Skip To Main Content

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

The Front Lawn

The Wonder of Winter at St. Andrew’s

This period between now and the spring recess is such a fun time at the school. It is still chilly out, but we are gathered together indoors and that is an incredible opportunity to build community. 

During this season, so much of our school life revolves around supporting fellow Saints in athletic competitions and artistic performances. Most evenings we can stop by home games for basketball, squash, or swimming on our way to or from practice. The annual semi-formal dance, the purview of the IV Form, takes place next weekend—a masked ball!—and students will design their masks this weekend. What is better in winter than a good DIY project? SAISL (let’s file this under “quasi-athletic”) reaches its peak during the month of February. If you have never experienced the entire student body gathered in the Old Gym screaming while the creatively named and often even more creatively dressed indoor soccer players vie for bragging rights in the league—well, it is hard to describe. I hope we will be able to post some SAISL video for you soon. This year’s musical (Sister Act!) opens the week before the spring recess, and it is always a highlight of the annual calendar. (True story: During my two years at St. Andrew’s I participated in the musical, and my dancing skills were so awful that the director, Hoover Sutton, created a special comic role for me in the chorus so that it seemed like I was dancing badly on purpose for laughs.) At this time of year, it becomes more apparent than ever that every single member of this community has something to offer, and the winter just flies by. 

To this point: the items I mentioned above are all longstanding traditions at the school—and what is truly special about many SAS traditions is that many of them originate with students, who generate an idea that stands the test of time and becomes a new tradition. For example, SAISL was started during my time at St. Andrew’s. Ruben Amarasingham ’91 and Garen Topalian ’91 were the first “SAISL commissioners,” and back then we didn’t have nets for the goals—we used galvanized metal trash cans. Every time a ball hit the can there was an enormous crash, and that’s how you knew it was really a goal. I am sure that this February we will see new traditions take hold. My leading candidate right now is Cards Club, instituted by the Hunter siblings earlier this year. What began as a couple of tables of students playing card games with Billy, Emma, and Chris in the Main Common Room on Tuesdays after dinner has grown into an enormous number of tables covered in spoons, chips, and kitties, with roaring, shouting, intensity, and hilarity in equal measures. As I leave the dining hall on Tuesday nights these days, it’s hard to envision Tuesdays of the future without Cards Club. I think it just might stick.  

Yes, it is February (almost), and yes, it is often dreary out here in Delaware. But the days are getting longer, and St. Andrew’s gives us the opportunity to practice what is most important in leading a meaningful and joyful life: being together. I hope we will see you on campus at some point this winter—come to a game or to the musical if you can—but please know your presence is very much felt in the smiles and friendships of your children that are growing with each passing day. 

Arts Visitors Entertain & Enlighten Campus Community

The glow of winter arts programming radiated from Engelhard Hall in December and January as St. Andrew’s welcomed Counter)Induction, a national darling of contemporary chamber music aficionados; and Sarah Meister, a former curator in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Photography. Counter)Induction’s visit was this year’s featured Haroldson Masterclass Concert, and Meister was on campus to deliver the first in-person, on-campus Payson Art History Lecture since 2019.
 
Haroldson Masterclass Concert
Counter)Induction brought its eccentric energy and nuanced take on contemporary music to Middletown on December 2. The reason this ensemble won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award for Adventurous Programming was on full display, much to the delight of Sophie Mo ’24. 

“The entire concert was weird, but that good weird, you know?” says an animated Mo. “The composer, Doug [Boyce], talked to us about the incohesion and cohesion in a piece, and how the space in between creates dissonance in music. It was just really cool.”
 
Director of Instrumental Music Dr. Fred Geierasbach was thrilled to welcome the ensemble, as he and Boyce are old friends and bandmates.
 
“Back in college, Doug and I were in a funk band together and shared a proclivity for avant-garde music,” he says. “Having Counter)Induction to our school was a wonderful experience. Students lingered for quite a while after the performance, captivated by the pianist's extended technique demonstrations and the vibrant conversations with each of the visitors.”

The trio that evening—cellist Caleb van der Swaagh, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland and pianist Ning Yu—played a selection of 19th century movements by Johannes Brahms and Louise Farrenc. The real magic for Mo, however, came when the group moved on to a more contemporary piece penned by composer Boyce. It was then that the mood turned electric—so much so that weeks later, Mo is still starry-eyed. “It was just like this frenzy of sounds all mashed together,” Mo, a cellist, remembers. “Then there would be this moment when you get into this clear, like, ‘Oh, okay. A melody, a motif.’ But then it went right back into these insane, jumbled, weird and crazy notes. That was the best part for me, seeing someone kind of just break all the rules.”
 
At one point, the pianist popped the hood on the piano and began to play by plucking the actual strings instead of tickling the black-and-whites. “At first I was confused because the sound she produced was so unusual. I had never seen someone use that technique before,” Mo says. “But I think part of the point of that was to show how one way to play an instrument doesn’t mean it’s the only way.”
 
It’s an idea that comforts Mo, who describes herself as a musician who likes to "guess and check and feel her way” through a piece. “I’m the kind of person who just goes to the music studio and fiddles for hours, trying out new things,” she says. (It appears to be working, by the way: Mo is headed to Delaware’s All-State Orchestra this year, an achievement she credits to Geiersbach’s invaluable tutelage).
 
Prior to the concert, students had the opportunity to take part in a masterclass with Counter)Induction. The chamber music group, for which Sophie Xu ’23 serves as first violin, got to play with the pros. “Caleb, the cellist, just did this absolutely insane solo,” Xu says. “It was really cool. Something he taught us in the masterclass was the idea to really feel the beat of the music and how playing at a faster pace can make the emotion stronger.”
 
What Xu most walked away with was the idea that sometimes the emotion and intention behind a note is more important than the note itself. “I think my understanding of music went to a whole new level because of this class,” Xu says. “We focused on feeling the emotion of the piece, but also performing the emotion of the piece. Counter)Induction taught us that it’s okay to play the wrong note, as long as the emotion behind it is right.”
 
At one point, cellist van der Swaagh stopped Xu’s opening cue to the group. He told her the emotion felt too strong, and that she ought to try to soften the emotion behind the cue. “I was blown away because I’d never heard that before,” she says. Something else she notes she took to heart that she didn’t think about often was that while the Motzarts of the world will always exist, there are living, breathing composers now. “I don’t think I really thought about that in this way before,” Xu says. “The composer, Doug, is composing and writing now. The music composers are making right now is what future St. Andrew’s students are going to be discussing. I love that idea.”
 
The only thing both students lament is that they didn’t have more time with Counter)Induction. “The composer Doug … he really talked to us,” Mo says. “We went from music to Socrates somehow and all these other places, and I wished we could have talked longer.”
 
Geiersbach has a feeling the trio would have stayed longer if they could. “They loved our Engelhard Hall, and were awed by the interest and attention our students showed,” he says. “It was a great night.”

You can watch Counter)Induction’s performance here.

Payson Art History Lecture
On paper, a mandatory art history lecture on a Friday night might seem like a drag. But around here, that’s only on paper. “One of the things that most inspired me about coming to St. Andrew’s was the idea that the learning far extends the actual classroom,” says Darden Shuman ’23. “Even though that extension goes into the weekend, I don’t care because guest lecturers like Sarah are so interesting.”
 
As evidenced by the vocal, lively crowd of students, faculty and parents who spent an intimate evening together on January 6 discussing why photography matters, Shuman wasn’t the only one entranced by former MoMA curator Sarah Meister’s lecture.
 
Meister, who for 20 years worked at MoMA, recently left the museum for a position as executive director of Aperture, a nonprofit arts organization and publisher of photography. She noted to the crowd that she felt galvanized to leave the museum not because she didn’t love her tenure, but because she felt a responsibility to use photography as a tool to reach more people and tell more stories.
 
“Many in positions like mine find fine-artist photography to be the pinnacle,” Meister said. “That thinking creates hierarchies, and by creating hierarchies, you are inadvertently suppressing, and only telling stories that privilege certain populations over others. There is a promise and a power bound up in the medium of photography. That matters.”
 
Walking students through an assortment of her favorite photos, from Diane Arbus’ Identical Twins (1967) to Dorthea Lange’s Migrant Mother (1936) to found vintage Polaroids from the ’50s (“’Unknown’ is my favorite photographer,” Meister said), Meister invited students to shout out their gut reactions to the images. (After many enthusiastic Saints callouts, Meister noted she underestimated how invested the crowd might be and perhaps they ought to switch to a raised-hand protocol.)
 
Meister’s enduring thesis statement for the evening—that not only do photographs carry power, but that that power rests in the hands of us all—was punctuated by an ask: “Look longer,” she implored students.
 
“What really struck me most about this lecture was that it was so centered in arts,” Shuman says. “I loved that we were talking about art in a way that felt academically important. To see the life this woman has built for herself was really inspiring.”
 
Shuman was particularly taken with Lange’s Migrant Mother, the image famous for bringing the hopelessness and poverty that Americans endured during the Great Depression into hyper focus. “I recognized the image, but not the story behind it,” she says. “It was cool to learn why it was so famous.”
 
While Shuman says she’s personally interested in art history and loves to spend time in art museums and galleries—a nod to a beloved tradition her grandmother started on family trips—Shuman herself won’t pursue arts. “But what I think is important for students is that we are exposed to a woman like Sarah. I think a lot of times a kid might say, ‘I want to major in English lit’ or ‘I want to pursue art history’ and an adult says, ‘Well, what are you going to do with that?’” Shuman says. “And then we maybe start listening to the rational part of our brain instead of giving into a passion. But this lecture proves you can make a career in the space of art. I think that’s an important message.”
 
Ike Lawrence ’23, too, walked away with a message: “Take a breath,” he says. “I think this lecture went hand-in-hand with something I really advocate for, and that is one of the reasons I came here, and that is the St. Andrew’s phone policy. Something my generation needs to work on is the idea she talked about, of ‘Look longer.’ Even just walking around campus here: It’s so beautiful. Without phones, we are forced to take in that moment and look around. I feel really thankful for that perspective that St. Andrew’s has given me.”
 
Lawrence says that it’s lectures like these that prove something to him: he’s grown up since he entered St. Andrew’s as a new sophomore. “I felt a level of appreciation and admiration for this lecture that I think I can credit to now being a senior and thinking about the world differently,” he says. “MoMA is a very big deal in the art world, and to have her come speak to us in this very personal way is the kind of thing I can really appreciate and value.”
 
Like Shuman, he, too, found himself drawn to one of Meister’s images. For him, it was Arbus’ Identical Twins. “At first glance, it’s two twins that look identical,” he says. “But the more you look at it, you begin to see all the differences until it feels like they’re not the same at all. I found that really fascinating.”
 
Both Shuman and Lawrence have enough senior sense to wish the students coming up behind them do precisely what Meister’s asked: Look longer. Appreciate. Reflect.
 
“I hope students continue to develop appreciation for talks like this, and see how unique and cool it is that St. Andrew’s cares enough about our learning and our development to bring in experts of this level,” Lawrence says.
 
Adds Shuman, “Seeing meaningful conversations like this take place, even on a Friday night, is a privilege. I know that this is St. Andrew’s investing in me.”

You can watch Meister’s talk here.

Why Our Integrity Matters

I love this month of January at St. Andrew’s, as we settle back in after the long winter break and prepare for the first term examinations. In the coming week, many of you will give your child advice about exams, and I thought it would be helpful to share some of my thoughts. These are thoughts I have already shared with the students, so they have heard this before! But I am sure you agree that it cannot hurt for all of us to be singing from the same song sheet. 

Why do we have exams? Students often ask this existential question, which is one that I welcome. What we do at St. Andrew’s is practice, and exams are a part of that practice. And the purpose of our practice is not perfection—it’s progress. In this exam period, we practice thinking, practice studying, practice writing, practice test-taking. We show our progress, whatever that progress may look like. If we were perfect, we would not need to go to school, and we would not be very interesting pupils! 

So, exams and assessments are for demonstrating what we know, and how we’ve grown. Improving and strengthening ourselves is the necessary precursor to everything else, always; any change must begin with changing ourselves. This is not just the posture we have as high schoolers, but a way of being we can practice for our whole lives. 

As we approach exams, we always speak clearly with students about the expectations embedded in the school’s honor code. It’s human nature to look for a shortcut, especially when we are under pressure. But as teachers, we want to witness each student’s thinking, each student’s practice, each student’s performance. When a member of our community cheats, or takes that shortcut, whether via the new general AI tools like ChatGPT, or Sparknotes, or some other source, that person is denying themselves the chance to learn and grow, and denying their fellow Saints of an opportunity for authentic intellectual engagement and collaboration. Cheating prioritizes the “ends,” but at St. Andrew’s, we are really all about the “means.”

A friend recently texted me from the Hofgarten in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he had found a plaque near a sculpture called “The Admonisher” by Vadim Sidur. What was written there was as good a place as any for us to start when we are thinking about honor and schooling. I love this passage, because it gets to the heart of what education really is, and why it’s not just important, but necessary, for us to do our own work. Here is what it says, translated from German: 

human of this earth
whoever you are
no matter where you come from
wherever you go
consider
god almighty
lent you this life
to learn to distinguish
the good from the bad
seize your life
to do the good

Our life was only lent to us for the purpose of learning—learning for the purpose of discerning the good, seizing the good, and doing the good. I love these words. The big picture is this: What our students do matters. Who our students are matters. And this is why our integrity matters. 

Over the break, I read a marvelous essay in the New York Review of Books by Marilynne Robinson. In it she says, “Most people in the world would say that their lives are insignificant, historically speaking, but it might be prudent to consider whether the relative blamelessness that is assumed to come with insignificance can be relied upon. We are not competent to decide how much we matter in the long term.” I was reminded of this essay while sitting in Chapel on Wednesday night, listening to a beautiful reflection by Ashley McIntosh ’25. The service, organized by the Student Diversity Committee, was held in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ashley encouraged her peers to recognize the power for positive change that lies within each of them, individually. “We have the power to make a difference at SAS,” she explained. “SAS has the power to make a difference in Delaware. Delaware has the power to influence the U.S., and the U.S. has the power to impact the world. If you notice, the spark that lights the fuse in it all—is you.”

Therefore, my hope for our students in this winter season is that they will learn, and grow, and seize their life, and do the good. What they do and who they are, in the smallest details, in the stillest moments, really does matter. I hope that in conversations with your children in the coming week, you will help them focus on the big habits of “goodness” within the minutiae of exam week. These habits might be summed up as follows: 

Ask for help when you need it. 
Keep it simple. 
See God in yourself and in the other humans around you. 

Out of Many, One St. Andrew’s

Ashley McIntosh ’25 delivered this chapel talk at a Wednesday night service organized by the Student Diversity Committee in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The theme for this year's MLK chapel is the Power of One. There are many ways to interpret the word “one,” whether solitude or unity. Upon hearing this theme, I was reminded of Jamaica's motto, "Out of Many One People,” which refers to the many cultures that came together to produce and sustain the nation. No matter what race, class, religion, age, or gender, we are all consolidated through the shared experience of being Jamaican. Jamaican culture is representative of the many people that came together from different places to create something truly unique. Additionally, Jamaica has influenced so many other countries and has been a part of what makes other demographics unique. I am a proud amalgamation of the melting pot of Jamaica. I am of Nigerian descent with Indian, Chinese, German, and Scottish ancestry. Just by looking at me, you wouldn’t be able to tell that my ancestry is as complex as it is. I am so much more than what meets the eye. My life experiences, my values, and that of my forefathers shape me into who I am today. This revelation has made me realize that never does the color of our skin express the whole story of who we are, and it certainly is not an indication of what we are capable of. In the famous words of Walt Whitman, “We contain multitudes.” 

At SAS Connect, I was welcomed by Señora Ramirez’s definition of what a Saint is. For those of you unfamiliar, it is a long list of qualities that St. Andrew’s students may or may not have. My favorite of this list read, “If you are good at math, or if you aren’t, you are a Saint.” I took a sigh of relief right there, because by no means was I good at math. It was followed by a summative statement along the lines of: “Whoever you are or aren’t is what makes you a Saint.” At the end of the day, we are all Saints. We are all here for the purpose that we have something original to bring to the table that contributes to the common goal. We are St. Andrew’s, so much more than just the buildings of Amos or Founders, so much more than tangible things and physical locations, so much more than what meets the eye. SAS is the culmination of what makes each and every one of us unique. It is not a matter of luck or chance that we are all sitting here tonight. It is because the common denominator in all of our uniqueness is the ability to contribute to the community in some way shape, or form. There has never been a you to walk the halls of St. Andrew’s and there never will be another you, so I challenge us to do what we are meant to do, what we were brought here to do, and be the change that we want to see in this community. I encourage us to acknowledge the power that we have and be catalysts for change in our community. The Bible tells us that a city on a hill cannot be hidden, so let our light so shine that others may see our good works and be inspired to do the same. We have the power to make a difference at SAS. SAS has the power to make a difference in Delaware. Delaware has the power to influence the U.S., and the U.S. has the power to impact the world. If you notice, the spark that lights the fuse in it all—is you. 

This message is fitting for Martin Luther King Day because he had a dream that one day people would be seen for the contents of their characters and not for the color of their skin. As I mentioned, the two aren’t indicative of one another. You can’t tell the contents of our characters from the color of our skin, and neither is the content of our characters confirmation of our skin color. 

We were founded on a dream, a dream of being scholars committed to justice, peace, and respect for every human being. We came together to define this dream as being St. Andrew’s. We work together to achieve this dream every day, and today we are seated together to reap the benefits of our successes. On the one hand, we are one, individual people varying from one another in many ways, but we come together to make one, one team, one dream, with the power to change the world. Out of the many of us here, we are one people.

PeleStAndrewsCamp

The common factor in every photograph of Edson Arantes do Nascimento—famously known as Pelé—is his mile-wide smile that seemed to span every corner of the globe. In his pursuit to spread soccer to the world, Pelé left joyful impressions and memories with everyone who encountered him… including those lucky enough to have met him during one summer on St. Andrew’s campus.

“I can remember almost every detail of our encounter and it was almost 40 years ago,” says Michael Atalay ’84.

Atalay was one of many alumni who gathered over Zoom last week to reminisce about Pelé’s life and tell stories about the time they met the world’s biggest superstar. During the mid-1970s, Pelé spent three seasons with the New York Cosmos on a crusade to popularize soccer in the United States. He furthered that endeavor by coaching soccer camps across the country in the early 1980s, including at St. Andrew’s during the summer of 1984. For a week in July, the campus dorms were filled with coaches from around the world, a few Cosmos players, and campers decked out in green and white Pelé jerseys.

Chesa Profaci ’80, St. Andrew’s director of alumni engagement, recalls how Bonnie McBride, the school’s director of advancement in 1984, was playing tennis on campus with her 8-year-old daughter when Pelé walked by. He asked if she would teach him how to play; she obliged and recruited two others to play doubles with them.

Pele playing tennis with Bonnie and Eliot McBride (fourth player's name is unknown)

 

Atalay, then a recent graduate, found out about the camp and drove from his home in Virginia for a chance to shake hands with the King. When he arrived, McBride beckoned him over to the tennis court and introduced them.

“It was an inspirational moment because he was so endearing, embracing, and warm,” Atalay says. “He was smiling like he always is, with that megawatt smile. I was blown away that this globally famous person was so magnanimous and friendly.”

Pelé invited Atalay to scrimmage with him and the coaches. In addition to Pelé, legendary German goalkeeper Hubert Birkenmeier and renowned defender Franz Beckenbaur also were in attendance and participated in the pick-up game. 

Michael Atalay ’84 shakes hands with the King, Pele, after scrimmaging together.

 

Victor van Buchem ’89, whose parents were on the faculty at the time, was a young attendee, too. “I got to train alongside Birkenmeier as a goalie that summer,” van Buchem recalls.

Kathryn Hart ’85, who was a part of the camp’s administrative staff, shared a special off-the-field moment with Pelé and the coaches.

“The kids had all gone to their dorms and the staff and coaches gathered to sit in front of the mailroom, where there was a TV, to watch the summer Olympics,”  says Hart. “It was really fun, watching alongside all of these coaches with different nationalities and everyone rooting for their home country. Pelé was there too, watching the Olympics with us until really late into the evening.”

The coaches and staff take a picture with Pele.

 

Bulent Atalay ’58, Michael Atalay’s father, was inspired years earlier by “The King,” traveling all the way from Virginia to New York to photograph him during a game in 1976. Atalay, who organized the Zoom call, knows much about Pelé’s life on and off the pitch. He couldn’t help considering the star in relation to the latest World Cup held this winter in Qatar.

“You saw Mbappé, Messi, and Neymar in this last World Cup, but they were ultimately in the shadow of Pelé,”  Atalay says. “Messi might even be a better player, but it was Pelé who made soccer as popular in the world as it was.”

Indeed, hundreds of thousands gathered across the globe to mourn Pelé’s passing in December. From the neighborhood of Vila Belmiro in Brazil, where his stardom was born; to the farmlands in Middletown, Delaware, Pelé was beloved by everyone who ever saw him play.

“It’s quite remarkable,” remarked Michael Atalay, “that his reputation as The King transcends generations of players and fans across the world. The impact that this one person had is really deep and enduring.”


 

PeleStAndrewsCamp
The Power of Taking Responsibility for Yourself

Yesterday, I attended our weekly School Meeting with a representative from the Delaware Food Bank; she was on campus to be presented with a ceremonial check from St. Andrew’s students, who had raised funds throughout December for local residents living with food insecurity. As I sat there in Engelhard with this person, who had never been to the school before, I found myself having to explain so much of the humor and culture of St. Andrew’s to her. 

This was the first School Meeting after a long holiday break, so we had the usual “Housemaster’s Inspection Awards” given by Co-Deans of Residential Life Mr. Rehrig and Ms. Duprey to the students who had the cleanest rooms and corridors on campus prior to the break. What always amazes me in these moments is how excited our students get about these inspections—how much they want to win in this simple “competition of cleanliness” (not least because of the promised prizes of Playa Bowls or pizza for the victors). When the one dorm champion, Moss, was announced, literal shrieks of joy went up from the Moss residents in the audience. I outlined to my guest exactly what was going on in that moment, and she looked at me as if to say, “Come on, Jay, are you going to tell me that a bunch of teenagers care that much about keeping their rooms clean?”

And suddenly, it dawned on me. It is exactly because of this level of care for the minute details of school life, that we as a community were able to be so successful in raising money ($5,000 on campus and another $2,000 online) to help those in our wider community who go to bed hungry every night. The work that we ask students to do to take care of each other and our spaces on this campus each day is directly connected to the work we hope students will do to care for and contribute to the broader world. There is a real joy in taking responsibility for yourself and the community in which you live—and we are called to spread that joy to others.

“Showing up” at St. Andrew’s means that we delight in the little triumphs of school life, like winning Housemasters’ Inspection, without losing sight of “the big picture”—like the fact that through collective effort, we can provide 21,000 meals for hungry folks in Delaware. And students’ awareness of all the potential energy bound up in this community just might start in the simple act of cleaning their dorm’s common room sink—even when they didn’t leave the dirty dishes in it! 

My hope and prayer for all of us in 2023 is that we continue to teach, and live out the idea, that attending to the small details of everyday life allows us to be prepared to respond to the needs of the world around us in genuinely meaningful ways. 

May God bless you and your families richly in the New Year.

A Transformational Tradition: Reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved

While reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a community has been a tradition for St. Andrew’s VI Form students for decades, each new rising senior class experiences the book—and the resulting conversations and broadened perspectives—differently.
 
“One of the exciting things about teaching a rich and complex novel like Beloved to seniors is that the students are eager to engage in the intellectually adventurous critical thinking that the novel requires,” says Dr. Martha Pitts, one of the English faculty members involved with the annual Beloved project. “A potential challenge in teaching a novel like Beloved is addressing potential student responses about reading another book about Black trauma and the trials and tribulations of ‘the Black experience’ during slavery. But Beloved is not about slavery. It’s about love, kinship with other human beings, choice and accountability; ownership of property, self, and others; individual action versus communal action. It is ultimately about what it means to live a meaningful life post-slavery.” 
 
For seniors Natalie Biden ’23, Emma Tang ’23, and Josie Pitt ’23, Toni Morrison’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a family of former slaves living in post-Civil War Cincinnati transcended the classroom.
 
“I feel like most nights on dorm, when we could have been talking about anything, we were all talking about Beloved,” says Biden. “We’d gather in someone’s room and we’d either debate or just talk about it. It came up a lot at dinner. It was such a St. Andrew’s thing to be doing. It brought our grade together in a special way.”
 
That the noise around each year’s VI Form reading of Beloved trickles down to underformers is a testament to the strength of the tradition’s experience.
 
“I was a bit wary to begin reading it because it's so hyped every single year. Each senior is like, ‘I'm reading Beloved right now.’ And all the underformers are like, ‘What is this Beloved book?’” says Pitt. “Then I started reading it. Every sentence is so important that by the end, it is just so relevant. It is still so deep and meaningful today.”
 
The trio echoes one sentiment in particular: at times, having class discussion about the book, which delves into uncomfortable territory, was difficult.
 
“You had to really opt-in,” says Pitt. “I think St. Andrew’s is one of the best places to discuss a book like Beloved. It’s such an essential text because it gives the reader time to become vulnerable, and gives our class time to open up. It is heavy and just expands as you read. This is a place where we’re really asked to be authentic and vulnerable about how we feel about texts.”
 
Not that that vulnerability was an easy place to arrive.
 
“At first it was pretty awkward and hard to talk about,” Tang says. “But as we proceeded, the book really pushed us to have meaningful discussions. Everybody has their own past and background, and for some people, it may be harder to talk about this book than for others. But we really started to verbalize a lot of the feelings we had.”
 

Pitt still remembers the vibe in her classroom days after the first reading. “It was like, ‘Boom, okay, talk about it,’” she says. “But it was silence! But with each progressive reading, we were able to really get into the text. That was with the help of Dr. Pitts, who is so incredible, but also it was all of our classmates’ decisions to open up and invite each other in.”
 
Adds Tang, “The reason why it's uncomfortable is severely important. I think that's what Toni Morrison's trying to say: We have to sit with this uncomfortableness and be reminded of it to have a path forward.”
 
All VI formers read Beloved together over the first few months of the school year. In-class discussions and essays follow, culminating an exhibition on each student’s Beloved final paper with two students and one English 4 faculty member. 
 
“In our exhibition, we talked about the controversy [around] the ban of Beloved. And the most important thing I took away was this idea of bearing witness to the past,” Pitt says. “We can’t overlook the importance of introducing teenagers to this important piece of American history. I don’t think that you can have a real education if a book like this is banned.”
 
While Biden notes that students refer to the “St. Andrew’s bubble” with a bit of an eye roll from time to time, in this case, the bubble was the perfect space within to explore the literature.
 
“Everyone brings their own context and past to something like this, but in this case, we all represent such different parts of our country,” she says. “Where we come from plays a part in how we understand things. It was so beneficial to be in a place where we are all from different towns with different backgrounds yet work together to interpret the foundation of our country, which is deeply intertwined with slavery. To come together in this moment, to learn and understand through each other's backgrounds and identities, was really critical.”
 

Pitts enjoys the immersive nature of reading along with her students. “We read the opening pages together in class, so that all of us, including myself, experience simultaneously the ways in which the opening is meant to destabilize the reader,” she says. “Morrison wants us to feel confused and displaced. … We become part of the novel’s community, and community is an important theme in the novel. Beloved’s narrative is neither linear or chronological, so the
community of the classroom became stronger as the students struggled together to understand how the narrative unfolded, piecing together details from previous pages and connecting them to other moments in the book. They were like literary detectives.”
 
One thing these detectives lit upon: Despite all, in the end, Beloved is about hope.
 
“I focused on the teenage daughter, Denver, for my final paper because no matter how much the novel is about—all the difficult stuff we’ve been talking about—Denver represents a transformation. She goes from this immature, not dependable character to someone who, at the end, is so strong and embodies this beautiful hope,” says Biden. “I think one of the major takeaways is that there's some parts of the past that you need to remember and bear witness to, but then there's some things that you need to forget to move on and have hope and love.”
 
As years go by, traditions tend to get tweaked and changed, visions realigned. These three seniors ask that that never happens.
 
“If St. Andrew’s took Beloved out of the curriculum, I would be so very sad,” says Pitt. “This is never a book that I’d independently choose. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Pitts, and all our English teachers, for introducing our class to this book for what it did for all of us.”

WhittakerCoaching

Step into the Sipprelle Field House on a winter weekday afternoon and you’ll find a swarm of squash players amassed in the hallways by the Durkin Fleischer Squash Center. The athletes are chatty and bubbly and their conversation simmers as their coach, Doug Whittaker, steps in front of them with an easy smile. 

“They are a captive audience and are so receptive to what I’m saying,” says Whittaker. “That, to me, is gold.”

The attention is well-deserved for someone who has won at the highest levels of the sport and coached some of the best talent in the country. After 24 years as the Director of Squash at Germantown Cricket Club, Whittaker now spends his afternoons standing in front of 60 St. Andrew’s students whose squash skill levels span the entire scope of playing ability. He couldn’t be more enthralled by the opportunity.

“I think it’s inclusion, not exclusion, when you are developing players and building a program,” explains Whittaker. “Everybody knows where the line is between varsity, JV and the thirds team, but you don’t have to say it. We work in a group of 64 players. You just include everybody, and everybody rises up.”

Managing that large a group takes extensive planning, clear communication, and a lot of help. The practices start with introducing a new skill—serving, backhand drives, boast shots, cross-court forehand volley dead nick kills (Whittaker’s favorite)—then a demonstration and questions before players break up into groups across the nine courts at the Durkin Fleischer Squash Center. The four additional courts added to the facility in 2011 have made a significant impact on the quality of practices and player development, considering the size of the team. It’s something Whittaker embraces as he fosters the squash culture at St. Andrew’s.

“If you pull it off, the lesser, more developing players want to be better because they are exposed to that [higher level of skill],” explains the Toronto-native. “Then, you have a development system. Now, you can become an incredibly strong program because you build from within.”

“I’m not joking, I saw improvement in one day [of practice],” Whittaker continued. “Usually, that takes weeks and these kids did it immediately.”

When Whittaker talks about development, you can hear the excitement in his voice. At St. Andrew’s, he can focus on what he does best: coaching. That’s not always the case for squash coaches, who oftentimes assume both coach and player roles in traditional one-on-one training sessions. In this setting, Whittaker can leave the racket at home and instead, bring his notepad to fill with observations.

None of this would be possible without the supporting staff of St. Andrew’s faculty members Eric Finch and Adam Bitzer, and current parent Will Simonds P’24, who makes a long trek once a week from Virginia and sleeps in faculty guest rooms around campus. An All-American in squash at Stony Brook University, Simonds has coached racket sports for nearly two decades, including as the head court-tennis professional at the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York. He knows how to manage and coach a court with multiple players on it, something that thrills Whittaker. From coaching to auditing Melinda Tower’s AS World at War class, Simonds returns the joy he’s received from the community in every way he can.

“It’s cliche and cheesy, but it’s true,” says Simonds. “The energy here is different from any other place I’ve been.”

The scope of experience provided to athletes by Simonds and Whittaker is tremendous. Whittaker’s playing days took him overseas with Team Canada and included a pair of individual Canadian championships as a junior and professional player. He has coached multiple junior and professional national champions and produced a bevy of players that were ranked #1 nationally. But he is not keen on telling you that—even when asked. He’d rather talk about the players, their receptiveness, and how invaluable that is in his line of work.

“It’s really about the coach finding the thing that makes the player better,” says Whittaker.

There are a handful of tri-meets for St. Andrew’s varsity and JV players to showcase their talents and improvements this winter. Saturdays with meets feature 5:30 a.m. alarms and long van rides to events that last the full day. Then, it’s back to work during the week, with practice sandwiched in between sprints sessions. Student-athletes leave for dinner in darkness, but you can still spot the smiles when they pass Whittaker and Simonds in the Dining Hall.

“I can’t believe they are all interacting with each other like this,” explains Whittaker. “It’s just a special place.”
 

What Is Deep Reading?

Head of School Joy McGrath sent this letter to parents on Wednesday, December 14 (the day school let out for Winter Break).

I hope your children (and you) have the chance to unplug, zoom out, and reflect deeply during this break. In the hustle and bustle of daily life at St. Andrew’s, how precious are those moments when our minds relax and we can practice those habits of mind that lead to insight and allow us to access wisdom. For me, this occurs during my long walks on the trails and when I am able to spend significant time reading deeply. 

What is deep reading? Some of us around the school have been listening to, reading, and re-reading this interview with neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf on journalist Ezra Klein’s podcast (titled, not surprisingly, “The Ezra Klein Podcast”). If you have time to listen to it (or read the transcript) over the break, I recommend it. Within this conversation emerge insights and ideas that speak to many of our practices and values at St. Andrew’s, and inspire us to consider how we might take them further. (For example, the cell phone rule, or how we structure time within the academic program.) All of us have experienced those moments when our reading and our prolonged attention to a text leads to flashes of insight and moments of connection between big ideas. The question for us is how to create opportunities for students to practice this more often, to flourish as intellectuals. This interview gives us a good many ideas. 

I hope you will listen to the podcast, but even more, I hope you and your children will allocate time for quiet and reflective reading during this break. We are a community of readers, after all, and the dark months on either side of the solstice are the perfect time to practice deep reading! If you're looking for inspiration, the St. Andrew’s summer reading list is still available on the library website and is a great place to start. My pick was “The Good Lord Bird,” by James McBride, and there are many other wonderful suggestions there. My holiday wish for all of us is that we will frequently put our phones and devices in another room and curl up with a great book. We will be all the better for it. 

With warmest holiday wishes,
Joy
joy@standrews-de.org

The Simplicity of the Season

The evening students returned to campus after the Thanksgiving break, we all gathered in Engelhard, and I talked about how during the short two-and-a-half weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we pack in the maximum amount of joy and celebration at St. Andrew’s. The key, I said, is to keep it simple. We make room to enjoy the simple things we have: our friendships, our time together. 

For its simplicity, I love the Wednesday chapel we had this week: our Sunday School Christmas pageant. With one week left before we all leave campus again, the faculty children and their VI Form Sunday School teachers share a simple story, which is fundamentally about love, awe, worship, and togetherness. Adults often make things more complicated than they need to be. But the message of the Nativity is simple: God chose the humblest and poorest of circumstances to begin His time on earth. We are called to His side to honor every creature, whether we are a wealthy king or a poor shepherd. 

One of the great gifts of this school year has been the return of faculty children to the Dining Hall, the Chapel, the hallways, and the common rooms of the school. These small ones adore our students and watch them closely. Whether our students know it or not, they are their role models, coaches, big siblings, and examples. Walking through practices one day last week, I noticed a V Form boy running sprints with a small child and letting him win, with high fives all around. On another day at breakfast, a faculty child brought a pen to put away in the announcement box on the windowsill. A student studying nearby watched carefully to see if she could do it, and when she could not, he helped open the box, but allowed her to feel it was her victory to have reached the target. How our students treat the youngest members of our community, when no one is looking, speaks volumes about the kinds of people they are and are becoming.

And yet sometimes, as in the case each year in the Christmas pageant, the tables are turned—as it was written in the Book of Isaiah, “a little child shall lead them.” (A passage that a VI Former will read on Sunday at our Service of Lessons and Carols—parents and alumni, you are welcome to join us for the 2:00 p.m. service, or you can watch on livestream here.) Of course, it makes sense that our best Christmas teachers are children. Their wonder, anticipation, reverence, and joy remind us to show up, be present, be ourselves, love each other. It is not what we get or what we spend that defines this season, but rather who we are and whom we love. I cannot imagine anything more worth celebrating. 

Margaret Young ’24 Works with Red Sand Project to Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking

 When a bomb unzips the midnight sky in Kyiv, there is no denying its fiery rage and otherworldly sound. But when young Ukrainian refugees fleeing their savaged home arrive at borders deemed safe, and unwittingly walk into the underbelly of human trafficking never to resurface, there is only silence. Margaret Young ’24 wants to turn that silence into a deafening, constant hum.
 
“You can’t argue with destruction,” says Young. “It’s there, you can see it. But you can’t see human trafficking. Right now, over 7 million refugees have left Ukraine. They’re traveling on foot, with everything they own. Many are alone or are young children. They don’t know where their next meal will come from or where they’ll find shelter. They are left incredibly vulnerable.”
 
Traffickers prey on these vulnerabilities, Young says, and lure young refugees into trafficking. “They’ll say, ‘If you come with me, I have a meal’ or ‘I can give you a ride,’” Young says. “They’re so desperate that they believe these false promises. You can pull up any article on numbers and data for the war, but you have to really connect the dots and dig deep to try to find reporting on the trafficking that’s happening. It’s too hard to report on amidst all the other chaos, and because the victims just disappear.”
 
Young first got involved with advocating for victims of trafficking in eighth grade, in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. It was there that she worked with the Red Sand Project, an agency that builds awareness of the 40.3 million people thought to currently be trafficked across the globe. These victims have slipped through the cracks, and the Red Sand Project works to make sure the world knows it.
 
“One of the ways Red Sand makes their cause known is by literally sending [activists] red sand, and you pour that red sand into as many cracks in sidewalks that you can find,” Young says. “When you’re out walking through life, you don’t notice cracks in sidewalks. You ignore it. It’s overlooked. When you see the sand, you can’t ignore it, so you ask questions and you learn.”
 
When Young arrived at St. Andrew’s, she wanted to bring the Red Sand Project with her. She pitched the idea to Director of Student Life Kristin Honsel P’24. “Mrs. Honsel was so supportive and set up a conversation between St. Andrew’s and Red Sand,” Young says.
 
That conversation went well. So did the next few. So impressed with Young’s passion and commitment, Red Sand invited her to be its first-ever High School Ambassador. “The idea is I’ll continue to think of new ideas to bring awareness of human trafficking to the kids here at St. Andrew’s and beyond.”
 
On December 1, Young spoke about human trafficking at School Meeting, and encouraged her peers to pick up cups of red sand and help her fill in the cracks on campus. “Something really resonated with them, because I saw barely any cups left,” she says. “I’ve had so many fellow students support me in this, and even a freshman came up to me to say, ‘That was really cool. I’ve been reading about this, too, but from a different perspective than the war—can you look into it and amplify it?’”
 
Young is currently concepting a project for January, which is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. She hopes to collaborate with the LGBTQ+ affinity group on campus, as research shows that LGBTQ+ populations, and LGBTQ+ youth in particular, can be more susceptible to trafficking. She’s also staying up-to-date on news cycles, too, as the next crisis to unfold in the world could very well turn into the new epicenter of human trafficking.  
 
“St. Andrew’s is a perfect place to do this kind of work because the kids here really care, and care beyond what they see,” Young says. “They are really motivated to make a difference. When we’re talking about over 40 million people in human slavery, it’s hard to argue with the importance of that.”

Spotting Student Growth

In addition to being a faculty member, I am also a current parent to two students. And as such—I’ll be honest: when I receive the Friday News, I usually skip past this letter and all the other opening text to seek out photos of my children in the remainder of the email. Then, having scanned the entire array of images and perhaps spotted one of my daughters, I come back to see what the opening letter contains. It is not that I am not interested in what my colleagues may have to share in this space. It’s just that I love to see visual proof that Hannah ’24 and Margaret ’26 are growing into strong, independent young adults. 

This growth looks different for each student, depending on where they are coming from, and where they are in their St. Andrew’s journey. For a new student, this growth can look like forging new friendships, managing basic responsibilities (laundry, dorm jobs, planning for the week), discovering how they will approach and participate in classroom life, or trying out a new activity. Returning students might be working to balance demanding academics, athletics, and leadership roles; starting new initiatives at St. Andrew’s; and considering how they might want to serve and give back to SAS or to the wider world around them. Sixth Formers—our oldest students—do all this while also preparing themselves for their next steps after St. Andrew’s and setting an example for all the younger students. At each stage, they are growing in their self-efficacy.

Students at St. Andrew’s ask a great deal of themselves, stretching themselves into the adults they yearn to become. Not only do they take on many roles, but they also do so genuinely. My children often report feeling “stressed.” But when I think through their courses, sports, arts, chapel, and community service commitments, I realize that many of their activities are commitments they themselves have chosen, knowing the demands that come with them. St. Andrew’s provides plenty of not-exactly-optional structure, of course: study halls and advisory functions, family-style meals and room inspections, chapel and a great deal of faculty presence. Adolescence brings with it enough excitement, change, and occasionally chaos; what we can give our students is the opportunity to live their adolescence in an environment that is generally predictable and orderly, but that also allows them to gain more and more freedom, and to take on more independent responsibilities, step by step, year by year. 

After many years of teaching, I still experience a frisson of joy when I experience that unfeigned interest that is the norm in any SAS classroom. Recently, V and VI Form students entering my Ethics class read on the board the title of a thought experiment I was going to introduce in that class session, and around which I was going to choreograph a discussion. Instead, the students immediately figured out what the thought experiment was arguing, and began discussing it passionately among themselves. I moved my chair back from the table and allowed the conversation to flow. Laughing and shouting, various students produced logical, thoughtful points from different perspectives. I took notes on the board so we would not forget what had been said. When the discussion began to get repetitive, I added in a new question. In this class, I could see the use of modes of engagement students had learned in earlier humanities classes, and I observed (and I modeled) emerging behaviors they would use in advanced college seminars and beyond. It was exciting to watch. And that is just one more reason why, despite being glad to hear from the adults in this community in a Friday News letter such as this, I will always seek first the images of our students.

2022 Distinguished Alum Perry Yeatman ’82 Delivers Founders Day Chapel Talk

At Reunion Weekend 2022 in June, Perry Yeatman ’82 was awarded with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Established by the Class of 1959 at its 50th Reunion in 2009, this annual award celebrates the alumna or alumnus who has distinguished themselves professionally, personally, and in service to the community and country with strength, commitment, and perseverance. 
 
“Over the past three decades, Perry has built a track record as a seasoned global business leader, successfully working at the intersection of business and society, leveraging her breadth of experience across sectors, industries and markets to help clients capitalize on opportunities and solve problems in ways that simultaneously deliver economic, social and environmental benefits,” Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 said during the award presentation. “In addition, Perry has leveraged her experience to become a recognized expert on women’s career development and advancement. By combining award-winning books, blogs for leading publications, a popular podcast, and a successful consulting and coaching practice, Perry has helped thousands of women not only survive but thrive in their careers. Currently head of corporate partnerships at Save the Children, Perry combines focus, determination, hard work and personal sacrifice with appreciation for the generous support of others in her life’s work to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Yeatman spoke to the school community at the school’s annual Founders Day Chapel, which celebrates the founding of St. Andrew’s, on November 30. On that day in 1929, the cornerstone —which contains an SAS time capsule—was laid under the head of school’s office. November 30 is also, not coincidentally, the feast day of the apostle Andrew, for whom the school is named. Yeatman spoke to students about embracing and valuing their unique personal strengths; you can listen to her talk in full here:

The following day, Director of Dance Avi Gold was inspired by Yeatman’s talk to set up a large dance mirror outside the entrance to the O’Brien Arts Center, in which students, faculty, and staff could see themselves as they entered the building for School Meeting. “In light of Mrs. Yeatman’s talk last night,” Gold said, “I wanted to highlight her first practical point of seeing YOUR unique and wonderful strengths and value. As you walk across the strand to School Meeting, I encourage you to internally reflect on what insecurities you may hold on the inside and then leave them there on the strand. When you get to Arts Center you will see the “Mirror of Strengths” that will only reflect all of the wonderful things that the rest of us see in YOU. You can take your strengths with you for the rest of your day… and of your life!”

2022 All-Conference Fall Athletes

A total of 30 St. Andrew’s athletes were named to the DISC All-Conference teams following the fall sports season, including 12 that were selected to the 1st Team and eight that were named All-State. In addition, Jay Hutchinson was honored as Assistant Coach of the Year for Boys’ Soccer.

All-State Selections

The following athletes were honored as All-State selections this season:

Yasir Felton ’24 - Football - 1st Team (TE); 2nd Team (DT)
Will Dulaney ’23 - Football - 2nd Team (DT)

Emmanuel Appenteng ’23 - Boys Soccer - 2nd Team (GK)

Lily Murphy ’23 - Girls Cross-Country - 1st Team
Leah Horgan ’25 - Girls Cross-Country - 1st Team
Lia Miller ’23 - Girls Cross-Country - 1st Team
Claire Hulsey ’26 - Girls Cross-Country - 1st Team

Peter Bird ’25 - Boys Cross-Country - 3rd Team

DISC All-Conference Selections

Boys Soccer
1st Team: Talan Esposito ’24
1st Team: Emmanuel Appenteng ’23 (GK)
ACOY: Jay Hutchinson

2nd Team: Aidan Williams ’23
2nd Team: Jacob Bolno ’23

Honorable Mention (HM): Liam Robinson ’26
HM: Nanda Pailla ’25

Girls Cross Country
Lily Murphy ’23
Leah Horgan ’25
Lia Miller ’23
Claire Hulsey ’26
Caroline Meers ’24

Boys Cross Country
Peter Bird ’25
Harry Murphy ’23
Chris Onsomu ’25

Field Hockey
2nd Team: Channing Malkin ’24
2nd Team: Molly Starkey ’23

HM: Kaki Ackermann ’23
HM: Olivia Perry ’24

Football
1st Team: TE/DE Yasir Felton ’24
1st Team: LB Will Dulaney ’23

2nd Team: QB Frank Nasta ’24
2nd Team: RB/DB Nick Osbourne ’23
2nd Team: WR/DB Griffin Patterson ’24
2nd Team: WR Will Dulaney ’23
2nd Team: LB Noah Viering ’24
2nd Team: K Cora Birknes ’23

HM: C Ford Chapman ’23
HM: DT Ibrahim Kazi ’23

Volleyball
HM: Catherine Foster ’25
HM: Madeleine Lasell ’25
 

Will Rehrig Philly Marathon '22

During his senior year at St. Andrew’s, Will Rehrig ’11 set a personal best in the cross-country 5k at the Joe O’Neill Invitational, finishing 86th overall. He did not make the school’s varsity team for that year’s county or state meets, and instead ran with the JV team in both races. He did not run competitively as an undergrad in college. During the summer of his junior year, he worked a desk job and felt generally dissatisfied. One day, he went home and channeled that dissatisfaction into a hard workout, biking first, then running, then biking again.

Since that day, the things Mr. Rehrig has accomplished are nothing short of extraordinary. This past Sunday, in the frigid cold with wind gusts up to 30 MPH, he placed 16th in the AARC Philadelphia Marathon with a personal best time of 2:25:33 (5:33/mile). 

For context, 10 of the 15 runners that finished ahead of Rehrig are ranked in the World Athletics Marathon rankings. Three others are internationally ranked in other running events. Not a single runner that finished ahead of him in last year’s race beat him this year. The majority of competitors in the field are professionals—meanwhile, Mr. Rehrig is an amateur who spends his days teaching science and overseeing St. Andrew’s residential life program. He returned to work at the school in 2017 after a civilian stint as a nuclear engineer at the Norfolk Naval shipyard in Virginia. 

Now, more than a decade after his SAS cross-country career as a student, Mr. Rehrig’s sights are set on qualifying for the 2024 Olympic team trials in the marathon event.

“I never saw this coming,” said Rehrig after completing the marathon. “It’s been a constant evolution of like, wait a second, I did something I thought I could never do. There have been so many peaks where I thought that was the best it could get, and I was really proud of those moments. After I reached each goal it was like, let’s start training a little harder and see what happens.”

The hard training—the really hard training—started last year when Rehrig realized he could seriously compete in marathon races. His second-ever marathon was in Boston in 2019 when he finished with a 2:47:29 time at 6:24 mile pace. In just three years, Mr. Rehrig shaved nearly a minute per mile off his marathon pace.

“It’s been very much about enjoying running and the opportunity to push myself and see what I’m capable of,” he says.

Pushing himself meant two-a-day workouts for months, starting with a 13-17 mile run before breakfast. After a full day of teaching came cross-country practice, where Mr. Rehrig ran with the student-athletes before sneaking in a strength workout in the gym. Finally, he’d close out the day by tearing into a Dining Hall plate towering with healthy greens. That’s what happens when you run over 100 miles a week for eight straight weeks.

Current SAS boys cross-country Head Coach Dan O’Connell coached Rehrig as a student. Today, they are colleagues in the school’s Science Department, and O’Connell has had the pleasure of witnessing the full arc of Rehrig’s running career, from that senior-year Joe O’Neill Invitational race to the Philadelphia Marathon this past Sunday. Rehrig recalls O’Connell asking him, over lunch a few years back, the secret to his sudden drop in race times and where the runner inside Rehrig had been hiding in high school.  

“I told him that [when I was a student], I wasn’t ready to do this yet,” said Rehrig. “He’s seen all the stages of my running career and supported me where I was at. He’s been incredible at seeing the potential that I have and convincing me there is something there that maybe I didn’t always see.”

Mr. Rehrig coaching the Boys XC team before the DISC Championship race

Nowadays, the two coach cross-country together. This past season, Rehrig coached and ran alongside Harry Murphy ’23 and Chris Onsomu ’25, both of whom PR’d in the state championship race at Killens Pond State Park earlier this November. Rehrig was there rallying his runners to second place finish in the state, something the boys side has done three of the five years Rehrig has been on the coaching staff. While he’s helped top runners like Murphy and Onsomu succeed, Rehrig really relates to those still finding their footing.

“That’s why it’s fun to coach now,” said Rehrig. “I was the mid-level guy that was showing up and putting in some work. It wasn’t until I decided I was going to work hard at this, four years later, that it became my thing.”

On Sunday, Murphy and Onsomu returned the favor and supported their coach in his race. They were joined by fellow classmates Lily Murphy ’23, Silas Grasse ’23, and alumnus Ben Butcher ’21. O’Connell was there as well, watching his colleague test his limits in brutal conditions while in awe of the evolution that has occurred over the 15 years the two have known each other.

“In my opinion, this was the most spectacular race Will has ever run,” O’Connell said.

Rehrig is not done running spectacularly. In order to qualify for the Olympic team trials, he must run a sub-2:18:00 marathon before December 2023. It will require intense training this winter—with a particular focus on speed—before finding a marathon with a highly competitive field. The last chance to qualify will be a second marathon in the fall. It’s a very condensed timeline with almost no margin for error. 

Rehrig is acutely aware of the audacious goal he’s set for himself, but it’s one he wants to share with others. 

“Who knows if that is going to happen or not?” Rehrig says. “I’ve always said, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe I run a 2:20 or a 2:22—that would be better than I ever thought I was going to do.”
 

Finding New Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

History teacher Wilson Everhart ’95 gave this chapel talk at the Thursday night service following family-style Thanksgiving dinner on November 17, 2022. 

History teacher Wilson Everhart ’95 gave this chapel talk at the Thursday night service following family-style Thanksgiving dinner on November 17, 2022. 

 

A St. Andrew’s First: The Saints Steppers

Seven students dressed simply in neon t-shirts and denim take center stage in Engelhard Hall—and we do mean take. The energy, passion and fire vibrating off the newly formed Saints step team translates into total ownership of a space, of a moment, of a culture.
 
In rhythm tied to a shared story, on stage, the seven girls—each dancing to their own individual choreographed vignette—slowly sync up together to one collective movement. “That step is the jump-under-front-back,” says Masai Matale ’23. “We put that in the beginning of our dance because no matter where you come from, if you’re a little Black girl, you’ve picked that step up somewhere. That’s our childhood. It’s unifying.”
 
Unity. That’s the word at the heart of the new team—a first in SAS history—co-led by Matale and Shania Adams ’23. Supported by five other dancers—Tamia Ferguson ’24, Madison Rodriguez ’26, Gloria Oladejo ’25, Jayda Badoo ’25, and Ashley McIntosh ’25—the team put on their first performance of the year at Parents Weekend on October 28. But getting to that stage was a long time coming for Adams, who started dreaming up a step team her sophomore year.
 
“Step is something I’ve always been interested in,” Adams says. “First, it’s something we’ve never had at St. Andrew’s. Second, it’s connected to Black culture and that resonated with me. Third, the whole point of step is to be together as one, and that’s important to me.”
 
Adams took her idea to Director of Dance Avi Gold. “I showed him what I’d been working on. He said, ‘Wonderful. Let’s do it, but you’re in charge,’” she says, laughing.
 
Initially she felt pressure. “It felt like it was all on my shoulders, and I really wanted it to work, but also to last,” she says. “Then this year Masai came to school really excited about step, and I felt like I wasn’t alone.”
 
Adams and Matale gathered a group of interested Black female students in the dance studio to see what they could do. The result? Magic.
 
“The feeling in that room the first time is something I’ll never forget,” Matale says. “We started breaking out in all these different dances, hyping each other up, singing. It was so special. Hearing from the freshmen in the room about the impact, that they felt that was one of the safest spaces for them on campus, it was unreal.”
 
Matale and Adams knew they had tapped into something bigger than themselves, so they went to work choreographing. “I was always walking around with this melody in my head,” Matale says. “Or just tapping my fingers to this beat. Shania and I choreographed what I was hearing into the dance.”
 
The duo gives snaps to Dean of Inclusion and Belonging Dr. Danica Tisdale Fisher for stepping up to support the team as it charted its path. “She was really there for us,” Matale says. “She helped us with the choreography and had us over for dinner as a team. We didn’t even talk about dance. We shared stories, aired grievances, laughed and felt heard. She is an amazing role model for every Black girl.”
 
There is a moment in the denouement of the dance, when Adams calls into the darkened theater, “What is a Saint?”
 
“For that last part, I felt like we needed something that was ours,” Adams says. “It was something on my heart. At St. Andrew’s, we are not just accepting you for half of who you are. We are accepting you for all that you are. For me, that’s my likes, my dislikes, my Blackness. There are things we won’t compromise because we are in a predominantly white space. We want Black St. Andreans to know this is a place for you to be you, to be confident, to have artistic expression.”
 
Adds Matale, “I know for a lot of students of color, St. Andrew’s can be a culture shock. There is so much going on [at St. Andrew’s] that feels set in stone: This is your optional path, these are your optional activities. But our team proves you can bring something of yourself that wasn’t [offered] and share it and be supported.”
 
Adams and Matale will leave St. Andrew’s this school year, but they want the roots of what they’ve planted to grow. “This experience is so important and I don’t want it to end with us,” Matale says. “It’s more than dance. I have loved every genre of dance here. But when I’m doing other genres, my moves are calculated. In step, whatever I’m feeling—anger, happiness—I leave it all on the stage.”
 
Speaking of that stage, what was the moment like for Adams, when her dream finally felt realized?
 
“Incredible,” she says. “When I’m on that stage, all I can think of is, ‘I’m here, I’m Black, I’m surrounded by Black students, and this is a place for Black culture.’ It’s so raw and amazing.”
 
By the way, in case you were wondering, “What is a Saint?

The team will answer that for you: “That’s me. That’s you. That’s us.”


Interested in joining step? Reach out to Adams or Matale.
 
Missed the step performance, among other wonderful contributions from the dance program? Check it out here.

Director of Athletics Neil Cunningham

Director of Athletics Neil Cunningham shared this letter with the community in the November 18, 2022 issue of the Friday News.


Hello Saints, 

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed some new athletics logos popping up around campus—in the paint on the football field this weekend, for example, or on coaches’ t-shirts and quarter-zips. I am excited to share with you today the sources of these logos: our new St. Andrew’s athletics identity, designed by our very own Associate Director of Communication Amy Kendig. This brand kit represents years of conversations, work, and research on the part of the Communications Office and the Athletics Department, and incorporates both school history and feedback from students, coaches, alumni, and other stakeholders. 

I used the word “new” above, but this term is a bit misleading. The logos in this kit are modernized versions of an athletics identity that has been in use at St. Andrew’s for most of the school’s history. The primary brand mark is an updated version of the “StA” logo that has appeared on Saints baseball hats since at least the 1950s:



The secondary brand mark is a simplified version of the 1929 shield you all know and love—and this white cross on a red background is what has appeared on the school’s crew oars since the 1930s:



In rolling out this new athletics branding kit, our goal is to strengthen and centralize the visual identity of Saints athletics. You know what it means to compete as a Saint. I hear and see student-athletes, their coaches, and their fans expressing the core values of SAS athletics every day. But for many years now, the school has not had one centralized athletics logo that says to all who encounter it, “We are St. Andrew’s.” The school has appended various athletic identities and logos over the decades, including the griffin, the cardinal, and even the formal school crest. But at the heart of this fluctuation, there’s always been one constant: we are the Saints. Since 1929, the school’s athletic teams have referred to themselves as Saints (see page 41 of A History of St. Andrew’s School) and St. Andreans have been singing “When the Saints Go Marching In” for nearly that long, too. You scream “Go Saints!” on the sidelines. You chant “1-2-3 Saints” in your pregame huddles. Even local newspapers refer to us as the Saints. Turns out, we don’t have to decide if we’re griffins or cardinals or anything else because we’ve always been Saints. This athletic branding fully embraces our core identity and puts it front and center on your uniforms, where it always should have been. 

You can explore the full branding kit here. These logos and wordmarks will not immediately appear across all team uniforms—all of which are on three to five-year replacement cycles—or throughout our athletic facilities; this transition will take years of hard work by many people. In the meantime, athletes and families can order warmups and other team gear with our new athletics brand identity here. These fall and winter team stores will close on December 4; spring team stores will be up and running in the new year. If you are interested in ordering custom team gear, please contact me to start that process. Further, I welcome all questions and conversations about this new SAS athletics identity—please reach out to me at any time to discuss. (And, if you are a student, I encourage you to join the Athletics Committee!)

At the end of the day, what makes an athlete, a team, an athletic program strong? It’s not the logo on your shirt or the colors on your sleeve. It’s the person—the heart—inside the gear.

But a great uniform definitely doesn’t hurt. 

Go Saints!
Neil Cunningham (aka Mr. C.)
Director of Athletics 
ncunningham@standrews-de.org

The Power of the St. Andrew’s Family

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. 

"To Work in Community, and Be Changed by Community"

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!

In community,
Danica Tisdale Fisher
Dean of Inclusion and Belonging
dtisdalefisher@standrews-de.org

Together We Are Works in Progress, Practicing

The following remarks were delivered during Parents Weekend 2022.

I am really welcoming you on behalf of our superb faculty. Most of you have already begun conversations with your child’s teachers, coaches, and advisors—and you know we have the greatest boarding school faculty on earth. These people are working 24/7 for your children, for their education. I am so grateful to them, and I am so grateful to you for the time you’re putting into building relationships with them. 

And, thank you. Thank you for showing up for St. Andrew’s, and thank you for everything you do to support the school and your children. 

It is such a privilege to have your students at St. Andrew’s, and I hope in your conversations and experiences throughout the weekend you will feel our gratitude palpably. 

It is an honor to partner with you and extend your work as parents and family members of these children. It does take a village, and I am glad you have chosen ours and we have chosen you. You trust us to educate your children, to help them practice and prepare, to encourage them and embolden them, to support and guide them, and we honor that trust. For us, this education is joyful and happy work, and I know you will feel that throughout the weekend. 

In our reflective practice as a faculty at St. Andrew’s, we often consider, together and as individuals, what is education for? What is this education for? 

And, if you read our mission statement carefully, and if you watch carefully what we do, we are relentlessly focused on the growth and development of your children, our students. 

You will doubtless hear and witness this focus as you move through meetings with your child’s teachers, coaches, and advisors this weekend. 

Many institutions say they educate young people to be citizens, or to change the world. And, indeed, our students will change the world, and they will be prepared to fulfill and exceed their moral obligations as family members, friends, citizens, and community members wherever they land. But, this is not the purpose of the education. It is a side-effect. 

Rabbi Zusya was a famous 18th century rabbi who said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me why I was not Moses; they will ask me why I was not Zusya.” 

The story about Reb Zusya illustrates that the ultimate judgment of our lives, and I think the ultimate judgment of our education, is whether we become ourselves fully, whether we realized our own potential. Our creator endowed us each with certain gifts, and expects us to recognize them, cultivate them, and use them joyfully. 

Throughout their time here, we will challenge your children to practice and prepare and flourish. They will dance, sing, perform, compete, write, calculate, and speak. But in doing so, we do not expect them to be Baryshnikov, Elton John, Yo-yo Ma, Courtois, Morrison, Turing, or Obama. We expect them to be Shania, John, Sophie, Ema, Emily, Sarah-Rose, or Harry. 

We expect them to find—and then to be—exactly who they are. Works in progress; ever practicing, ever preparing, ever improving.

I recently re-read a talk that then-Prince Charles gave at Harvard’s 350th anniversary in 1986. In it, he talked about the purpose of education and he cautioned the crowd gathered that day that "moral and intellectual training” would be required, “if we are to escape from the leadership of clever and unscrupulous men.”

“Moral and intellectual training:” In some circles, these terms are unfashionable. And indeed, in the speech I’m quoting, it was 1986—and although most of us don’t care to admit it—it’s getting on 40 years now. 

But this is exactly the education—not only intellectual, but also moral—that must precede citizenship. To conquer the challenges they will face in an increasingly complicated world, to lead all of us ahead, our children will need to know who they are. Their principles clear, and their minds and talents sharp and ready, they will be able to separate the signal from the noise as they are inundated with information and disinformation, flooded with interlocking and intersecting conundrums. 

“Clever and unscrupulous” leaders will always seek to confuse us with half-truths and lies. Technology that floods us with so-called “content” will aid that cause. Humans always will chase after what some will call “progress,” but which will lead us away from what is simple, and good, and meaningful, and true.  

Having standards by which we live—knowing who we are and what we are about—sounds so simple, but we know that developing—and using—a moral compass, like anything worthwhile, is not easy. You know this as parents and family members who have worked on this every day since your children were born. 

And that is why we approach our schooling at St. Andrew’s with simplicity in mind. An unbroken focus on the child in front of us, finding that exact right mix of push and challenge along with support and uplifting—that is our goal as a faculty. And we do it simply: just being with the kids, seeing them, hearing them, and loving them. This is where we have such a strong advantage as a fully residential boarding school. Your children are known and loved here. Our rituals support this, as we spend time together in chapel, dorms, sports, meals, in the arts and classrooms.

It was in the service of such communal simplicity that I encouraged you before arrival this fall to remove things from the family car. Stuff is the enemy of all that we are about! Technology, too, distracts from our aims—how can we be with each other, see each other, hear each other, and love each other, one ear stuffed with an airpod and one eye on our TikTok feed? 

This is why we leave our phones behind each day and gather in person, in class, at family meals, in chapel, afternoon activities, and in School Meeting. Our entire community gathers in one room eight times each week. What a privilege it is to be able to do that, to be together as works in progress, practicing. 

As you join us this weekend in this community, I am grateful that you, too, are always in the room with us. You join us in supplying to our students inspiration, expectation, love, and support in equal measure. There is no reason for anxiety or strain, as we know these young people are becoming exactly who they need to be, and exactly who they are: people of good principle and high character; people who possess both knowledge and wisdom. We are so proud of them for stretching and growing as individuals, trying, and sometimes falling short, and getting up, dusting themselves off, and trying again. In so doing, in becoming their best selves, they happen also to be just what the world needs and all that we could hope for.  

Thank you again for your partnership, thank you for your presence, and thank you for sharing your children with us!

Watch Joy's remarks in this livestream video.

Preschool Halloween

It got a little creepy and crawly on campus as students, faculty, and our preschoolers got into the spirit of Halloween.

Enjoy an assortment of photos here.

Scott Sipprelle baseball

In the spring of 2020, with his sophomore year baseball season—and everything else related to his junior year spring—canceled by COVID-19, Saints baseball player George Windels ’22 decided to use his spare time to dive into the legacy and lore of St. Andrew’s baseball program. He and his mother, Wall Street Journal reporter Anne Tergesen P’17,’22 worked with Saints baseball former Head Coach Bob Colburn P’80,’82,’87 to research the team’s history and interview former players. Of course, for many players, their most indelible memories of SAS baseball center around not just big wins or broken records, but Coach Colburn himself. In the end, George and Anne assembled an oral history of the program, a few excerpts of which you can read here. If you’re a former member of a Saints baseball team and you’d like to be interviewed for this project, email magazine@standrews-de.org.

 

Larry Court ‘62 (shown in the second row, second from the left)

Larry Court and 1962 baseball team

Larry Court, who played for St. Andrew’s from 1958 to 1962, was on the team when Coach Colburn arrived in 1961. According to Court, “baseball was not taken seriously before the arrival of Coach Colburn.” Pre-Colburn, Court says Saints baseball won just a handful of games. “Colburn came and set us in the right direction,” Court says. “He had a unique relationship with a lot of us.”

When Colburn “first assembled the team, he thought he knew what he wanted to do,” Court says. “However, [the players] all thought that we knew everything.” After a brief power struggle, Colburn “took control halfway through his second year and it was never the same again.”

In 1962, the team went 8-4, its first winning season since 1951. Court remembers one particular game against Wilmington Friends in early May of his senior year. Court was on the mound, and in the first inning, he walked the second hitter and then picked him off. After walking the second batter, Court did not allow another player to reach base, nearly throwing a perfect game. Another notable game was against Gilman, which had a reputation as the best prep school baseball team in Baltimore. St. Andrew’s won 6-2, and after the game, the Gilman players wouldn’t speak to their rivals. 

A great example of how the Colburns, and Colburn’s wife Dottie in particular, took the team under their wing came during a game against Westtown early in one particular season, in which the two teams had to play in snow. To help the players warm up, Dottie made hot chocolate. Court notes small acts like this show how St. Andrew’s baseball connected players. 

“Baseball was a major part of what I took away from St. Andrew’s,” Court says, who notes his niece, Sarah Rohrbach ’06, served as team manager. “We are great Colburn believers,” he says. He continues to have a great relationship with Dottie and Colburn. “I threw out the first pitch when the field was named after Bob [in 2005],” Court says. “Dottie was supposed to do it, but she asked me to do it.”

 

Curt Coward ’64 (shown center, wearing white during warm-ups)

Curt Coward center warming up for baseball

Curt Coward was on one of the first St. Andrew’s teams that Colburn coached. In his senior-year season, Coward went 6-0 and earned All-Conference honors as a pitcher. As the team went 12-1 that year and won the league championship, with its only defeat coming in a walk-off loss at Westtown, there were many highlights. Some 58 years later, the 1964 team and several of its members still hold St. Andrew’s baseball records.

Coward remembers one moment in particular against Tatnall in the season opener. The “intense and detail-oriented” Colburn had been preparing the team to go up against Steve Lincoln, an “outstanding” left-handed pitcher with a blazing fastball and a devastating curveball. The team took batting practice against the pitching machine at maximum speed for days. However, when the day of the game came, Lincoln was sidelined with a sore arm and a pitcher with lesser skills started. Geared up for great pitching, St. Andrew’s scored 35 runs that day–-still a standing record. “It looked like beach balls floating to the plate,” says Coward, who hit a home run as a pinch hitter in the last inning. Because the team was ahead by a huge margin, instead of being congratulated by his bench, Coward was booed by his teammates as he rounded the bases. “I was actually ashamed, even though it was the only home run of my career,” he says.

Late in the season, St. Andrew’s played a double-header against St. Elizabeth’s on a dance weekend with the league championship on the line. Coward pitched a complete game the Thursday before and was not scheduled to pitch. So before the game, Coward and the girl he was going to the dance with had breakfast together and “gorged themselves on pancakes.” Coward recalls arriving at the game “very full and in no condition to play.” But when the starting pitcher walked the first eight hitters he faced, Colburn put Coward in the game. On the mound, Coward felt as if he had a “bowling ball” in his stomach, but ended up winning the game.

In the second game against St. Elizabeth’s that same day, the St. Andrew’s starting pitcher ran out of gas in the bottom of the last inning of a tied game. Coward came in with two outs and the bases loaded. Up to the plate came a St. Elizabeth’s player against whom Coward had also competed in basketball and whom he “really disliked.” With a full count and the game on the line, this batter fouled off five consecutive pitches. Frustrated, Coward “threw the hardest pitch” he had ever thrown, and the batter did not swing. The umpire called it a strike, and St. Andrew’s went on to win the game in the next inning, sealing the conference championship.

Coward has fond memories of his teammates. “Sandy Dillon ’64 was a true five-tool baseball player who went on to play on the D1 level at Virginia,” Coward says. “Dennis Blair ’64 was an outstanding catcher and a very good hitter before he became a Rhodes Scholar and four-star Admiral.” He adds that Max Baldwin ’64 had a “cannon for an arm” in left. Chip Burton ‘66, Lee Tawes ‘65, and Dave Walker ’65 anchored “a very solid infield” and Rufus Barrett ’64 and Tom Lackey ‘64 “rounded out an exceptional pitching staff.”

Coward has a particular memory of Dave Walker, “who was built like a tree trunk and intimidated everyone.” Walker was the first baseman, and, unbeknownst to Colburn, kept a folded wire coat hanger in his glove “to make the flat side hard as a rock.”  Whenever Coward attempted a pick-off, Walker would “slap the guy silly” with his glove. According to Coward, “There was a fair amount of whimpering but zero retaliation.”

Aside from winning and the beatings Walker dished out, Coward remembers the team listening to Dennis Blair’s Beatles records on a battery-powered record player on the bus traveling to and from away games.

As for Colburn, according to Coward, he was “an extraordinary student of the game” with a “wonderful attitude.” “Coach would get on you but only in an encouraging way,” he says. “We all loved him and Dot and wanted to win for them.” Coward also appreciates Coach Larry Walker—who “brought the juice. He was intense and always fired up”—and Assistant Chaplain Ned Gammons, the team’s other assistant coach and the brother of ESPN’s Peter Gammons, was “our resident baseball scholar and Yoda.”

“It was a magical spring,” Coward says. “Bob Colburn made it all happen.”

 

Terry Wild ’65 

Terry Wild baseball

Terry Wild came to St. Andrew’s in tenth grade from Tower Hill. He describes St. Andrew’s as “the most profound educational experience of my life,” in part because it instilled “life values.”

During his time, St. Andrew’s had a good baseball program, with a 12-1 record in 1964 and a 10-4 record in 1965. Although Wild had suffered from polio, Colburn was very encouraging, and in 1964, Colburn called Wild up to the varsity team as a relief pitcher. By 1965, he was a starter. “Coach Colburn never got angry at a player, and he had an endearing style of coaching,” Wild says. “[He] was bright, serious, and intellectual about coaching baseball.” On the mound, Wild was a lefty, and loved “making good pitches, especially the curveball to righties, and I loved being on the field, competing, and felt honored to be on the varsity team.” The pinnacle of Wild’s time on the diamond came in 1965 when he pitched an entire eleven-inning (yes, eleven) game against Westtown.

 

Brian Crow ’77

Crow baseball

Brian Crow was the shortstop during his time in Middletown. He played on “some really good teams that were competitive with some of the best in the state,” Crow says. The Saints won the conference Brian’s junior year, propelled by strong players at all positions and a sense of camaraderie. That year, the team went on a nine-game winning streak. It only lost four games all season, and all except for one were lost by just one run. Even though the team saw a few key players graduate after Crow’s junior year season, the team was still a success his senior year. Crow’s final two games came in a double-header against Westtown in which St. Andrew’s won 7-0 and 4-1. These two key wins propelled the Saints past Friends in the standings and secured their second consecutive conference championship.

Crow remembers Colburn’s “love of the game” and his keen “attention to detail.” “He drilled us,” says Crow, who still uses the time management and other skills he learned from Colburn in the business world. Colburn also modeled excellent “sportsmanship, being humble after a win and dignified after a loss.” In one game at St. Elizabeth’s, a team that “had our number,” St. Andrew’s was down by three runs the whole game. The St. Elizabeth’s pitcher was on a roll, “mowing down our guys,” Crow says. In response, Colburn directed his players to start bunting, exposing a weakness in St. Elizabeth’s defense. St. E.’s fell “into confusion,” and St. Andrew’s went on to score runs “without getting the ball out of the infield,” propelling the team to victory. “The advantage that we had was Coach Colburn,” Crow says. During his 1976 season, Crow and the Saints secured the 100th victory of Colburn’s career, an impressive milestone for any coach.

 

Mike Lilley ‘79

Mike Lilley baseball

Mike Lilley played on strong St. Andrew’s teams alongside Crow and Khalil Saliba ‘81. In Lilley’s sophomore year, the team won the conference championship and even beat a few strong public school teams.

Although the team did not win the conference title his senior year, it beat Seaford with Keith Sipprelle on the mound. Another highlight for Lilley, who served as a captain, occurred during a game against St. Elizabeth’s. With the Saints ahead 1-0, Lilley was on the mound throwing a no-hitter. In the last inning, Lilley walked a batter, who stole second base and scored on a dropped infield pop-up, evening the game at 1-1. Then, a big left-handed hitter smashed a triple to the gap, putting St. Elizabeth’s up 2-1. After the inning, Lilley threw his mitt in frustration while walking into the dugout. Colburn grabbed him by the arm and yelled at him for throwing the glove, which made Lilley realize that there were “more important things than winning or throwing a no-hitter.” Colburn “believed in a proper way to play baseball.” According to Crow, this was “emblematic of Bob’s respect for the game and sportsmanship: He talked the talk and he walked the walk.” Lilley says that Colburn went after him “because I was a role model of sorts. Colburn was a demanding coach. He wanted to win but the right thing to do was driving his decisions.”

 

Khalil Saliba ’81, Current Trustee (Shown next to Coach Colburn below; recipient of The Henry Prize for Greatest Service in Athletics, 1981, and also voted Most Athletic by his classmates, 1981.)

Karl Saliba with Coach Colburn 1980

Khalil "Karl" Saliba was a varsity middle infielder and catcher from 1977 to 1981. Although the team was unable to compete in the state tournament at that time because summer break started before the tournament, St. Andrew’s was competitive with some of the best teams in the state, including St. Elizabeth’s, Salesianum, and Seaford, which produced multiple major league players.

Saliba remembers some intense games, including two hard-fought losses against Seaford, the defending state champions, but also a 3-2 win behind the arm of Scott Sipprelle. In those games, Saliba remembers thinking that Seaford “seemed nervous,” and that “St. Andrew’s gained a lot of respect by not shying away from big games.” According to Colburn, Saliba “demonstrated why catchers do not have to be 6'5” and 230 lbs. He was an intense player who made others around him play better by his example.” Saliba finished his high school baseball career by playing in the Delaware All-Star Game, in which he got a couple of hits as the designated hitter. Saliba remembers Colburn as “a highly respected figure at the school, and a big reason why people would decide to play baseball.”

 

Scott Sipprelle ’81, Head of the Board of Trustees

Scott Sipprelle baseball

Pitcher Scott Sipprelle did not have a blazing fastball, but he did have a good breaking ball and a knuckleball, and knew how to mix these pitches to keep hitters off-balance. During a game at Tatnall, Sipprelle shut-out the Hornets, throwing a complete game against a strong opponent. 

“Scott pitched a great game,” Colburn says. “Sipprelle was pitching so slow that on impact, his pitches wouldn’t break a pane of glass.”

On the diamond, Sipprelle loved the thrill of competing with some of the strongest teams in the state, including Tower Hill, Wilmington Friends, and Tatnall. In particular, he enjoyed playing bigger schools in out-of-conference games.

Sipprelle says Coach Colburn is “deeply ingrained” with his memories of St. Andrew’s.

“He was a very emotional, exciting person to be around,” Sipprelle says. “His players really wanted to please him.” Once, during pre-season, Colburn had to go to Sipprelle’s room long after lights-out to tell Sipprelle and some other rambunctious players to go to bed. Rather than protesting, the players “were disappointed in themselves,” Sipprelle recalls.

Above all, Sipprelle remembers the camaraderie that came with playing baseball at St. Andrew’s. He remembers the bus trips in which players brought boom boxes to blare music. In his senior year, Sipprelle and several of his best friends shared the experience of being in leadership positions on the team. “Baseball was closely correlated with the excitement that comes with the spring at St. Andrew’s,” Sipprelle says.

 

RJ Beach ’82

RJ Beach baseball

RJ Beach was a key player in the early 1980s on one of St. Andrew’s most successful teams. As a new junior, Beach first visited the school during his sophomore year at Concord High School. “The first thing that caught my and my father’s eyes was the condition of the baseball field,” Beach says. “I had never seen a field in such good condition.”

At St. Andrew’s, his favorite year from a baseball perspective was his junior year, as the team was “very confident” and “not intimidated by anybody.” There was “great camaraderie” on the team. The team had a “lot of great battles with Tower Hill,” including one in which Tower Hill won on a suicide squeeze in the fourteenth inning.

Beach was an impressive player who still shares a record for the most triples in one season. Both his coach and class advisor, Colburn was “one of my favorite people at St. Andrew’s,” Beach says. “He was an extremely knowledgeable coach, an outstanding chemistry teacher, and a very caring advisor who played a big role in my decision to become a teacher and coach.” Beach recalls that “to everybody that Coach Colburn had interactions with, he was calm, cool, collected, but he would get fiery in games” and was “well known for his occasional clipboard breaking, which all the players loved to see.” Despite his occasional ferocity, Colburn was “humorous, passionate about the game, and stood up for his players–the king of Delaware high school baseball.”

 

Charlie Stayton ’03 and Paul Koprowski ’03 (Stayton is No. 8, Koprowski is No. 14, standing next to Coach Colburn)

Stayton Koprowski Colburn baseball

The St. Andrew’s baseball team was perhaps at its best during Charlie Stayton and Paul Koprowski’s time at the school, with multiple state tournament appearances and a roster full of great players and coaches. Stayton earned All-Conference catching honors in the 2001, 2002, and 2003 seasons. Each remembers key walk-off hits.

Stayton’s occurred against Tatnall, the team to beat at the time, to secure the conference title in the last inning when St. Andrew’s was down by one run with two outs. Koprowki’s came on a hit over the second baseman, with a broken wrist. 

Given Colburn’s tendency to break clipboards over his knee, he brought “an old-school intensity” to the team, Stayton says. They both recall Colburn defying orders from both his doctor and Dottie, to temporarily stop throwing batting practice. When Dottie would drive by the field, Colburn would leave batting practice and hide.

Colburn “covered every point of minutia, including bunt defense and where the pitcher should cover bases,” says Stayton. He remembers Colburn going out of his way to get him to play in the Carpenter Cup Tri-State All-Star Tournament at Veterans Stadium, the then-home of the Philadelphia Phillies. The two also remember fine-tuning their skills with coaches including Bill Brakeley, a St. Andrew’s alumni and a former minor league player. Stayon says he appreciated the leadership of Michael Primiani ‘02, “a super nice guy and an excellent hitter and first baseman. He was hands down the best hitter at St. Andrew’s in this strong period for the team.”

 

Chris Speers ’07

Chris Speers baseball

Chris Speers, the son of former Associate Headmaster Will Speers, grew up on the St. Andrew’s campus. When in grade school, Speers often watched Saints baseball, and Colburn often watched Speers play MOT Little League in his seventh and eighth grade years. At St. Andrew’s, Speers made the varsity squad his freshman year, playing second base before transitioning to third and then shortstop.

During Speers’ freshman year, the team played the defending state champion Caravel early in the season. The Saints quickly went up 4-0 and held on to win by 6-5, demonstrating Colburn’s ability to “compete against any school,” Speers says. Colburn “loved the process of developing players,” he says. “Coach’s determination and dedication to the team was shown in how he was often hit by the ball in [batting practice] and would shake it off and keep pitching.”

Dottie was always an “unsung hero” of the team, Speers says, as she was “always at home games, and sometimes away games.” Dave Miller and Mike Hyde, two longtime assistant coaches to Coach Colburn, were a big part of the program, Speers says.

Another highlight of Speers’ time as a player came on Trustee Weekend during a game in which the team was getting demolished by Tower Hill. Scott Sipprelle ‘81 and Will Speers were watching from the sidelines. As Speers stepped up to bat, his father turned to Sipprelle and said, “I’ll give $500 to the Annual Fund if my son hits a homerun.” Sipprelle said that he would triple it. Speers hit a homerun, earning $1500 for the Saints Fund. “It was my first and only home run of my St. Andrew’s baseball career,” he says.

 

Jake Myers ‘12

Jake Myers baseball

Jake Myers played for the Saints from 2009 to 2012, with a strong record that included two no-hitters.

One game that stood out to Myers occurred in late April of his freshman year against Wilmington Friends, when Myers himself was not on the mound but rather, playing second base. Going into the seventh inning, St. Andrew’s was down by one run when it scored two runs to go ahead. The game ended on a 6-4-3 double-play that gave that day’s pitcher, senior Dan Primiani ’09, his first varsity win ever. The victory was especially sweet because Primiani had achieved his win in front of his parents at Frawley Stadium, a minor league stadium in Wilmington, and St. Andrew’s had prevailed against a better team.

Another freshman-year highlight occurred against Sanford, in which St. Andrew’s won 10-0, giving Colburn his 400th win. Myers pitched from the fifth inning on and closed out the game, after starting pitcher Josh Speers suffered a leg injury. In Myer’s sophomore year, he helped lead the team to a 9-4 win against an imposing Tatnall team, which had a player committed to play Division I college.

“I had a special relationship with [Coach],” Myers says. “He was the kindest coach I had at St. Andrew’s. He would stay behind after practice to help you get extra reps. Before pre-season camp, he drove myself and John Cochran ‘11 down to the field to get pre-season reps.” 

Myers recalls Colburn getting emotional in the heat of the game. There was, as Myers remembers, a “mystique about the tantrums that he may or may not have thrown.” A few years after Myers graduated from St. Andrew’s, Colburn won a sportsmanship award before a game, and then in the first inning of the same game, he broke a clipboard over his leg out of frustration. “Colburn did a lot for Delaware baseball,” Myers says. “But what stands out is how he was always there for his players, day-in and day-out. Colburn was very helpful for me to seek advice on what I wanted to do with my life.”

 

Learn more about Saints athletics here or view which alumni have gone on to play after high school here. View our student-athlete records here.

 

Diwali service

“Diwali is a time to let the darkness in your past go and to welcome the light of the new into your world. Diwali is a time to reconnect with our culture and heritage.”

These talks were given during a Diwali chapel service on October 26, 2022.

 

Ibrahim Kazi ’23 and Ford Chapman ’23:

“Hello Everyone, and welcome to our 2022 Diwali Chapel. Diwali, or the festival of lights, is seen as India’s, and many surrounding south Asian countries, largest and most widely celebrated holiday of the year. This celebration is in honor of the triumphant return of King Rama after his 14-year exile and his heroic rescue of his wife Sita from Ravana, an evil 10-headed demon. Over the course of the five-day celebration of Diwali, people will dress up in their best clothes, light up their houses with diyas, decorate their homes with rangoli, and worship Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. It is also widespread to light off fireworks throughout the night and gather with family and friends for feasts and celebrations.

Although Diwali is the “festival of lights,” candles and fireworks are not the true meaning of the light on Diwali. Diwali is the festival of “Good over Evil” and “Light over Darkness.” Homes are decorated with lanterns and candles to fill the home with the light of god, and to dispel the darkness and evil. Diwali is a time to let the darkness in your past go and to welcome the light of the new into your world. Diwali is a time to reconnect with our culture and heritage for the South Asian Affinity Group. Being away from home and family throughout the year, engrossed in St. Andrew's culture can be difficult. Diwali allows us to connect with family and reconnect with our culture. For many, Diwali is seen as a fresh start and a new beginning. In this chapel, you will hear some of the South Asian student’s experiences with Diwali and their overall identity, and what being South Asian means to them.”

 

Excerpt from talk given by Bellamarie Sharma ’23:

“When first coming to St. Andrew's, I was a bundle of nerves. During the first couple of days, I was anxious to start classes, make new friends, and gain independence. During introductions I was almost always asked where I was from. My first answer would always be New York City, but after getting questions about what affinity groups I was thinking of joining, I knew what they were asking.

For me, my identity always felt weird. My great grandmother on my Mom’s side immigrated here from Puerto Rico and my father is an immigrant from India. However, it was my mom’s side of the family that raised me most. While I did eat curry, go to temple, wear saris, and celebrate Diwali and other Hindu holidays, I more often ate pollo guisado, went to chapel, and celebrated Christian holidays, making me feel insufficient.

Thus, when saying I was half-Indian, I always felt like I was telling a lie. I always felt I wasn’t “Indian enough.” So when Sonal, a senior who graduated last year, reached out to me telling me to join the South Asian Affinity Group, I was conflicted.

I was nervous of being an outcast within the group because of my mixed identity. After telling her my concerns, we talked about how while everyone in the group had a South Asian background, every member had their individual differences and experiences, all of which were valid.

When I went to my first meeting, it felt pretty chaotic at first, especially since I still didn’t feel completely secure in my identity and stayed quiet in order to prevent feeling isolated. But, after listening to the conversations during meetings, and talking more with Sonal about what it means to be South Asian, I started to become and feel more comfortable about my identity. Being South Asian is more than about your heritage. It’s whatever you make of it. It’s about coming together with the larger community. It’s about supporting each other as we explore what it means to be Hindu or Muslim. I’ve come to realize that my identity isn’t a stagnant piece of history, but rather a fluid depiction of how I became the person I am today, which I can now say with pride, is a half-Puerto Rican, half-Indian female who loves to cook, both curry chicken and pollo guisado. 

 

Excerpt from talk given by Prem Patel ’24:

“This talk took a lot of convincing for me to do with respect to opening up about topics I had never really talked about. I didn't want to come up here and talk about just the culture and food, but rather about who I am as a person and how I connect to my culture.

My parents immigrated to the US in the ‘90s. My mom, who was born and raised in Kenya, and my dad, who was born and raised in India, came to America with the thought of a better life for themselves as well as for their future. And when they had my brother and I, they did what they could to give us the best possible. 

I grew up going to an Episcopal school in the city of San Francisco that went from kindergarten to eighth grade. At my school, although it was super diverse, I was the only Indian kid in my class, and was one of about six Indians in the entire school. So growing up I naturally was mostly around people of different races and backgrounds in school. The only people that I had that were Indian were my family and a few friends. And these were the people that molded me into who I am today. 

Today I will be talking to you about identities—how everyone has a unique identity, and how some people might expect you to be something you're not. A person’s identity is shaped by many different aspects such as their family, culture, and their surroundings. There are also many fixed beliefs about people’s identities—also called stereotypes. There are many different stereotypes that exist and are prominent in our society today. Specifically, in my life, or for Indians, the stereotype that all our parents are doctors, we are all super good at math, or we are some sort of tech support. Personally, I’m not the best at math, my parents are not doctors, and I'm not too great with tech. Ok, but seriously, there are many stereotypes about how certain people should either act or look, and throughout my life, I haven't filled that role, and many people have pointed that out to me before, expecting me to “be it.”

While hanging out with my friends a couple years ago, we ran into a group of other kids from a different school. In a casual conversation with them, they asked me why I talked the way that I did. At the moment I wasn't sure how to respond or what to think. It was confusing. I asked him what he meant and he said that I didn't sound Indian. It was something very subtle, but I remember thinking about what he told me. Asking the question of why I didn't sound like I was Indian. He expected me to fit a stereotype of sounding a certain way, and for a while, I thought that he was right in what he thought. 

He raised an important question for me and that was—did I connect with my Indian identity? That raised another question of—did I even know what my identity was? In all honesty, I didn't know what my identity was. 

I felt like I had two selves, one at home, where I would speak Gujarati with my parents, eat traditional foods, and practice Hindu rituals and prayers, and a self at school, where I was just another kid. I had never connected the two identities with each other, as I never felt like they belonged together. That for some reason I was Indian at home and just another kid at school. 

But, when I came to St. Andrew’s I felt like I had a place to connect these two. Meeting the people in the South Asian Affinity Group, having a safe place to talk about these identities, and being able to connect with them was meaningful. Previously struggling with my different selves and not having a bridge of people to talk to made it so I wasn’t myself. 

So, I encourage all of you to ask yourself this same question about identity:  If your identity is based on a stereotype placed on you or if you just struggle with facing your identities as I did, talk about it. If you take one thing away from this talk, it is don't conform to something you are not, whether that is a stereotype or a label that is placed on you. Be yourself.”

 

Excerpt from talk given by Nanda Pailla ’25:

“On January 10, 2007, I was the first ever child to be born in the United States in my entire family's lineage. I want to share how my family and I navigated through the United States while maintaining important beliefs.

My dad gathered just enough money to travel to the United States with my Mom, just barely getting out of the village by borrowing my grandfather’s last couple of dollars.

Once he reached the United States, it was a really tough situation for my Dad. He decided to settle down in Massachusetts, living in an apartment with my Mom and a couple friends. He struggled every day working two jobs a day, during the day working at a corner store with minimum wage, and at night working at building his own company from scratch.

Let me remind you that he didn’t know how to speak a sentence of English. He started from the beginning, but nothing was working for him, and he wanted to go back to India. He barely made enough money to live in the United States, and barely could pay off everything that he was supposed to pay off. A sudden realization kicked in for my father when he understood that he did not take the last couple of dollars from his community or travel across the world far from his family to make nothing out of it. He understood that he had to keep going, and he wanted to be financially stable enough to take care of his family and give back to the community that shaped [him] to be the person he is today. He was determined and continued to work a day shift, and a night shift, growing his IT company, and working at this corner store until his company was stable. 

At this moment, my mom realized she was pregnant with me as her first child in the United States. She discovered this while my family was moving from place to place ... trying to find an affordable house to start a family. It was a struggle.

We barely had enough money to settle down in our own place. My parents were still finding difficulty in speaking the language, often causing many people to misunderstand them. Our different culture was difficult to understand because many people found it strange. Finally, when we found this small town home where I grew up, in Centerville, Virginia, my uncle and aunt decided to move into the United States with our family. In particular while growing up in the United States and learning different social cues, and the new environment, my parents made sure to keep the core values of our community in India in our household. Treating everyone with respect, being taught that patience is key in every situation, showing love and kindness whenever you can, and most importantly, that our diversity and traditions are a gift not a curse. Being born as a first generation in the United States and growing up in a full Indian household, these core values helped get me through many situations. 

I tell you this story about my family in order to prove three significant points. Firstly, the tight-knit community where my family came from greatly reminds me of another tight-knit family: St. Andrew’s. We build upon each other to the best of our abilities, and no matter what, we always look out for each other.

My dad said to me as a kid, “Blood makes you related, but loyalty is what makes you family.”

Even certain best friends stick up for you no matter what, just like people in my father's village. This stuck with me through St. Andrew’s because whenever I needed one of my friends or they needed me, we were always there for each other.

Second, no matter what, don't stop working—no matter if you are doing something for your family, friends, or even for yourself—if you don't stop working at it you will reach that level of success.

Third, your diversity is a blessing and not a curse. As I look around at the chapel today, I see a diverse crowd with so much to bring into our community, which is what makes it unique from any other community around. As for me, my long name, family traditions, and my core values are not something to be ashamed of, but to be prideful in because it's what makes me, as it should for everyone.”

 

 

 

Environmental Stewards

October brings beautiful light, cooler temperatures, fragrant leaves, and plenty of outdoor (and indoor) fun at St. Andrew's.

Enjoy some pictures from the month. And don't miss our Halloween gallery here.

Sports Captains Chapel Talk

Several of the captains of fall sports teams spoke during an inspirational community chapel service on Friday, October 21. Here are some excerpts from their talks.

Varsity Volleyball Co-Captains Darden Shuman ’23 and Eleanor Livings ’23

Darden: "Three years ago, the captain of the volleyball team encouraged Eleanor and me to try out for the varsity volleyball team. In that moment, we expressed similar feelings of nervousness, shyness, and anticipation, but the moment we stepped onto the court, we were greeted with excitement, love, support, and trust. Since that moment, we both knew that we wanted to be like the leaders that had encouraged us to show up to the court that very first day."

Eleanor: "When the team elected us to be captains, we knew that we wanted to create a team culture that was as special and memorable as our freshman-year team, but we also knew that we wanted to find a balance between lightheartedness and competition. One of our top priorities was to model trust, collaboration, grace, and motivation as captains, because we believe that strong, trusting relationships lie at the foundation of a successful team."

Darden: "Part of being a captain is providing an extra layer of support to teammates, especially off the court. This means showing up for others when you know it’s been a rough day."

Eleanor: "It means advocating for our teammates when we must make a change. Especially in volleyball, it’s important to establish this type of trust in personal relationships because not only does it keep the energy and morale high on the court, but it also instills camaraderie off the court, no matter what the result of a game is."

Darden: "As captains, we try to live by our own advice by modeling a friendship that emphasizes standing up for each other, relentlessly communicating, accountability, and lightheartedness in the face of adversity."

Eleanor: "Being a captain means showing other players the importance of grit, resilience, competitive drive, but above all else, a commitment to love."

Darden: "To the future captains and players of the volleyball team, we hope that you will continue pushing each other, talking in Miranda Sings, and most importantly, loving one another."


Football Captain Will Dulaney ’23

"Football preseason for a freshman is the most intimidating time at St. Andrew’s for anyone who gets to do it. Coming here for the first time, I knew no one and had no clue what to expect. In the first two days, Ford and I showed up about 10 minutes late to a practice, causing the whole team to do up-downs. I thought I was done. My first impression with the people I would be spending my next four years with was a bad one. After that, I was scared to do any drills, drop the ball, hit, or do anything where I could mess up. You can imagine that this would encompass almost anything during practice. Early on, there was a practice in the gym because it was raining. I remember moving to receiving drills and finding it was my turn to run whatever route we were running. I probably wasn’t paying attention, but I did not know what route to run. Seeing I was about to mess up, a senior captain stepped in to go so I wouldn’t have to. He was a little quiet, and hadn’t gotten around to introducing himself to me yet; but he was my big brother, Adrian Watts. He ran the route and made the catch. Now, I knew what to run and did the same, although there’s a pretty good chance I dropped it. 

I saw Adrian look out for other people, often leading more by action than voice. Later, Tad Roach [former Head of School] would claim that he was the best football player to ever play at the school. Those types of claims will always be debatable, but he was a great player and a great leader. That was my first impression of a captain.

Last year, I realized that you don’t have to have the title of captain to lead, whether it’s leading vocally or by example. Looking out for your teammates should happen, regardless of your place on the team. And, in that environment, they’ll start looking out for you, too. In a game where a wrong step could mean a concussion, trust in your teammates is more crucial than ever. I think the job of a captain is to help as much of the team understand this as possible. 

This year, I’ve been psyched about how many leaders I’ve seen, specifically juniors, who lead whether they are a “captain” or not. It’s shown me that this team is capable of reaching a higher level of play; if and only if we can believe in the player next to us, on and off the field."


Boys Cross-Country Captain Kyle Share ’23

(Note: While Kyle is not competing this year, he still serves as captain and self-described spirit leader.)

“Cross-Country races are plainly unenjoyable. They are hot, hilly, and painful and there’s no way around it. Yet for some reason, possibly the sports requirement of St. Andrew’s, we subject ourselves to that pain over and over again. Well, this year as a 5-year senior I have been liberated from that pain! But this talk isn’t about how much I miss it and the ineffable feeling of running a PR. No in fact, while I do miss the camaraderie and shared pain of the team, being on the sidelines has given me a much different perspective. The races are no longer focused on myself and whether or not I will finally achieve that elusive 18-minute club, but purely on the people I cheer for. When I race from point A to point B and C trying to hit as many points on the course as possible, what used to be the obsession of my own goals transforms into the celebration of others. So yes, I do miss the unbearable pain of screaming lungs and aching legs, but what overpowers me more is the somehow smiling Caroline Meers at all points of the race or the flexing arms Zach gives while running a 30-second personal record (PR). The fulfillment comes from Lia Miller saying that she would not have been able to run nearly as well without me there or the excitement within me as Peter Bird rushes down the course. So while I may be sick, I may have shin splints, my bike may be broken, and I may not be able to race, you'd better believe I’ll be at Killens Pond [Friday] cheering for all of you until my voice gives out.”

Angella Vassallo PhD

By Angela Vassallo, PhD

The start of the school year is always an exciting time—and yet, before we know it, the holidays are right around the corner. 

For all St. Andrew’s students, at least one test is also looming in the near future. Some students are anticipating everyday classroom assessments and, in January, mid-term exams. Other students just finished taking the PSAT, while others are preparing for their next SAT or ACT.

Whatever the format, testing can cause a great deal of stress and apprehension for students. In the Counseling Offices, we often hear students share that they have test anxiety. If you’re a student and you have test anxiety, know that you are not alone! 

Test anxiety, similar to performance anxiety, can be described as a large and increased feeling of pressure at a time when it is important to do well. It can be like getting the butterflies before having to sing a solo in a school production, or as you prepare to play an important game in your team’s season, but in some cases, test anxiety can be more intense and last longer than performance anxiety. 

Symptoms include having a stomachache or headache, sweating, poor concentration, shaking hands, a fast heartbeat, racing thoughts, and general uneasiness with varying levels of intensity. Unfortunately, the more we tend to focus on what is causing us anxiety—in this case, the test at hand—the stronger these feelings of anxiety can become.

Knowing this, the core questions are:

  1. How can I make sure I still do well on the test? 
  2. How can I make this anxiety stop?


Below are some strategies that have been proven to be effective at reducing the intensity and frequency of test anxiety and increasing performance:

  1. Balance: Instead of trying to cram and overload the brain with information, create a study schedule. With a schedule, studying can happen over several days or weeks and not all at once. A schedule allows your brain to relax and better absorb information. While you’re at it, schedule in some leisure time as well.
  2. Don’t forget to eat and drink: Eating nutritious food and staying hydrated will not only provide energy, but also helps with focus.
  3. Rest: Try not to skip out on sleep or study for long periods of time when you typically would be sleeping. The more energy and rest you can get, the better you will feel and perform. 
  4. Seek out support: There are so many supports around you at SAS—counselors, advisors, teachers, peers, and even your family members, who are only a quick phone call away. Your support systems may not necessarily be able to help you learn the material on your test, but connecting with people you care about and who care about you can help you feel better in a moment when anxiety is building.
  5. Ground yourself: For added support, below are some methods to unwind, relax, and ground yourself so that you are able to let go of anxiety, fully focus, and do your best in a testing environment:
    1. Boxed breathing: Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and so on, until you feel grounded. You can also tighten your muscles and release them while breathing and focusing on your breath.
    2. Stretch: Perform light stretches while focusing on breathing. Pay attention to how your body feels as you stretch.
    3. Exercise: From doing simple jumping jacks, to taking a long run on a favorite trail, the physical exertion required by exercise can bring you back from a place of panic.
    4. Mindfulness: Engage your senses through a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise. Identify five objects, four different sounds, three textures, two smells, and one taste to bring your awareness back to the present moment.

 

Fall Fest 2022

It was a beautiful fall day with sunlight filtering through varying shades of orange and red leaves as the annual Fall Fest returned to St. Andrew’s.

Hosted by the Environmental Stewards, the East Asian Affinity Group, and the Asian Student Union, the festival packed everything Saints love about fall into one glorious day.

Following the Blessing of the Animals chapel service on the Front Lawn, students were treated to Korean rice cakes, a traditional dish of Chuseok, the Korean autumn festival. 

The rice cakes, called songpyeon, are half-moon shaped cakes steamed over pine needles. 

Masai Matale ’23 and her mother, chef and educator Sung Uni Lee P’23 (@13moonsfood on Instagram) provided both the inspiration and the cooking expertise. Earlier this year, Environmental Stewards faculty advisor, Bertie Miller ’14, was speaking with Lee about plans for the Fall Festival and traditional foraging practices. Miller was interested in learning how to introduce foraging as a community practice at St. Andrew’s, but the pair ended up talking about Chuseok traditions instead.

Miller reached out to the East Asian Affinity Group and the Asian Student Union to see if there was any interest in adding in a celebration of Chuseok to the traditional lineup of Fall Festival activites.

“The students were excited and really jumped right in,” Miller says. “They really had to get a lot of people involved to make it happen.”

First, students partnered with the Organic Gardening team to collect longleaf pine needles from around campus. The needles were then cleaned and placed on cookie sheets. Next, students partnered with SAGE Dining Services to utilize the industrial steamers in the kitchen, and selected a  recipe and ingredients to make the cakes. Still others helped forage for persimmons and chestnuts growing on campus. The persimmons and chestnuts were used both for the cakes’ delicately sweet filling and to give the dough color. 

Once the rice dough was mixed and colored, the filling was placed in the center, and students folded the cakes into a half-moon shape. The cakes were then placed on top of the pine needles and steamed.

SAGE chefs helped the students by creating additional Korean dishes, including hobakjuk, a squash pumpkin porridge with red beans and pine nuts, and persimmon, ginger, cinnamon sweet tea.

Here are some recipes if you want to try to make these Korean dishes at home:

After enjoying the Chuseok treats, students were ready for some Fall Festival competitions, pumpkin carving, and apple cider-making. 

Here are some of the Fall Festival events and their respective winners:

Wheelbarrow race: Stella Roffers ’24 and Katherine Simonds ’24

Pumpkin toss: Sam White ’26, Thomas White ’26, Oliver Mize ’26, Yasir Felton ’24, Nick Osbourne ’23, Meade Evans ’23, Toby Nix ’24

Pie-eating contest: Silas Grasse ’23 and Ike Lawrence ’23 (with honorable mention to Lila Lunsford ’26)

Truck Pull: Zach Atalay, Myles Derabertis, Jayson Rivera, Nick Osbourne, Kyle Share, and Ema Appenteng, all Class of 2023. (Shout-out to the employees who competed!)

Pumpkin-carving contest: Jules Klecan ’25 for best overall jack-o-latern.

Throughout the day, Environmental Stewards encouraged students to sign an Earth Justice petition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting the revocation of more than 600 exceptions granted by the EPA to companies permitting the continued use of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.”

With more than 40 students participating in the Environmental Stewards this year, leaders Lia Miller ’23 and Helen Heuer ’23 have organized the group into smaller committees with specific responsibilities and goals for the year.

Some upcoming Environmental Stewards activities on campus include foraging in the woods, educating students on sustainability and environmental issues, removing invasive species both on St. Andrew’s campus and in nearby Blackbird Forest, and developing a campus composting program.

Learn more about sustainability at St. Andrew’s.

Charlie Lunsford soccer

Catching up with Charlie Lunsford ’24 can be difficult, what with his classes, sports, community service, chapel, clubs… the list goes on. Despite his myriad commitments,the multisport athlete is focused as he heads into his junior year. While it is only fall and he is playing varsity soccer, one can often find Charlie on the squash courts or getting a tennis workout in.

“Tennis is my number-one sport and I plan to play in college, so even though it isn’t tennis season, I am always working on my game,” Charlie says. 

Last year, Charlie was seeded in the top spot for St. Andrew’s, and competed hard during the state tournament, which was held on campus. He finished the season among the top 10 boys in the state.

“I was focused on the match and I remember looking up and seeing my entire class there to support me,” he says. “You wouldn’t get that anywhere else except at St. Andrew’s.”

The school’s culture is what initially attracted the multi-sport athlete to St. Andrew’s.

“Just walking around, everyone is friendly and welcoming. They don’t have to be that way—no one tells them to be that way—they just are. It’s just the way of life here,” he says.

Charlie, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, never planned to go to a boarding school. “I always thought kids were sent to boarding schools; not that they chose to go,” he says. That all changed when he visited St. Andrew’s to see his cousins. 

During his visit, the energy of the students and life on campus resonated with him. He met with Director of Admission & Financial Aid Matt Wolinski and started the application process.

Since becoming a student, Charlie has continued to revel in the connections that first impressed him so much. “Some of my best memories are getting to know my dorm parents and teachers. Everyone here wants to be here, which is what really drew me to St. Andrew’s,” he says. “You get to have deeper relationships with students and adults—it is unique to this school.”

It was at St. Andrew’s that Charlie first played squash. His winter sport had been basketball for several years, but at SAS, he decided to try something new—and after all, squash aligned with his passion for tennis. 

“I loved it right away,” he recalls. “It’s incredible and intense.”

In the current season, Charlie and the soccer team are working hard to get to the state finals again. “I love athletics here. We are really competitive, but even if you didn’t play [a sport] before coming here, you can work hard and get a spot [on a team],” he says. “There’s no limit to where you can go.”

In the classroom, Charlie loves the lively discussions and advanced topics his classes tackle. “St. Andrew’s does a great job of increasing the academic challenge as you go, in terms of workload and difficulty,” he says. “I really notice how much more organized I am and how much I have learned when it comes to balancing my workload and managing my time.”

As a junior, he looks back on the past two “pandemic years” and notes that even though students were not always on campus, the bonds they created are deep.

“Whenever I get stuck on work or something, I can just walk next door and ask someone. There’s always someone around who can help,” he says. “That’s one thing I love about living in a dorm. I love dorm functions and spending time with everyone.”

As Charlie looks ahead to the rest of his junior year, he hopes to continue to build on the solid foundation of friendship, academics, and athletics.

“Every single person here is special and everyone gets to explore their passions and talents,” he says. “As soon as I met my friends here, I instantly knew that they would be my friends for life. The connections you build here will last.”

Learn more about athletics at St. Andrew’s.

Mark Oppenheimer courtesy of Mistina Hanscom, Lotta Studio

Author Mark Oppenheimer came to St. Andrew's and gave a chapel talk on Wednesday, October 19. Oppenheimer wrote the Beliefs column for The New York Times from 2010 to 2016. His latest book, Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting & the Soul of a Neighborhood was one of the recommended books in the list of summer reading for students.

 

 

Boys soccer fall roundup

A look at the Saints accomplishments thus far during the fall season.

Fall sports have been going strong since the end of August. Here is a roundup of how each sport is doing to date (through October 17, 2022).

 

Varsity Football

From Coach Patrick Moffitt: To date, the football team is 3-3, most recently with a 25-16 win over Glasgow High School.

On the season... 

  • Frank Nasta has thrown for 923 yards and 11 touchdown passes.
  • Nick Osbourne has rushed for 516 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns.
  • Griffin Patterson has caught 36 passes for 378 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
  • Will Dulaney has caught 20 passes for 328 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
  • Yas Felton has caught 20 passes for 279 yards and 9 receiving touchdowns.
  • Will Dulaney and Ford Chapman have been leading the defense with 44 and 41 tackles on the season respectively.
  • Griffin Patterson leads everyone on the defense with 3 interceptions.

 

Field Hockey

From Varsity Coach Kate Cusick: Varsity Field Hockey is coming off an impressive 3-2 performance against local rival Middletown High School. The Saints opened the scoring within the first few minutes with a hard-earned goal by V Former Marley Peters. The Cavaliers evened the score, but VI formers Kaki Ackerman and Natalie Biden combined for a beautiful goal, and Peters found the back of the cage again off an assist from VI Former Helen Heuer to bring the Saints back on top. The Cavaliers responded one last time, but the Saints held 3-2 until the final buzzer. 

From JV Coach Gretchen Hurtt: JV Field Hockey won 2-0 vs. Ursuline last Friday, and then vs. Middletown on Monday the team was up 1-0 before a thunderstorm interrupted play. 

 

Volleyball

From JV Coach Terrell Myers: The JV girls volleyball team is currently 8-2. We are led by Sarah Rose Odutola and Brianne Isaac, This past weekend, we had an exciting game versus Sanford School. Brianne Issac served 10 straight points to lead us to victory. In the past two seasons, the JV team has a combined record of 19-4. 

From Thirds Coach Kyra Wilson: Thirds Volleyball is currently 1-5 with one more game left to round out our season. The team has seen notable improvement in their overhand serves, playing collaboratively, and team spirit. In our most recent games, Mary Margaret Hall and Kayden Murrell have each had impressive serve streaks that have helped build momentum for the team. Additionally, Marie Dillard and Claire Rauch have played intense defense and offense, getting digs against some difficult serves and playing the net to earn some kills. Everyone's improvement is amazing and bodes well for the future of the program!

 

Boys Cross-Country

From Coach Dan O'Connell: At the Middletown Invitational, our varsity team came in third out of 13 teams. Our JV team placed fourth out of 12 teams.

At the Salesianum Invitational, our varsity placed second out of 12 teams and our JV placed fifth out of 12 teams. We ran a JV-B squad that placed fifth out of six teams.

At the Joe O'Neill Invitational, varsity finished 13th overall out of 36 teams, however among Division II teams, they were eighth. JV came in 12th out of 38 teams, but sixth among Division II teams. And, our JV-B squad placed fourth out of 11 teams; second among Division II teams.

 

Girls Cross-Country

From Coach Jenny Carroll: The varsity led by Lia Miller with a time of 21:19 (8th overall) and Leah Horgan (9th overall) finished 5th in the Joe O'Neil Invitational Friday, October 14.

Devin Hundley led the JV team to a 6th place finish. The girls JV and varsity top five averages were the fastest averages in my time as head coach (2015-now). The girls JV top 5 average was 23:29, more than one minute faster than the fastest top 5 average from 2021. Caroline Meers went under 22 for the first time with a personal record of 21:19; Claire Hulsey broke 21 minutes, running a personal record of 20:50; and Leah Horgan broke 20 minutes with a new personal record of 19:29!

 

Here are a selection of recent photos from our fall sports.

Kelly Massett

Life affords us uncertainty, questions and opportunity. We may think we have a script, a plan, or an idea of what is going to happen next. I have found in my personal experience, my life story, that ultimately you cannot predict an outcome with 100 percent certainty.

Chapel Talk, October 12, 2022, by Dining Services Director Kelly Massett

This past spring, I gave into the temptation of submitting a DNA sample to one of those genealogy companies. Now, going into this I had a pretty good idea that I knew where 25 percent of where my heritage would fall: Italian. It could have been even more was my thought. My mother’s maiden name is Pellicciotti and I even had the Ellis Island documents that showed when that side of the family came stateside. Upon getting my results, I quickly called my mother to ask, “Is there something you need to tell me?” 

It turns out that I am only 3 percent Italian and that I’m more Scottish than anything else.  Not only did this finding blow away what I considered to be a firm foundation of who I was, but it opened up so many questions about who I am and where I come from. I’ve now found myself on a new journey of discovery with many questions to answer.

Life affords us uncertainty, questions, and opportunity. We may think we have a script, a plan, or an idea of what is going to happen next. I have found in my personal experience, my life story, that ultimately you cannot predict an outcome with 100 percent certainty.

Growing up in upstate NY, I had the privilege of going to the second largest high school in the state at that time. It could have been a community college in size and class offerings.  I entered my senior year with my path set, everything figured out: I was going to go to college for civil engineering. I had taken all the engineering courses available to me and found myself taking an architectural course to fill in my hours in my final year. It took no time at all for me to feel that I found the perfect pairing between art and mathematics in architecture. THIS was it. I would go to college for architecture, graduate, design homes for a living and live in one I designed. I even designed my dream home as a class project. My script was set. I just had to do my part to make it happen.

In reflecting back on how I got here from there, I would never have thought such a journey was before me. My four years of architectural education gave way to me finishing up in accounting with a minor in philosophy that played to my love of reading old books of thought. I supported myself through school by working in hotels and restaurants and being promoted to management jobs while attending school full time. 

Upon finishing up college, I felt I had a knack for the hospitality business and continued my growth in the profession. I found myself weaving and navigating my management experience in the ever-changing hospitality landscape through 9/11 and a number of other economic challenges. In between that, I had the good fortune of meeting my wife through a hotel that I managed in Ireland. She, like me, had a different script that she had in hand to become a chemical engineer before finding hospitality to be her calling. In another twist of script, she now works in education where her hospitality mindset has been an asset in fighting for charter schools. Through the myriad of experiences, challenges, and adaptation, I found myself with the opportunity to join St. Andrew’s School over 13 years ago to head up the dining and catering operations here. I truly feel I have been blessed with this opportunity that I would have never expected to be a part of when architecture was my calling many years ago. 

During the pandemic, and as family members reached their golden years, I found myself becoming more of a genealogical sleuth. Even before my DNA results, I found myself asking questions of family members and investigating “leads.” I plugged everything into an online genealogy family tree and let the search engine produce more leads, more questions. Even with this wonder of information at my fingertips, my best source was my grandmother. She was a wealth of information that you would not find through a website or a Google search.

Intrigue around a sister that was never known and sorting out the lineage of names were a part of the investigation. I was most interested in my grandfather. He was my father figure, my basketball coach, my running enabler, and bowling sage. In my interviewing process, I found that his script in life was one of choices and unpredictability. I knew my grandfather as the principal of an elementary school. Upon my investigating, it turned out he was the longest-serving principal and holds that record to this day. He was loved by faculty and students alike and I still receive comments on social media directed to me that affirm this. 

One of the most striking stories of choice, of a script not followed, is one I found out about my grandfather. He was a three-sport varsity athlete coming out of high school. He played baseball at an upstate New York college while completing his studies in education. He played so well that he was offered an opportunity to play professional baseball with the Boston Red Sox. My grandfather ended up pursuing his love of education and serving others by being the longest-serving principal for 17 years. He impacted many with his change of script.

Much like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, life’s script, your path, may not be yours at first. You may feel you are prepared for life’s challenges. You adapt and persevere, but knowing that there is change that you may not control the path will only arm you with the grit to succeed.

Some in the community know that I dabble in ultra-marathons: 50 milers, 50k's. I set the goal when I sign up. I prepare with working out and coming up with a nutrition and fueling plan along the way. Race day happens with excitement, a nervous energy, and always with a question of whether I prepared the right way or not. You go through a roller coaster of emotions and questioning. Mile 36 of a 50-miler tends to be the worst point for me. Not only do I question if I’ll finish, but I swear I’ll never do it again. I will myself to finish. When I finish, the only other constant besides the pain I feel is the “will” that I will never subject myself to it again. Two days after a race, like clockwork, I find myself scouring the internet for the next one to make a goal of completing.

Life has a way to challenge and change all your plans regardless of your preparation or sight on a path. Have faith, stand resolute about the path set before you, much like Jesus had, despite not knowing what might happen. God’s way is not always going to be what you think is your way. Life’s way may not ultimately follow the script you first had.

 

 

Chapel and library

Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 announced and welcomed the new trustees who have joined St. Andrew's Board of Trustees. View the full list of board members here.


Dr. Michael Atalay ’84 P’17 ’19 ’23

Dr. Michael Atalay ’84 P’17,’19,’23 (son of Bulent Atalay ’58, himself a former St. Andrew’s board member) is a graduate of Princeton University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering. Following a medical internship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston (where he met and married the daughter of one of his patients) and a research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, he completed his residency and fellowship training in radiology back at Hopkins.

In 2003, Dr. Atalay joined the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at Brown University where he specializes in cross-sectional imaging and cardiac MR and CT. He is currently professor of diagnostic imaging and medicine (cardiology), vice-chair of imaging research, director of cardiac MR and CT, and medical director of both the Brown Radiology Human Factors Lab and the Brown Radiology Advanced Imaging Lab. He works closely with trainees at all levels including undergraduates, medical students, radiology residents, and radiology and cardiology fellows, and he annually runs a small group session for second-year medical students in cardiac pathophysiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He regards teaching as one of the great pleasures of academic medicine.

He and his wife Elizabeth have four children and live in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.


Porter Durham

Porter Durham P’13,’25 is managing partner at Global Endowment Management in Charlotte, North Carolina. Durham joined GEM in May 2007.

Previously, he served as staff counsel and director of the Education Division of The Duke Endowment, and was chairman of the Corporate and Securities Department at Baker Donelson law firm. He is currently chair of the Duke Law School Board of Visitors and serves as a trustee of the National Humanities Center, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, the Oxford American Literary Project, and Trinity Episcopal School. He is a former trustee of Johnson C. Smith University. He graduated cum laude from Duke University and Duke University School of Law.


Kate Sidebottom Simpson ’96

Kate Sidebottom Simpson ’96 has worked for over 20 years in investment and endowment management, with specific expertise in private equity and venture capital. She is currently a principal at TrueBridge Capital Partners, where as a member of the investment team, she focuses on due diligence and industry analysis. She also leads the firm’s corporate partnership efforts and co-heads its separately managed account program.

Before joining TrueBridge in 2013, she worked as a director at Parish Capital Advisors and as an investment associate at UNC Management Company, where she helped oversee the endowment’s portfolios in private equity, venture capital, real estate, energy and natural resources, and enhanced fixed income. She has served on numerous investment fund advisory boards.

Simpson currently chairs the Finance and Audit Committee for the Board of Directors of the John Rex Endowment. She previously served as an advisor to Atlas Diligence and has been a member of the Private Equity Women Investor Network and the local chapter of 100 Women in Finance.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the two-time NCAA Championship Women’s Field Hockey Team.

Simpson grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While a student at St. Andrew’s, she played field hockey, basketball, and tennis, was a member of the Concert Choir, and was awarded the Henry Prize. She and her husband, George ’92, live in Raleigh, North Carolina with their two boys, Pierce and Whit.

Daniel Kye ’23

All-school "Math Monday" challenge makes math fun for all students

St. Andrew’s senior Daniel Kye ’23 loves math. In fact, he loves it so much, he’s on a personal mission to help all St. Andrew’s students fall in love with math, too. 

This fall Daniel and his classmate Sarah Rose Odutola ’23 launched “Math Mondays”—a weekly math challenge open to the entire school community.

Each Monday, students pick up a new math puzzle—chosen by Daniel and Sarah Rose—from a bin in the Main Common Room. The puzzles are not necessarily complex equations, but rather are often patterns or games that require the application of logic and analysis. “I try to select a variety of types of problems to keep it interesting,” he says. Students work on the problems throughout the week and turn their answers in by Sunday. Problem sets are graded then tallied by dorm; at the end of the competition, the winning dorm will receive a pizza party. With only a few weeks left to go in the competition, the leading dorm changes each week. 

“I’ve heard students talking about [Math Monday problems] on the way to lunch,” Daniel says. “I’ve heard others discussing it between classes. It’s great to hear it!” Daniel notes his hope for the weekly competition is that it makes math more accessible and fun for all.

Daniel, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, but spent parts of his youth in California, discovered his love of math in middle school. “I always enjoyed math, but in middle school my passion really grew,” he says.

His family moved to California during his freshman year of high school, and Daniel found he enjoyed engaging discussions during his classes. Prior to his junior year, Daniel began to consider changing schools, both in an effort to find himself, and to feel more engaged with his peers. “I heard that boarding schools often lead when it comes to discussion-based learning, so I started investigating them,” he says. 

He soon found St. Andrew’s and, during the pandemic, did a virtual tour. “I had looked at some other boarding schools, but I felt a connection with St. Andrew’s,” he says. 

He landed on campus for his junior year and hasn’t looked back. “Everyone was warm and inviting. There is a sense of family here,” he says.

During his first year at SAS, Daniel had heard from peers that some of the spark of community St. Andrew’s is known for—and specifically the collaborative, exploratory math culture at the school— had faded a bit during the pandemic, under the pressure of all its health protocols.

“Coming into my senior year, I wanted to bring math culture back and really make it something accessible to everyone on campus—even people who do not love math,” Daniel says. 

“It makes me proud to know that I have worked hard to give this to students,” he says.  “I hope to give back to our school community in other ways during my last year here."

Here’s an example of one of the recent Math Monday puzzles:

Sample Math Monday puzzle
Greg Guldin

"The people make the culture, and the culture of St. Andrew’s sets this school apart."

As the school year gets rolling, new faculty member and chemistry teacher Greg Guldin is happy to find himself immersed in St. Andrew’s culture and community, and to be building relationships with his colleagues and students. 

“Coming to St. Andrew’s, I was most excited to meet, get to know, and work with all of the students, faculty and staff,” he says. “The people make the culture, and the culture of St. Andrew’s sets this school apart.”

A New Jersey native, Mr. Guldin holds a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology from Dickinson College and a master’s in independent school leadership from the Klingenstein Center, Teacher's College, Columbia University. Prior to St. Andrew's, Mr. Guldin served as dean of students at The Webb School in Knoxville, Tennessee, and as the dean of V and VI Forms and swimming head coach at Woodberry Forest School in Madison, Virginia. 

During the first few weeks of the school year, Mr. Guldin dove in to St. Andrew’s. “It’s important to me to take the time to experience academic life, dorm life, student activities, athletic contests, cookie nights, chapel services, and everything else that goes into being a St. Andrean,” he says   He also coordinated a variety of on- and off-campus student events, including a recent trip to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

In his classroom in Amos Hall, Mr. Guldin shares his passion for chemistry with his students. He focuses on helping students understand and connect with science.

“As we (chemists) often say, chemistry is the central science,” he says. “It is great to see students discover an explanation for something they have seen every day, but perhaps have never really thought about.”

He can often be seen around campus with his canine companion, Tucker Phelps Guldin. In general, Mr, Guldin approaches life with a spring in his step— which perhaps comes from the excessive amounts of coffee he drinks: more than 60 ounces a day of iced and hot coffee!

One of Mr. Guldin’s first SAS connections came via the SAS summer reading list; he decided to read Mr. Mufuka’s recommendation, Dune. “At first, I was not really sure I would get into it,” recalls Mr. Guldin.“There are all sorts of different and fantastical locations, ideas, terms, and civilizations. But, as the story started to pick up, I got sucked in and could not put the book down!”

And much like a great book, Mr. Guldin agrees that St. Andrew’s is hard to put down. “I feel supported and welcomed by everyone here,” he says. “The St. Andrew’s community has already altered the graciousness with which I approach my own life and those in it. It really is a special place with special people.”

 

Casa Latina chapel

Students talked about their heritage during the Casa Latina chapel service on Wednesday, October 5. The service was in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and included traditional songs and passages.

Students talked about their heritage during the Casa Latina chapel service on Wednesday, October 5. The service was in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and included traditional songs and passages.

 

 

The Privilege of Living on the Pond

On an evening earlier this week, with the windows open on my back porch, I could hear nothing else but the apex organism of this ecosystem—our students—voices trilling, pitching, and barking in the way that can only signal the conversation, contest, and competition of adolescents at play at dusk (and surrounded on three sides by very tall stone walls). At 7:42 p.m., the Front Lawn went completely silent as students sprinted, en masse, to check in for study hall, and my ears were instantly overtaken with new sounds: the whistle of a bald eagle, the songs of thousands of frogs, the chuckle of a pileated woodpecker, the splash of turtles, and a chorus of crickets. Noxontown Pond is the defining feature of our ecosystem, and to the daily scenes of life at this school, it supplies both the set and the soundtrack. As the evenings and mornings cool, and we open our windows, we see the changing light reflect from its surface, and we hear the sounds of the pond carry across the campus. 

Like the Front Lawn, the pond is teeming with life. But, as all of us who have scrutinized its water using microscopes can attest, not all of that life—in fact, not most of it—is visible from the shore, a canoe, or even when swimming under the surface. When we look at it under magnification, we see the multitudes of protozoa, diatoms, and tiny insects who have made this pond their home. Even without magnification, there is much to see in the world of the pond that requires careful watching and close listening. (All of which, I might add, is also true of teenagers.)

We on land are a part of that life, and living on the shores of Noxontown Pond is a great privilege. For those of us who take the time to pause, watch, and listen, the pond is our classroom, our teacher, and our companion. It tells us the season—we know down to the precise week when the ospreys will appear in the spring, and when they will depart again—the weather, the time of day. It gives us a place to be still, and a place to play.  

Tomorrow, Saturday, is our fall celebration of nature at St. Andrew’s, which we call Pond Day. Students will have a chance to engage in a plethora of outdoor activities, most of them pond-side, such as kayaking, sun-printing, birdwatching, and dog-walking. When you speak to your children this weekend (I promise we frequently remind them to call you!), please ask them the activities they chose, and what they observed about their campus and their ecosystem. Our newest students are just beginning to learn about the splendor that surrounds them. As they grow and learn at St. Andrew’s, they will discover that the pond provides a habitat that will nurture and ground them for their entire lives. 

What Does It Mean to Be Lost?

Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 gave this homily at the annual Opening of School chapel service at Old St. Anne's Church in Middletown on September 11, 2022.


The readings from the service:

Exodus 32:7-14

The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation."

But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, `I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

The Epistle

1 Timothy 1:12-17

I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel

Luke 15:1-10

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."

So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

"Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."


The homily:

How many of you have lost something this week?

How many of you have lost more than one something?

Now let me ask you, how many of you have made a mistake this week?

Did you exclude someone from an activity? Did you insult someone? Did you miss a commitment?

Think about why you made the mistake. Was it because you were lost?

Because: what does it mean to be lost? To get turned around, lose our direction, lose track of our bearings, our values, what we know is right. We talk about having a “moral compass,” and what is a moral compass, but the way we keep to the path and do what is right. But we all make mistakes. Our moral compass wobbles, and we are lost for a moment.

Luke, who wrote today’s gospel, tells two parables about lost things. The first asks, what would you do if you had 100 sheep, and one was lost? Luke’s answer: You would leave the 99 sheep who are not lost, and you would search and search until you found that one sheep and bring him back, rejoicing. Similarly, Luke recounts the story of the woman who had 10 coins, and losing one, turns her house upside down looking for the lost coin. And then, having found the coin, the woman invites her friends and neighbors over for a party.

In the parables, we are the lost sheep, the lost coins. It is God who doesn’t give up on us. God seeks us out, even when we have lost our way. Both parables end with rejoining and celebration, as well they should: It is amazing promise God makes to us—he will never give up on us, even when our compass wobbles.

Our theme in the chapel this year is “practicing faith.” Today’s scriptures prompted me to reflect on that theme. You all know I am a big fan of practice. In all that we do at St. Andrew’s: we practice.

Yet, how do we practice faith? I would ask you to consider the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Is there any greater expression of faith than believing in the lost so much that we not only strike out for territories unknown to find them, but that we also leave behind everything else that is known? It is risky, right?

Yet this is what we do on dorm, in the dining hall, on our teams. If someone offends us, or puts themselves outside the group, we bring them in. If someone is alone, we keep company with them. We must never lose faith with each other. We try to learn each other, see each other, understand each other. If necessary, we find each other and we bring each other back. And in the process, we are less and less likely to lose one of our own. Together, we get better.

But practicing faith is not easy. Sometimes emotions run high, we hurt one another; we get hurt ourselves. In the Old Testament reading, the Israelites have seriously lost their way, they are worshiping a false god, and making a big mistake. The fact that they are also lost and wandering in the desert just underscores their situation. The escape from Egypt is shaping up to be a fail of, well, Biblical proportions.

God is angry with the Israelites, and rightly so. They’ve hurt him. But Moses pleads with God: “Change your mind,” he says. “Change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.”

Remember: I said on Wednesday that what we do here in chapel is consider unanswerable questions. And I believe today’s Old Testament reading presents us with one such question. We are to obey God, we are to follow God—and then Moses, questions God to God’s face, so to speak! Our faith is not an unquestioning one.

Here, I consider our classrooms. As we study and learn, we cannot embrace orthodoxies of any kind. Although your teachers and fellow students deserve your unflagging respect, they are not hegemons or autocrats—nor are your texts, your books, your theorems. We can and must question everything. It is how we learn—in dialogue, in conversation. Ironically, it is in questioning God that Moses keeps his people, the Israelites, together. And to be sure, Moses is hard on the Israelites as well—constantly pointing out their failings, hounding them to be better as they wander—some might say lost—in the desert. And with his constant questioning and criticism, which is rooted in humility and love, Moses and his people become un-lost. They find their way. He dies within sight of the Promised Land.

And in some ways, this practice, this constant questioning, becomes the hallmark of the Judeo-Christian faith. Later, the teachings of Christ will also possess this counterintuitive bent—because let’s be honest, if all of your worldly wealth consists of 100 sheep, and you leave 99 of them behind to find the one obtuse sheep that wandered off—well, that doesn’t make a whole lot of common sense. But it is all based in one assumption: that we are flawed people, that we ALL make mistakes. Any one of us, on any given day, will be that lost sheep. And behind this is the idea that even when we are lost, we are loved, we are valued, we are worthy.

And this, then, brings us to the letter from Timothy:

Timothy is well aware of his shortcomings. He was kind of a disaster, even, “a man of violence.” Yet, he writes, “I received mercy.” Mercy, grace, faith, and love—all this he received from God. He goes on, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy.”

Timothy says: I am flawed, I have made mistakes, I have been lost. But Jesus has been merciful, patient, loving.

All of us, lost and flawed and imperfect, are meant to take this as a pattern and a practice for our own lives. It is my hope that in our school, even as we question and consider and question and critique, even as we make mistakes (small and large) that hurt others, we must just as surely remain patient and loving. We will practice giving grace and extending mercy to one another, knowing we will all be lost, at one time or another, and in the hope that we will all be found—by each other—again and again. And this is cause for celebration, as we look forward, rejoicing, to the year to come.

Amen.

Five Tips to Create a Well-Balanced Semester (and Life!)

As students, faculty, and staff welcome the beginning of another school year, campus is bustling with excitement for what the year holds. With fresh notebooks in hand and new dorm rooms to decorate, robust academic class schedules and warm sunny weather, September is often when we get to set the rhythm for our return into life at St. Andrew’s. As you embark upon this year, here are five ways you can create a well-balanced semester:

Create a routine
Routines can help you strike a balance between the structure you need to meet your goals and adaptability to welcome the inevitable spontaneity of a school year. When creating your routine for this year, first figure out what needs to be part of your plan so that you can prioritize. Many students find it useful to map out the different areas of their schedule, like academics, afternoon activities, self-care, free time, and community service (to name just a few). Utilize your St. Andrew’s planner and/or your Google Calendar account to help you visualize your day, week, and monthly schedule, and be sure to carve out space for fun, time with friends, or even time to recharge alone. 

Get outside
Did you know research shows being in green spaces like the forest and fields lead to an increase in positive emotions, reduced stress levels, and heightened levels of attention (Psychological Science, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2019)? St. Andrew’s is located on 2,200 beautiful acres of nature, so there are plenty of options when it comes to surrounding yourself with greenery. Next time you’re looking for something to do, be sure to take a hike on the trails around Noxontown Pond, head out to the Organic Garden, or snag a campus bike to ride around campus roads and fields.

Try something new
From around age 12 to 24 (also known as our adolescence), the brain shifts to favor novel and new experiences, leading to increased feelings of pleasure and enjoyment. As you dive into the rest of the fall semester, keep your eyes open for chances to experience something new:

  • Sit next to someone new in class or at dinner
  • Join a new club 
  • Volunteer during service block on Wednesdays
  • Pick out a book you’ve never read from the Irene duPont Library
  • Start a game of spikeball or four square on the Front Lawn

Set micro-goals
If goals are the destination at the peak of the mountain, micro-goals are the little campsites you hit along the way. When your overall goal feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable goals. Be sure that your micro-goals are measurable and achievable—and don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate each micro-win! 🥳

Get to know your faculty
You know them as dorm parents, teachers, coaches, advisors, directors, and more. Getting to know your faculty beyond all the many hats they wear at St. Andrew’s can lead to more meaningful and lasting relationships. Next time you are at family-style lunch or waiting for class to start, strike up a conversation or learn a fun fact about your teacher. Here’s one to get you started: Which member of the faculty, at one point, has eaten every item on the Wendy’s dollar menu in under an hour? 

I hope you have a wonderful start to the fall semester and that you are looking forward to a bright and healthy year!

Curious about the Counseling department? St. Andrew’s has three full-time mental health counselors who offer counseling in a caring and supportive environment. If you are interested in meeting with one of the counselors, you can send an email at counseling@standrews-de.org or fill out an appointment request form here. The counselors are committed to maintaining confidentiality, serving each student holistically, and meeting each student where they are. Don't hesitate to reach out if you’d like to meet or have any questions. 
 

Blessing of the Backpacks 2022

Associate Chaplain Elizabeth Preysner and Head Chaplain Jay Hutchinson held a Blessing of the Backpacks ceremony on the Garth during the first week of school. 

Advisory Dinners 2022

Students and advisors gathered for advisory dinners on the first Sunday of school. The dinners are a tradition at St. Andrew's and a way to build community and connection on campus.

 

Gregory Gourdet ’93 holding his new cookbook.

A conversation with chef & cookbook author Gregory Gourdet ’93

Reprinted from the fall 2022 issue of the St. Andrew’s Magazine. Photo by Zach Lewis.

In our second installment of If These Walls Could Talk—in which current students interview an alumnus who previously resided in their dorm room or in their dorm—seniors Danny Huang ’22 and Hunter Melton ’22 interview acclaimed chef and cookbook author Gregory Gourdet ’93. Gregory’s restaurant Kann opened in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2022, and his first cookbook, Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, won a James Beard Foundation Book Award this June. You may know him from Top Chef; he was the runner-up on season 12 of that show, which aired in 2015, and has also competed on Top Chef: All Stars. 

Danny, Hunter, and Gregory all had the great privilege of living on Baum Corridor during their respective senior years at St. Andrew’s. They chatted over Zoom about their St. Andrew’s experiences and Gregory’s career in restaurants and his goals for the future. 

Danny: I’m curious what brought you to St. Andrew’s. What drew you here?

Gregory: My parents are from Haiti. They moved to America to pursue education, seek more opportunities, and start a family. So they always just wanted the best for us. We didn’t grow up in the worst neighborhood by any means, but we didn’t have the best schools. I was in Prep for Prep, which is a program that prepares young people of color for private school and boarding school. I got into St. Andrew’s, and it turned out to be the perfect school for me. 

Hunter: I’m trying to make a timeline in my head. We currently have the panel ceilings and the carpeted floor on Baum. Was that a thing when you were here? Because they don’t have it in Dead Poets Society. They have nice hardwood floors.

Gregory: I don’t think we had carpet… but that was 30 years ago. Our 30th Reunion is next summer. There’s 14 of us on a group chat 30 years later, guys. We talk to each other literally every day, and we mostly just talk smack and joke about high school. So this is what you have to look forward to: thirty years down the line, you’re still going to be talking about St. Andrew’s. 

Hunter: When you lived on Baum, were you in a triple, a double, a single?

Gregory: I was in a double, and I roomed with Nate Jenkins ’93—we roomed for three years together. We bonded early over an accident. I’d never played football in my entire life. It was the first day of full pads in football camp freshman year. Nate tackled me and I went down so hard I broke my leg. I had a full leg cast and was on crutches for weeks. Everyone called me Peg Leg Greg for the first few months of school. But we got through it, and we were very, very close friends. Those memories never fade. 

Hunter: What made the roommate relationship work, do you think?

Gregory: I don’t know…. We were an odd couple because he was from Goodland, Kansas, a super-small town—and I was from Queens. So we could not have been more different, but we just bonded. We ended up listening to the same music. I remember when I went to visit him in Kansas for his wedding, I saw tumbleweed for the first time. 

Hunter: Danny’s from Hong Kong and New York, and I’m from a place that’s literally called Farmville, Virginia. So we have similar differences in background.

Gregory: Yes! SAS brings us together from all over the world. 

Danny: Do you have any vivid memories of living on Baum your senior year?

Gregory: I mean… we had fun. We stayed up late. We smoked cigarettes. I don’t want to be a bad example. 

Danny: We don’t smoke cigarettes. 

Gregory: No one smokes at school? I’m confused. 

Danny: We’re good with preventing [the use of] alcohol and drugs—we hold each other accountable. The seniors set an example. 

Gregory: I love it! That’s really great. Everyone’s healthier. What’s school been like for you two? Have you enjoyed your time there?

Hunter: Yeah. I feel like the main thing about St. Andrew’s is that you get to work really hard at things you actually like to do. You find out your interests and you get really good at them. 

Gregory: Honestly, when I left St. Andrew’s, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to go to medical school—my parents worked in hospitals and it was just a classic immigrant story: “Hey, go be a doctor.” So I went to NYU and entered a pre-med program. But that was not what I wanted to do. It took me a few years, but eventually I discovered what I was supposed to do. So no pressure to figure it out right away, boys. Unless you think you have. Then that’s good. 

Danny: You ultimately majored in French, right?

Gregory: I did pre-med at NYU for one year, and then I decided I didn’t want to be in the city, and I thank St. Andrew’s for that. One of my biggest takeaways from St. Andrew’s, honestly, is my appreciation for nature and the desire to live somewhere that’s kind of rural and quiet and green. I love to be in the woods for hours and hours. I love to hike. I love visiting New York, but I’m so much happier in Portland, because it’s super-green here. 

[After my first year of college] I moved out to Montana with five of my friends from St. Andrew’s. We all went to different schools for college, and we missed each other so much that we all decided to live together for the summer, which was pure debauchery. But I ended up staying out there for school. I thought I wanted to do wildlife biology, and it was while I was in those classes that I started cooking for myself and feeding myself for the first time. You don’t do that at St. Andrew’s, and I lived at home in Queens during my freshman year at NYU. That was when I decided that this culinary stuff was something I was interested in. I mean, this was pre-TV cooking shows—cooking wasn’t as glamorized or popular or even as known. I didn’t even know what culinary school was at the time. But once I realized that was a thing you could do, I tried to graduate from Montana as quickly as possible, and I had a bunch of French credits. Then finally I went to the Culinary Institute of America. I was basically in college for seven years, with culinary school at the end of it. It all worked out. 

Danny: Were your parents supportive of you, when you decided to go into cooking? 

Gregory: My parents were extremely supportive… I literally put them through hell. I got suspended from St. Andrew’s sophomore year for a bunch of stuff that we did off campus. It was a big mess. Then I kept changing schools. They didn’t know what to do with me. They were like, “Just please graduate from something.” But they were always, always supportive. I appreciate that because it took me quite a few years to figure out who I was, and now I get to pay them back by being the person that I am and by being a better son. 

Hunter: You’ve reached an extraordinarily high level in what you love to do, and you are reaching higher still. What’s motivated you between now and when you first started out, that’s helped you bridge the gap between those two moments?

Gregory: One, I’m extremely goal-driven, and I’m very results driven as well. I think it’s important that you never compare yourself to other people, but I also think it’s extremely important to set goals for yourself. And I always do. I’m a workaholic—I’m pretty open about being in recovery, and I definitely have an addictive personality. I know I’ve replaced a lot of my behavior patterns with working. 

Two, my early mentors were all extremely successful people. My first chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, had twenty restaurants and Michelin stars and four stars from The New York Times when I was a young cook working for him. There was always a high level of excellence that I was exposed to and just always believed in. I do have an outgoing personality, and I tend to latch onto my mentors—“Hey, you have to teach me all this stuff, and I have all these questions.” It can be harder if you’re not the loudest person in the room, and you have to fight for attention. Greg Brainin is Jean-George’s main recipe developer, his right-hand man—he’s really my mentor. We were just texting today. 

Trying to get the most out of life is something I’m extremely passionate about. I always love to learn more. I love what I do so much that it keeps me up at night. And when I started cooking twenty-something years ago, I never really knew how many fields I could tap into as a chef. I never really thought I could be on cooking shows, and be teaching people how to cook, and working with the Salmon Commission and the Dungeness Crab Commission, and working with farmers to grow certain things, and helping young cooks achieve their goals and dreams. There’s so many facets of life I get to touch on. That’s the most exciting thing for me, and it keeps me extremely busy. 

Hunter: Can you talk a little bit about your cookbook? Its subtitle is “Global Recipes for Modern Health”—what do you think are the most important steps we can take toward being healthier and more sustainable in our cooking and food consumption?

Gregory: The number one thing we need to think about is that food is there for nourishment. If we can think of food as a way to source vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and all the things we need to feel good and go about our day and our lives, I think that can really help inform and inspire the way that we eat. 

For me, as someone who battered my body for many, many years, I’m a total health freak now. I eat food to fuel myself, because I work a lot, and sometimes I don’t sleep a lot. I just want to feel good, and food helps me feel good. Of course, there are the treats, the celebratory things, and so many great dishes that maybe aren’t that healthy for you, but our families make them, and it’s more about being together. Food is something that helps bring us together and be convivial and jovial and familial. So, you have to find a balance there. 

In my cookbook, I try to show that there are all these amazing foods and ingredients and recipes from all over the world that are healthful, easy to make, and delicious. With a little bit of effort, and focusing on buying the right things—lots of vegetables, well-sourced meats and fish—we can all live longer lives.  

Danny: Take me back to Jean-Georges. How do you pronounce that last name—it’s not French, is it?

Gregory: It is. He’s from Alsace, so it’s, like, French-German. It’s Von-grr-riche-tin. 

Danny: I take French here, so I was wondering how you pronounced that. I started this club called Crepes and Conversation, where we make crepes and talk in French—

Hunter: I was not invited because I don’t speak French. But I love crepes. 

Danny: Open to French students only, unfortunately. 

Hunter: I mostly just sneak into faculty houses and cook, because I really like to eat. 

Gregory: You guys cook at school? What do you like to cook?

Hunter: Sometimes you can get a teacher to let you into their kitchen. From prom, I got to make some shrimp curry. 

Danny: I make a really mean medium rare steak. And I’m also a professional instant ramen chef. 

Gregory: Oh yeah. As is anyone who goes to boarding school. 

Danny: What are some of the most important lessons you took away from cooking under Jean-Georges?

Gregory: One, it’s important to believe in yourself. Two, ask for the things that you want. And three, if you don’t get the things that you want, just really try to understand and ask what it’s going to take to get you to the next level, and work on that. 

Even though I had a lot of ups and downs—I worked there at the height of my addiction issues—I was still able to rise up through the ranks. I think one of the most important components of success in a kitchen is always showing up on time, if not a few minutes early, and working clean. Jean-Georges always said that cleaning is 50% of cooking. 

If you truly put in the work, the opportunities will come. Sometimes things don’t happen quickly, but if you’re consistent and you show up and you ask questions, I do not believe there is a glass ceiling.

Danny: How would you say the kitchen atmosphere differs from atmospheres in other workplaces? It seems like it’s more… high-stakes. 

Gregory: Historically, kitchens have been lawless spaces—the chef is drunk, he’s throwing pots and pans, and there’s no system of checks and balances. It’s gone on for quite some time. I am grateful that I didn’t have any of those experiences when I was coming up. Sometimes fine dining gets a bad rap, but I had a really wonderful experience when I worked for Jean-Georges. He’s super-chill, and I always felt supported and nurtured, even as someone coming up the ranks as a gay person of color in a very, very white space. I’m lucky. I know plenty of people just like me who have tried to succeed in these spaces, and have not been given the same opportunities.

There has very much so been a history of sexism within these spaces. Women have traditionally been unfairly treated in kitchens, and unfairly paid. There’s been abuse of employees—the expectation that you will work off the clock, for example. I think over the past five to seven years, there’s been a reckoning brewing for restaurants, and a lot of that came to a head when the world shut down. Now in restaurants and kitchens we’re talking about work-life balance and equity and mental health.

Hunter: Would you say your perspective of the kitchen changed when you were no longer working under someone, but instead, you are now at the top?

Gregory: I mean, I’ve pretty much been working for someone for my entire career, until right now. Even in my last job, I worked as the executive chef at a hotel restaurant here in Portland, and I was there for ten years. I had a lot of free range and a lot of trust with the company. But I got to the point where I decided I wanted to do my own thing, and now I’m in the driver’s seat. It’s exciting and a little scary as well. 

Hunter: What is your new restaurant going to be like, if you could describe the personality of it?

Gregory: Kann is a wood-fired Haitian restaurant. It is inspired by my Hatiian heritage and will honor the traditional recipes and ingredients and dishes of Haiti, but also honor Oregon bounty and seasonal ingredients from our farmlands, oceans, and mountains. There will be some Pan-Caribbean influences as well. When people leave the restaurant, I want them to have a clear understanding of at least a handful of traditional Haitian dishes. I want to elevate Haitian cuisine and the story that surrounds Haiti, because Haiti gets a lot of bad press, and it’s a country that has struggled quite a bit in past decades. But all my memories of living in Haiti when I was kid, or visiting there with my family when I was older, all my memories of my family in Queens—they’re all just beautiful memories with a lot of food, my mom cooking, huge lavish feasts every Sunday. Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery and also the world’s first black republic. Haitian history is so rich. These are the stories I want to tell. 

One of the coolest parts of being able to tap into my family’s culture with this restaurant is working with my parents on so many things. I’ve done pop-up dinners in Portland with my mom. I write a lot of things on my menus in Hatian Creole, and I always call my dad to ask him if the spelling is proper. It’s a pretty cool thing to have their help and their knowledge. 

But to have a great restaurant and a great business is more than just making great food or being financially successful. It’s really about the holistic being of the entire system. Are the employees happy? Is there work-life balance? Is the restaurant sustainable in terms of how it impacts the environment? Are we supporting small farms and tapping into our local resources? Are we sharing the story of the culture that’s behind the food properly? Am I sure that everyone on the team understands that I want them to advance? I don’t want them to stay in their position forever, unless that’s what they want. It is so important to me that at Kann, we have equity. We are splitting tips equally amongst all the employees. We have women in all positions of kitchen leadership. I’m actively seeking a diverse team. 

I mentioned earlier about how it is easier to succeed in restaurants if you’re the loudest person in the room. But that really shouldn’t be the system. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to get to the top, even if you’re the person who just works quietly in the corner. So I want to have plenty of conversations at Kann about making sure people understand that they can succeed. That’s how you create equity in a workspace. 

Annette Rickolt with a patient during medical mission

Health Center Director Annette Rickolt ’87 P’14,’16 travels to Ecuador on medical mission trip

Service to others is central to the St. Andrew’s experience, for both students and employees. Director of Health Services Annette Rickolt ’87 P’14,’16 has been serving and caring for students, employees, and families on campus since she took over leadership of the school’s Health Center in 2016—but last week, she got to leave campus, and the country, to serve children abroad.

Rickolt spent the second week of the school year on a medical mission trip in Ecuador; she was a member of a team that provided important surgical procedures for 38 children in that country. Some of the children, who ranged in age from 4 months to 17 years, had been waiting for more than two years for life-changing surgery to repair urological and gastrointestinal ailments.

Annette Rickolt with a patient during medical mission

Rickolt learned about the trip, organized by Healing the Children New Jersey, through her stepmother-in-law and fellow nurse JoAnn Epstein. Both Rickolt and JoAnn have worked in pediatric and adult nursing units; this was JoAnn’s seventh trip to Ecuador with Healing the Children JoAnn is also a recovery unit nurse like Rickolt. This trip was the first surgical mission undertaken by Healing the Children since the pandemic began.  

“When I learned of their need for another nurse, I knew I could help,” says Rickolt.“I’ve always wanted to do a medical mission like this.” Both her team of nurses at St. Andrew’s and the school’s leadership supported her efforts to make the trip. 

Joining her on the trip were seven physicians—three surgeons, one resident, one pediatrician, and two anesthesiologists. Supporting the surgical team were four surgical techs, four circulating room nurses, four PACU (or recovery) nurses, three certified-registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), two translators, and a small media team from Saint Peter’s University in New Jersey who are filming a documentary.

“It was inspiring to watch this dedicated surgical team work even in sometimes difficult situations. And, it was incredible to see how happy and grateful the kids and families were,” Rickolt says. “There were many times that we were choked up because of the stories and the gratitude.”

Procedures completed during the trip included surgery to repair bladder exstrophy, a congenital defect where the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall; surgery to construct a bladder; and surgery to correct urological defects and amend birth defects.

“The dedication of the team is just incredible,” says Rickolt. “There were a lot of long operations, complex cases, and the facilities were not like those you would see in the United States—parts of the clinic were outdoors and many people waited days, sleeping outside, until it was time for surgery.”

In the end, the team cared for 54 children, completing 38 surgical procedures on young patients, the oldest being 17. There were many children who needed procedures who did not get them during the team’s time there, simply because the surgeons needed to triage the cases based on complexity, time available, and urgency.

The clinic where the surgeries were performed has not had a medical team fly in to help with complex surgeries in more than two years due to the pandemic. The Healing the Children medical teams must bring their own equipment and supplies to the clinic, and pay for their own airfare and transportation. For this trip, there were more than 30 suitcases taken to Ecuador—full of electronic monitors, medical supplies, and instruments.

Prior to setting off, Rickolt reached out to faculty and staff for donations of small stuffed animals, toys, coloring books and crayons, baseball caps, and other gifts for the children awaiting surgery in Ecuador. 

Rickolt’s takeaways from the trip are twofold: the importance of being calm under pressure—something she no doubt has also learned during her time as a lead school nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic—and how important learning it is to learn a second language. While on the trip, Rickolt, who only knows a few words of Spanish, accidentally started speaking French. Even with the language barrier, the families appreciated her efforts. 

“Going on trips like this really makes you realize how lucky we are here to have advanced healthcare facilities,” Rickolt says. “It makes you want to learn more and to do more.There’s always something you can do for someone. You don’t need to be a surgeon to make a positive change. Simple kindness is enough.”

Learn more about Healing the Children New Jersey here.

 

Greg Wynne

It’s not always pretty. I don’t always do the “right” thing. But, I love people the way Jesus Christ taught us to love. That’s how I practice faith.

Chapel Talk, September 21, 2022, by Network Administrator Greg Wynne

For most of my life, I attended one church or another. I searched for something greater…but I got lost a few times.

I was born and raised Catholic in Philadelphia. When I started high school, I moved to Middletown to get away from the violence in the city. That's where I met Mindy, even though we didn’t start dating until after graduation.

For one reason or another God stopped being important to me. Reflecting back now, those were some dark years for me.

A little over two years after I married Mindy, our first daughter was born. She was two months premature and needed a lot of extra care. Mindy was also sick. The doctor told me that one of them may not come home.

While I don’t remember a lot about that day, I am sure I looked toward the sky and asked for a miracle. I was just hoping someone heard and would answer me.

A miracle did happen—they both came home.

Later, I chalked it up to some good doctoring.

However, that experience did eventually get us to go back to church. In the church’s Bible Study group, I received my first Bible. I kept the ribbon in the table of contents.

They asked if I wanted to give my heart to the Lord. I didn’t know what that meant, so I said no. I wasn’t ready.

In 2005, our second daughter, Lacy, was born.

Life moves on. Kids, family, job—it keeps us busy.

Fast forward to 2010, Mindy and I were going through a rough patch in our marriage. She reached out to a woman she knew who had an amazing faith.

The woman and her husband drove an hour-and-a-half just to speak to us about our marriage. They spoke about Jesus in a way I had never heard.

The husband, Wayne, invited me to an event that August in 2011. I encountered Jesus Christ like I never had before and my life was never the same.

The following Sunday I drove an hour-and-a-half to go to church. I met the pastor after the service and he asked me to read the Bible.

I had no idea what was happening in my heart.

I read in Joshua 24:15b: “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

This is how I practice faith. Every decision I make is weighed against this verse and I ask myself, does this serve the Lord?

I continued to practice and the years go by. I volunteered at a local Thanksgiving dinner where I met a homeless man. While serving him dinner, we really hit it off.

I worked with him for awhile and eventually helped get him back on his feet. He now has a job and apartment and is doing OK. 

In 2017, my daughter, Lacy, got a concussion in gymnastics. Three weeks later, she got another concussion. And then, one week later, another concussion.

This was a dark season in our lives. I had to hold her up some days because she had no strength and was so depressed. I had to take her for walks even though all she wanted to do was stay in her bedroom with the lights off. She had a headache every day for two years.

We went to one doctor’s appointment after another. We met with neurologists and specialists. Nothing helped.

We traveled to a youth conference in South Africa where a pastor prayed over her in the name of Jesus. Instantly, her headaches were gone.

I can’t explain it other than to say it was the power of Jesus.

We did an outreach event in Capitol Green, a government-supported housing center in Dover. Here we formed relationships with some kids who started to come to our church.

There was a young man, Nyicere, who came to church. He started causing problems because he liked to fight. I kept thinking that I had to do something because this kid kept beating other kids up. I am running a good place here, I can’t have fighting.

I decided I would talk to him and give him two options—stop fighting or don’t come back.

I drove to his aunt's house where he was living with this ultimatum in mind. However, on the way there, I started to wonder if this was what it meant to practice faith. Here I was telling a young man not to come to church. I felt a sudden conviction to change my approach.

This kid was hurting and I could not shut him out. I needed to approach him with love. Instead of telling him to change, I changed. I started to love him in the way I’m called to love—through my faith.

As time went on, we started feeding more families and working with them to understand their needs.

Before the pandemic, I brought a few kids here to take a tour of St. Andrew’s. They had never seen a gym so big—they didn’t know what to do in there. 

We started an adopt-a-family program to provide Christmas gifts to several families. For one family, we purchased six bikes. However, it turned out that they needed seven bikes. We looked around and found a bike in stock at Target, so we bought it and delivered it within 30 minutes so that each member of the family could have a new bike.

So, how do I practice faith? I get involved.

I taught three kids how to drive. I taught several people how to swim.

It’s not always pretty. I don’t always do the “right” thing. But, I love people the way Jesus Christ taught us to love. That’s how I practice faith.

 

Square Dance 2022

The students had so much fun at the annual Square Dance on the Front Lawn. Enjoy some photos from the event during the opening of school.