diversity and inclusion at St. Andrew’s, both past and present, cannot be overstated. My goals for this year extend from their work and include developing a formal infrastructure for the office of inclusion and belonging; offering effective and meaningful diversity education programming for students, faculty, and staff; and providing robust educational opportunities for affinity group faculty leaders and affinity group members.
I look forward to working in collaboration with colleagues, students, parents, and alumni to meet these broad goals and to reconnect. I welcome your ideas, your curiosity, and your honest feedback on our work together. I am deeply grateful for your generous support and am excited about all that is to come!
Danica Tisdale Fisher
Dean of Inclusion and Belonging