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Envi Sci in Action
Environmental Science students have been testing the water quality of Noxontown Pond. Data collection includes measurements of pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, phosphates, salinity, clarity, and temperature for three different water locations on campus. “The goal is to collect this data for the next few months, see if the water quality in different locations changes with the seasons, and analyze what that might mean for the organisms that live in both ponds,” explains EnviSci teacher Bertie Miller, seen far left.
Sustainability at St. Andrew's
As a community, St. Andreans are committed to living in harmony with and caring for our 2200-acre campus. Students, faculty, and staff work together to steward our land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources, and to contribute to environmental initiatives int he wider world.
SAS Model UN Hosts Fourth Annual Conference
Model UN students organized and hosted the fourth annual SASMUN conference this past Sunday. Five schools competed in the virtual conference; SAS tied Newark Charter for best overall performance and brought home the Best Delegation Award! Best Delegate went to Peter Bird ‘25, and Outstanding Delegate went to Grace Anne Doyle ‘25 and Brandon Blake ‘25— all first year students.
Connect with students, faculty, and admissions staff; learn more about St. Andrew’s; and ask your questions!
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.
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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.
Years ago, while her peers in Lagos, Nigeria were still learning to read, Angela Osaigbovo ‘24 was embarking on a competitive Scrabble career that would take her around the world—and eventually to Middletown, Delaware and St. Andrew's.
At the age of five, Angela began playing Scrabble as an extracurricular activity at her school in Lagos, and her talent quickly attracted attention from coaches nationwide. Just one year after she began playing, Angela competed at the World Youth Championships in Dubai, where she placed second in the eight-and-under age category. She has since competed for the US youth Scrabble team and the Nigerian national youth team, qualifying for Scrabble world championships in Australia, France, and Malaysia, while remaining a fixture at Nigerian national competitions.
The world of competitive Scrabble is much more than a word game in which one makes points by piecing together tiles. Developing an ever-expanding word bank, learning the strategy behind playing words of different lengths, understanding board layout, and calculating scores under the pressure of a timer are just some of the skills Angela has refined over the past decade. She also works with a coach to hone physical and psychological tools, learning to use body language and communication to throw off her opponents.
Angela notes that her young age usually works to her advantage. It’s easy to take older players by surprise, she says, and when she beats them, they are often excited to share their knowledge and experience to help her develop further in her game. In reflecting on her swift rise to the top, she credits the mentorship of these more experienced players.
Angela’s favorite aspects of Scrabble are the academic challenge and the game's community, and in choosing to attend boarding school, she sought the same from her high school experience. Scrabble has unsurprisingly has helped her excel in school; she credits mental math skills, the ability to pull ideas together quickly, and knowledge of linguistics from Scrabble with assisting in all of her classes. At St. Andrew’s Angela has become passionate about reading and writing poetry and playing in the Jazz Ensemble, and she hopes to eventually start a Scrabble club on campus.
Angela’s long term Scrabble aspiration is to remain competitive on the national and international stage, but this year she is most proud of how she has continued to play a strong game, despite the interruptions of starting at a new school, being away from her coach, and devoting most of her time to the demands of a rigorous boarding school schedule.
And her favorite word? (She gets asked that question a lot.) "My favorite word is 'zapping,'" she says, "because of how rare [in Scrabble] it is. I was playing in a tournament in which I was well below the age limit—you had to be in high school to play, but I was eight—and in my last game, my first word was 'zapping.' It was 111 [points], and the person I was playing against couldn't get up to that score throughout the entire game. I was just really proud of that."
While at home in the Bahamas during our winter virtual term, Liz Hall ’21 has been teaching underprivileged kids to row at her local rowing club. At St. Andrew's, Liz leads V Form girls on Mein Dorm, serves a Head Admission Ambassador, and has been a dedicated member of St. Andrew's girls rowing team for her three years at the school.
I'm teaching through a program called Learn to Row set up by my home rowing club, Nassau Rowing Club, which is the only rowing club on the island of New Providence, and one of only two clubs in the entire country. We're a small, fully outdoor club on the only rowable (brackish) lake on the island. Our coach has done a great job of working with the government and through advertising [to spread word of mouth about the program]. This winter six-week block of sessions has had our highest participation level yet.
All of the kids I've been working with had never been in a boat before, so we've started with having kids on the ERGs [rowing machines], then moved into tubby rowing shells on a tether, and then into double scull boats with me coaching from behind, and eventually into boats by themselves, with me in a launch boat coaching from the water. We also do some fun core and cardio circuits when capacity is too much on the water.
I think the kids who are participating are really getting a lot out of this. Two weeks ago, the mother of a young boy who I've been working a lot one-on-one came to me and said that she's noticed a shift in his demeanor, mood, and sociability since he began rowing. It's been amazing to see kids like him come out of their shells. A lot of the kids are hoping to working toward trying out for the junior team, which would allow them to row more frequently, and then later, work towards rowing in regattas in the United States.
I started rowing when I arrived [at St. Andrew's] as a new sophomore in 2018, and it's helped me in so many aspects of my life—which is why I decided to start the [college] recruitment process after my novice season. I'll be rowing NCAA Division 2 this fall! I've had the same experiences through rowing as it did for the boy I've been working with—it was a sport that gave me a team, and allowed me to focus and refine both my mental and physical skills, whether I'm rowing alone in a single, double, or in an eight on Noxontown Pond.
English teacher Will Torrey on the capital-Q-questions of teaching
As Opening Day of the 2021-22 school year neared, I found myself especially eager to make a great plan for the first day of class for my two sections of seniors in English 4—one that would not only engage my students and encapsulate the goals of the course, but one that would help me answer—for them as well as myself—the capital-Q-questions I think of all the time:
Why do we talk about literature?
What’s the point of this class?
I thought for a long time about what to show, do, or discuss with my students on that first day. And finally, the day before the first day of class, I wheeled my one year-old son past the Organic Garden in his stroller and was reminded of a conversation I’d had the previous spring with my then-advisee Riley Baker ’21. On a day shortly before Commencement, Riley came back to dorm from working in Organic Garden and told me that while digging in the dirt, she’d been listening to an episode of the On Being podcast in which the host Krista Tippitt interviews the writer Ocean Vuong.
“Mr. Torrey,” she said, eyes bright. “It was, like, the most profound thing I’ve ever heard. You should listen to it; I think you’d love it.”
So I did listen to it, and it was profound, and I did love it.
And then I forgot all about it—until that sunny Labor Day afternoon a few months later.
“There it is,” I thought. “My plan.”
At the end of the interview—during which Vuong covers everything from his immigrant childhood in Hartford, Connecticut to the power of language and its capacity to evolve—Tippit references an essay of Voung’s, in which he, in the face of a family tragedy, embarks on a walk through Manhattan and can’t stop noticing, of all things, fire escapes. They are everywhere, Vuong writes, clinging to the sides of our homes, calling out to us “with the most visible human honesty: We are capable of disaster. And we are scared.” Vuong goes on to assert that literature—the poem, the story, the novel—is itself a form of fire escape, a safe haven that’s often ignored but always at hand, a place of intimate vulnerability where we, as readers, as people, can find refuge. We hurt, Vuong’s essay asserts, because we’re afraid to bear ourselves. But by studying the stories of others, by witnessing their pain and triumphs, we move toward a better understanding of ourselves and a solution to our common crisis of communication.
As soon as this seed of an idea had been planted, ideas for other pieces to discuss on the first day came to mind faster than I could process. By the time my first section rolled into my classroom the morning of September 7, I had a thick packet of readings for them: Barry Hannah’s “Water Liars,” George Saunders’s “Sticks,” a scene from Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. We dove in and enjoyed an intense (in a good way) seventy-five minutes of rapid-fire discussion.
For me, and I hope for my students, this first class was not just great, but wonderful. As I made my way home, I felt more excited about teaching than I had in some time—maybe since the beginning of the pandemic. I was excited to have connected with my students, and to watch them connect with the ideas buried in our readings. I was thrilled by how eager, how perceptive, even how open to being vulnerable they all were. But most of all, I was humbled. A five-minute conversation I had had with a student three months earlier had suddenly bloomed into the answers to my questions.
Why do we talk about literature?
To move toward a better understanding of ourselves and a solution to our common crisis of communication.
What is the point of this class?
To be a place of intimate vulnerability where we—as readers, as people—can find refuge, and bear ourselves.
How was the first day of classes?
The familiar question, asked in the hallways at school and over phone, email, and text from everyone close in my life, feels particularly poignant this year.
In short, Tuesday, September 7 felt to me like a celebration. Students donned dress code outfits—not without much debate and perhaps some consternation on the part of a few students—and found their way to classes in Amos, Founders, and O’Brien. Teachers enjoyed coffee and breakfast pastries in the new faculty room. And all our beautiful campus spaces—no classroom tents this year—were gleaming and ready for the learning to begin. Great anticipation, planning, and energy went into our collective preparation for the first day and for the 2021-22 school year.
Teachers and students alike have been thinking deeply about the opportunities and the challenges before us. All our students, faculty, and staff are back together again on campus, and we once again have the ability to hold immersive, 75-minute in-person classes. Because we’re returning from a period of interruption and distance, we’re noticing with fresh eyes what it means to learn and teach here at St. Andrew’s. It’s almost as if all of us are new this year.
During our opening meetings, faculty focused intensively on ways to build and rebuild our inclusive, collaborative academic culture, and how to teach the habits and skills of genuine intellectual engagement. With those goals in mind, on the first day of class, teachers talked a lot about:
- how to listen
- how to take part
- how to support
- how to concentrate
- how to manage time
These skills are the first rails on the scaffolding we will build for our newest and youngest students as they learn to problem-solve, reason, write, debate, and deduce. But after the dislocation of the past 18 months, even our VI Formers—indeed, even our faculty—may need to dust off their intellectual toolkits. As teachers, we attended closely to where students are in their learning of these core skills and content—or, as we say in the Faculty Handbook: we worked to get to know each student as a learner. Our job as teachers is to adapt and build from there.
We asked III Form students in a survey this week what they most looked forward to; the top responses were building relationships with teachers and classmates. And in our meetings with new faculty in August, teachers explained that they joined St. Andrew’s to be part of a school where positive teacher-student relationships, strong engagement, and respect and trust between all members of the community are the foundation of the culture. The “joy of learning”—something we talk a lot about here—is always going to be rooted in that moment of discovery, or that feeling of understanding or doing something that you previously thought you could not. However, this year, I think all of us appreciate more than ever the type of intellectual joy that is rooted in making connections—not just between concepts, but with other people. We are even more aware of the joy of togetherness—the joy of listening, taking part, and supporting each other. Of course, all of those skills can be practiced over Zoom, but there is a kind of irreplaceable intellectual alchemy that occurs when humans occupy a space together.
So what will we do with our togetherness this year? That’s what we’re all here to find out.