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"Secret Lives" of Faculty Featured in Gallery Show

On Friday, February 9, the Warner Art Gallery showcased the "Secret Lives" of faculty and staff at St. Andrew's. Arts Department Co-Chair and Warner Gallery Director John McGiff first had the idea for this type of gallery show approximately 15 years ago, prior to the O'Brien Arts Center being built. The show then was on a much smaller scale; however, was successful in creating what John referred to as "a sense of community that celebrated the adult population regardless of staff/faculty designations."

John's intention this year was even more ambitious. He noted, "This time around, it was important not just to underscore the working community of adults here, but to help the students look beyond the obvious roles we fill in our jobs to create the opportunity for them to be surprised by how multi-dimensional one's interests could become as one grows up. We also wanted to expand the definition of what a creative life might look like. How can one develop a creative practice that engages one with the outside world and commits one to being sharp, constantly developing a skill set and always looking to get better at this given practice? 'When you stop getting better, you stop being good' is a life attitude that many of us subscribe to in ways that are 'secret' or unknown to the community. We wanted to celebrate this power, have some fun and then break the mold a little."

The gallery show kicked off with a Chapel service in Engelhard Hall celebrating creativity and featuring a piano performance by facilities team member Joe Kalmbacher, a poetry reading by English faculty member Will Porter, and a musical theater performance of Sisters by Arts Department Co-Chair and Director of Theatre Program Ann Taylor, Director of Choral and Vocal Music Program Quinn Kerrane, and Director of Technology Peter Hoopes. Following the indoor performances, community members were invited outside to watch an ice carving demonstration by Chef Ray from Sage Dining Services and to view and discuss the restoration work facilities team member Jay Knight has completed on his 1966 Chevy Nova. Inside the gallery, the many talents of faculty and staff were on display through paintings, photography, sketches, wood carvings, model car building, ceramics, knitting, and quilting—and the list goes on.

The Secret Lives gallery show will remain open through Wednesday, February 28.


John McGiff's Chapel Talk

One of the experiences I've come to appreciate here, after meeting and working with so many persons—young, middle-road and beyond—is how I am constantly surprised by the hidden dimensions of the lives of our faculty, staff and students—where we've lived, how we spend our time away from here, what activities and practices we engage in to keep ourselves at least partially whole and balanced, and maybe even downright boisterous and crazy passionate about this gift of life we all share.

Because we live so closely with one another, two different social expectations tend to form. We both appreciate the multi-dimensional character of everyone here—adults are teachers, coaches, parents, advisers, and staff members; students are artists, athletes, scholars, and budding social citizens. We teach one another so much, but we are also mysteries to one another and tend to put each other in neat, understandable boxes to keep it all manageable and in check. Makes sense; makes our social landscape navigable. Oh yeah, that guy Joe Kalmbacher in the sunglasses and goatee in the white van, he delivers my Amazon Prime boxes to Central Receiving—but did you ever hear him play piano? And Ron Lindsey, he's an incredible electrician and good guy—but did you know that he races Suzuki Hyabuse motorcycles up to 170 miles an hour, plays pool better than Jackie Gleason in The Hustler, and could give Garry Kasparov fits on the chess board?

We humans are tricky to understand and appreciate, so we are dedicating this chapel today, and this current gallery exhibition to the "secret lives" of normal persons who have creative passions they pursue on their own because this brings them joy and fulfillment. This is the healthy, energized adult at play. These are examples of the curious child alive in adults that you know: these are your role models and outliers... This focus also begs the question of us all:

How do we spend our time when it opens up; what restores, renews, and connects us, roots us to being, in our bodies and imagination, glad to be here, alive and feeling creatively in motion. Not just that we are contributing to the social good but that we are investing in—and growing—ourselves and thereby benefiting the world around us with an uprising energy.

Spinning some complex shape on a 3D printer, planting and growing a garden, whittling a piece of wood, making a table, creating a forest dream space with discovered timber and stones, finding that one part of the newly made car engine that was screwing up the timing of everything else, and then fixing it, choosing the right tie, that perfect, marvelous hairband, having your heart stopped by a pitch of voice in a song, the particular riff of a guitar: we are all designers and purveyors of taste and beauty, everyone here, and many of us find happiness in regular hands-on acts that give us a sense of satisfaction which is the feeling of movement—super essential to the shark in all of us. Let us celebrate this drive and passion that is a human—nay, an animal—siren call with thousands of manifestations. We are all of us created and, by the virtue of this shared cosmic energy, we are creators, as well. This active principle drives everything we attempt. Let's embrace it and celebrate its flowering in our community.

VI Formers Visit the Nation's Capital

Head of School Tad Roach surprised the Class of 2018 last Tuesday evening when he told them that they would be spending the following day in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the great leadership they have displayed throughout this school year. Students and faculty enjoyed the visit to the nation's capital as they were able to take in many different museums including the Newseum, the National Air and Space Museum and the favorite, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Emily Pressman, chair of the History Department, was blown away by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and was especially excited to visit the museum on the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass commenting, "The History exhibits told a story that was simultaneously very familiar from my teaching, and yet also revelatory in the ways that they presented it ." In particular, Pressman was struck by the power of seeing a first edition of Douglass' My Bondage, My Freedom on Douglass's birthday, as well as the approach that the museum took in an interactive exhibit asking visitors to consider what their own participation in the Civil Rights Movement might have looked like. "It echoed the call SNCC leader Diane Nash issued to all of us in Engelhard Hall earlier this year to consider what was done for us, and what our role in the ongoing movement might be."

Senior Will Weaver had this to say about the exhibits, "The DC trip was a great way to get off campus for a day and I was able to finally see the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum was especially engaging for me because, being a student in Ms. Pressman's History of Social Reform Movements class, and also writing my senior exhibition paper on The Underground Railroad, I was able to see a visual representation of the history I had been reading and writing about. The ability to make these kinds of connections with the real world and to see how my work in classes can relate to the work of countless other historians and activists is truly a one of a kind experience."

The students wrapped up their trip by visiting Union Station and enjoyed a variety of dining selections.

Brando Leggott '18 Earns SAS Athlete of the Week

With a state tournament berth on the line this past weekend at the Independent Conference Championships, Saints wrestling captain Brando Leggott '18 battled his way to a fourth-place finish and secured his second straight trip to the DIAA Individual Championships. Leggott, seeded fourth amongst his competitors, went 2-2 over the course of the weekend and lost a close third-place match, dropping the contest by a final score of 5-2.

Leggott, whose record stands at 23-4 during the 2017-18 campaign, has performed well in every tournament that he has entered this season. He was crowned tournament champion at the Bulldog Invitational, the Westtown Wrestling Tournament and the Tower Hill Tournament while taking third-place at the Delcastle Invitational. Additionally, at the Delaware Independent Schools Conference (DISC) Tournament, Leggott placed second when he lost the championship match to Andrew Brooks of Sanford School, the 2016 state champion at 138 pounds and the 2018 Independent Conference Champion.

Head wrestling coach Phil Davis coached Leggott all year long, "In wrestling you have many opponents, but the toughest opponent you will face is yourself. Mindset means everything." Leggott plans to use this advice this week as he will participate in the DIAA Individual Championships at Cape Henlopen High School on Friday, February 23, at 4:00 p.m. To check in on Brando, please visit https://www.standrews-de.org/athletics/scores for updates. Good luck, Brando!
Dr. Aatish Bhatia Delivers the Crump Physics Lecture

The St. Andrew's community welcomed Dr. Aatish Bhatia to campus for the annual Crump Physics Lecture on Thursday, February 8. Dr. Bhatia, Associate Director of the Council on Science and Technology at Princeton University, spent three days on campus; visiting classes, leading student workshops, and urging the community to be more curious.

Director of Academic Innovation and physics teacher John Burk stated, "To me, the most amazing thing about Aatish's visit was how he was able to make curiosity more contagious than the flu. You could see this in his every interaction with students. They would ask a question, he would offer an incredible response, and then every time, ask the student for his or her name, and later in that day, reference that student in a later conversation."

Burk continued, "Aatish's genuine curiosity about the world around him, about St. Andrew's, and about the people he met and their interests was infectious and left us wanting to look at the world around us with a better sense of wonderment and curiosity. He shared photos of the scientist he worked with to figure out the nature of the water repelling leaves and talked about the inspiration and ideas he draws from being able to take ideas and share questions with scientific experts around the world on Twitter. He even tweeted about Nadia Holcomb '19 and her interest in bugs, in the attempt to connect her to other experts in the field!"

Students were inspired by Dr. Bhatia's workshop, where he taught a group of students how to build an electric piano out of paper and circuits. Participant Heleah Soulati '21 reflected on the lesson by saying, "The word I would use to describe the electric piano workshop would be 'eye-opening'. I never knew about the role of coding in electric circuits and the power of charcoal and led. I am so grateful I got to participate in this amazing activity."

After his visit, Dr. Bhatia reflected on his visit: "One of my favorite moments was our impromptu discussion after my talk where I was blown away by the inquisitiveness, maturity, and earnest enthusiasm that the students demonstrated. St. Andrew's really is a very unique learning community, and I'm glad to have had the chance to spend time there and learn more about it. I came away inspired by the depth of inquiry and learning that I encountered, and by the rich conversations that have given me so many good ideas about what hands-on, inquiry-based learning looks like."

Dr. Bhatia focuses on improving science instruction, developing deeper appreciation and understanding of STEM, and finding connections with other disciplines. He also oversees Princeton's Makerspace Studiolab, which brings together students from all disciplines for some impressive collaborations between STEM, Humanities and the Arts.

Burk noted, "I've followed Aatish on Twitter for the better part of a decade and always found him to be an inspirational and generous thinker. About four years ago, I had my students read his story about the physics of the Archer Fish, and one of my students, Millie Spencer '16, became so inspired that she wrote up a summary with some of her own questions about the Archer Fish on a blog. I shared the post with Aatish on Twitter, and he wrote her back. Then when Aatish visited, he remembered not only that moment but Millie's name. I was flabbergasted."

St. Andreans Celebrate Chinese New Year

On Thursday, February 16, Peter Geng '20 and his parents, Yan Qian and Xiaoping, presented a Chinese New Year's Dinner to our Chinese students, their advisors, and Head of School Tad Roach. Continuing the tradition they started at Peter's previous school, the Gengs brought more than 18 meat and fish dishes to the celebration, made homemade dumplings in the Arts Center kitchen, and decorated the Arts Center with colorful red and gold banners, displaying blessings for health and wealth in the New Year. The Gengs gave great thanks and praise for family, including the extended family St. Andrew's provides for their son and all of the Chinese students. Dinner was complete with oranges for good luck, many traditional Chinese sweets sent by other Chinese parents, and traditional red envelopes for the students from international student advisors, Chiachyu Chiu and Louisa Zendt.

On Friday, Sage Dining Service joined in, offering a "Taste of Home" at lunch (in place of the regular "Tastes of Home," a cultural experience started by Richard Zhang '18, usually served on Saturday night). The full community enjoyed a feast of Chinese specialties, homemade by Chef Ray. The celebration of the Chinese New Year continued after lunch with a well-attended voluntary chapel service during which seniors shared their own Chinese New Year's traditions with a slideshow of colorful photos and stories.

Richard Zhang '18 commented, "Many students attended the voluntary chapel on Friday, and we were able to introduce this great holiday to many members of the community, which made all of us feel like we were at home. I hope that more students from different countries and backgrounds will celebrate their cultures and festivals with the SAS community too!"

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