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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

From the Desk of Joy McGrath ’92

Reflections from our Head of School

The Power of the St. Andrew’s Family
Joy McGrath ’92

This week and the past two weeks, I have been taking short trips to visit members of St. Andrew’s extended family around the country: first in Texas, then in New York, and this week in Washington, D.C. Each time I return to campus, I share with students that there is a vast community of alumni, parents, and alumni parents who are so proud of them—even though students have not yet met, and may never know, most of the members of this broader community. Our extended St. Andrew’s family is connected by love, and when one Saint meets another, anywhere in the world, the bonds form instantly.

St. Andrew’s people are everywhere, and throughout our students’ lives, St. Andrew’s people will welcome them to new cities, new professions, Reunions, affinity groups. I have been at regional St. Andrew’s events where in one corner of the room, Saints who’ve just met for the first time are exchanging phone numbers and swapping tips on best babysitters and favorite restaurants, while in another corner alumni are texting local friends to find a safe, affordable apartment for a new St. Andrew’s graduate who has just moved to town. In the days to come, I know I’ll hear about connections that have sprouted from that event: a current parent is taking an alumna out to lunch; the alumna has just moved to town, has young children, and is feeling a little disconnected in her new city. A young alumnus is considering going to law school, and a fellow alumnus and seasoned lawyer is taking him out to lunch to talk about the pros and cons of that career choice. Someone met someone else whose spouse is suffering from a chronic illness, and they’re connecting that family to the best doctors.

I have a million stories like this because I have been privileged to be part of this community for more than three decades, as a student, a faculty member, and now as head of school. This weekend, as our Class Agents and other alumni gather on campus for Homecoming for the first time in a few years, I am looking forward to witnessing new bonds form between Saints. I’m especially delighted that our VI Formers will be able to join the Class Agents—among the school’s most dedicated volunteers—and begin to glimpse the incredible responsibility our alumni carry for the stewardship of the school. One day soon (but let’s not rush it!) the Class of 2023 will share in this responsibility. The ways in which they will show up for St. Andrew’s in the future will contribute so much to the lives of Saints who are not even born yet. 

I know from experience it is impossible to imagine the ways in which they will change St. Andrew’s for the better, but I also know from experience that the effects of their involvement will resound through the generations. It is easy to see how they will fulfill their responsibility toward the future of this school, because they already know how to be a Saint: show up, see each other, love each other, work joyfully and relentlessly, take care of each other, and never give up. 

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