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

The Front Lawn

AK White

Magazine Editor & Advancement Writer AK White gave this talk on Wednesday, April 3. 

This is a story about a box.
 
This box is not metaphorical. It existed in the attic of my childhood home, settled on the floor above my bedroom ceiling. Each night before I’d fall asleep, I’d trace the outline of the glow-in-the-dark stars and crescent moons I’d stuck on that very ceiling, not realizing I was charting an astronomer’s path to a hidden planet orbiting above, a planet that held a secret that would shift the ground beneath me, create a zero-gravity tailspin, and cast me, untethered, into deep, deep, space.
 
But before we get to the box and the hushed history that it contained, here’s what I did know, what I always knew, which is that I am adopted. 

I spent almost the first year of my life in foster homes. I’ve seen photos of myself from then: a kid with a smudged, dirty face; a woeful haircut; wearing red corduroy pants with knee patches and a brown crewneck sweatshirt; standing in an unfamiliar kitchen. The blur of a hand hovered just above my shoulder, as if the person to whom this hand was connected was hesitant in deciding to touch me or not. I remember holding this photo and asking my mother—and by “mother” I mean the woman who adopted me, who is unequivocally my mom—“Why did you dress me like that? Why do I look dirty?” She said, “That was them, that was before.” I wondered who “they” were, these people in the before times with the bad taste in haircuts, these people who didn’t wash my face, these people with hands that didn’t quite know how to reach me.
 
Weeks before my first birthday, I was adopted. I remember nothing of this besides the always knowing that I came from somewhere else.
 
When I was 16, my parents told me if I wanted to search for my birth mother, they’d help. I said no, even though I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything.
 
Around this time, I found the box. 

Sent into the attic to bring down Christmas décor, I was poking around my mother’s vintage clothes as a diversion tactic when I found it, hidden by a fur coat that once belonged to one great aunt or another. As I lifted the lid, I saw a paper with the embossed seal of the Delaware Children’s Bureau. I think I stopped breathing, knowing what I had discovered. My heart pounding so loud I feared it would splinter the roof, I grabbed the box, snuck down the attic stairs, and locked myself in the bathroom.
 
I’d imagined my birth mother a thousand times. If a woman who bore even the slightest resemblance to me crossed my path, I’d think, ‘What if?’ I’d wonder of my birth mother, ‘Does she hate onions? Does she love baseball? Does she read good books? Is she, too, appallingly bad at math?’ My biological father, however, loomed out of focus. I didn’t think about him. Now he’s all I think about.
 
The first document I pulled from the box, issued from the State of Delaware, had less than 10 words. “Child’s Race,” it read; underneath the state recorded, “Half Caucasian, Half Hispanic.”
 
I read this sentence again and again, trying to make sense of it. The walls closed in and my chest constricted. My knees felt jointless as I slid down the wall. I didn’t have the words for ‘panic attack’ then, but that’s what was happening.
 
I thought, ‘This is impossible. This is wrong.’ How could such foundational, life-changing information have been here, all along, and no one told me? How could this be real?
 
The next document was a human inventory: heights, weights, occupations, education levels and, most curious, skin-tone ranges for my biological father and his family. They all had medium brown to dark brown skin, brown eyes, brown hair. They were average height and weight. They were, for generations, farmers in a village on the central western coast of Puerto Rico. 

Another document described my biological father’s temperament: he was smart, seemed concerned about the child’s welfare, had great command of English, met the child’s mother on a trip. The more I read, the more I spiraled.
 
I hid everything under my mattress in an envelope. Every time I’ve moved—to college, to grad school, into my first, second, and current home—I have done the same thing. Talk about an unhealthy coping mechanism. I dug the envelope out in preparation for this talk, and was astounded at how quickly I was back in that bathroom, struggling to breathe. 
 
After the box, I sat with this knowledge for days, until I confronted a rage I’d never tasted before. I wasn’t angry for the obvious reasons you might think—because this was hidden from me. I was enraged because finally—finally—I had discovered one of my core factory settings, and yet … I was unmarked, untouched. It was not written on me. I could not see it in any mirror. I could not feel it in my blood. I could not claim it. I remained unmoored. 
 
I ignored the box for years until, as it happens, a former St. Andrean inspired me to reckon with all of this.
 
I met Giselle Furlonge, a previous dean of diversity, through a local mom’s group in 2018, years before I’d work here. We chatted about babies, books, and somehow, we got to the topic of an ancestry.com DNA test she recently took. I told her, in bits and pieces, why I’d always wanted to take a test but hadn’t found the courage. This woman showed up at my house weeks later with a DNA test. She said she felt compelled to give me this gift. I will never forget her radical kindness.
 
The test results sent me on an ongoing journey. Through Ancestry.com’s “family tree” function, in which the site matches your genetic results with other users’ results to help you find blood relatives, I’ve connected with various cousins in Puerto Rico. I check in regularly with one, Valentina. She’s my age, and she is obsessed with my paternal mystery. In between her island sleuthing, she shares interesting details about our shared bloodline.

I still don’t feel that I can claim this identity, or that I understand what it means, but I continue to work through it by nurturing these relationships I’ve established, asking questions, and listening. Valentina tells me no one in the family has figured out who my father is, and that’s okay, as I’ve finally realized this was never about finding him, but about finding me. 
 
Eight years ago, my husband, Marty, and I welcomed a daughter named Zora, who requires no secret documents to find out who she is. Zora is more self-assured and rooted in herself at 8 than I will ever be. 

But there are moments for her, as the child of a white and Hispanic mother and a Black father, that increasingly require me to never again hide that envelope, and instead, to process it out loud so I can help her navigate her own biracial identity.
 
Zora loves her brown skin but struggles with her kinky hair. Little does she know her curls anchor me to this planet, to this life, to all that is wondrous and good and magical. In those moments when she wishes for hair that moves like mine, or that is straight like mine, we tell the story of her hair.
 
It’s a story of her father, of me.
 
It’s the story of a mother and father I’ll never know.
 
It's the story of the grandparents she knows.
 
It’s the story of the grandparents she will never meet. 
 
It’s the story of the unfinished history of all of us. 
 
But most importantly, it’s a story that will never be confined to a box in the dark. Zora’s story will live perpetually in the golden light, and she will make me brave enough to do the same.
 

The 2024 McLean Science Lecture Competition

Students presented independent research on astrophysics, AI, alternative medicine, and sustainable farming at this science communication competition. 

As a student in Science Department Chair Dr. Ashley Hyde’s astronomy class, Daisy Wang ’25 first became interested in gravitational lensing to detect distant exoplanets. 

“I found that really interesting so I always wanted to learn more about it,” said Wang.

The McLean Science Lecture Competition exists so students can do precisely that: learn more about the science that inspires them. Wang, along with a handful of other budding scientists at St. Andrew’s, entered this year’s competition to explore a complex topic at length and present it in the fashion of a TED Talk. Out of the students who auditioned in the first round of the competition, four students—Wang, Amanda Meng ’25, Ashley McIntosh ’25, and Lindy Black ’25—were selected for the final round of the competition which took place on Friday, March 22 in Engelhard. There, they presented their findings to students and faculty in attendance. 

A panel of science faculty, as well as 2023 finalist Zachary Macalintal ’24, served as this year’s judging panel, which selected one of the students as the overall winner of the competition. Hyde announced at a March 28 school meeting that Wang won this year’s competition. Read about the finalists’ selected topics below:

Daisy Wang ’25, “Einstein Ring: Gravitational Lensing of Distant Celestial Objects”

Daisy Wang ’25

In her presentation, Wang explained how gravity can distort and magnify light. She focused on how this distortion of light can form an Einstein Ring, a phenomenon in which a ring of light can be observed when a light source passes by a massive object en route to Earth. To fully break down the Einstein Ring, Wang explored Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the history of the Einstein Ring, and the different types of gravitational lensing. 

She asserted that the Einstein Ring and other types of gravitational lensing are more than just an interesting observation—they allow scientists to discover more about the universe. She explained that gravitational lensing helps scientists detect distant exoplanets, understand the early universe and the structure and distribution of dark matter, and learn more about the light sources themselves. 

“Because of the magnification effect [of gravitational lensing, it] can help us detect things that we cannot otherwise detect using the technology we have right now,” said Wang. 

Wang says she was honored to be selected as this year’s winner because of just how strong all of the finalists’ talks were. 

“Before the actual talk I was really nervous, but when I actually got on stage, it felt natural,” says Wang. “Going into the competition, I wasn’t really thinking about winning. I just wanted to do my best to present [my research].”

Amanda Meng ’25, “Hey Siri, When Will I Die?: Using Live Events and Machine Learning to Predict Mortality and Extraversion”

Amanda Meng ’25

Do you find AI scary? Do you have a basic understanding of AI?

Meng posed these questions to the student body as she delivered her science lecture.

“I think a lot of our fear comes from our misunderstanding of this technology,” said Meng. “I hope my talk today serves as an interesting way for us to know and interact with the fundamentals of computer science and machine learning. And through this, we’re able to better recognize and reexamine our relationship with technology and machine learning around us.”

Then, Meng ripped her index cards in half. She said she didn’t fully write the introduction herself, but she did with the assistance of ChatGPT, a generative AI chatbot. 

“That just [goes] to show how powerful machine learning models today have become,” she said. “And that this is a topic [that is] more relevant than ever.”

In Meng’s lecture, she went beyond a surface-level discussion of AI and dove deep into applications of AI that can help us learn more about ourselves. 

Meng broke down the definitions of AI, machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. She used these concepts as the building blocks to discuss the focus of her presentation: Life2Vec, an AI model that attempts to predict human mortality. Meng explained how scientists collected millions of “life sequences” in order to identify the factors that influence mortality and to make predictions about when people might die. She extended the conversation about Life2Vec into other applications of the model, which includes predicting the sociability of a person based on the same life sequences. 

“Now, can we actually predict when we die?” asked Meng. “Technically, no. Because each of our lives are so unique that we encounter so many individual circumstances, we don’t really know what happens to us tomorrow or the day after. And as a result of our uniqueness, the machine is actually not able to produce an estimate on one certain individual. However, because of the good and vast amount of data the machine has been trained on, we’re actually really good at predicting data and mortality on a bunch of people.”

Ashley McIntosh ’25, “Alternative Medicine: How Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Can Mitigate the Use of Opioids”

Ashley McIntosh ’25

Like Meng, fellow presenter McIntosh did not shy away from serious topics, with McIntosh’s presentation exploring a potential treatment for those addicted to opioids. 

“Coming from the inner cities of New York, it is not uncommon to see pill bottles and needles and other remnants of addictive medicines lying on the sides of the road,” said McIntosh.

In her presentation, McIntosh defined what opioids are, how they work in the brain, and their addictive nature. She then introduced TENS, a medical device which generates electrical currents to nerve pathways in order to alleviate pain. 

She thoroughly discussed the neurobiological mechanisms behind TENS, yet also focused on the clinical practice and application of TENS and the future and viability of it as a potential long-term solution to opioid addiction. 

“[TENS] is still subject to ongoing research, clinical implementation, and healthcare policy considerations,” said McIntosh. 

Lindy Black ’25, “Mother Nature’s Solution to Climate Change: The Key to Reversing Post Industrial Revolution Burning of Fossil Fuels”

Lindy Black ’25

In the final presentation of the night, Black tackled what she called “Mother Nature’s solution to climate change”: cover crops. But before she got there, she helped the audience understand the science behind climate change and the dilemma of Taylor Swift superfans: loving her music, but not the massive amounts of carbon emissions caused by the star’s travel. 

Black’s upbringing growing up on a tree farm inspired her to research this topic. 

“The topic of plants and trees and the innovation and the experimentation that’s happening in that field … [comes up] at the dinner table every night,” said Black. 

She defined the greenhouse effect and its impact on the planet and how that relates to the carbon cycle. Cover crops, she explained, help offset carbon emissions by increasing the percentage of soil organic matter in soil, which stores carbon in the ground. These crops are planted in the offseason of cash crops. Black notes that they do not only store carbon in their roots, the soil, and their stems and leaves, but they replenish the soil with nutrients and help to prevent wind and water erosion. 

Black argued that we can all play a part in mitigating the effects of climate change by planting cover crops in our own backyards and educating people about and advocating for this type of sustainable farming.

“All you have to do is look up the word ‘cover crops' and all of the sudden, you’ll have products popping up for you to buy and for you to plant in your backyard so you can take part in the reversal of the warming of the planet,” said Black. 

Watch the full video of the McLean Science Lecture Competition here.
 

On Mentors and Timelessness

Classics Department Chair Phil Walsh gave this talk on Wednesday, March 20. 

For Dave DeSalvo, my mentor at St. Andrew’s; and for the late John Higgins, math teacher at St.  Andrew’s from 1980 to 2012, and Rev. DeSalvo’s mentor once upon a time 

From time to time, folks ask me what my favorite Latin word is. Some of them may know a little Latin, so they expect me to say semper or fortasse or celeriter. All are fabulous adverbs, and in fact my favorite word is also an adverb, but it is underappreciated when compared with semper (always), fortasse (perhaps), and celeriter (quickly). My favorite is one of Latin’s little words – just three letters long – but it’s one of the most powerful and profound words I know. My favorite Latin word is iam – spelled I-A-M. 

I’ve studied ancient languages for a long time, and I have yet to encounter a word that’s so small yet so mighty, so meaningful, so multitudinous. Iam, you see, has a superpower; it’s a word that can transcend time. What I mean by this is that used with a present tense verb, iam means “now, at this very time” (I am talking now). With a past tense verb, iam means “already, a while ago” (I was already talking). With a future tense verb, iam means “then” (after I stand, I will then talk). These are the rules of Latin grammar, and iam – unlike any other little word that  I know – defies human constructions of time and exists in a lofty, ethereal timelessness. Henri Matisse channels the power of iam in The Red Studio (1911), which you will find on the back of tonight’s bulletin. The painting is an experiment in color, perspective, and dimensionality, but it is also a meditation on the creative process. If you look carefully, in a room full of canvases, sculptures, and furniture, Matisse places in the middle of things a grandfather clock with no hands.  

To create art, then, is to escape time, and as a humanist, I’m always thinking about past and present, impermanence and eternity, memory and self-knowledge. This year I’ve been teaching a lot of books that explore these themes: in English 4, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener,” and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. In Latin, my juniors and seniors are reading Vergil’s Aeneid, and we’ve recently emerged from the labyrinthine  Underworld, where all notions of past, present, and future collapse. In my history class on  ancient Athens, we’ve been considering the project of history as Thucydides writes a narrative not “to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.”1 And, of course, all of us have given time to this chapel space, where, for nearly one hundred years, the rituals of worship and wonder, of service and spirit, of πίστις καὶ ἐπιστήμη (faith and learning), have begun, ended, and then begun again. 

However, the initial logic of this talk took shape on Thursday, October 19th, 2023, the Thursday before Parents Weekend, when I left my home of eight years, St. Andrew’s, to travel back home to Providence, Rhode Island, where I lived for six years. The occasion was a retirement celebration for Professor Arnold Weinstein, who taught comparative literature at  Brown University for fifty-four academic years.2 Arnold is one of my great mentors. I served as his teaching assistant for six semesters, and I watched him lecture to hundreds of undergraduate students, inspiring them to read and appreciate some of the most challenging and fascinating texts in world literature. A brilliant and eloquent communicator, Arnold had the rare gift of engaging the familiar in new ways while making the unfamiliar accessible and exciting. He was also a exemplary teacher. Every week, he would meet with us, his teaching assistants, and in these dialogic sessions, we pressed him to elaborate on his ideas, while he solicited our views. Arnold modeled interdisciplinary thinking, showed us the significance of synthesis, and encouraged us to be unafraid of improvisation. This last point, it seems to me, is an essential component of great teaching, and I am grateful to Arnold for having the chance to develop it in his classes.

So it was my pleasure to drive to Providence on Thursday afternoon, spend Friday at Brown, attend Arnold’s celebration, and then drive back to Delaware in the middle of the night in order to make my first conference at 8:30 on Saturday morning. It was a dizzying, emotional odyssey, and one that has stuck with me ever since. On Friday morning I arrived at Brown to have breakfast with one of my buddies from graduate school, Derek. After we parted ways, I was walking up the street when, to my surprise, someone shouted, “Dr. Walsh!” I spied Gavin Green ’22, one of my former Latin students, who rushed over to say hello. We had a joyful conversation: he told me about Division I rowing and life as a college sophomore. I then went to have lunch with Will Vogel ’22, and we talked about politics, history, artificial intelligence, Sigmund Freud, and Greek tragedy.

By that point the word on the street was that I was on College Hill, and the direct messages started arriving. I met up with Albert Sung ’23, and I listened as he explained linear algebra to me and needing to work really hard to keep up with talented peers. I reminded Albert that he himself is an incredibly hard-working, talented young person, and I encouraged  him to trust his instincts and the learning process. William Yu ’22 was next. We connected and walked up Thayer St., where we bumped into Zach Atalay ’23. Then Andrew Park ’21 messaged to say hello, but by that point I needed to get dinner with Derek and some other old friends.

Long story short, I was visiting Brown to celebrate my dear mentor. I was joined by several peers, a few of whom I hadn’t seen in many years. We spent quality time with Arnold and chatted with other professors and staff. I was gratified to see so many of my former St. Andrew’s students, who were very eager to greet me. However, in the days following, I was struck by waves of sweet-bitter nostalgia and twinges of sadness. I kept thinking about a philosophical fragment attested to Herakleitos: “The river which we stepped into is not the river  in which we stand.”3 Brown, my beloved home, is the same, and yet it is not. Arnold and my old friends are the same people, but they are not. Those St. Andrew’s alumni march on, but they too are different from when they sat in the very pews you’re sitting in right now. I myself am the same person who graduated from Brown in 2008, and I’m not. But instead of wallowing in existential indeterminacy, I’m filled with great joy and optimism because these folks are a part  of me; and I, of them. When I was young professor, I used to joke that whenever I was in a classroom, Arnold’s voice was always in my head. I still use that line from time to time, and as I’ve gotten older, my intention is less to elicit a laugh and more to tell a story of a wise mentor to  whom I am forever fused.

That, I think, is the magnitude of mentorship. One of the insights I gained during my trip to Brown was how dynamic and lasting the relationship between a mentor and mentee is. Mentors teach, advise, coach, and minister; mentees watch, listen, reflect, and learn. At some point the mentee is ready to strike out into the world, or the mentor moves on. Perhaps they are no longer physically proximate, but a timeless bond is established. Arnold, in his most recent book, describes this idea as a “living chain”: for him, that chain includes a high school English teacher, a professor at Princeton, his students, and even the books that he teaches.I’m a part of that chain and so are many folks in this space like Rev. DeSalvo, whose loving spirit always brings me peace and purpose. That chain also includes my students – past, present, and future – who understand the transformative power of words and ideas.

This chain of teaching and learning ensures that Arnold’s voice will continue. It also  ensures that my voice will carry forward, rippling through and echoing back in the years to  come as my students, friends, and colleagues go out into the world and make the change they want to see. They are a part of me; and I, of them, and at this point I should reveal that iam has another superpower – this one hidden in plain sight. Yes, iam is iam (now, already, then), but iam is also “I am”: the English first person singular, a muscular declaration of presence, a miraculous exclamation of existence, a defiant vow of being. “I am,” of course, is inextricably linked to what is past and what is to come: “I was” and “I will be.” In life and in literature, we become “I am” not through an intense focus on ourselves, but through our relationships with others: the communities that we create, the mentors that we seek out, the families that we cherish, and the real and fictional worlds that we explore. In other words, we become “I am” by acknowledging and exalting the influence of others. I am not the center the universe. I am not, as Macbeth once soliloquized, a “poor player, / that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more.”I am because of those in my life who were, who are, and who will be. 

I want to close this talk tonight by asking for your full presence, your complete nowness. This aspect of iam is the most challenging for me, and, I imagine, for most of you. It’s so easy for our minds to be distracted: to go back to last week, last month, last year; or to flash forward to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. We can achieve presence, however, by working  together. If we think hard for the next two minutes, the hands of the grandfather clock will disappear, and we will be iam . . .

On August 31st, 2019, the Saturday before the opening of school, Rev. DeSalvo sent me a quick email of good luck. I’ve modified it slightly to suit this occasion, but the message is intact:

So here it is, the first Wednesday night chapel of the spring. I can feel the blood coursing in your veins, the anticipation, the joy. I can feel the hesitation, the anxiety, the second guessing about the spring ahead and how well-prepared (or not) you are for the challenges you are about to face. My mentor, the late John Higgins, used to write me little  notes at this time of year . . . He would write, “Remember, St. Andrew's is a high school.” He was not putting the school down, but was doing what he could to raise me up, to build my confidence . . . [that] I would be fine. It was a word he used a lot, and not lightly: “fine.”

So as we move into the spring, let us remember that St. Andrew’s is a high school. Ninth graders, you are ready to stretch yourselves as learners, athletes, artists, and ambassadors of the school. We wish you hard things because we believe in your courage, integrity, and excellence. Tenth graders, we eagerly anticipate hearing your chapel talks. Leven us with your signature wisdom, dignity, and ideas. Eleventh graders, this is the time to become who you already are: motivated, serious, and compassionate servant-leaders. You will soon be the keepers of the castle. Twelfth graders, we’ve seen your love of St. Andrew’s in the classroom, in the dining  hall, on dorm, and on the playing fields. You’ve cultivated the old flame of ethos, and you’ve earned our admiration. We are nearing the end of the race. Continue to work, compete, create,  and inspire . . . This spring is going to be awesome. All of you will be fine . . . Thank you.


1Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War 1.22 (translated by Richard Crawley): “In fine, I have written my  work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.” 

2https://www.browndailyherald.com/article/2023/10/elegant-suave-sophisticated-professor-arnold-weinstein retires-after-54-years-at-brown

3Herakleitos, 7 Greeks, trans. Guy Davenport. New York: New Directions, 1995, 169.

4Arnold Weinstein, The Lives of Literature: Reading, Teaching, Knowing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022, 315-6.

5Shakespeare, Macbeth V.5 (text here).

 

Photo credit: Avi Gold

Bill McClements

Meet Bill McClements ’81 P’12, St. Andrew’s new chief financial officer

The St. Andrew’s community is excited to welcome Bill McClements ’81 P’12 as our new chief financial officer (CFO), effective May 20. McClements brings decades of experience in business leadership and nonprofit management, as well as the invaluable perspective of a St. Andrew’s alumnus and alumni parent who has seen the impact of the St. Andrew’s mission on himself and on his family. 

McClements first experienced life at St. Andrew’s as a V Former, a daunting yet rewarding task. 

“In some respects, I kind of jumped onto a moving train because the culture and the class was already pretty well set,” says McClements. He transferred to St. Andrew’s after being lured by the academically rigorous St. Andrew’s curriculum, and he says his two years at St. Andrew’s lived up to his expectation and prepared and polished him for academic scholarship on the university level. 

Inspired by the transformative Socratic seminars he experienced in former Academic Dean and History Department Chair Bob Stegeman’s history classes, McClements pursued a history degree at Williams College. After graduating, he went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School. From there, he spent the first 20 years of his career at Monitor Group, a global strategy consulting firm where he held a variety of positions, including chief operating officer (COO). 

“It was really a remarkable run,” he says. “We built a tremendous culture around commitment to clients, commitment to doing good things for society, and commitment to building relationships with people that are respectful and transparent and willing to push each other constructively.”

From there, he found a new opportunity to work for a growing biotech company, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in developing cancer treatment drugs. After six years with Merrimack, McClements began his tenure as CFO/COO of Partner Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company which aims to improve the lives of patients with cancer and other serious diseases. 

McClements says that not only will his commitment to the people side and the financial side of business serve as an asset to St. Andrew’s, but so, too, will his wealth of knowledge about how to tailor that approach to the nonprofit sector. His experience with nonprofits includes his work with City Year, a nonprofit that places AmeriCorps members in schools to support student educational success. McClements saw both sides of that nonprofit—in business school, he served as an AmeriCorps member, and after he earned his MBA, he provided the organization with pro bono consulting work. He’s also helped inspire social change through nonprofit work as a board member for uAspire, an organization that supports high school students in their pursuit of higher education.

“My parents instilled in me that education is the most important tool society has to ensure justice and equity,” he says. “The unifying thread through all that I’ve done has been programs that are focused on helping young people navigate their way into society and through educational opportunities effectively.”

Due to his years-long commitment to driving student success, McClements had an inkling that at some point, he would pursue a job solely in the nonprofit education sector. It was a “fascinating route of serendipity” in which McClements’ personal networks overlapped with that of Head of School Joy McGrath ’92, thus allowing him to discover a role at St. Andrew’s that would fulfill exactly his desire to make important change. 

“I read this job description and it spoke to me on pretty much every level,” says McClements. “I felt like what Joy and the team are looking for is somebody to really deeply engage in the community and become a part of it and to provide sound operational and financial leadership across the institution, but also to help guide and build St. Andrew’s through the next decade or more.”

A key tenet of his business leadership will be his commitment to building and supporting teams at St. Andrew’s. By doing so, he says, St. Andrew’s can continue to further its purpose of providing the best possible learning environment for its students. Stating the core goals of his work as CFO, he echoes St. Andrew’s mission of ensuring the diversity of the student body, providing revolutionary financial aid, and promoting environmental sustainability.

McClements will also engage in the essential St. Andrew’s life: he will live on campus, perform dorm and weekend duty, work with an advisory group, and more. 

“That’s a big part of what excited me about the opportunity,” he says. “This would be a chance to really be connected to a wonderful group of people.”

He says that the perspective he gained from watching daughter Annie (McClements) Montgomery ’12 go through St. Andrew’s allows him to understand what it means to be a Saint today. In her time at SAS, he witnessed a culture of genuine kindness along with high academic standards, each made possible with the hiring of talented, devoted faculty. 

“Having seen [the impact of St. Andrew’s] with my own eyes, it gives me a real focus on what I want to accomplish and help the team accomplish,” he says. “[St. Andrew’s students] are just terrific people who are really striving to do great things, and there’s nothing better than helping that kind of person do those kinds of things.”
 

Beth Halsted speaking at the Hooper Conference

This year’s Hooper Conference highlighted the fight for disability rights

In developing the theme of this year’s Thomas H. Hooper III ’71 Conference on Equity & Justice, a few things came together for Dean of Inclusion & Belonging Dr. Danica Tisdale Fisher. She remembered watching the documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, a 2020 documentary that explores the history of the disability rights movement, and feeling touched by the sense of interconnectedness that exists between various campaigns for civil and human rights. She also reflected on conversations she had with Grace Anne Doyle ’25, a consistent voice on campus who educates the school community about issues of access and disability.

“I was inspired to use the Hooper Conference to lift up this topic for our community to consider,” Fisher says.

Titled “Access, Advocacy, and the Fight for Disability Rights,” the conference was held March 1-3 and organized by Fisher, the Student Diversity Committee (SDC), and Doyle.

At the conference, disability rights advocates Beth Halsted ’77, Jenny Kern ’83, and Athletics Aide Mike Rivera P’23,’26 told their personal stories of resilience and the work they’ve done in the struggle for equal access. 

Halsted opened up the conference in a Friday morning chapel talk speaking to her athletic experiences at St. Andrew’s. One of the first girls to attend the school, she played field hockey until a knee injury took her out of play. However, this injury presented her with a new opportunity: to assist close friend Tripper Showell ’75 in the training room, which she ended up doing every following fall and winter of her time at SAS. She recovered from the injury enough to forge what would become a lifelong passion for rowing. The same knee injury sidelined her in her VI Form year, leading her to take on a coaching position for the second boat. 

It was her days in the training room, however, that proved more useful than she could have ever imagined. 

“I found myself a decade later, trapped in a wrecked car on a dark country road, needing every bit of that accumulated knowledge, composure, and skill to stay alive for the six hours it took to be found,” Halsted told students. She knew that her neck was broken, and she also knew that falling asleep would put her in danger. “Tripper’s instruction about spinal injury, concussion, shock, and its treatment revisited me that night as I tasked myself to remain alert through the many hours before sunrise.” 

In the months following the accident, she had to relearn everything she knew about her body, and re-negotiate her relationship with crew. She loved the sport so much that she couldn’t bear the idea of getting back in the boat in a modified way. But her St. Andrew’s community, who remained in her corner, knew to challenge her. 

“I would have never gotten back in a crew shell had I not been contacted by the very same handful of boys who encouraged me to get on the water in the spring of 1974,” she said. 

With her former classmates, they built a rowing club of alumni oarsmen in Wilmington, Delaware, with her in the cox seat. 

“As challenges presented themselves, they would be conquered,” she said. “Every practice, once they put the boat in the water, one of them would scoop me up and put me in the boat … Being back on the water with those guys and finding a way I could be involved with a sport I loved felt like freedom, and I will be forever grateful. They just knew what I needed and they refused to allow any barriers to that experience.” 

Beth Halstead presentation

The discussion about overcoming barriers to access continued that evening, with an all-school screening of the documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. The documentary tells the story of Camp Jened, a camp where teenagers with disabilities explored a future not marked by isolation, discrimination, and institutionalization, but by full inclusion and liberation. The documentary follows the activists who migrated from Camp Jened to Berkeley, California, and fought for disability justice. 

Doyle, along with the SDC, spearheaded group discussions following the documentary screening in Engelhard. The V former says that watching the documentary was an eye-opening experience for her and her peers. 

“Last year and this year, I’ve given speeches at School Meeting to explain my experience with disability and what I ask from people around me,” she says. “But I think with this conference … I wanted people to understand that sharing my experience is my experience. And every single person with a disability has different things that they can and can’t do, and their experience and feelings toward their disability are going to be different.”

Doyle says the documentary showed numerous perspectives and identities of people who live with all types of disabilities. 

“That was really good, because there’s a small number of people at St. Andrew’s that live with physical or cognitive disabilities, whether they’re visible or invisible,” Doyle says. “The documentary was an opportunity for people to hear a lot of different perspectives.”

Kern is an expert on the history of the Disability Rights Movement that Crip Camp documents because she was part of making that history happen. In a live virtual talk and Q&A with Kern the following morning, the school community furthered the conversation about the evolution of disability rights. 

Kern’s journey with disability began in the mid ’80s when she sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident soon after she entered college. 

“That May day, I entered a new world about which I knew practically nothing,” she said. “But I knew myself and that despite the many losses, I was intact in the most fundamental of ways.” Like Halsted, she cited the love and support of her friends and family, including her St. Andrew’s community, who sustained her during a difficult time. 

Kern’s experience with disability led her to advocacy. After transferring to Barnard College after the injury, she joined a school committee aimed at increasing access for students with disabilities. She learned how to be creative, how to ask friends for help, and she integrated her experience of being a person who uses a wheelchair into her identity. 

Since, Kern has done and seen it all. She briefly returned to St. Andrew’s to coach crew and teach before traveling to Berkeley to volunteer and campaign for disability rights. She went to law school and practiced public interest law, before founding Inclusive Cycling International to increase access to adaptive cycling. Internationally, she also advocates for access to wheelchairs and organizes conferences on disability.

“What events or places or causes will be your Camp Jened?” Kern asked students. “What in your life will bring together the parts of yourself that you love, and maybe you’ve been taught to be ashamed of? Where is the place and who are the people that you risk turning toward to be your truest self and to perhaps create something bigger than yourself?”

Jenny Kern presentation

The story of Kern’s extensive career elicited numerous questions from the student moderators—Doyle, Zachary Macalintal ’24, and Ashley McIntosh ’25—and the audience. Among questions about her perspective on Crip Camp and her experiences with adaptive sports, Saints looked to Kern for advice on what they can do to identify the “new frontier” for disability activism and be activists and allies themselves.

The conference concluded Sunday evening with a presentation from Rivera. Rivera, who is deaf, had two goals: to educate students on the fight for deaf rights today and on 1988’s Deaf President Now student protest at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., as well as to expand the community’s understanding of Deaf culture. 

“As I interact with students daily in the athletics department, it was a great opportunity to share some basic tips for engaging and communicating with deaf people,” Rivera writes. 

He shared his background, including the barriers and language deprivation he experienced as a child, and his experience going to boarding school. When he learned American Sign Language (ASL), his “world opened.”

Fast forward to his time at Gallaudet, a university designed to educate deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Rivera and fellow students at Gallaudet came together with a shared cause: to demand that the school’s board of trustees appoint a deaf president instead of the hearing candidate they chose to lead the university. Students shut the doors of their buildings, they marched, and they campaigned under the banner of “Deaf President Now” until the leaders of the university took notice, finally appointing a deaf president instead.

Rivera asserted that the battle for deaf rights is not over, citing a need for open-captioned movies at theaters among other challenges.

He also provided tips for the community to communicate better with him and other deaf and hard-of-hearing people: make eye-contact when speaking, write or text to communicate, and learn basic phrases in ASL. 

“I want students to be aware of the Deaf community, American Sign Language, and our fight against isolation and the need for access everyday,” Rivera shares. 

He adds that he was touched to see how many students attended his presentation and engaged with him with excitement, energy, and thoughtful questions. 

“You can see the importance of the event by the way the students interacted with me before the weekend and again after the conference,” Rivera notes. “Everyone internalized my message and are much more willing to engage with me and ask questions about my culture, my language, and my experience.”

Mike Rivera presentation

Fisher says that she was thoroughly impressed by the “intellectual curiosity” of both the student organizers of the conference and the student body as they explored disability rights history and these personal experiences during the conference. 

“For some, this was the first time that they had thought critically about disability issues or even considered the history of the disability rights movement, so in many ways this conference provided a new lens through which to think about equity and inclusion that some had not imagined before,” says Fisher. 

While the conference may be over, Fisher says the campus conversation about access and ability is just getting started. 

“From what we’ve learned about our community through our guest presenters, SAS has come a long way in terms of its physical accessibility for all of us who live and learn on this campus, and in terms of ensuring accommodations are met in our classrooms,” she says. “While we applaud where we’ve progressed, it is always important to think about ways that we can strive to be more inclusive and accessible. I think the conference sparked some of those conversations and encouraged our students to take inventory of our spaces and our culture to find new ways to advance belongingness and equity at St. Andrew’s.”

Students at Mike Rivera presentation


 

The Neave Trio

The Neave Trio’s Haroldson Masterclass Concert opens new ways of playing for students

On Feb. 9, Engelhard Hall was brimming with the rich sounds of the piano, violin, and cello, as the musicians of the Neave Trio moved in sync with the ups and downs of their arrangements. Pianist Eri Nakamura’s fingers danced on top of the piano as she played fast and light, and violinist Anna William perked up in rhythm with the staccato notes she played. 

The passion and skill of the Neave Trio, a piano trio which champions the new and old of classical music, were on clear display at St. Andrew’s annual Haroldson Masterclass Concert. In addition to the all-school concert in Engelhard on a Friday evening, the trio conducted masterclasses with many of our talented music students on campus that afternoon. 

Director of Instrumental Music Dr. Fred Geiersbach said he has been following the “buzz” around this trio for a while—the trio’s 2022 album Musical Remembrances was nominated for a GRAMMY, and the musicians have given notable performances at Harvard University, Kaatsbaan, the Rockport Celtic Festival, and at other venues across the world. 

Geiersbach was particularly impressed with just how well the trio was able to impart their musical expertise to students in the masterclasses.

“They got right to the heart of each student’s technical limitations and helped them unlock better sound production,” Geiersbach said. 

Violinist Gabe Day-O’Connell ’24 took a masterclass with Williams, the Neave Trio’s violinist. 

“I was able to work with her for about 45 minutes on Bach’s ‘Chaconne’ in D minor,” said Day-O’Connell. “Working with her was a really illuminating experience; but at the same time, she was also one of the most easy-going musicians I’ve had a masterclass with. We mostly focused on the technical challenge of the piece, like bow control and chord voicings.”

Violin Masterclass

Josephine Xie ’27, who also worked with Williams, remembers a particular piece of feedback from the instrumentalist: play like you’re singing opera. 

“I worked on Mozart’s ‘Violin Concerto No. 3’ with her, a piece with a lot of rhythmic and phrasing work,” said Xie. “She helped me solidify my playing of a certain piece of music like this by thinking of it as an opera, and after each measure is when I should ‘breathe.’”

Xie said she had a breakthrough during the session: Williams taught her not just to play, but to think like a “true musician.” She said that Williams helped her realize that classical music is not just about playing the notes, but adding her own take to the history and tradition of the genre. 

Celina Bao ’24 had a similar experience playing Fauré’s “Sicilienne” in a cello masterclass with Misha Veselov.

“I played a few lines and he was already able to help me with so many techniques like shifting on the fingerboard and vibratos,” said Bao. 

The trio’s technical prowess and dynamic command of classical music shone through during their evening performance. 

“I was able to see how Mr. Veselov played and how he applied techniques he taught us in his own playing,” said Bao. “This is probably the first time I’ve heard a piano trio performing live. The harmony and dissonance created by the violin, the piano, and the cello are just so powerful and the color of their tones can create so many interesting combinations.”

Bao, Geiersbach, and Xie were particularly taken by the trio’s rendition of Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” and what Geiersbach called the “relentless attention” of the musicians to each other no matter how challenging the repertoire might be. 

“As someone who also plays a bit of chamber music, I loved to see how they communicate through body language and cues in the music,” said Xie. “I was really impressed by the arranged version of ‘La Mer,’ a piece which I thought only the orchestra could demonstrate the musical dialogues within, but they did it with only three people, which is truly spectacular.”

Day-O’Connell said that this performance was his favorite of the three Haroldson Concerts he has attended at St. Andrew’s. He particularly appreciated the “accessible” manner in which the musicians discussed their craft during the question-and-answer portion of the concert. 

During this session, students asked the musicians how they face difficulties and deal with self-criticism, how they approach rehearsal time and practice routines, among other topics of importance to the blossoming musicians. 

One student’s question, “How do you make the choice to keep playing?” provoked interesting answers from the trio about maintaining the love and passion for music, despite the often mundane and frustrating nature of keeping up with practice. 

They said to find the play in playing. Find something to “fiddle around with” (pun intended, they said), and to experiment with just for fun. Once you do that, they said, you will find the love which allows you to connect with your instrument. Nakamura put her connection with her instrument into words, though her close relationship to the piano was already evident from her passionate performance. 

She said the piano is part of her body. And while it may be challenging at times to be a musician, she can’t stop playing piano, because the piano is how she speaks.

Listen to the concert and the question-and-answer session here. 

Clark House

How St. Andrew’s students serve the greater Delaware community through a shared meal

Sharing a meal together: it’s one of the core components of how we operate at St. Andrew’s. The long-standing tradition of gathering every weekday for family-style meals is essential to our school community. 

Saints know the power of dining together, and they’ve incorporated the campus tradition into their service work as a way to get to know and support the wider Delaware community. 

Through a partnership with Friendship House—a Wilmington organization that works to address housing insecurity in the state—students bring meals to one of Friendship House’s transitional homes to share with residents. These residences offer housing and individualized support to people recovering from substance abuse, domestic violence, or incarceration.

Olivia Costrini ’24, co-head of community service at St. Andrew’s, says that engaging in this service has completely changed her worldview. It expanded her understanding of homelessness—which Friendship House defines as a loss of community—as well as how transitional housing works to address this issue. 

“It’s a good, eye-opening experience for us because we go there and we realize different ways homelessness can look,” she says. 

The partnership between the transitional houses and St. Andrew’s has evolved, according to Brooke Estes ’24, who has volunteered for this program for the past few years. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged, St. Andrew’s students would make the meals, but not be able to eat with the residents. However, as restrictions eased, students took the meals, cooked by SAGE Dining Services, to the houses and sat down for food and conversation—which Costrini considers to be the most essential part of the program. 

“I think [the residents] all like it way more, and we like it, when we can sit there and talk to them,” says Costrini. 

“They’re really interested in what we’re interested in,” adds Estes, whose interests span a wide range of everything from leading the Multi-racial Affinity Group to working with the chapel as an acolyte. 

Costrini remembers her first time visiting Epiphany House, the women’s transitional home with which St. Andrew’s partners. “We talked about everything,” says Costrini, and just as she was walking out the door, she got a final piece of wisdom from one of the women. 

“‘Make sure that you really focus on what you want, and you don’t let anyone get in the way of it,’” Costrini remembers the resident saying. 

“I think about that all the time, because coming from her, it was just so touching,” she says. 

It’s often not easy to make volunteering at the transitional houses work, says Costrini, because the time that students are able to be there falls during sports practices and games. However, the challenge has created a dedicated group of student volunteers who aim to surmount it. They visit either the men’s or women’s home ideally once per week. “The people that want to go, really want to go,” says Costrini. 

“I can not tell you the amount of gratitude I have for continued support [and] the meals delivered by St. Andrew’s,” says Shawn Helmick, director of Women’s Housing at Friendship House. “They are always healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals … Also, when the [staff and faculty] and students can stay and join us for dinner, [that] is nice [and] always interesting.”

Often, the relationships formed between the students and the residents live solely in those powerful moments around their shared meal—there is no guarantee SAS students will see the same resident twice as residents rotate out of the homes.

However, Costrini says that the fact that they’ll often only see particular residents once is bittersweet, because a resident leaving the house often means that they’ve found an opportunity. “‘This is my way out,’” she remembers a resident saying when he found a job that would allow him to move out of the transitional house. 

“The next time we go back, I don’t think he’s gonna be there, and that’s really exciting,” says Costrini.  

The VI Formers consider community service opportunities such as this one to be an essential part of their St. Andrew’s experience, and they are determined to continue engaging in service in college. 

“Coming to St. Andrew’s, I heard about community service and that people do it because they want to do it,” says Estes. “Finally, [my] junior year, [in-person community service opportunities] opened up, and I just love helping others and making other people happy. It makes me happy, too.” 
 

The 2024 Winter Athletics Awards Ceremony

On Feb. 29, winter athletes and their supporters across the school community gathered to celebrate the successes of this past athletic season. In his introductory remarks at the 2024 Winter Athletics Awards Ceremony, Director of Athletics Neil Cunningham called the winter 2024 sports season a “historic” one for SAS athletics, with the boys swimming and boys indoor track team winning the Delaware Independent School Conference (DISC) Championship, the squash team winning the Speers Cup, and the girls wrestling team competing in the first-ever DIAA Girls Wrestling State Championships, among other standout moments. At the ceremony, the athletics community recognized these collective accomplishments, as well as the individual athletes who went above and beyond in terms of athletic performance and leadership of their teams.

Watch the full event here.

The following students were recognized at the ceremony:

Boys Basketball

Boys Basketball Awards

Varsity MVP: Darnell Lloyd ’25

Varsity Coaches Award: Talan Esposito ’24

Varsity Most Improved: Jack Myers ’25

Varsity 6th Man Award: Josh Ho ’25

JV MVP: Liam Wilson ’27

JV Most Improved: Widalvis Burgos ’26

Thirds MVP: Austin McEachin ’27

Thirds Most Improved: Mario Dahr ’27

Girls Basketball

Girls Basketball Awards

Varsity MVP: Claire Hulsey ’26

Varsity Coaches Award: Yiru Wang ’25

JV MVP: Lila Lunsford ’26

JV Most Improved: Caroline Ault ’27

Boys Squash

Boys Squash Awards

Varsity MVP: Grey Dugdale ’25

Varsity Most Improved: Amanuel Levine ’27

Speers Award: Charlie Lunsford ’24

Girls Squash

Girls Squash Awards

Varsity MVP: Markley Peters ’24

Varsity Most Improved: Gibby Cronje ’26

Speers Award: Katherine Simonds ’24

Boys Swimming

Boys Swimming Awards

Varsity MVP: Keizen Ameriks ’24

Varsity Most Improved: Kaz Yamada ’26

Rookie of the Year: Tyki Ameriks ’27

Varsity Coaches Award: Will Tower ’26

Generaux Service Award: Cooper Drazek ’24

Girls Swimming

Girls Swimming Awards

Varsity MVP: Connie Kang ’26

Varsity Most Improved: Ceri Phillips ’26

Rookie of the Year: Ines Kossick ’26

Varsity Coaches Award: Amanda Meng ’25

Generaux Service Award: Avery Vaughan ’24

Boys Indoor Track

Indoor Track Awards

Varsity MVP: Peter Bird ’25

Varsity Most Improved: Max Hilton ’25

Varsity Coaches Award: Satchel Barnes ’24

Girls Indoor track

Varsity MVP: Leah Horgan ’25

Varsity Most Improved: Bridget Daly ’25

Varsity Coaches Award: Gloria Oladejo ’25

Wrestling

Wrestling Awards

Varsity MVP: Juliet Klecan ’25

Varsity Most Improved: Sol Bean Lee ’26

Varsity Coaches Award: John Plummer ’25

JV Coaches Award: Madeleine Lasell ’25
 

In Day 2024

St. Andrew’s partners with One Love Foundation for a day of learning about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships

Going into the group discussions on In Day on Feb. 19, Grace King ’25 didn’t entirely know what she was getting into. 

This was the first In Day ever held at St. Andrew’s, a day devoted to looking inward to learn about and discuss relationships of all kinds, and to identify the signs of healthy and unhealthy ones. King completed training and preparation in advance of being a student-facilitator on In Day, but she wasn’t sure what would manifest in the discussions and how students would participate. 

“My group bought into the discussion amazingly,” says King.

King says that in discussions about how to support better relationships in their own and each other’s lives, students opened up and “took space” and “made space” for each other. 

“People were just kind of sitting with their thoughts, but consistently they were always very engaged,” she says. “And everything that they were saying was very thoughtful.”

Grace King ’25 leading discussion on In Day

Chemistry instructor Greg Guldin and Associate Head of School Ana Ramírez were the driving forces behind In Day, which was held in partnership with the One Love Foundation—an organization with the three-fold mission of educating, raising awareness, and mobilizing people to end relationship abuse and create a world of healthier relationships. 

“In Day is basically a day that the St. Andrew’s school community comes together to talk about being in relationship with each other,” says Guldin. “Ultimately, the idea is we’re all in relationships with each other from birth, [so it’s essential to hear] about what those relationships are, the things to celebrate, and the complications and the challenges and the opportunities.”

Guldin garnered interest among the student body to find students like King willing to take on the responsibility of leading In Day. Once he identified the 26 students who would act as student-facilitators, he planned several training sessions for them in advance of In Day.

King says at the three training sessions she attended, she learned about the One Love Foundation and relationship abuse, and planned out the discussions she and the other facilitators would lead. In addition, she says the facilitators also completed a virtual course through One Love. 

In Day started with a kickoff speech from Amy Altig, head coach of the University of Delaware’s women’s lacrosse team, who reflected on the founding purpose of One Love: to honor Yeardley Love, a Baltimore-native and UVA lacrosse player who was tragically killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2010. Altig spoke to her own personal experiences as a coach who, year-after-year, has helped her athletes navigate relationship issues. 

Afterwards, students filed into breakout sessions where groups watched videos, reflected on what they learned about relationship abuse, and engaged in conversation about the relationships in their own lives.

In Day discussions

“One Love has 10 signs of unhealthy relationships, and 10 signs of healthy relationships, and it can get really in depth,” says King. “It forced me to think about it too, which is good. I didn’t just have other people learn: I was learning too, which I appreciated.”

King says that the experience was not only eye-opening because of the student buy-in, but because it provided her a taste of what being a leader on campus is like. 

“I felt what it would feel like to be a senior and to be a leader,” says King. “I’ve not had a true leadership position at the school before. And I feel like that was a leadership position because I was sitting and leading discussion for underclassmen.”

She adds that students may have felt more comfortable and eager to participate on In Day because it was their fellow students, who could relate and understand, who led the breakout sessions. 

“Hearing about [relationships] from a peer is really what the goal of the day was,” says Guldin. “To talk to each other about what goes well and what the challenges are and what struggles we may face, and then what are the things that we can do to help each other get [to healthier places].”

King, who is eager to continue to step up as a leader in the future, says her biggest takeaway from In Day is just how important and frequent discussion about relationships should be in the St. Andrew’s community. Along with King, Guldin is excited to keep discussion alive at future In Days. 

“There’s always opportunities for us to do things better,” says Guldin. “For the next In Day, there’s different ways we may want to mix up the groups, or there’s different timing we may follow. But for a first go of healthy relationship [building], I think overall the day went really, really well.”
 

Roy Foster

Saints spend an evening ruminating on historical memory and the insight of poets

“When tonight’s featured speaker arrived at St. Andrew’s in the autumn of 1966, a striking, long-limbed Irishman, wide of brow, he was our Malcolm Ford War Memorial Scholar—one of two that year, in fact,” said Jay Tolson ’67 by way of introducing former classmate Dr. Roy Foster ’67 to a packed Engelhard Hall on Friday, Jan. 12. 

Foster—former professor at Oxford University, a renowned scholar of Irish history, and noted biographer of 20th-century Irish poet W.B. Yeats—took the stage to deliver the talk “Dead Poets and Live Issues,” this year’s Levinson Lecture. This annual lecture, generously endowed in 2003 by Marilyn and David N. Levinson ’53 and their son Micah ’05, brings experts to campus to enlighten our community in their specialized studies of history, politics, economics, or related social-science fields. In his lecture, Foster, in his signature “Irish brogue,” drew from his study of Yeats and Irish history to illuminate the insight poets have into the future and its uncertain nature. 

“It was a tremendous opportunity for our students to hear from a renowned historian who once sat in the classrooms and dorm rooms they now occupy,” said History Department Chair Matt Edmonds. “As I said to the students in my introduction of Mr. Tolson, ‘I can only hope that some of you, out there in the audience, are in the early stages of a friendship that will span decades, and that you, too, will someday return to St. Andrew’s to share the stage with your classmates and talk about the past.’”

Jay Tolson

Jay Tolson ’67 introduces Roy Foster ’67 at this year’s Levinson Lecture

Earlier that day, Foster brought his historical expertise to daily academic life at St. Andrew’s by paying a visit to “Advanced Study in History: A World at War” classes. 

“I think he is capturing history from one of the most important angles—the angle of humanness,” said Erik Liu ’25 of the perspective he gained from Foster’s visit to “World at War.” “I find this angle often very hard to handle because subjectivity always gets in my way. He, however, makes use of the power of subjectivity in literature and injects it into the pile of historical facts he works with. As a result, he presents us with a more human, comprehensive, and interconnected set of ideas about the flow of history.”

Like her classmate, Jayda Badoo ’25 was also struck by the classroom visit. “Having dedicated his life to the study of history, what he really sought were our thoughts on the nature of history and those who preserve it,” Badoo said. Finn Lorentzen ’25 added that Foster “recognized the students in the class as peers.”

Not entirely unlike the Saints of today, Foster came to St. Andrew’s from his specific corner of the world, Waterford, Ireland, amidst “large events in the world beyond Noxontown Pond”—the war in Vietnam and the protests in opposition to it, escalating Arab-Israeli conflict, and the developing civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. 

Foster remembered his time at St. Andrew’s in these historical contexts, and how these social and political events and movements were characterized by people acting in anticipation of the future—a future that never materialized. 

“We thought we knew the future, but much later I wrote that the most illuminating history is written when we realize that people act in expectation of the future that never happens, an idea inspired by the moving last lines of the poet W.B.Yeats’s memoir, Reveries over Childhood and Youth:

‘…when I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me a preparation for something that never happens.’”

Foster pointed to the 1960s as a time in which expectations were raised and ultimately unfulfilled. To be young in the 1960s, he said, meant to believe that “the received values and structures of religion and nationalism” were on the way out, and to feel starkly different from the generations before. 

“Napoleon … said that to understand a person, you’ll have to look at what was happening in the world when they were 20,” Foster said. “That puts my generation born around 1948 to ’49 firmly in the historical moment of 1968 to ’69.”

In trying to understand the unexpected, unanticipated fates of historical moments like the 1960s, Foster said that he was called to a mode of studying history known as “revisionism”—a study of the gray areas in a country’s history, which complicates simplistic narratives and also calls attention to the study of the ordinary, everyday life. Ultimately, he said, he saw through such a lens the power of the poet, who can provide guidance in the midst of uncertain futures. 

Foster again pointed to the insight of Yeats into events such as the aftermath of World War I and the Irish War of Independence. He called to mind the poet’s illustration of the world being exposed to “recurrent cycles of violence” through imagery of the choreography of American dancer and choreographer Loie Fuller.

Returning to the idea “that examining and interpreting history depends upon an odd mixture of memory and anticipation,” Foster touched on how history is often viewed as a product of collective, “social” memory. With that, he said, history too is shaped by what people “forget” as a result of traumatic episodes in the past. 

“As the search to re-imagine ‘experience’ takes over, so does the exploration of feeling and sensibility, and this can be problematic,” Foster said of the intertwined nature of history and memory, later adding that skepticism of the reliability of memory is essential to the study of history.

He also called attention to his fascination in historical research with how revolutionary generations—like those of the Irish War for Independence, which he studied in his book, Vivid Faces—often change their minds, and thus, the historical memory of the revolution.

“Generations, as [German sociologist Karl] Mannheim put it, are made, not born,” Foster said. “Indeed, they’re effectively self-made and they’re self-made in memory, and memory, as I pointed out earlier, is not always consistent or reliable.”

In the question-and-answer portion of the lecture, students engaged with Foster on topics such as memorialization, combating book banning, and if it is possible to escape the “cycle of war.” Kayley Rivera ’26 asked Foster if the students’ generation is one of those special, self-made generations (to which Foster responded that the fate of their generation is yet to be determined, and asked Rivera, “What do you think?”). 

Before the evening concluded, Foster mentioned the film Dead Poets Society, well-known by Saints, which inspired the title of his lecture. He recalled the scene in which the “maverick teacher played by Robin Williams” made the class stand on their desks and get a different view of the world. 

“A change of perspective can come in many ways,” Foster said. “I would argue that some of the most potent routes are through poetry, history, and even that troublesome concept of memory: a creative mainline into the ‘music of things happening.’”

Student asks Roy Foster a question

Mac Gooder ’24 engages with Roy Foster ’67 during the question-and-answer portion of the Levinson Lecture


 

Sophie Forbes ’25

Sophie Forbes ’25 receives recognition for pen-and-ink drawing and years of dedication to the craft

Journeying through Cheung Chau this past summer, Sophie Forbes ’25 was immediately struck by a particular street lined with clotheslines and the shadows of locals’ balconies. The composition of the street would not only make for an interesting drawing, the artist thought, but would represent the overall experience of taking in the sights of Hong Kong.

The pen-and-ink drawing this V former subsequently created based on this street in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong—titled “Old Street”—recently received a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the highest regional award given by this art and writing recognition program for teens.

“Hong Kong, for me, makes up a big part of my identity,” says Forbes.

Ever since Forbes delved deep into art in middle school, the pen-and-ink medium has stood out because of how the technique can create a variety of strokes in terms of size and shape.

“[I can] pick up a pen and then suddenly it’s all these lines that I make from these pens, which have an image, they have a story,” says Forbes. 
Navanjali Kelsey, visual arts faculty member, says that while Forbes is especially skilled in the pen-and-ink medium, she is consistently impressed with the student’s strong proficiency across media. 

“In Painting I, Sophie was bold in terms of color usage with oil paint,” says Kelsey. “Having been well-versed with pen and ink prior to St. Andrew’s, Sophie wielded sophisticated rendering capabilities in Drawing I, with detailed and sensitively depicted charcoal and pastel images. Sophie has an incredible capacity for presenting detail, and I am so thrilled that the Scholastic Arts Awards have also recognized Sophie’s talents with a Gold Key.”  

Forbes had the opportunity to see the piece on display at the Delaware State University Arts Center/Gallery. The experience of seeing the personal artwork in the gallery wasn’t exactly normal for this artist. 

“It definitely felt a little weird,” says Forbes. “But it felt very [fulfilling], seeing my own work of art and seeing … something that represents me and my identity just displayed on the wall for other people to see.”

This wasn’t this go-getter’s first time submitting work to the Scholastic Art Awards. However, it’s the first time that Forbes’s submitted work has received a Gold Key. It was rewarding to finally have fulfilled this accomplishment, which has been a long-time coming, says the artist. This award is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. 

“I don’t like using the word ‘talent’ to describe art, because I feel like artistic skill does not come to you naturally,” says Forbes. “It’s something that I feel like you have to spend a lot of time building, and it is not something that you can just … wake up with one day and do. It is just practice and practice and practice. And I felt like all these skills that I’ve been practicing since seventh grade have really shown to pay off.”

“Old Street”


 

Joy McGrath ’92

“Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books...”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Dear Families,

This week, we reconstituted a St. Andrew’s tradition that goes back a little way, a full school trip to Washington, D.C. I am thankful we can take this trip now, at the start of a presidential election year in the United States. As global citizens, we have a duty to be informed, to listen carefully (especially to those with whom we disagree), to debate and discuss ideas, and to vote. This trip offers opportunities for students to inform and inspire themselves, gather new perspectives and points of view, and prepare themselves for full participation in democracy.
 
In addition to having the run of the National Mall, our alumni offered students 13 different meetings and tours with alumni in their places of work—from the offices of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) to the executive offices of Deloitte to the State Department to National Geographic. The IV Form went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and 100 students had the opportunity to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Mall itself afforded students endless opportunities for awe and discovery in the realms of art, architecture, engineering, culture, literature, and science, to name a few.
 
Why should an entire school go to Washington? We started the calendar year gathering after the winter break in Engelhard, where I reminded the students that St. Andrew’s is a nonpartisan school by its constitution—like any nonprofit in the U.S. we do not participate in partisan politics or campaigning. However, as a school we certainly have an obligation to prepare our students for citizenship in a democracy. Here, our students develop their own voices, their own principles, their own ways of expressing themselves. And their expressive freedom is fundamental to their education.
 
At all times I hope we are engaging in the debates and issues of the day, that we are seeking out news from reputable sources, that we are testing our ideas against each other. We recently brought back print copies of major U.S. newspapers to the dining hall each morning. And, a group of students and faculty have volunteered to organize programming for the election year, to help us understand multiple sides of critical issues as well as the unfolding of the electoral process itself. If you have any suggestions about topics or speakers, I would welcome them!
 
We are a pluralistic community by design: we are not monolithic, and we all bring our own experiences, opinions, and values to any question. As I shared with our students, I do not expect that we agree on crucial issues. In fact, as a school as diverse as we are, I would be disappointed if we did. Political conformity and ideological orthodoxy are counterproductive in a school. We could not learn much without debate, without sharpening and improving our ideas against other ideas, and sometimes even persuading others or changing our own minds. And we are here to learn.
 
I do expect, however, that when we disagree that we see the humanity in each other. In my experience, people often want the same things. But we may want the same things and see different ways to get from here to there. That is to be expected and encouraged, and that is why debate and dialogue are necessary in a democracy. We aim to model and practice that at St. Andrew’s. And when we fall short or hurt each other, I hope we learn from that, we apologize, we give each other grace, and we assume good intent. But we must also be courageous in continuing the conversation.
 
When I was growing up, I had a VHS tape recording of a televised broadcast of Frank Capra’s 1939 film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” I watched it so many times that it finally wore out.1 As our school traveled to Washington this week, I recalled Jefferson Smith’s timeless reflection on the importance of children learning to prize and defend their freedom. He said, “Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books... [People] should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. [Children] ought to grow up remembering that.”
 
I hope our trip this week was fun and joyful for the students, but I also hope it brought to life the special responsibility we have as citizens to think for—and express—ourselves, and how closely that is tied to our education.


1 As I type this, I realize this is material I can only use in a parent email—examples involving VHS tapes and broadcast TV would draw only blank stares from our students!

National Geographic photography session

National Geographic photographer Becky Hale P’27 gave a crash course in photography to a group of students. 

DC Trip

Students conversed with Michelle Madeley ’03 about her work as drinking water grants lead for the EPA.

Capitol Tour

Saints took a “greatest hits” Capitol tour with Ella Yates ’08, director of member services and coalitions at the House Judiciary Committee.

Dr. Joel Fish

Sport psychologist Dr. Joel Fish works with winter athletes, coaches, and athletics and administrative staff on the mental part of the game

Akeelah Romeo ’24 stood on the stage in Engelhard Hall with a lacrosse stick in hand (akin to a foreign object, as she isn’t on the lacrosse team). Dr. Joel Fish, the visiting sport psychologist who spoke to the entire student body in Engelhard on Jan. 30, told Romeo to try to balance it in her hand for ten seconds while keeping her eyes glued to the bottom of the stick. The brave VI Former, who volunteered to come on stage for this demonstration, tried to do so, but to no avail. 

Then Fish told her to make one change: look only at the top of the lacrosse stick while trying to balance it.

She put the lacrosse stick in her hand, lifted her chin, and suddenly, she could balance the stick for the full ten seconds and then some. 

One small change, said Fish, can make a world of difference. Athletics is the same way, he said. Making one positive, small mental or physical change in your game can improve performance over time if you stay consistent. 

We brought Dr. Fish—a nationally recognized expert who has worked with the Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers, and the USA national women’s field hockey and soccer teams—to campus for a two-day visit to talk and put into practice all-things sport psychology with our coaches, athletics staff, counselors, and athletes. This lecture was the first event of his visit, in which he introduced sport psychology—the study and improvement of “the mental part of the game” utilizing the principles of psychology—and shared with students the tools they can use to enhance their mental game. 

Fish spoke about the “big five skills”: confidence, composure, concentration, communication, and teamwork. Then he led students through a game plan for gaining a “mental edge,” introducing concepts such as positive self-talk, mental and physical self check-ins, and prioritizing a “choose to” versus “should do” mindset. 

But Fish wasn’t just all about theory: he got students involved, showing them just how powerful their brain can be in terms of performance, playing a game that illustrated how the mind can often cut corners and make assumptions. 

Fish concluded his talk by encouraging the student body to think about the change they want to make to their game so that by the end of the school year, they can look at themselves in the mirror and feel like champions. 

Outside of the lecture, Fish continued the conversation about mental edge in small groups, meeting with student leaders of our athletics program, individual winter sports teams, athletics staff, counselors, and coaches of all sports. 

During his meeting with coaches, Fish posed the question: “What percentage of your sport do you think is mental?” Responses varied, as coaches across sports identified the differing mental demands and challenges particular to their disciplines. 

Dr. Fish working with Matt Harris

Fish said he expected a lack of a consensus, but he encouraged the coaches to discuss ways to explore attitude, mental performance, and the specific needs of their program with their athletes. If we all agree that part of the game is mental, Fish said, we should be willing to schedule time and create space during practice to mentally prepare athletes in order to help them succeed. 

Amelia Browne, head coach of varsity volleyball, plans on taking Fish’s advice and putting it into practice with her athletes. 

“What I most appreciated about Dr. Fish’s visit with the coaches at St. Andrew’s was his openness and eagerness to collaborate,” said Browne. “His insight and advice reflected a deep understanding of the life of athletes at St. Andrew’s. I left with concrete ideas about what to implement into my practice plans to better connect with and support my athletes.”

Will Rehrig, assistant coach to boys cross-country, felt similarly about Fish’s visit.

“Dr. Fish’s ability to personally connect with coaches and athletes was incredible,” he said. “He helped provide themes related to mental resilience for the school’s athletic programs to begin to build on. His suggestion to focus on mental training for at least 15 minutes a week to help start developing our athlete’s confidence, perseverance, and ability to focus during high-pressure moments will hopefully begin to lead to strong resilience and tenacity late into games, when often mental focus during crucial plays is the difference between winning and losing. … He was able to help us start to think about what it looks like to develop athletic mental fortitude across multiple seasons and sports.” 

When he visited with the girls varsity basketball team, Fish answered a few questions that his lecture raised the previous night: How do I lead yet also continue discovering the sport individually? How do I look at the larger picture for the team? How do I use body language to improve my game? Fish also considered the team’s performance throughout their season to analyze patterns and to develop a game plan for how to break free from the patterns that may be holding them back. 

“The biggest lesson I took out of Dr. Fish’s visit was that success is all about your mindset,” said girls varsity basketball player Ahilya Ellis ’26. “Instead of doing things because you think you ‘have to,’ it is important to change that to ‘I choose to.’ It has been helpful for me to make this change of perspective because it allows me to feel more in control and gives me a real sense of autonomy.”

Fish ended his stay at St. Andrew’s by attending afternoon practices, observing how the teams work, helping them put into practice the skills and concepts he introduced, and continuing to answer the questions of individual athletes. 

Dr. Fish working with students

With Fish, we’re playing the long game, as this isn’t his last visit to St. Andrew’s. We’ll see him again in the spring, when he will work with our spring sports teams, as well as check in with our athletes to see if they are feeling more like champions. 

“It was an honor and privilege to have Dr. Fish on campus working with our coaches and student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Neil Cunningham. “His knowledge and ability to connect to people on a personal level is why he is simply the best in the business. We are thrilled to continue the partnership with him and look forward to implementing some of his practical tips and strategies with our teams.”
 

Dr. Fish working with Neil Cunningham
John Plummer ’25

John Plummer ’25 on finding himself through wrestling

When John Plummer ’25 opened his eyes, he saw a trainer checking his pulse. 

“Do you know where you are?” asked the trainer. Yes, Plummer replied, at a varsity wrestling tournament. He had momentarily passed out after giving everything he had to win—which he did. 

He got himself partially up, and extended his hand to shake the trainer’s. 

It’s customary at a wrestling tournament to shake the hand of the other wrestler’s coach, and Plummer, without a clue what had just happened to him, managed to remember that he didn’t shake anyone’s hand yet. Even as he was regaining consciousness, Plummer had one thing on his mind: good sportsmanship. In a haze, he settled for the hand nearest to him. 

Plummer’s qualities add up to everything that makes for an ideal wrestler: his strength, his determination, and of course, the spirit of sportsmanship that marks every great athlete, regardless of the athletic arena. 

“John always gives 110%,” says wrestling Head Coach Phil Davis, who calls Plummer a “true team player in an individual sport.” 

Plummer has always played different sports, but the pieces didn’t come together for him until his IV Form year when he found himself in the wrestling room. 

He grew up playing ice hockey and sailing competitively. Ice hockey ran in the family, as his father was a semi-professional hockey player. 

“I was always expected to be good at hockey,” says Plummer. “I’m an incredible skater, but I really struggled with puck skills.”

As a III Former, he tried his hand at swimming and rowing, but he didn’t get the rush of adrenaline he was looking for from the pool or the pond. (It didn’t help that the shoe literally didn’t fit—rowing shoes were particularly uncomfortable for Plummer to wear.) 

But something clicked when he found wrestling. 

“The first thing I noticed about the team is it was very warm,” says Plummer. “It was like a family.” 

That family feeling didn’t lessen the anxiety he felt about starting the sport, particularly after witnessing the strength of the other wrestlers on the team. But Plummer put his doubts away, and went all-in.

He dedicated himself to the challenge, especially with the help of coach Davis and coach Donald Duffy. Plummer says that he has ADHD, and that the coaching staff on the wrestling team individualizes a coaching approach to suit his needs. 

“They know exactly how to coach me,” says Plummer. “I’ve never had a coaching experience like that where they know how to get my attention, how to keep my focus.”

The coaching staff takes the extra step each practice by not just telling, but showing. Plummer says they’ll put themselves fully into it, demonstrating how to do a move, which fits his preference for a more physical style of instruction.

Plummer and the coaching staff’s diligence paid off last season. He remembers his first win at a tournament at Polytech High School. 

“I wasn’t expecting to win at all that day because I had this mindset of, ‘I’m a beginner so what can I do?’” says Plummer. “I went out, and I don’t know what I did, but I came out on top.”

He has continued to come out on top: Plummer said he went 7-3 last year and this season, as of Jan. 26, he is 22-1, including JV, varsity, and exhibition matches. Even with such a great record, he sets the standard high for winning graciously and staying humble. 

“Because I’m so new to [wrestling], it’s easier for me to have a good mindset. I know that I will win some and I will lose some,” says Plummer. “Humility is important in this sport because there are people who have been wrestling since they were three.” 

But his success has given him a sense of accomplishment and confidence that he never really knew before.

“As soon as I started doing well, I immediately got a confidence boost and it has tremendously helped me,” says Plummer. “The person I am now because of wrestling is completely unrecognizable from the person I was before.”

Plummer’s love for the sport has become so deep that even in the off-season, he goes out of his way to develop his skills and get more practice at tournaments he finds on his own. 

“On the school’s first long break John didn’t just sit around, he attended a large wrestling tournament in Pennsylvania with over 1,500 wrestlers,” says Davis, who adds that Plummer also attended wrestling camp over the summer to better his skillset. “John represented himself and the school very well. This was not just a wrestling tournament, this was a test of John’s will to win.”

After taking the time to truly find himself in the sport, Plummer says showing up at wrestling meets and tournaments feels completely natural to him. 

“I think that it’s really easy to give it your best effort in wrestling, more so than in other sports,” says Plummer. “The adrenaline you get from what your body thinks is a fight takes care of any lack of effort.”

Davis sees no lack of effort when it comes to Plummer. “I can teach anyone to wrestle, but I can’t teach heart,” Davis says.  “John has plenty of that.” 
 

Richard Zhu ’26

Richard Zhu ’26 on forging his own melodies and announcing them to the world

For Richard Zhu ’26, while music may be something he creates, it is also something with a mind of its own that has molded him into the singer, songwriter, and student he is today. To him, music is a living, breathing being.

Zhu first started singing at the age of three, and has played piano since five. “I found myself so interested that I kept on diving into it,” says Zhu of developing his love of music, which goes so deep he considers music to be a “best friend” that has accompanied him for as long as he can remember. 

From the moment he stepped on the St. Andrew’s campus, Zhu deeply immersed himself in the school music scene—from the music classrooms as a member of both the Noxontones and the Jazz Ensemble, to the stage of Forbes Theater where he shined in the winter musical performance of Sister Act, to his dorm room where he can be heard humming original melodies. Now a IV Former, he continues to pursue his passion for music in just about every corner of campus. 

As he technically improved as a musician over the years, he also developed a complementary passion: one for songwriting and music production. 

Before coming to St. Andrew’s, then-14-year-old Zhu released his first original album, Village of Dream (Journey), on Spotify. During his admission interview, Richard met Quinn Kerrane, director of the choral music program, and at her encouragement, he sang one of his original songs to her. Enterprising, talented, and bold, he already had all the characteristics of a Saint. 

“I think [it’s] definitely not a coincidence,” says Zhu of this fortuitous moment with Kerrane and his admission into St. Andrew’s. He was destined to pursue his passion here. 

During the fall of his freshman year, Zhu launched his second album, Village of Dream (Youth). He bravely decided to tell the world about his music, announcing to the school his release of the album during lunch announcements. 

“I am not the most confident person in the world, I do doubt myself a lot of the time,” says Zhu. “It’s definitely a huge step for me to tell others that I have music.” But each time he shares his work, it gets easier to spread the word and to be his authentic self, he says. 

The support he has received from the Saints community has helped strengthen his confidence. It is this encouragement and feedback that he says is one of his main motivations for further pursuing songwriting. 

Hailing from China, Zhu calls music a “worldwide” language, noting it as the constant in his life when moving from one country to another. To him,  music is universal, and therefore, one aspect of adapting to a new culture that feels natural. “But you can also keep that part of yourself of where you came from and employ that into the music,” Zhu says of blending several cultures into one song. 

Though Zhu is a self-starter, he acknowledges just how grateful he is for the music opportunities at St. Andrew’s, and he hopes to give back to the Saints arts community as he becomes an upperclassmen by stepping into student leadership positions. 

While many know Zhu as the student who is all-things-music, and he is proud to be known for this passion, he also hopes people see the other sides of him. 

“Music is definitely one of my most important things here, but … coming to boarding school, I also want people to realize that I am more than just a person who loves music,” says Zhu. “Besides being on stage, being in the studio, I also want to be a friend, a classmate, a good person, a good player on the soccer field ... [I want people] to really know me as just me, every aspect of me.”

See Zhu live on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 as Snoopy in the upcoming winter musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and check out his Spotify page and YouTube account.

Richard Zhu ’26 at Fall Family Weekend
Football award

On Dec. 1, we celebrated our victories, cheered each other on, and reflected on a season marked with growth, joy, and gratitude at the Fall Athletics Awards Ceremony. Organized by Director of Athletics Neil Cunningham, this was the first time in recent school history that we’ve had such an award ceremony as a stand-alone event. Athletes across forms were recognized for their hard work on our fields, courts, and trails, and for demonstrating the virtues we value in athletes: perseverance, good sportsmanship, positivity, and mental and physical toughness. 

Watch the full event here.

The following students received recognition at the ceremony: 

Girls Cross-Country

Girls Cross-Country Awards

“Saints runners, you have incredible potential. Put in the work, log the miles, build the strength, and come back next season ready to chase after new goals, new personal bests, new titles. But do not lose the fun or the joy or the gratitude, for they are what set you apart and they are key to your success.” Head Coach Jennifer Carroll

  • JV, Coaches Award: Hannah Gilheany ’24
  • Varsity, Coaches Award: Caroline Meers ’24
  • Most Improved: Amanda Meng ’25
  • MVP: Leah Horgan ’25

Boys Cross-Country

Boys Cross-Country Awards

“In my mind, every time a Thirds runner runs a bunch, an angel get its wings.” Head Coach Dan O’Connell

  • JV, Coaches Award: Shawn Li ’24
  • Varsity, Coaches Award: Chris Onsomu ’25
  • Most Improved: Cy Karlik ’24
  • MVP: Peter Bird ’25

Field Hockey

Field Hockey Awards

“The most significant contributor to our team’s progress was the collective effort and each individual showing up to work hard and have fun.” Head Coach Kate Cusick

  • JV, Coaches Award: Magnolia Mullen ’25
  • JV, Most Improved: Sophie Forbes ’25
  • JV, MVP: Catherine Phillips ’27
  • Varsity, Most Improved: Emma Hunter ’25
  • Varsity, MVP: Channing Malkin ’24

Football

Football Awards

“[The resiliency of the team] is a true testament to the character and the selflessness of the types of individuals we have on the football team and to the character of the team as a whole.” Head Coach Patrick Moffitt

  • Robert M. Colburn Award: Frank Nasta ’24
  • Virginia DiGennaro Award: Kim Murrell, Jr. ’24
  • Dedication and Commitment Award: Luke Ketzner ’25
  • Most Improved: Juelz Clark ’25
  • MVP: Yasir Felton ’24

Boys Soccer

Varsity Boys Soccer Awards

“Take pride in the preparation. Accept responsibility in the setbacks and celebrate the opportunity to develop further.” Head Coach Matthew Carroll

  • Thirds, Most Improved: Ronit Goyal ’27
  • Thirds, MVP: Tre Lazar ’26
  • JV, Most Improved: Charlie Round ’27
  • JV, MVP: Ethan Williams ’26
  • Varsity, Most Improved: Alvin Xie ’26
  • Varsity, Coaches Award: Talan Esposito ’24
  • Varsity, MVP: Porter Read ’25
JV Soccer Awards
Thirds Boys Soccer Awards

Volleyball

Volleyball Awards

“We raised our expectations. We asked players to change positions. We changed practice. Every single time, [the team] stepped up to the plate.” Head Coach Amelia Browne

  • Thirds, MVP: Julissa Hernandez ’25
  • Thirds, Most Improved: Olivia Ike ’27
  • JV, Most Improved: Kayley Rivera ’26
  • JV, MVP: Lila Lunsford ’26
  • Varsity, Most Improved: Ahilya Ellis ’26
  • Varsity, MVP: Catherine Foster ’25
Michael Giansiracusa to Join St. Andrew’s as Head Chaplain

Earlier today, Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 announced to the community that the Reverend Michael Giansiracusa has been appointed as St. Andrew’s head chaplain, effective July 1, 2024. She thanked the dozens of community members who participated in the search, including members of the student vestry, the student interfaith council, and a faculty search committee of Ana Ramírez, Terence Gilheany, and Dave DeSalvo.

As head chaplain, Michael will lead spiritual life at the school, direct the school’s chapel program, and be responsible for defining, preserving, and promoting the school’s Episcopal identity to all constituencies. In overseeing the school’s chapel program, Michael will preside at services three times each week, and manage the student-led chapel guilds and vestry, as well as the chapel team.

Michael joins St. Andrew’s with extensive experience in spiritual leadership and campus ministry. He currently serves as chaplain at Doane Academy, an Episcopal K-12 school where he also teaches World Religions, and as vicar at St. Gabriel’s, a mission church in Philadelphia. Prior to Doane and St. Gabriel’s, Michael spent 13 years leading urban and suburban parishes, including Episcopal Community Services (Philadelphia, Pa.), where he engaged in a variety of nonprofit work; the Romero Center (Camden, N.J.), where he led college and high school mission retreats; and St. Mary’s (Ardmore, Pa.) where he served as rector.

Earlier in his career, Michael taught religion, English, and film at various secondary schools including St. Mark’s (Wilmington, Del.), Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.), and Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken Township, N.J.). It was during this time he spent teaching that he discerned a call to the Episcopal priesthood, attended Episcopal Divinity School, and earned a doctorate in Ministry. Michael is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Michael attended LaSalle University, where he studied communication arts with minors in philosophy and English; and Villanova University, where he earned an M.A. in religious studies. Michael is a rabid Philadelphia sports fan, enjoys film and cooking, and is an animal rights advocate. He is father to a son, Michael, who attends Villanova University as a VUScholar.

“Of course, I knew of the excellent reputation that St. Andrew’s has for academics, the chapel program, and the varieties of sports and activities available,” Michael said. “What was eye-opening to me was the honest effort not to rest on reputation, but to actively look to create opportunities to be better. Although this is a community that is firmly rooted in faith, St. Andrew’s does not forget that, in the end, beyond any accolades and traditions, a community is about relationships and the care and concern community members have for one another. There is no substitute for the support, safety, and love of a community. This is what convinced me that St. Andrew’s is where I wanted to be.”

Joy wrote in her announcement to the school that, “Michael stood out in an impressive field of candidates as a person with both a lively Christian faith and a calling to serve adolescents in a religiously diverse Episcopal school setting. Students and faculty alike identified him as the next person to lead St. Andrew’s chapel program and spiritual life.”

Michael was identified as St. Andrew’s next head chaplain from a field of outstanding candidates in an exhaustive and inclusive national search. He succeeds The Rev. Jay Hutchinson as chaplain. Jay Hutchinson retired from St. Andrew’s in June 2023 and joined St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts. Previously retired St. Andrew’s Head Chaplain Rev. David DeSalvo P’00,’04 has returned to lead the school’s chapel program in the interim.

The Fall 2023 Football Team

Frank Nasta ’24 reflects on a triumphant end to a football season full of ups and downs

The last two games of the football season were emotional for quarterback Frank Nasta ’24. Nasta and his two roommates and close friends, wide receivers Griffin Patterson ’24 and Yasir Felton ’24, were finally back on the field together, a moment Nasta had been waiting for after an injury during the season opener took Patterson out for the rest of the fall.

The three VI Formers had eagerly anticipated this season ever since they realized the previous school year that they all would likely end up as co-captains for their final season of Saints football. The trio spent time discussing what they envisioned for their future team, and how they would build team culture to make their dreams happen. 

“We had a lot of conversations about it. Over that time, we kind of realized the wins and losses are nice, but what matters in high school sports is the relationships you form,” says Nasta. “There are a lot of people who might not be really passionate about football, but they’re going to be passionate about their friends, and their friends on that team, and that’s what will push them to go the extra mile.”

One of the co-captains’ mantras was that mistakes and challenges are building blocks for growth. 

That growth-mindset came to use almost immediately during the season, after Patterson and other starting players went down in the first game of the season against Tower Hill. 

“What are we going to do? Just what’s going to happen?” Nasta recalls thinking the night after that first game of the season. “That adversity ended up becoming our story.” 

Once Nasta and his teammates processed the injuries, the co-captains made a game plan for getting through the rest of the season, and refused to lose their focus on building a tight-knit team. They planned to protect their remaining athletes, with many newer and less-experienced players rising to the occasion, while also getting Patterson and the others back on the field after a full recovery. 

Patterson made his return to the field in the second-to-last game of the season against Seaford High School, and Nasta says the field felt more alive than ever. 

“There was a different energy,” says Nasta. “Everybody on the team knew that he was back and you could feel it kind of in the air. It was an under-the-lights game, and it was a game that we needed to win to keep our playoff hopes alive, and you could feel it.”

He says that the team was all but unstoppable in that game, taking Seaford by surprise with the return of one of the Saints’ strongest players. 

“Pick your poison: We’re going to hit you somewhere,” Nasta says of the situations that Seaford faced from the Saints. “We had 361 passing yards, five passing touchdowns … you could really feel it. You could feel [Patterson’s] presence back on the field.”

The team kept the momentum going in the following game against Brandywine High School, a team with a strong record. 

“We crushed them,” says Nasta. That game showed the Saints that if they did make the playoffs, they would give the other contenders a run for their money. It showed them they were the team that they knew they could be. 

“The team showed a lot of resiliency,” says Head Coach Patrick Moffitt. “There were times throughout the season where both individuals and the team as a whole could have packed it in, but everyone really bought in and kept pushing forward. They are one of the toughest teams I have coached, and should be proud of all they accomplished throughout the season.”

Though the team didn’t make the playoffs, with Glasgow High School pulling out a win that sent them to the promised land instead, Nasta says that the team felt at peace with their season’s ending. 

“I did what I wanted to, and I’m not talking about a statistical standpoint or scoring touchdowns,” says Nasta. “It was the relationships that I built and the impact that I had on people. That was really the win from the season. There were a ton of people who I think looked up to me on the team, and I think it was my goal to give them somebody to look up to and to be the person they think I am.”

Nasta’s career isn’t over yet, as he heads to Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota next year to play Division III football. But he says that nothing will be quite like Saints football, and he wants next year’s team to take the time to enjoy the journey. 

Throughout the season, Nasta stayed in touch with several St. Andrew’s alumni who he played football with last year. They told Nasta that sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night, they think about how much they miss playing football for St. Andrew’s, and that Nasta should cherish this season while it lasts. 

“There were a couple moments in the year where I sat there and I thought, ‘There is going to be nothing else like this,’” says Nasta. “And I’m glad that I got the ability to take that in. I hope that the seniors next year … can kind of take it in themselves and realize that high school football is really special. You get some great friends and real brotherhood.”

Joy McGrath ’92

I hope everyone had a good break – we have so much to be thankful for. 

The coming three weeks are some of my favorites here at St. Andrew’s. It’s a crazy toboggan run to our departure and we have a lot to do between now and then—starting winter sports, attacking a short leg in the academic schedule, preparation for holiday artistic performances. It’s all about the joy. Let’s have fun with it!

I know Mr. Rehrig spoke to you at the last school meeting about our decision no longer to use Grammarly because the software is predatory and counterproductive. The built-in grammar and spell checks in your word processing software are more than adequate to the task. We also do not think the software serves our educational objectives at the school. Over the break, I was thinking about the best way to capture what those objectives are so I can explain to you the “why” behind this decision and, most likely, future decisions about generative AI. 

As adolescents, your brains are developing and solidifying. You are learning habits of mind, developing neural pathways, at the one time in your life when these pathways will take root and grow. Later in life, down the road, these pathways are formed. No longer plastic, they will not change easily. 

The purpose of a St. Andrew’s education is, during these literally brain-forming years, to prepare you for a life of meaning and purpose, one in which you are able to solve problems—big, seemingly impossible ones—communicate clearly, work in teams, work independently. To do this you will have to be incredibly gritty and resilient, curious, brave, humble, relentless, and moral. Your education here—in the arts, sports, classrooms—is designed literally to open your minds and develop these tendencies. As your teachers, we believe in the power of ideas. Specifically, your ideas. The world needs you to think big and dream big, and to be prepared to fail, possibly many times. 

Looking around, it seems to me, the world needs you to be heroes. 

Speaking of heroes, I was at a conference right before the break and saw this video I am going to show you. One of the people on the NASA Psyche Mission team, Dr. David Oh, went to boarding school. And he explained to us how his boarding school experience led to his role on the Psyche Mission team, building independence, curiosity, and teamwork. Let me show you: 

NASA’s Psyche Mission to an Asteroid: Official NASA Trailer

This video spoke to me as we were making this decision, because I am certain AI has been deployed for many if not most aspects of this project. For sure, AI will be used to analyze the loads of data the craft collects if and when it reaches Psyche. But is that what has made this project, which is one of the most ambitious scientific endeavors of this generation? 

Here is what struck me: It’s a group of people, teammates, who have done something previously thought to be impossible. And crucially it might yet be impossible. The mission could fail, much could go wrong. Yet, it is daring, heroic. These people had multiple, connected, enormous dreams and the creativity and curiosity and work ethic to make them real—to ask the right questions, to search out answers through experimentation, debate, modeling, testing. They have a certain restlessness and drive, but we also know they have consistency, courage, discipline, and patience. Only human intelligence can do all this, something completely new and original and breathtakingly bold and potentially devastating and disappointing. No matter what, at the end of this mission, I can promise the main discovery will be that there is more to learn. This attempt is wildly ambitious and yet it is still just practice. 

The world needs you also to think big and dream big. That means everything won’t come out exactly right as you practice and work your way through problems. Nothing worthwhile ever goes smoothly, but you always learn. As I’ve said to you before, if you are not practicing, which oftentimes means struggling, then you are not getting an education. You have to work through draft after draft, attack problems from one angle to another, share your results, learn to make progress both individually and how to ask for help and work in teams. 

Artificial intelligence can stand in the way of all this at this time in your education. I understand the power of AI. You will use it in life, and it will help you accomplish great things. But these four years of high school are a precious time in the development of your brains, and I would not be doing my job if we were permitting tools to blunt your words with the ordinariness of the hive mind. 

I have to write a lot for my job, and there are many moments when I am staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page in Word. I’ve been there! Look for inspiration or take a deep breath. In these moments, I always turn on Yo-Yo Ma’s recordings of Bach’s cello concertos. Know it will not be perfect. Like, for example, this speech. I’ll do better next time.

But when Grammarly says chirpily, “make your paper better!” It is not making your paper perfect, or usually even better! I installed it last year for a while, to see what exactly the program does, and its suggestions were uniformly awful. What I am saying is the point of your education is to learn to generate your own ideas, test them, and learn how to express them clearly and in your own voice. You must learn to do this—really learn it, not have it done for you—because your ideas and your voice are so important. And it’s necessary to learn to do this so that people take you seriously! And this is the time in your life when you can and will find your own special, distinct, beautiful voice.

It will not happen right away. Like the Psyche mission—think about working for years, putting this thing into space, and waiting six more years to get to the destination—like the Psyche mission, your education has a long horizon. Heroes do things today and tomorrow, that won’t land for 10 years, or maybe even longer. I actually say this each year to our new faculty—as the adults working with you, we are not on a day-to-day or week-to-week, or even year-to-year time scale. Your minds and your potential are worth so much more than that. Maybe this is what the faith means in “faith and learning.” The rewards of our work now will be reaped in the distant future. And if we’re lucky we’ll hear all about it at your 25th reunion.

While I was writing these notes, I thought of the poem Ithaka, by Cavafy. Referencing the heroic Odysseus’ journey home, the poem is a metaphor for our lives and for our educations, and it reflects the principles we have for your education. Let me read it:

Ithaka, C. P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

 
So as the poem says, “hope your road is a long one.” Be patient, be brave, enjoy yourselves, do not hold yourself to an impossible standard. Remember our heroes of the Psyche Mission or Odysseus himself: the journey here is not about an outcome or a quick answer. It is a journey for your lifetime, not for an assignment, or a term, or a year. And enjoy that journey, enjoy your own accomplishments and your own breakthroughs. The riches are not at the end of the journey—the wealth is found in wisdom and experience along the way. For me, it’s why I love being here with you—it is such a joy to witness your work and ideas, curiosity and teamwork, independence and courage, all come to life each day. To watch you becoming heroes, just like Odysseus, like the Psyche Mission team, like yourselves. 

We only have three weeks here, Saints. Let’s make them good ones! I know you will. 

Thank you, good night, godspeed.
 

Everett McNair ’73 delivers the chapel talk at the Founders Day Chapel Service on November 29, 2023

2023 Distinguished Alumnus Recipient Everett McNair ’73 gave this reflection at the Founders Day chapel service on Wednesday, November 29.

Nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility, consider others more important than yourself. Everyone should look out not only for their own good, but also for the interests of others.

But also for the interests of others. In 1929, Felix duPont, the founder of St. Andrew’s School, wrote:

The purpose of St. Andrew’s School is to provide secondary education of a definitely Christian character at a minimum cost consistent with modern equipment and highest standards.

Now almost 100 years later, I am honored and privileged to be here in the heart of the school to share a chapel talk. One of my greatest blessings—and I have a lot of blessings—is experiencing the sustained benevolence of the founders. I’m both proud and humbled to be a St. Andrew’s alumnus.

Before arriving at St. Andrew’s School, I had attended 12 different schools. St. Andrew’s was my lucky number 13. After visiting the campus and getting excited about the possibility of coming here, I prayed all through the applications process. When I received my acceptance letter, it was good news and bad news. The good news was that I had been accepted. The bad news was that admissions wanted me to repeat the ninth grade. Now you have to understand, I came here at 6'1", 202 pounds; all through my time at St. Andrew’s, all through my academy, all through the Marine Corps, and now, I’m 6'1", 202 pounds. So I told my mom and dad I wanted to come to St. Andrew’s, but not if I had to repeat the ninth grade. They supported me and I was allowed to matriculate with the Class of 1973 as a IV Former.

Near the end of my V Form year, I met with the head of school, Mr. Moss. It was part of the college applications process. And over the years, 50-plus years, I distinctively and vividly remember two things from that conversation with Mr. Moss. He asked me what did I want to do? What did I want to be? And I remember my answer. I told him I saw myself as being the guy who would help the boss be successful. Now, later I’ll come back to why it’s easy for me to remember that over 50 years later. But first I’m going to take you down a rabbit hole.

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What is my purpose?” 

What is my purpose? During my junior and senior years at the Naval Academy, I reflected on this question a lot. But before I answer the question for myself, I first asked and objectively answered the easier question, “Who am I?” I am a product of many environments that I have experienced from childhood through my ongoing adulthood. These environments contributed to and shaped my values, my beliefs, my biases, and much more, all of which make me me.

Before I share with you what I considered my purpose to be, I’ll first provide insight into the me I know myself to be. That is, who I am. My father served in the United States Air Force for over 20 years, so to say that we moved a lot is the epitome of an understatement. In 1960, I lived in Japan where I attended kindergarten. I was the only Black kid in my kindergarten class—not because I remember this, but because the photos of the class pictures my mom kept. I’m the only one in the picture. Upon returning to the United States, I was bussed off the Abilene Texas Airbase to segregated elementary schools for first and second grade. I was actually color-blind until 1963, the year I entered the third grade. That was when my brothers and I were allowed to attend the on-base school that had previously been for whites only.

I recall the conversation at the dinner table the first night of my third grade day. My older brother asked me, “How many Black kids are there in your class?” And I said, “Everybody’s Black.” And at the time I didn’t understand why my parents and my older brothers were laughing. The next day in class, I was surprised to find that I was the only Black kid in the class. I was no longer color-blind.

We moved off-base when my dad was transferred overseas for a one-year unaccompanied tour. So my fourth grade year was at Central Elementary in Abilene, Texas. My brothers and I were the first and only Blacks—actually, not just Black students, we were the only Blacks in the whole school. For the most part, my fourth grade year was pretty positive, but that was the year I lost a lot of my childhood innocence and began to quickly grow up. Early that school year, I was summoned to the principal's office. Now as I’m walking from the classroom to the principal’s office, my little fourth grade mind was excited and I was feeling special because of all the kids in the classroom I was the only one that had been invited to go and see the principal.

That feeling was short-lived because when I walked into his office—and this is the vivid memory from a fourth grader—he was sitting behind this big desk and on the left front of the desk, this small white kid was standing. The principal looked at me and said, “Is that the one?” And right then and there, I knew I was in a lineup of one and whatever came out of this kid’s mouth was going to have a major impact on me. Fortunately, the kid said no. Phew—literally, phew. But that right there was eye-opening and years later, I remember it. That was the year that nine-year-old Everett became woke.

I started my fifth grade year at Central, but a few weeks into the school year, the school administration determined that our address disqualified us from staying at the school. So we left and re-enrolled at Locust Elementary School, a much more inviting and welcoming environment. When my dad finally returned from his overseas unaccompanied tour, we packed up and we moved to Marin County, Calif., where I experienced my third racially blatant incident. My fifth grade teacher was augmenting the reading assignment with a movie from Huckleberry Finn. I had already read the book and had no interest in seeing the movie. On the screen was a scene where Huck Finn and Jim, the freed slave, were floating down a river.

I was in the back of the classroom reading a book, Big Red—I was really into dogs, still am—and I was just reading through the light that was seeping in through the closed blinds. My teacher comes up behind me. Now you have to understand I’m the only Black, not only Black, I’m the only non-white kid in the class. California, mid-sixties. The teacher comes up behind me and in an irritated voice, she looks down at me and she says, “You should be watching this. It’s about you.” So quietly I look up at her, I point to the dog on the cover of the book and I say, “You should read this book. It’s about you.”

She made no other denigrating racial innuendos for the balance of the year. She knew she was wrong. She knew she was wrong, and I didn’t do it in a mean way. It was just that’s who I was, maybe who I was or who I was becoming to be.

I skipped over it, but my second memorable racist encounter occurred in Texas during my rising fifth grade year, rising summer of that fifth grade year. A white security guard held my brothers and I at gunpoint while he disparagingly let us know who and what we were.
One spring evening during my first year here at St. Andrew’s, I was summoned to Amos Hall. That’s where the faculty and staff meetings were held. Having no idea as to why I had been summoned, I was totally surprised when I was presented an award recognizing me as an outstanding IV Form overachiever. I graciously accepted the award, but I was also more than a little upset as I walked back to the dorm.

Throughout my IV Form year, I had participated in three varsity sports. I had maintained honors grades throughout the whole year, and I was in the band. I felt that I had been given the award only because I had surpassed the low expectations of the admissions process. From my perspective, admissions should have acknowledged and addressed the possibility of flaws in their placement process, instead of validating and upholding the process by giving me an overachiever award.

Years later, after leaving the Marine Corps, I adopted the practice of sharing my management philosophy with my prospective boss or bosses. I would also meet with everyone in the organization or the department for which I had operational responsibility and share my philosophy with them as well. And it’s a simple philosophy. Three tenets, three corollaries. The tenets: Honesty is the only policy; do unto others as you would have others do unto you; and, because it’s the business, meet the requirements at the lowest cost. The corollaries: Teammates do not blindside teammates; and teammates give teammates the benefit of the doubt.

When I would interview for a new opportunity, I shared these tenets and corollaries with my prospective boss, after which I would add that my job is to make my boss's job as easy as possible. My boss's job is to give me what I want. And then I would ask this question of all my bosses after I got out of the Marine Corps—Marine Corps is a little different. You don’t talk like this in the Marine Corps. But I would ask him this question. I'd say, “If I’m making your job as easy as possible, I’m adhering to my tenets and my corollary, is there any reason you can think of why you would not give me what I want?” And no one ever said yes.

By the way, in case you hadn’t picked up on it, when I was sitting with Mr. Moss as a V Former, I had told him my job is to make my boss’s job, to make him be successful. So it’s easy for me to remember that 50 years later because I incorporated it into my management philosophy. Who knew as a V Former 50 years later, ... yeah.

What I’ve shared with you represents a small few of the defining moments that I have encountered along my life’s journey. I’m a product of the many environments that I’ve experienced from early childhood through ongoing adulthood. These experiences contribute and shape my values, beliefs, biases, and much more. For me, my St. Andrew’s experiences, they’re an inextricable part of me, an important part that supports me in being consistently me. I have long been very comfortable with who I am, well before arriving here in 1970.

But it was not until December of my senior year at the Naval Academy that I was able to comfortably answer the question, “What is my purpose?” That’s when I to join the Marine Corps. By law, not more than one-sixth of each graduating class can opt to go Marine Corps. It’s the Naval Academy, not the Marine Corps Academy. I had labored over the decision for months, and not because the Navy had some positive that way going into the Marine Corps. In fact, the thought of being in the Navy and spending all that time at sea was a major downside. The reason for my hesitancy to commit to the Marine Corps was because in 1977, the Marine Corps as an institution was not managing diversity within its ranks with a level of commitment and results comparable to the other military services. Matter of fact, it was deplorable.

But ultimately my decision to go Marine Corps was based on the simple fact that in 1977 there were a lot of Black Marines, but very few Black officers. I decided my presence was more needed and would be of greater value in the Marine Corps. So—as I bring you out of the rabbit hole—consistent with who I am, I comfortably share with you my purpose. My purpose is to live a life that helps those who are far from God be raised to life in Christ. To live a life to help those who are far from God be raised to life in Christ.

Now in Philippians 2:1-5, but really verses two through four, Paul tees it up.

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility, consider others more important than yourself. Everyone should look out not only for their own interest, but also for the interest of others.

And then he goes,

Make your own attitude like that of Christ Jesus.

Wow. Talk about setting a high bar. In fulfilling my purpose, I know that I’m limited only by my commitment, my level of commitment, my initiative, and my imagination. Here are some constants that are consistent with my purpose. My daily lifestyle and business practices are aligned with my purpose. For example, I shared with you my management philosophy, community serving and community giving.

Decades ago—pretty much, I was here decades ago—I learned how to not complain and how to not worry. I know I’m blessed, and I appreciate my blessings. The people in my inner circle are like-minded. I know there are thousands of people who would switch places with me in a heartbeat, no questions asked. No questions asked. So why would I complain? My focus is consistently on balance—mental balance, physical balance, and spiritual balance. Chesa has arranged for me to work out tomorrow at six o'clock. I normally get up between 3:30 and 4:00 to work out. So I get to sleep in tomorrow.

When I encounter something that’s not right the only option that is not an option is to do nothing. Tacitly ignoring a wrong is loudly championing that wrong. Now, there’s 1,000,001 things I could do, but doing nothing is not an option. In my world, every day is a holiday and every meal is a feast. It’s a state of mind. If you ever receive an email, a text message, or a letter from me, you’ll see my tagline: Always positive and balanced. These constants assist me in fulfilling my purpose to live a life that helps those who are far from God be raised to life in Christ.

I leave you with this. We who are St. Andrew’s School—that is the students, the faculty, the staff, the parents, the administrators, the alumni, the friends, and all the families of the aforementioned—we who are St. Andrew’s School are blessed and privileged to include the St. Andrew’s experience in our ongoing life’s journey. But with privilege comes responsibility. That’s not me; that’s President Kennedy. With privilege comes responsibility. So as you reflect on your purpose, give equal consideration as to how you will responsibly help maintain and sustain this living legacy that is our St. Andrew’s. May each and every day of your life be blessed with peace, love, and happiness. Thank you.

UNITED panel

This year’s UNITED paid tribute to the first and early girls of color at St. Andrew’s

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of coeducation, St. Andrew’s will embark on two years of events that seek to amplify the voices of the first and early women who in 1973, forever changed the culture of our school. We seek their truth and their stories; we wish to celebrate their journeys and hold space for their struggles. After our first coeducation panel event, this year’s UNITED Conference—an event designed to honor families, students, and alumni of color and deepen bonds between communities—honored those early women.

On November 10th, UNITED: “We Speak Your Names” brought to campus five of the earliest women of color to attend St. Andrew’s—Joan Woods ’76, Tami Maull ’77, Treava Milton ’83, Viviana Davila ’85, and Anita Pamintuan Fusco ’86. Co-Dean of Residential Life (and friend to many on stage) Stacey Duprey ’85 P’04,’10 moderated the panel.

“The stories of the first and early girls at SAS are important for our community to hear and reflect upon, regardless of race or ethnicity,” says Dean of Inclusion and Belonging Dr. Danica Tisdale-Fisher, who, in partnership with others, orchestrated the event. “What is important about hearing the stories of women of color who were among those first cohorts is that we are acknowledging how intersecting identities impacted their experiences here. It was wonderful to learn more about how diverse their individual experiences were, which made the conversation even more dynamic.”

UNITED kicked off with a Friday chapel with Milton, who delivered a talk on the importance of building authentic human connections. Drawing on the story of Noah and his ark, Milton suggested the community draw on its “inner Noah,” as she did as a faculty member at SAS from 2007 to 2016, in which she embarked on a journey to “build and create rooms where students could breathe, where they could be confused or unsure or angry or vulnerable or exhausted by being a brown kid in a beautiful yet overwhelmingly white space.”

Treava Milton ’83 at Friday chapel

Treava Milton ’83 

“People are desperate for authentic connection,” Milton said. “So I'm going to ask you all to have a conversation with someone who might be on the arc with you, find out about how that person might live, or what they may need to survive or thrive. … Understand that during your attempts to build, there will almost always be the possibility that giraffes will argue with elephants. Or the rhino will use water from the shark tank to hydrate himself, or the eagle won't be concerned about dropping waste on the tigers. But don't let that stop you from building. Build with passion, build with intentionality.”

Later in the evening, an intimate dinner in the Warner Gallery allowed current parents, alumni, and faculty to come together in conversation and community. St. Andrew’s students were also on hand to share their cultural gifts. Riya Goyal ’27 performed a traditional Indian dance with poise and grace, resplendent in a shimmering, crystalline sari. After, the Saints Steppers—a relatively new addition to St. Andrew’s that has wasted no time becoming a school powerhouse—commanded center stage with their bold, fiery choreography and affirming passion. Both performances brought attendees to their feet, and inspired thoughtful discussion about the power that comes with being a young person who can intimately share of themself in their community.

Riya Goyal ’27 performing at the UNITED dinner

Riya Goyal ’27

The whole school then gathered in Engelhard Hall for the panel. The five women discussed their paths to St. Andrew’s, which included being inspired by the school after visiting as an athlete on an opposing team, being recruited as an athlete, or being identified by A Better Chance, an organization that seeks to put high-performing students of color into national leadership pipelines via the conduit of top independent and public schools.

The conversation allowed for the women to reflect on some hard truths, like navigating their cultural identities at a time when they couldn’t find many in their school community who looked like them, while also balancing the fact that they were in the minority as women, too.

“I don’t know that I felt like an early girl as much as I felt the racialization of my identity,” Milton said. “I felt like I was drowning all the time. In my situation, it was a lesson in not what to do: I just kept it in because I didn't know where to go. Looking back, a lot of that was shame. That’s why it’s vital for us to know that as people of color, you have earned the right to be here.”

Woods was astonished by the student body. “I’m sitting here in this auditorium and cannot believe the diversity I see,” she said. “This was not the school I went to. Tammy and I were here, and another Black woman, Diane, and we had to find places of refuge, which was usually Tammy’s home in Lewes [Delaware]. We found a place to come together where we could be ourselves.”

Tami Maull ’77 at the UNITED panel

Joan Woods ’76 (left) and Tami Maull ’77 (right)

Duprey spoke to the importance of finding your person. For Duprey, that was Milton. “Once I found my person, there was nothing I couldn’t do,” she said. “And I know there are some freshmen here who are saying, ‘I haven’t found my person yet.’ They’re coming. I promise. And they don’t have to look like you to be your person.”

The panelist offered sage advice to students. Davila urged them to accept that the pace of becoming for all humans is not the same, and that to give grace is a gift. Woods urged Saints to have the courage to ask curious questions. “There were members of my class that had enough courage to ask me questions, even though they sometimes went about it obnoxiously,” she said, laughing. “I do believe that’s part of the reason why so many years later, these relationships persist. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Viviana Davila ’85 at UNITED panel

Viviana Davila ’85

Milton advised that we “dig deep into our communities of care and let them carry us,” and to not waste the opportunity to truly engage in the diverse St. Andrew’s community. “Learn how to live and interact with the people right at your doorstep,” she said. “It is a rich and powerful experience.”

To close, Duprey called upon celebrated civil rights leader Diane Nash, who visited St. Andrew’s years ago. “Diane stood on this very stage and said, ‘I'd like you to know that although we had not yet met you, we loved you, and we were trying to bring about the best society we could for you,’” Duprey said. “So I say to all of my first and early girls that you've done that for us without even knowing that's what you were doing. You are the shoulders that we stand on, and we treasure you and we're so grateful for you.”

Before the attendees gathered in Warner Gallery post-event to meet the panelists, a group of current students took to the stage to offer a moving rendition of “We Speak Your Name,” the poem by Pearl Cleage that inspired the theme of the event. After each refrain, each panelist’s name was spoken aloud, as well as other alumnae of color:

Because we are magical women,
born of magical women,
who are born of magical women,
we celebrate your magic.

Tami. Joan. Stacy. Anita. Viviana. Treava.

We are here because we are your daughters
as surely as if you had conceived us, nurtured us,
carried us in your wombs, and then sent us out
into the world to make our mark
and see what we see, and be what we be, but better,
truer, deeper
because of the shining example of your own
incandescent lives.

We speak your name.

Students reading poem on stage at UNITED panel

(l. to r.) Celina Bao ’24, Angela Osaigbovo’24, Sophie Mo ’24, Akeelah Romeo ’24

Diwali celebration on the shores of Noxontown Pond on Wednesday, November 8

Last weekend, we set our clocks back, entering a season when nature’s light is golden but fleeting, afternoons are dark, evenings darker still. Darkness overtakes the light, but we know that by the winter solstice, light will gain a foothold and once again triumph over the winter gloom.

Now, in a week’s time, most of your children will be coming home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This season of gathering darkness is also a season of gratitude here in the United States. Day to day, we all have many occasions to thank another person for something they did to help us. At St. Andrew’s, we begin our weekly School Meeting with “appreciations”: students raise their hands eagerly to thank a teacher for a special gesture of kindness, another student for making an extra effort at a community event, a staff member for decorating the dorm, or a senior for helping them through a tough time. These one-to-one expressions of gratitude are important. They are the stuff of community living and a way to say to someone: I see you, I love you, you matter.

There are other occasions when we express gratitude for greater forces at work in our lives. We recognize the blessings of light, love, opportunity, and community that emerge from a greater design. People of every faith and people of no faith at all have explanations for this connection we feel to a larger purpose, a pull to that which is good, even when the path comes with sacrifice and effort.

At chapel on Wednesday night, the South Asian Affinity Group led our annual Diwali chapel. Diwali, Ahilya Ellis ’26 shared in her remarks, is a holiday to acknowledge, “the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.” Following the brief gathering in the chapel, hundreds of residents of the campus ventured from the chapel to the grass docks along a path illuminated by candles, kneeling and releasing innumerable paper lanterns onto the pond. Viewed by a stranger, this act of devotion might have seemed an exercise in futility—after all, what could be the purpose of floating a hundred candles on the smooth and quiet pond in utter darkness? 
 
And yet, the moment was freighted with purpose. The acknowledgement that we seek and move toward what is light and good—what is larger than ourselves—and send it into the world—is an affirmation of our humanity in times that are often, metaphorically, dark. That light and good are the opposite of ignorance in Diwali seems a sentiment especially appropriate for a school. ​We believe in and move toward what is true.

Our lives at school are thick with gratitude​. I would define gratitude in this case as a sense that alone we can do nothing, but together and with a purpose greater than ourselves, we can do anything. That the circumstances and humans around us might unconditionally lift us up—it is a staggering, humbling, and awe-inspiring state of affairs. And so, each day, we gather for a family meal and a blessing. An expression of gratitude and a communal statement of hope and wonder. This year, I have loved that students have begun a new tradition of offering grace for our evening family meals, usually on Wednesdays before chapel. For the school’s entire history, these words of thanks have been offered by the head of school or the chaplain, but our students have felt the pull of gratitude—the pull of what is light, good, and true—and have begun to share their own blessings each week. I am collecting these for all of us to have at the end of the year, but here I will share the one offered by Ronit Goyal, a member of the III Form, on Wednesday:

Dear God, we thank you for this day,
for the food on the table,
for the shelter over our heads.
We thank you for the opportunities that you give us to be ourselves.
We pray today for those in crisis around the world,
for those who need help at St. Andrew’s,
and for our alumni.
We pray for everyone who needs it, O God.
Happy Diwali everyone!
Amen

May the light of Diwali, the light of Thanksgiving, the light of children, and the light of truth and knowledge that triumphs over the night, be with each of you in this season of darkness and hope.
 
In gratitude,

Joy McGrath
Daniel T. Roach, Jr. Head of School

Diwali celebration on the shores of Noxontown Pond on Wednesday, November 8
Treava Milton ’83 in the Memorial Chapel for UNITED Chapel Service

Alumna Treava Milton ’83 gave this reflection at the UNITED chapel service on Friday, November 10.

I would like to thank Dr. Tisdale-Fisher, Ms. Duprey, UNITED, all my colleagues, laborers in the vineyard, my co-laborers in education, Emily, everybody. It's really good to be home. Thank you for taking the time to recognize and uplift my experiences here at St. Andrew’s and those of my fellow St. Andreans. I’m humbled and grateful for the audience because hopefully for the most part you chose to be here. This talk is dedicated to my nephew. He’s four years old and he loves animals, and he has taught me about 15 different types of dinosaur. I took a text from the book of Genesis that’s fun for me to explore, and I hope you’ll take a closer look when you have an opportunity on your own. So my goal is to read the text, paraphrase it, and then share a few points that were salient for me. In the interest of brevity, I’m asking that you allow me to bypass some supporting points that I would normally make and just suspend disbelief for a moment. Let your mind believe that anything is possible. I’m in the book of Genesis 6:5-14a.

5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6And it repented the Lord that he made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

7And the Lord said, I will destroy man, whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

8But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

9Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

...

11The Earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

...

13And God said unto Noah, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14Make thee an ark of gopher wood ....

Mankind was described as corrupt, evil, and violent, and God’s heart was broken about that. And so God established a response using natural elements. That response was a flood designed to destroy all living creatures of land, sea, and air, except for Noah and his family. And Noah was given a job building a structure designed for salvation of his family and, by extension, mankind. I want us to notice if we read the text on our own, that God facilitates the issue and the answer simultaneously. When we look more deeply at the text, we will see that in the original language, evil was not restricted to shocking, heinous behavior. Their understanding of evil included subtle behavior that was mean-spirited or designed to cause a rupture between people. So evil could actually be designing a system that would pilfer pennies at a time from millions of people over time, or it could be walking in the dining hall and seeing something that you don’t understand and saying that it’s funny or laughing at someone or making disparaging comments.

The original language is meant to convey that corruption and violence were coursing through the earth in the way that blood rushes through our veins. Jonathan Cahn, in The Josiah Manifesto, lists several institutions that seem to be infected by this kind of corruption. He talks about the media, entertainment, the public square, corporations, schools, and governments. I want you to also know that Noah’s name means comfort, consolation, and rest. And he was chosen because he lived antithetically to destructive, corrosive behavior. He was a countercultural individual, described as righteous, meaning he lived in a way that cultivated authenticity, vitality, and strength. Whatever character traits Noah possessed, God’s plan was to preserve and multiply them. And Noah answered the call to become a willing participant in God’s plan for the preservation of mankind. But yet Noah’s commitment to building posed its own set of challenges. In an enclosed space under stressful times, Noah was tasked with housing herbivores and carnivores, wolves and lambs, clean animals and unclean animals.

He had to shelter leaf-destroying insects in the same space with giraffes who needed leaves to survive. He had to house lions and crocodiles who feast on elephants. He had to house squid and clownfish and zooplankton and crows, hyenas, vultures, and Tasmanian devils. And we don’t know if Noah had allergies, if he despised the smells, if he was afraid of lions or grossed out by caterpillars. But we know that he accepted the challenge. We know that he accepted the responsibility to build, and he built a structure he had never seen for an event that he had never experienced. So Noah did not have all the answers, but he must have had passion. He had the intestinal fortitude, the strength of conviction, it took to build a vehicle of salvation, moment by moment. I want to suggest that Noah accepted the responsibility and the challenge of building and became a willing participant with God and the universe because he understood that the survival of mankind was at stake.

UNITED is designed to deepen connections between alumni, parents of color, students, and identify mentors to learn strategies to navigate academic, professional, and personal challenges. UNITED is designed to build.

As I consider these objectives, my goal is not to give you three points or three ways to become successful—whatever that may be—but it’s to really draw your attention to some of the ways in which relationships can be built and managed and maintained. As I consider the objectives, I want to lean on my work with iChange Collaborative, with coaching organizational founders, small business owners, and high tech leaders, as well as research coming from Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan, McKinsey Global Consulting. I want to tell you that there’s a common thread.

People are desperate for authentic connection—connection to themselves and to other people—and it seems to be that tethering has replaced assembling together in the spirit of authentic connection. One of the tragedies is that with all of the pressure around innovation, neuroscience suggests that our brain is most likely to innovate when it knows that it is safe, loved, and that it belongs. I want to lean on the work of Glennon Doyle, who is a podcaster and author of Untamed, to tell you that we can be better at authentic relationship when we understand that even acute disconnections are inevitable in our relationships.

When ruptures are acknowledged, and when there are apologies, moments of injury offer the most profound opportunities for growth and deeper connection. Again, the issue and the resolution in the same gift box. Problems occur when injuries to connection are rarely acknowledged, and they are rarely acknowledged in relationships where there are power differentials. The work of storyteller and researcher Dr. Brené Brown reminds us to rethink the ways in which we experience and think about awkward moments and vulnerability. When we strengthen our internal locus of control, we can fortify ourselves against behavior that is designed to shame us. These are the things that we need to keep in mind when we think about how relationships are built, developed, and maintained. I entered St. Andrew’s six years after the first class of girls in 1979, as the only black female student in my graduating class. I was from an underserved community called the Bronx—the place that on one hand brought hip hop culture to the world, and on the other hand, bore the scintillating, undignified marks of scarcity. I was from a place where weakness, vulnerability, and asking for help was a death sentence.

As a result, I was the product of a fragile family system. Fragile partially because both my parents were born and raised in the segregated South and bore the battle scars that come with survival and a racialized society. I was from a place where it was very uncool to be intelligent or smart, and it was often unsafe to go outside and play. And then I found myself in Noah’s Ark. And while I was a lamb and there were wolves, there were spaces that were deliberately and intentionally created for me where I could find reprieve. And I’ll talk more about that tonight.

I found a lifelong friend in the ark, and we have lived, loved, laughed, grieved, and celebrated together. The entire SAS community held us up while we buried our family members in the same week. Twenty-four years after I graduated from St. Andrew’s, I returned to SAS as a faculty member. That career move became my opportunity to connect to my inner Noah—to build, to create rooms where students could breathe, where they could be confused or unsure or angry or vulnerable or exhausted by being a brown kid in a beautiful yet overwhelmingly white space, or where they could be a neurodiverse kid in a space that overwhelmed their senses.

Jordan Bonner, class of 2016, recently said to me, “I didn’t know what I needed, but you knew that I needed a place where I could just sit down, eat spaghetti, and breathe.”

I’m going to ask my students to come on up with your baskets and just pass [the items] out. So as they pass out your identities on the ark, I’m going to ask you all to have a conversation with someone who might be on the ark with you. Find out about how that person might live, or what they may need to survive or thrive. Talk about the ways in which Noah had to go about facilitating peace.

And I’m going to leave you with this charge. Understand that during your attempts to build yourself, your family, your career at St. Andrew’s, there will almost always be the possibility that giraffes will argue with elephants over leaves. Or the rhino will use water from the shark tank to hydrate himself, or the eagle won’t be concerned about dropping waste on the tigers. But don’t let that stop you from building.

Build with passion. Build with intentionality. Build people every opportunity that you get. Build them so they know that they belong, and they stop contorting themselves to fit in every action. Every word, every glance, every moment is connected to an outcome that we cannot see. You can choose to be a willing vessel of strength for someone every single day. And when you do this, may you find grace in the sight of God, for the survival of mankind is at stake.

Thank you.

Talan ’24

How Talan ’24 transformed an injury into an opportunity to lead 

Talan Esposito ’24 vividly remembers the tumble he took last basketball season that he thought might end his athletic career at St. Andrew’s.

“I think it was our second- or third-to-last basketball game. I went up for a routine shot, came down, landed weird, tore my ACL and both [menisci],” says Esposito. “I was devastated at first.”

What followed was a surgery at the end of March, and a summer of recovery for the VI Former from Odessa, Delaware. 

He didn’t think he’d get the opportunity to get back on the field for his final season of varsity soccer once the school year rolled around, but Esposito refused to let his injury take him away from his love of the sport and his team. Instead, Esposito took on a new role: he showed up at practice and games, doing what he could to support the team from the sidelines.

“Talan handled all of this in stride and never complained about his situation,” says Matt Carroll, head coach of boys varsity soccer. “He could have taken the easy route and focused solely on his own recovery, but he never missed a practice and always made sure to support his teammates along the way. As a two-year captain, Talan has earned the admiration and respect of his teammates, yet never rested on his laurels—he challenged [his teammates], pushed them to be better versions of themselves, and continuously supported them throughout a difficult season.”

A captain since his junior year who has previously been named to the All-DISC 1st Team, Esposito stepped up to the challenge and took on more of a coaching role within the team. “Being vocal” and “getting the guys together, getting their energy up, getting them on the same page” were his guiding principles as he navigated trying to advise the players as a teammate and peer. 

In the second game of the season, Esposito was put to the test—Carroll was not at the game, so Esposito seized the moment to help lead.

“That was probably the most vocal I’d ever been, yelling out to guys, giving them advice,” says Esposito. “And I like to think that they appreciate it. I like to think that they take it all in. I think they do.”

He was a natural fit for such a leadership role as soccer has always been at the center of his life. His father played soccer at the collegiate level, instilling in him a passion for the sport, and he played on travel and school teams growing up. 

“He likes to push me and I really do appreciate that,” Esposito says of his father’s mentorship. “I feel like that’s definitely helped me grow as an athlete, as a person, as a young man.”

With his identity so tied to soccer, he took the injury hard, even though he was able to find a new way to fit into the team. That’s why he didn’t wait a moment, or miss an opportunity, to begin the recovery process. He largely credits his recovery from the injury to Assistant Athletic Director Al Wood. 

“The beginning of the season, I didn’t think I would be able to play soccer at all,” says Esposito. “But our athletic trainer, Al, did a really great job, and I really appreciate him for helping me get back to shape. I went in there every day, he gave me the workout plan, gave me advice, helped me do drills when I got back out [onto] the field.”

But Wood says that Esposito’s recovery wouldn’t have been possible without his strength of character.

“Talan approached his rehab the same way he approaches everything at St. Andrew’s: [with] a focused determination, toughness, and a will to win,” says Wood. “Returning from an ACL [injury] is a day-to-day grind that can leave even the best athlete frustrated and feeling sorry for themselves. Talan never wavered in his work ethic or attitude and the result is that he was able to return to playing sports months before any of us expected him back.”

Esposito spent any spare moment in the semester following a plan to build back quad muscle and stability—with squats, leg extensions, and deadlifts on repeat. Finally, on Oct. 17, he returned to the field in a game against Sanford. 

Adrenaline on high, Esposito and the team celebrated a 3-0 win. This moment stacks up to other highlights in his playing career, which include matching up against Caravel in the 2021 DIAA boys soccer D2 championship and his favorite small moments, like getting advice from Carroll about life on and off the field and staying up at night talking to his two roommates/teammates about soccer. 

“I hope to have kids in the future and I hope to coach them … so, getting that experience [to help coach] was definitely cool,” he says. “But obviously I would rather be on the field playing with my teammates more than anything. And getting back on the field, that was the best moment for me all season.”

With his final St. Andrew’s soccer season behind him, Esposito is looking forward to his next challenge: not just returning to the basketball court, but doing so and learning from last season’s injury. 

“Looking forward, I will be a bit more cautious because basketball, that’s where I got hurt, and hardwood is a lot different than grass,” he says. “I think I’m going to ease my way back into basketball.”

Greta Vebeliunas ’25

Greta Vebeliunas ’25 on her transition to Saints field hockey and finding the freedom to experiment on the pitch

Now part of a field hockey team with a more flexible approach to the game than she has encountered before, Greta Vebeliunas ’25 is using her newfound freedom to find out how she wants to play. She’s learning fluidity on the pitch—finding openings, moving and passing the ball up the field, and using strong stick skills to defend when necessary. 

A V Form transfer to St. Andrew’s, Vebeliunas came out of the gates as an “immediate impact player,” according to varsity Head Coach Kate Cusick. She quickly emerged as a leader and role model for the team, adds Maggie Harris, assistant field hockey coach. 

“Her energy, poise on and off the field, and her work ethic are consistent at both practice and games, and her teammates look to her for her quiet leadership on the field,” says Harris. “While she may be one of the top goal-scorers on the team, Greta is such a humble and selfless player and her presence has helped the team become more dynamic and more cohesive.”

We sat down with the student-athlete to understand her experiences this season with Saints field hockey, and what inspires her to keep up the daily grind. 

Greta Vebeliunas ’25

Were you nervous to join a new field hockey team?

“It was definitely a switch [coming here]. I noticed [how different it was to play with the team] in our first scrimmage … I was kind of nervous. I didn’t know if there was a structure, if they already knew how to play with each other and I didn’t. But everyone was very welcoming and open, and by our second scrimmage, I already felt like I fit in and that I was able to play with them. It just felt natural.”

How is Saints field hockey different from the teams you’ve played with before? 

“On this team, I feel like I'm given the opportunity to just go on the field and do my best, try new things. I’m able to shine more just because of the team itself and how everyone’s really uplifting.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered this season? 

“I find that after a long day, a challenging day, mentally, it can be hard to play when you’re thinking about your assignments or your other commitments. And sometimes mentally it can be hard to push those things aside and focus on field hockey. But I find that when I just push everything aside and have fun, that’s the most rewarding experience.”

What have been the most rewarding moments for you? 

“It may be cliché, but anytime we score a goal in a game. Everyone jumps up, hugs each other, everyone is cheering for us. And I feel like [these are the best moments] because sometimes practice can be difficult and it can be like, ‘Why am I doing all of this? My body hurts, my brain hurts.’ But then moments like that, when we’re celebrating each other and hugging, it’s just so heartwarming.”

How has working with the coaching staff been? 

“They’ve been very supportive. They’re always there to hear my concerns or my insights. It’s obvious that they’re there because they want to be.”

How have you branched out in other ways since coming to St. Andrew’s? 

“Here I’ve noticed everyone does whatever they want to. You can be an athlete and a performer without anyone thinking twice about it. I really like that. Right now, I’m in [the Andrean Ensemble] and I’m really enjoying it. And I like how I’m able to do field hockey and sing without having to have a label.”

What’s your ‘why’ behind athletics? 

“I’ve always loved to try new things. I started field hockey in seventh grade, which was a new thing [for me]. And I loved it. I feel like trying new things is often a way to find what you’re passionate about. This year, I’m trying track for the first time in the winter.”

Anything else you’d like to share? 

“This field hockey team is probably my favorite that I’ve played on. Every day when I go to practice, it just feels like a treat. Everyone’s so welcoming and it’s just a really fun time.” 

Greta Vebeliunas ’25


 

Vivian Snow

Vivian Snow ’27 on finding home and stability at boarding school 

“The people make the place.”

That sentiment strikes a particular chord with Vivian Snow ’27. A self-described “Army brat” who has lived in nine different states over the course of her life, she has always considered her family as her home, rather than any house and picket fence.

When she visited St. Andrew’s for the first time, she got the sense that the people were what made the school special, too.

“Everyone smiled and said hello to each other,” says Snow. “It felt like everyone wanted to be here, and everyone chose to be here.”

Boarding school wasn’t on the radar for Snow until two years ago, when her brother received funding to attend boarding school in Colorado from Orion Military Scholarships, an organization which provides merit scholarships and financial aid to the children of military families. Snow’s eyes opened: she saw an opportunity to find stability in education and to, for once, take a deep breath and stay a while. 

Snow applied to 10 schools, and eventually narrowed her choices down to St. Andrew’s and another boarding school. The close-knit culture of St. Andrew’s and the connections she formed on Visit Back Day were the deciding factors for her. 

Vivian Snow getting her school photos taken

Her impression of the school has lived up to her experience so far. 

“It’s not even like you [just] get really close with your group of friends, you get close to everyone,” says Snow. “No matter who’s outside after dinner, or who you’re sitting with, you’re friendly with them.”

From the Front Lawn to the field hockey pitch, Snow has stepped out of her comfort zone to forge new friendships and make St. Andrew’s home. This is her first year playing field hockey, because her frequent seasonal moves growing up made it difficult for her to join a fall sports team. 

“It was daunting at first, but within the first 20 minutes of the first practice, everyone was just excited that you’re trying,” says Snow. 

Though Snow is used to hopping around from state to state, she does miss the integral people in her life that followed her no matter where she went: her family. However, she says her whole life has felt like “training” for boarding school, in terms of learning to keep up with long-distance friendships and travel on her own. 

“When someone is in their best place, [that’s] when you are closest to them,” Snow says of how being at her happiest has strengthened her relationships with her parents and siblings, despite living far from home. Her siblings are already buzzing to attend St. Andrew’s when the time comes. 

Vivian Snow at Frosty Run

Though she acknowledges the challenges that come with having parents in the military, she says she would not trade her childhood for anything. “It’s a part of me that has made me who I am and it has prepared me for my future,” she says. 

Snow spends her free time writing for Bloom, an online resource where military teens can connect with and empower each other. She heard about the group through Orion Military Scholarships, and jumped at the opportunity to use her interest in writing to share her story about attending boarding school as a military teen. 

“I found a home after so many years of houses,” writes Snow in her latest blog post about her first week at St. Andrew’s. 

Beyond classes, athletics, extracurriculars, and the blog, Snow is also trying to focus on being present in her friendships, because she knows that for the first time, she’ll have the opportunity to connect with classmates for longer than a couple of years. 

“I feel like I have … a time bomb in my brain, where I want to get all my memories in, all my pictures in, because I know I don’t have forever with these people,” she says. “I kind of have to slow myself down, [because now] I have a long time with these people. It’s the most amazing feeling.”
 

Vivian Snow at football game
Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 Delivers Fall Family Weekend Remarks

Click here to view Joy’s remarks on Youtube.

Good morning, everyone! Welcome back to St. Andrew’s! Welcome to Family Weekend. My husband Ty Jones, and the entire faculty, join me in welcoming you back here. And I would like to thank those faculty, who are just doing an incredible job with your children, for their tremendous efforts this weekend. Thanks, too, to our parent trustees, for all you do as volunteers for St. Andrew’s, and our Saints Fund parent co-chairs, the Dillards and the Halls. We truly couldn’t do it without your support. I know you are tremendously excited to see your children and so I thank you for coming to hear me for a few of your precious minutes on the campus.

I hope this weekend, you will discover that your child’s education is turning out to be a defining experience in their lives. My St. Andrew’s education was the most precious and valuable time in my life—and I am lucky enough that it continues to be, thanks to my teachers, my friends, my colleagues, and your children. I hope you are finding that your child is making the most of this opportunity for a great secondary education, one that is opening their minds, making their worlds larger. That growth, I hope they recognize, is to fulfill their promise and potential as free people.

Emily Pressman recently reminded me of a touchstone essay on liberal education that William Cronon wrote in the late 1990s, in which he defined this as the purpose of education: “to nurture the growth of human talent in the service of human freedom.” I am mindful of this definition, which hearkens back to the roots of the word “liberal” in “liberal education”—not a political reference, but derived from the Latin, Greek, Old English, and Sanskrit roots for “freedom” and “growth.”

St. Andrew’s students are brilliant and gifted—we have no doubt of that. But we—all of the adults in this room—dream of something more for our children: when they leave here can they stand on their own two feet? Are they decent, unselfish, independent people who can do hard things—who WANT to do hard things? Will they look around them, pay attention, and figure out how to help. In short: what will they do with their freedom? How will they continue to grow and stretch as individuals and in turn grow and stretch our world? We—all of us who are looking after these children, together—hope our students leave here seriously engaged with the questions: What is my life for? Who am I responsible for? What are my moral obligations? What will I do, give, sacrifice—to lead a meaningful life?

This education is as necessary as it is bold. It is an enormous commitment. But the mechanism for this growth is simple. We practice.

You know the old joke: a woman runs out of Penn Station in New York with her cello case and rushes up to a hot dog stand, late for an audition. She asks the hot dog guy, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?!” His answer:

Practice, practice, practice—we are practicing practical moral habits—to learn to use our freedom—how to be strong people of good courage—people who have a moral compass, people who are other-centered, who can listen and learn.

It is a truism employed by educators everywhere that our students will change the world. Of course, they will. What matters is that they change it for the better.

***

You have wonderful children. We love them so much. In the last week, they have gone, as a school, to two night games. One was football last Friday, and another was field hockey on Tuesday. I know you will be as proud as I was that at BOTH games, the adults working the snack bars at these two different schools crossed the field after the game to share with our faculty that our kids were “the most amazing students they have ever seen.” At one game, a few of these boosters from our opponents’ schools actually sat with us because it was more fun.

Folks, I am sorry to tell you, all they did was say please and thank you, clean up after themselves, pay attention, and let home fans cut the line when our groups were large, and generally, they were polite. How did the polite behavior of children become so odd that adults walk across stadiums to applaud it?

I recently re-read the keynote address given at the school’s 50th anniversary in 1980 by an alumnus from St. Andrew’s first graduating class, 1935, Holly Whyte. I was struck by how durable our school’s DNA is, and how fortunate we are in that. Holly was one of the original boys to enter the school in 1930, and by 1980 he was a trustee, noted author, and public intellectual. He begins the speech, “St. Andrew’s is a school that is somewhat out of step.” He then lays out the ways in which the school was out of step in that anniversary moment of 1980, all of which remain true to this day: we are small, with strong connections between students and faculty; we are in Delaware; we are an Episcopal school and cleave to those roots. To his list I would add a few modern additions that Whyte could not have anticipated, such as eschewing cell phones and preserving childhood through the high school years.

Whyte concludes his talk saying, “The face we turn to the world when we try to describe St. Andrew’s is often that of a well-rounded school. But it is not a well-rounded school—certainly not in the sense that the term is generally used. We are much more asymmetrical than that. At some things St. Andrew’s is not particularly good. At some things it is utterly superb. We should make the most of these excellences. We should assert them, reinforce them.”

Out of step. Asymmetrical. I thought about Holly Whyte’s idea this week because what our students did at those away games met my basic expectations. I am sure politeness, thoughtfulness, and situational awareness are also your basic expectations as parents and guardians. Yet elsewhere, these behaviors are earth-shattering, out of step. We must continue to practice them—as Whyte said, assert them and reinforce them. In these little decisions we make every day, we create a moral ecosystem with our choices. In the dining hall, the chapel, the dorms. At away games, even. We try to be generous, selfless, driven. We are other-centered, we greet each other, we work and compete with our whole hearts, we care, we leave our cell phones behind. Sometimes, we mess up. So we are humble. We apologize. Sometimes progress seems invisible, but we focus on the process, not the outcome. We are patient—with ourselves, with others.

Bishop Kevin Brown was here on Wednesday on the Feast Day of Saint Luke. He captured this idea beautifully when he noted, “Saints are not perfect but they are dedicated; Saints are not flawless, but they are faithful.” If we live consistently with these principles, we naturally come together in all our glorious differences. Everything we do is premised on people in proximity: togetherness. Together, we cannot be divided or distracted. Together, we cannot feel disconnected or lonely or angry for very long. We bring our full selves, all our identities, everything we are, all our potential, to each challenge.

The whole point of this place is to bring together people with disparate and diverse backgrounds and points of view. Those are shared in an environment insistently non-partisan, free, inclusive, and open to all points of view. I hope our students debate openly, learn to persuade others, and are capable of changing their minds.

Is there a better definition of a free person than one who can change her mind?

This is how we grow and how we stretch. Cronon in his essay identified a few characteristics of liberally educated people—I am always struck by how they are other-centered: educated people listen, understand, persuade in writing and in speech, practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism, they nurture and empower people around them, they connect.

We do not live for ourselves. It is the essence of a St. Andrew’s education, it is the foundation of our faith, and it is what it means to be human. And maybe this is why more often than not, you hear laughter and see smiles in the halls around here. It’s because oddly enough, the science tells us that thinking about ourselves makes us unhappy and fragile. When we forget ourselves, are part of something larger than ourselves, when we know that larger why—even if we are doing hard things, impossible things—we are happier, more grateful, and more resilient. 

If this is out of step, so be it. I am comfortable with that. But, how do we keep it this way?

Well, we need you, as families and partners in this work. You will be meeting with teachers, coaches, and dorm parents throughout the weekend. I will give you the same advice I always give your children:

  • Focus on the process, not the outcomes.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Ask for help.
  • Be yourself—you are here because of exactly who you are, we need everyone! Not a performance, not an avatar, but your authentic and genuine self.

In other words: the fundamentals matter. Let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be.

Your support and participation make our work even more joyful. You raised these powerful young people! Thank you! We welcome you as you are and we are excited to keep going, by your side, as we see these children stretch and grow. There is no doubt the world needs these Saints to be great and strong, to leave the world better than they found it.

Thank you for your partnership. Thank you for seeing the possibilities in your children and in this school—this out of step, asymmetrical school—and for believing in what we can all do together.

Enjoy the weekend and please say hello when you see me! 

Coco and Reese Holden

Meet two of the school’s newest Saints: Coco Holden ’27 and Reese Holden ’27

Coco Holden ’27 and Reese Holden ’27 came halfway across the world for their first year of high school. But just over a month into the school year, St. Andrew’s already feels like home for these twins from Australia. 

Coco and Reese have a typical sibling banter, poking fun at each other often. “She’s a bit more nerdy than I am,” quips Reese. Coco responds that she “embraces” her nerdiness. 

But the sisters value their relationship and sticking together, which is why they took the leap and decided to attend St. Andrew’s as a duo. Coco, never having been to St. Andrew’s before she arrived for International Orientation, even trusted Reese’s impression of the school enough to apply and commit. 

“We came for International Orientation, so we were just driving in, and it didn’t feel real,” says Coco. They remember their first day on campus, when all the faculty already knew their names and the seniors kindly moved all their belongings into their dorms. 

Reese had made that drive down the main road once before. About a year ago, she joined her mother on a work trip to America. Her mother, who grew up in Arlington, Va., remembered a school that came up again and again amongst her childhood friends: St. Andrew’s. Reese, who knew she wanted something different than her current school, called St. Andrew’s to schedule a tour—a tour with Dean of Admission & Financial Aid Will Robinson ’97 that ended up being three hours long. 

Reese returned to Australia and shared a glowing review of St. Andrew’s with her sister. After thinking it over—and receiving more than a few emails from Robinson—Coco and Reese carefully crafted their applications and sent them in. 

They both found out they were accepted in the middle of watching Hamilton in the theater. The moment the show was over, they bolted out of the doors to celebrate—these two weren’t throwing away their shot.

The pair complements each other well: Coco considers herself to be STEM-oriented while Reese is interested in creative writing and the arts. However, both share a love of field hockey (which, they note, is just referred to as “hockey” in Australia). 

They made the JV field hockey team, though Reese is unfortunately unable to play due to a concussion. She still savors going to the games and vibing with the team’s energy. 

They have also already fallen in love with the community service opportunities that St. Andrew’s offers. The sisters value getting to know Middletown and its people through this program: Reese volunteers at the MOT Senior Center, and Coco has been involved with Adaptive Aquatics, a St. Andrew’s program that offers swimming lessons to local special-needs students.

Reese says that fitting all these activities into her packed schedule has been a wonderful antidote to missing home. “I thought I’d be more homesick than I am,” she says. “I’ve been keeping myself really busy over here, so I don’t think I’ve had very much time to think about it.” 

The sisters say that they do think of home when they see classmates making plans for long weekends, or when they hear them on the phone with their families—something that the time difference makes challenging for Coco and Reese. When they start to miss home, they’ve found comfort in the different support systems at St. Andrew’s.

The duo says the international community has been essential to their transition to the States. They gave particular kudos to Ruth Hilton ’24 for helping them adjust to their new lives. 

Coco and Reese can be found on campus doing some of their favorite pastimes: soaking in the sun on the Front Lawn and dreaming about pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce as they count down the days until their first Thanksgiving.
 

Board of Trustees

A recap of the September 2023 Trustee Weekend

The last weekend of September marked Trustee Weekend at St. Andrew’s, which brought together an essential group of volunteers, alumni, and parents who are committed to working together to shape the future of the school. Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 welcomed trustees to the campus with a packed agenda: the trustees considered long-range plans and discussed matters related to student and faculty excellence, the future of financial aid, capital planning and St. Andrew’s carbon footprint, and the financial sustainability of the school, with a particular focus on the necessity of increasing philanthropic support for St. Andrew’s to continue to flourish. “After grounding herself in the school of today during her first two years, this meeting was time for Joy and the board to consider big questions regarding the future of the school, and how to engage the full community in that future,” said Scott Sipprelle ’81, whose service as board chair will conclude in June 2024. 

“St. Andrew’s exists to educate young people from all backgrounds and every corner of society so that they can be the capable and courageous people the world needs. We have always been a school out of step with the norm: we are committed to remaining an Episcopal school that is small, all-boarding, and open to all regardless of their family’s means. These principles are precious to me and the board. Like many precious things, they are also costly. We are aligned in our desire to sustain the school and its values that serve our students–and society–so well,” commented McGrath. 

The group immersed itself into the culture and the pulse of the school by attending a chapel service featuring a talk from trustee Sis Johnson P’11 on Sept. 29. (On trustee weekends, a board member gives a chapel talk to the full school after Friday lunch.) Johnson discussed her personal history of attending a rural high school where she was not well prepared for college, and how when she reached college, she had to use her curiosity, eventually relying on resources like the university library and her professors. Because the day was the feast of St. Michael and all angels in the Episcopal Church, Johnson urged students to be on the “lookout for angels,” which helps us cope with the infinite and uncertain nature of reality. 

“You may not know who the angels are in your own life until long after the time of their impact,” said Johnson. “Right now, you probably have a teacher or a friend here at St. Andrew’s who will prove to be an angel.” Johnson reflected on the angels in her own life: her mother, husband, daughters, and more. “Even when you are pressed for time and eager to simply get the assignment done, I encourage you to indulge your curiosity,” Johnson said of letting your angels guide you.

The trustees also spent time with students at a family-style lunch with the full school community. 

Considering the history of past Saints, the 50th anniversary of coeducation at St. Andrew’s was also on the minds of the trustees as they pored over archival materials from this essential part of the school’s history.

With new members and new leadership of the board, the dialogue this past weekend brought fresh perspectives in service to the school. 

“Clearly, there are many headwinds facing a school like ours, but with clever, creative and thoughtful planning and adequate resources, Joy and her remarkable team are poised to navigate these challenges and to even elevate the school to new, loftier heights,” noted Dr. Michael Atalay ’84 P’17,’19,’23, who joined the board a year ago. “We are in very good hands.”

Jason Honsel advising students on college admissions

How St. Andrew’s is tackling college counseling in the wake of the end of affirmative action

With the Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision to end affirmative action in college admissions, students and parents may be left wondering how this will affect the college counseling process for high schoolers. 

St. Andrew’s Director of College Counseling Jason Honsel P’24 breaks down what this landmark decision might mean for St. Andrew’s students and families. 

“Even though the Supreme Court struck down the use of affirmative action, I think schools have been really adamant that they’re still going to very much value diversity … that they are going to find ways to ensure that their classes are diverse,” says Honsel. 

He adds that even though there are changes at the national level, the college counseling department’s commitment to ensuring the best individualized outcomes in the college admissions process for St. Andrew’s students remains unchanged. How does he define “best?” Whatever college fits the unique needs and desires of each student, he says.

“Students have to get to know themselves, [so we’re trying] to create this idea of self-awareness,” says Honsel of helping students through the admissions process. “Know who you are, what you like, you don’t like, what your interests are.”

Honsel also prioritizes honesty with students about the price tag that comes with college. “Some students here are very fortunate where finances are not an issue, but [for] some, they really are,” says Honsel. “So we want to be mindful of the financial piece of it as well.” 

The college counseling team’s characteristically St. Andrew’s approach—connecting with each student and getting to know them on a personal level over the course of their time here—remains steadfast. “I think the advantage of being here at a boarding school and living here and seeing these kids all of the time is we get to know them pretty well,” says Honsel. 

However, Honsel notes, the team tries not to overwhelm students in their early years at St. Andrew’s as starting the deep-dive into college admissions too early only “amplifies the stress and the anxiety around the process.” 

“Obviously this is an important part of St. Andrew’s, but we also really really try to emphasize that it’s not just about the outcome, the experience [of being here] is really important,” says Honsel. 

Dan O'Connell leads a class on March 18, 2022

Faculty member Dan O’Connell gave this reflection at a Wednesday night chapel service on October 4

Faculty member Dan O’Connell gave this reflection at a Wednesday night chapel service on October 4.

William Lin

William Lin ’24 on the spark behind the essay that made its way to The Concord Review

From the moment his parents bestowed on him a hand-me-down iPhone 4 when he was younger, capturing beauty with a camera has fascinated William Lin ’24. 

But his first year at St. Andrew’s was a turning point for his hobby. He honed his photography skills and deepened his passion for the art form as he traveled around China taking pictures of “different scenes, different people, [and] different cultures.”

Lin spent his first year at St. Andrew’s in an atypical fashion: abroad in his home city of Beijing, China, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to forgo a normal year of school. 

A year later, he was finally on campus and in Dean of Studies Melinda Tower’s history classroom, taking “A World at War,” an advanced study course that explores 20th-Century wars and why they started, the way they were fought, and why they ended.

The gears started to turn for Lin. In the classroom, with conversations centered on photo censorship during World War II, he found himself at the intersection of his love of history and his passion for photography.

This brewing interest in censorship followed him into his V Form year. While taking “Research Seminar,” an advanced study history course that immerses students in scholarly research and challenges them to write a thoughtful research paper, he decided to explore the topic that piqued his curiosity in “A World at War.” 

When Victor Cuicahua, a former St. Andrew’s faculty member and then-instructor of the seminar, read Lin’s paper, “Whitewashing the War: U.S. Censorship of Photography during World War II,” he was impressed.
 
Lin remembers that Cuicahua pointed out the exceptional nature of the paper, and urged Lin to submit it to The Concord Review, a highly selective quarterly academic journal, the only such journal that exists that offers secondary students the opportunity to submit academic history papers. Emboldened by his instructor’s feedback, he pushed “submit.” And then the waiting game began.

“I got the news during senior orientation on my watch,” Lin recalls of the beginning of this school year. “My watch is one of those where you get the text but it doesn’t show the entire text, so I was looking at it, and it was like, ‘Dear William, I’m writing to tell you that your paper has been’ and it just cuts off there.”

The anticipation was almost unbearable for the next several hours as Lin sat through orientation, waiting to read the remainder of that email. He exercised one of the many virtues of Saints: patience. 

It paid off: his paper had been accepted for publication. His essay was one of 11 featured in the fall issue of The Concord Review, written by student scholars around the world. It was published in early September.

In the paper, Lin argues that the U.S. government instituted a “carefully managed censorship regime” during the second World War for a two-fold purpose: to minimize racial tensions and conflict in the United States by hiding racism in the military, and to conceal the degree to which racial integration was present in the military to avoid angering prejudiced Americans. 

Reflecting on the thought-provoking classroom conversations that shaped his paper, Lin remembers a particular conversation with Tower regarding a Dorothea Lange photo—the unmistakable “Migrant Mother” photo from the Great Depression. Lin discovered through this conversation that the photographer had taken that photo without permission, and that the woman in the image disputed the photo as she refused to be seen as a symbol of the Depression. 

Conversations like this one with Tower—as well as with Cuicahua and Dean of Students Matthew Carroll, the other faculty member heading the seminar—illuminated for Lin that there are complex depths behind a simple photo: layers of interpretation, censorship, intent, and more. 

Through a historical and artistic lens, Lin brought these layers into dialogue with one another in his research. Beyond what he discusses in the paper, Lin also recognizes implications of historical censorship on contemporary issues. 

“I think [censorship of photography] is going to be a relevant topic, even though censorship is not necessarily a main thing that is happening right now because there’s so many avenues with the internet and social media [for images to spread],” Lin says. “But with generative [artificial intelligence] and generative imaging, it’s more of an issue of deep fakes and misinformation. I’m certainly looking forward to looking deeper into this in college and finding a new direction.” 
 

The Advantage of Curiosity

Trustee Sis Johnson P’11 gave this talk on Friday, September 29, during Trustee Weekend

Thank you for the kind introduction and for inviting me to speak today.  It’s truly an honor to serve as a trustee of this special school and to represent the board at this chapel.  Unlike many members of the board of trustees, I am not an alumna of the school, but a parent of an alum.  In fact, the rural county high school I attended was not remotely like St. Andrew’s, and unlike St. Andrew’s graduates, I was ill prepared for college. Despite having worked hard and made good grades, my school simply didn’t offer a college preparatory curriculum. I had never heard of AP, and more importantly, I had never written what you and I would call “a paper.”  We were assigned a “term paper” our senior year, but our grade was based purely on using the correct form for footnotes and bibliography.  What we had to say was completely irrelevant.

So, when my freshman English professor at Vanderbilt on the first day of class said that our assignment for the following week was to read a short story and to write “a paper,” I was absolutely clueless.  I had read many short stories, but I had never written “a paper” about one.  I couldn’t even imagine what you might say other than giving a plot summary or perhaps explaining whether or not you liked the story. 

Here at St. Andrew’s, you would have the good sense to talk to your teacher, but I was far too intimidated to go to the professor and ask for direction, so instead, I went to the library.  Even in rural Tennessee we had libraries.  After some browsing, I discovered that there was a whole category of books that were called literary criticism and that they all contained essays about works of literature—amazing.  Perhaps this “paper” that I was being asked to write might resemble those essays. 

I eventually managed to pull together something that looked like “a paper” but felt on tremendously shaky ground.  To my surprise and delight the professor returned my paper with an encouraging comment.  More importantly though, the curiosity that drove me to the library paid off.  And it has stuck with me.

Just as I was ill prepared for college writing assignments, my religious education was also sadly inadequate.  Despite attending Church and Sunday School every Sunday of my childhood, I learned very little about important figures in Christianity.  So, when Ms. McGrath pointed out that today, September 29th, is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, I felt a lot like I did in freshman English—clueless.  But also, like then, I was determined to find out what that meant.  Thanks to modern technology, satisfying my curiosity did not require a trip to the library, and I learned that Michael is not just an angel but an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition.  It was Michael who prevented Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis, cast Satan into Hell in the Book of Revelation, and who in Islam weighs an individual’s good and evil acts on the Day of Judgment. 

While angels play a crucial role in the heavenly realm, their role for us mortals is that of messenger, and it is their communication with us that makes them figure so prominently in our art and literature.  One vivid representation of angels occurs in the play Dr. Faustus, by Shakespeare’s contemporary Christopher Marlowe.  Even if you haven’t read Marlowe, you are probably familiar with some version of the Faust legend wherein a great scientist contemplates selling his soul to the devil.  In Marlowe’s play Faustus is visited by both a Good Angel and a Bad Angel. Each speaks to Faustus as he decides whether to exchange his soul for greater knowledge and power.  The Bad Angel tempts Faustus by appealing to his pride and ego, while the Good Angel exhorts Faustus to love God and read Scriptures. 

Though you and I may not receive such a direct visitation, we are all familiar with that sense of being torn in opposite directions when making a decision.  Thankfully, most of our decisions don’t determine whether we will go to heaven or to hell, but we often know that one course of action is more righteous than another.

Curious to know how angels are faring in contemporary literature, I discovered a work of nonfiction called The Rigor of Angels, a book that turned out to be as challenging as it sounds.  The author William Egginton explores the relationship between the works of philosopher Emmanuel Kant, physicist Werner Heisenberg, and writer Jorge Luis Borges.  Reading even the introduction, I knew I was in over my head, but once again, the library goer in me was determined to figure out what this book was about.  Though I couldn’t begin to give you a clear analysis of this extremely dense text, what I can say with certainty is that reading it made me think about the cosmos in ways that I hadn’t in a long time.  How can we creatures of time and space understand the infinite?  How can we even begin to comprehend the nature of reality?  Alas, we have a fundamentally incomplete picture of the world and are reminded that mysteries remain.

How then are we to cope?  I would suggest that we be on the lookout for angels.  They may not speak to us as directly as Marlowe’s characters, but the spirit of others can guide us in important ways.  You may not know who the angels are in your own life until long after the time of their impact.  Right now, you probably have a teacher or a friend here at St. Andrew’s who will prove to be an angel.  In my own life, one angel was my mother, more the rigorous type than the sweet cherub you see on a Hallmark card.  She showed me that books and libraries are windows to understanding.  And yes, that freshman English professor who eventually gave me an A and inspired a lifelong love of literature was definitely an angel.

My husband and my daughters have also served as angels, leading me to challenges and adventures that I couldn’t imagine on my own. Without them I would never have run a half marathon, never skied a double black diamond, and never have tiptoed into the world of immersive theater.  They whispered to me to be curious and to say yes to new experiences and new ideas.

Even when you are pressed for time and eager to simply get the assignment done, I encourage you to indulge your curiosity.  It will undoubtedly lead you down a more rewarding path. 

As I felt the pressure of time to make this talk better, my husband, playing the role of the Bad Angel, suggested Chat GPT, a temptation you may have felt or will.  He entered a prompt for a chapel talk about St. Michael and curiosity, with humor.  The bot’s version was funnier than mine, but its answer also had some inaccuracy and was at its core small-minded.  But most importantly, it didn’t reflect the journey of my life and the way in which curiosity has been key for me—in short, it wasn’t my paper.

Curiosity may or may not have killed the cat, but I can assure you that it leads us all to a richer and more enlightened life.  It can be your secret weapon in the face of ignorance and uncertainty.  Without it, I wouldn’t be standing here today. 

Thank you!

Coeducation panelists

“The First, The Few: Pioneers and Pathmakers Panel” sheds light on the experiences of the first girls at St. Andrew’s

As the student body, faculty and staff, and a distinguished group of women gathered in the Chapel, the energy quite literally buzzed in the air—the backup generator was up and running after a campus outage due to a storm.

Yet the eagerly anticipated “The First, The Few: Pioneers and Pathmakers Panel” went on despite the challenges, launching the school’s 50th anniversary of coeducation celebration and Homecoming 2023. Moderated by Louisa Zendt ’78 P'05,'09 and featuring a few of the women who attended the school in the first and early years of coeducation, these trailblazers touched on the academic, social, and extracurricular lives they led at St. Andrew’s, which helped pave the way for future generations of Saints women.

When panelist Louise Dewar ’75 came to St. Andrew’s the fall of 1973, the first year of coeducation, she said to herself, “I will graduate summa cum laude.” But she found academics at St. Andrew’s wasn’t a walk in the park.

“It was like getting hit with a shovel,” Dewar told the crowd. “It was certainly the hardest academic things I ever did. It took me a full year to get to understand what was expected of me, to understand how to study, to understand how the classes ran. And there were a lot of elements of that, being … just one girl in a class with 10 boys. Sometimes that worked out to our advantage. Sometimes it didn't.”

Dewar and her fellow panelists emphasized that the support of numerous faculty members in and out of the classroom made it possible to not only deal with the normal challenges of high school, but the unique difficulties that confronted the girls as the first women at a historically all-boys school. The faculty name that came to mind for Dewar, panelist Valerie Klinger ’76, and panelist Chesa Profaci ’80 was Nan Mein, the beloved first female faculty member of St. Andrew’s.

“I don't know that I can do justice to Nan and her influence on all of our experiences, both boys and girls, as well as on coeducation,” said Profaci, who also serves as St. Andrew’s director of alumni engagement. “Nan was self-assured, she was assertive, she was even intimidating. She stood up for herself and we watched her. And as girls, we modeled that.”

Socially, Klinger said that despite the few in the Saints community who resisted coeducation, she felt welcome from the moment she stepped on campus—though she did see boys peeking through the windows in fascination during move-in day as they sought to catch their first glimpses of the girls.

“Was I nervous the first day? No,” Klinger said. “Too much of a whirlwind. Everybody was just excited to see us and we stuck together a lot in [those] first couple of weeks.”

The friendships that formed amongst the first girls have stayed strong 50 years later. And many of their bonds and memories were formed through St. Andrew’s athletics program. After the panel, the panelists and their peers from the early years of coeducation gathered to further relive Saints sports memories by perusing through old athletics memorabilia at the Celebration of Coeducation exhibit in the Old Gym.

Two people looking at coeducation exhibit

Klinger recalled during the panel her time rowing crew with Dewar and the other first girls. At the end of the year, members of both the girls and boys crew teams were presented with prizes—the boys with an oar, and the girls, a pin.

Klinger said that years later, she returned to campus to cheer with Dewar at the Diamond State Regatta. Dewar and Klinger, to their surprise, were finally presented with the oars they deserved.

The women said that their time at St. Andrew’s—the challenging, joyous, and everything in between—has shaped the rest of their lives and careers by giving them a sense of confidence and adventure.

“So even though we were supported at St. Andrew’s … it was somewhat from a distance,” said Profaci. “You kind of made your own way and figured it out, and that gave you confidence and you knew you could do [anything you wanted to].”

The panelists engaged with students as they answered questions about navigating male-dominated spaces, dealing with the pressure to be exceptional, and other challenges that today’s young women may relate to. Though these women created the platform in which other students, faculty, and leaders at St. Andrew’s could thrive, they said that at the time, they just felt like regular high school students.

“I did not feel like I was a brave pioneer,” said Zendt. “But I immediately felt safe, and I immediately felt that I was really, truly heard.”

Student asking a question at panel

 

The 2023-2024 Co-Presidents

An inside look at the two newest leaders of the student body

Classes, homework, college applications, clubs, varsity sports: Charlie Lunsford ’24 and Riya Soni ’24 have a lot on their plates in their final year at St. Andrew’s before they head off to college. But this duo has another weighty responsibility to balance, too—serving as school co-presidents. But as any SAS student knows, St. Andrew’s is not just a “school.” 

“The line between school and home here is so incredibly blurred that we not only have to create a good school experience for students, but a good home life, or as close to home as we can get,” says Soni.

Stepping into the shoes of former co-presidents Trinity Smith ’23 and Ford Chapman ’23 is no easy task for Lunsford and Soni, but the two are eager to tackle their new roles, as their past experiences have led up to this moment. 

Soni came to St. Andrew’s as a new IV Form student after completing her freshman year in her home state of New Jersey. Soon into her time here, she founded the Social Justice Club with a few of her fellow students. 

“Through organizing projects and coordinating with teachers, I got a really tangible taste for what leadership meant,” Soni says of her experience founding the club. 

Lunsford, a three-sport athlete from North Carolina, took one of his first forays into leadership in his IV Form year as captain of the squash team. He also feels that in his three years at St. Andrew’s, he has become an informal leader of his class.

“When the opportunity to be [co-president] came up I kind of just jumped at it because of the love I have for everyone in my class and these connections we’ve built,” says Lunsford. “I feel like there’s nothing that I care about more than my class.”

As co-presidents, Soni and Lunsford’s responsibilities include heading Form Council, giving daily announcements, working with faculty to serve as a voice for the students, and sitting on the Honor Committee and Discipline Committee. 

“Our priorities include having a really solid and communicative Form Council so that planning events like Casino Night and the Haunted Trail go smoothly,” Soni says. The duo would also like to plan more weekend social events, like movies on the Front Lawn, or bonfire and s’mores nights. “[We want to do this] so students feel more encouraged to take breaks from their work, opt-in, and socialize,” she says.

With SAS culture restored to its former glory after the pandemic, Soni and Lunsford would like to explore bringing some old-school traditions back, like the schoolwide Olympics or assigning students to Hogwarts houses.

As much fun as that all sounds, the co-presidents consider one job to be more paramount.

“The biggest goal of the co-presidents is to protect the school’s culture,” says Lunsford.  

The students serve as role models for others, and step up when they see something going on that does not align with the school’s values. 

“It is all about culture. That’s the one thing that differentiates us from [other schools],” says Soni. 

She adds that practicing what she preaches is not always easy, especially because she is still learning and growing at a place where progress is the mission, not perfection. However, she says that taking accountability for her own actions is what matters, and that’s what she expects from her fellow students as well. 

The seniors plan to stay on top of their responsibilities while taking care of themselves by relying on each other, students in Form Council, and faculty, and by giving themselves grace. 

But the two say that it isn’t hard to juggle their responsibilities when they feel so passionate about their roles. 

“People don’t remember what you say to them, or what you do for them, they remember how you make them feel,” says Soni. “And if we can, amidst all the stress and all the jam-packed schedules … if we can make people stop and experience pure happiness … that just means the world to me.”

Happy New Year!

Dear Students and Families,

St. Andrew’s is far too quiet in the summer, and we are more than ready for all of our students to return to school! Over the past two weeks, as faculty have returned, it’s been such a pleasure to begin saying “happy new year,” to each one. And it is a new year, one that we have awaited all summer with great anticipation! Although many people see the fall season as a time of ending and senescence, the poets know better. From Keats to Mary Oliver, they have shown us those things that signal the coming winter contain the seeds of freshness and rebirth.

Each day this summer, as late June became July, and now in August, the setting sun has moved one click to the west, a pendulum that reached northward for the June solstice and then in time turned back to take its place across the fields. In my backyard this morning, where students will soon gather on the patio, I spotted the first of the goldfinches plucking the tiny seeds from the drying heads of the coneflowers, a certain harbinger of fall. On the School Farm, the field corn that flourished green in torrential rains begins to brown, the easier to see the full ears and spent, darkening silks. As you return to school down the main drive, the chestnut where the lane first curves has dropped a few spiky nuts. Just beyond that you’ll see hickory nuts beginning to drift, and we await the “pock pock” (Mary Oliver has this sound just right) of the acorns soon to follow.

Teachers also see the fall as a new year and a new beginning. Like acorns, our students bring with them all they need to flourish and grow. What is within each of them, and what they will find in others in this community, is everything they need. So, as you prepare for this year, pack light. Unstuff your bags, and remove items from the car. We focus on the fundamentals at St. Andrew’s, and possessions will distract us from our purpose and our practice in this new year. Let’s keep it simple, use less, take care of what we have, and, as a result, do more in human community: more joy, more understanding, more connection, more growth.

Parents and guardians, it is an honor to begin this new year with your children. Working with them is a calling and an inspiration; the trust you place in us is extraordinary and meaningful. I look forward to greeting you as you return in the coming days!

In partnership,

Joy McGrath
Daniel T. Roach, Jr. Head of School

Saints Show Up for Reunion 2023

St. Andrew's celebrated its annual Reunion Weekend June 9 through June 11, and welcomed more than 300 alumni and their families back to campus for the three-day celebration. This year's Reunion honored class years ending in 3s and 8s, from the Class of 1948 to the Class of 2018, with the Class of 1973 celebrating its 50th Reunion, and the Class of 1998 celebrating its 25th Reunion. Weekend events included an LGBTQIA+ panel discussion and conversation session; a panel discussion on waterway environmentalism; mini-sessions on the inner workings of St. Andrew’s (the school's financial model, the admissions process, how we live out the school's mission, etc.); and of course, food trucks, karaoke, good times on the Front Lawn, crew races on Noxontown Pond, and much more.

“Three hundred of you are back here for the same reason I am back to be head of school—we share an incredible love for this place and for each other," said Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 during her remarks to alumni on Saturday. “We are an extended family.”

At the all-alumni Reunion Banquet on Saturday night, the Class of 1988 was awarded with the Giving Bowl, which recognizes the Reunion class that has contributed the largest total amount of gifts to the Saints Fund (as of Reunion Weekend) in the current fiscal year. Our 1988 alums have given $74,343 to the Saints Fund in 2022-23.

The Fishers of Men and Women Plate, another annually given Reunion award that recognizes the two reunion classes (pre-1979 and post-1979) with the greatest percentage of alumni making gifts to the Saints Fund (as of Reunion Weekend) in the current fiscal year. The pre-1979 Fishers Plate was awarded to the Class of 1968 with 68% participation. The post-1979 Fishers Plate was given to the Class of 1998 with 88% participation, a new record for 25th Reunion giving (previously held by the Class of 1997). 

Alumni giving is also honored with a third award: the Founders Cup. Instituted in recognition of the School's 75th anniversary in 2004, the Founders Cup recognizes the importance of alumni support of every kind, and is given to the Reunion class that has given the greatest total support to the school (Saints Fund, capital, endowment, and planned gifts and pledges) since their Class's prior Reunion. This year's Founders Cup was awarded to the Class of 1988, for their total giving of $1,320,234 to St. Andrew's since their last Reunion in 2018.

Additionally, the Class of 1988 broke the 35th reunion record for Saints Fund dollars donated during a Reunion year, previously held by the Class of 1965, and the Class of 1948 broke the 75th Reunion record for Saints Fund dollars donated during a Reunion year, previously held by the Class of 1946.

Finally, this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award was given to Ev McNair ’73. The Distinguished Alumni 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. The Distinguished Alumni Endowment Fund was created by the Class of 1959 at its 50th Reunion in 2009, and the award brings the recipient to campus during the following school year to deliver a Chapel Talk on Founders Day, and to visit classes and speak with students, teachers, and staff.

In her introduction of McNair at Reunion, Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 said:

Everett McNair '73 is a public school educator in Charlotte, North Carolina. After he left St. Andrew’s—where he won the Mamo Prize for Wrestling, which currently sits in glory in the Cameron Gym—Everett went to the U.S. Naval Academy. There he received the Brigadier General Wayne H. Adams Memorial Award for Outstanding Leadership.

For seven years, he held various positions within the U.S. Marine Corps, eventually attaining the rank of captain prior to his 1984 departure. He then attended Duke University, earning his M.B.A. For 24 years, Everett worked for Corning Cable, first as a marketing director charged with international expansion, then as a director of manufacturing before being appointed VP of customer support services. After various chief operating officer appointments in the information and communications sector, he joined African American Inc. as president in 2014. The company specializes in providing food and non-food products to retail and food-service institutions across the U.S. with a focus on collaborative, community-minded social change. In 2020, inspired at the notion of working with young people, Everett reinvented himself as a public school math teacher.

Thank you to all of our alumni who made the trek back to campus for Reunion Weekend 2023! If you weren't able to make it, please know that you were sorely missed by your fellow Saints.

Click here to view all photos from Reunion Weekend 2023
 

Fostering Community, from St. Andrew's to Africa

Catherine Foster '25 founds Friends of Chidamoyo 

In 2019, Catherine Foster ’25 traveled with her mother, Elizabeth Foster, to Zimbabwe on a trip to Chidamoyo Christian Hospital. The 100-bed rural hospital that serves poverty-stricken patients was about a six-hour drive from the city, Foster says. “It’s a difficult journey for patients, especially those who are weak,” Foster says. “We picked up a woman on our way who was traveling to the hospital by mule.”

At Chidamoyo, Foster helped out with the hospital’s HIV patients by preparing vials for blood collection, she knit hats for the hospital’s newest, tiniest arrivals, and other times, she simply did her best to entertaining sick children. "These younger patients have nothing to do," Foster says. "No internet, no games, no TV, no puzzles." Foster was struck by how, with such limited technology and resources, a patient like Nora, a young girl Foster met who broke her arm falling from a tree, would spend months in the hospital to heal rather than return home to her village.

“It was really eye-opening to see how the hospital worked,” she says. Foster was particularly taken with the hospital’s maternity ward, which mostly consisted of small beds lined up on the floor.

“The hospital did have some technology,” Foster says. “But as far as having tons of IV bags around and a constant supply of medications like you’d see at a modern hospital, there was nothing like that.”

After her few days at Chidamoyo, Foster was sad to leave. She felt connected to the place, the people, and the mission, and she didn’t want the door she’d opened to swiftly close behind her. “I felt strongly that somehow, I could bring a part of Chidamoyo to St. Andrew’s, and continue to help from school, where we have a student body so willing to step up for other people.”

This all, once Foster saw that St. Andrew’s had settled back into routine and culture this school year, she launched Friends of Chidamoyo, a student service club, co-headed with Frankie Elliott-Ozug ’25 and Emma de Ramel ’25.

The trio started out by making blankets for the mothers awaiting care in the maternity ward. “The need for something as basic as warmth from a blanket is strong,” Foster says. Her time spent knitting hats while in Zimbabwe came with a learning curve, so instead, the three co-heads opted for hand-knotted fleece blankets, which will ship from Foster’s home state of California to Africa this summer.

“Making the blankets seemed like a good way to start, but I really wanted to make Chidamoyo real to St. Andrew’s,” says Foster. To do that, she invited the head of the hospital, Dr. Major Mereki, to a Zoom conversation that centered on public health, medicine, service, and community.

“I thought if someone with the personal experience of being there on the ground every day could talk to us, that’d be  important,” Foster says. “His perspective was incredibly valuable.”

Mereki Zoomed with students in April, and told them about the new pre-partum care unit the hospital started after women kept coming to the maternity ward too early because they had no where else to go, nor were they sure how far along they were in their pregnancies. He also told the 15 or so students in attendance in the Gahagan Room in the O’Brien Arts Center about the alligator bites he treats; the dentist who comes in once a month; the local community that has rallied around Chidamoyo; obstacles the hospital faces; and, most important, how critical it is to tell Chidamoyo’s story.

“Dr. Mereki basically told us, bear witness, and share the story with others, so people can find out about the work,” Foster says. “There are only so many ways to get supplies to where they are, so we need more people involved.”

Foster notes some of her classmates—like Ashley McIntosh ’25—were so inspired after the conversation with Mereki that they were trying to figure out how to become boots-on-the-ground advocates in Africa.

“That talk really showed me that a lot of students want to be involved in service like this,” says Foster, who hopes, with her co-heads, to evolve the club toward an even bigger mission. “I’d like to start thinking about how our club could somehow help provide medical gloves and equipment and other tools to the hospital. It was really nerve-wracking for me at first to put myself out there and say to the student community, ‘This should be important to you,’ but the response has been really great, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

Wildfires rage in Nova Scotia

Celina Bao ’24 briefs the SAS community about the Canadian wildfires affecting the eastern US.

Hi all! As one of the only Canadians left in the SAS community, I feel a need to talk about the wildfires that are happening in many Canadian provinces, including the ones in Quebec that had significant impact in the US, and how it relates to climate change. As many of you who live around New York might have seen, the sky has been orange recently and is filled with smoke. This phenomenon is caused by the Canadian wildfires. 


What caused it?

The wildfires were sparked by lightning that struck near Val-D’Or, a city in Western Quebec. Although wildfires are not an uncommon scene in Canada during summers, this one is particularly severe. Nearly 150 fires are still active in Quebec and among them, 92 are still not under control. The reason behind this exacerbation is a recurring theme — climate change. As the air got warmer and held less moisture, the trees were becoming drier, making them easier to be lit on fire. Additionally, the changing climate also contributed to the widespread of the fire, as earlier-than-usual snow melt and little precipitation made the ground dry and thus more flammable.


What’s the impact?

Burning hundreds of miles of land, the fires are also destroying peoples’ homes: more than 100,000 people were forced to evacuate from where they live. Another very visible impact of the wildfires was the orange and smoked sky. Bringing down air quality, it is dangerous in the way that it irritates peoples’ airways and can cause health problems. Now, a question you might have is: since Canada is the one burning, why is the US’s sky orange? This is because the smoke is being pushed to the eastern half of the US by a counterclockwise-spinning low-pressure system (basically air) over Northern New England and Nova Scotia. 

When will the smoke go away? 

For the smoke to leave the sky of New York City, it takes a change in weather. In other words, the low-pressure system has to go away. According to the weather forecast, the low-pressure system will possibly drift to the north and weaken beyond Friday afternoon, causing the smoke to disperse. 


Nevertheless, this is only the start of the wildfire season. Many suspect that worse wildfires can come later in summer. In the future, as the climate keeps getting warmer, human beings might even need to learn to “live with fire” and adapt to more and more wildfires. 


What to do when smoke is around?

If where you live is impacted by the smoke, it is important that one stays mostly indoors and wears a mask (ironically similar to Covid), preferably N95, outdoors.


If you are interested to learn more, you can just Google it: there are tons of resources online. 


Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/08/world/canada/quebec-canada-wildfires-locations.html  

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/us/smoke-maps-canada-fires.html

https://www.vox.com/science/2023/6/7/23752832/canada-fires-smoke-climate-change

https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/us-air-quality-canadian-wildfires-06-07-23/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2023/06/07/canada-wildfires-weather-air-quality/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/06/08/canada-wildfire-smoke-air-quality-updates/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/06/07/wildfire-smoke-forecast-air-quality-northeast/


Have a great summer (and go Canada),
Celina Bao

The Boys V1 boat warms up on Wednesday in anticipation of USRowing Youth Nationals this weekend.

USRowing recently extended an invitation to St. Andrew's Boys Crew Varsity 8 to compete at the Youth National Championship at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida from June 8-11th. The regatta hosts some of the fastest scholastic and club teams in the country.

The St. Andrew's boat includes four rising seniors and five rising juniors. The lineup from stern to bow is as follows:

 

Kieran Bansal ’24 (coxswain)
Peter Bird ’25
Luke Rowles ’25
Joseph Baker ’24
Finn Waterston ’25
Tyrus Roney ’25
Will Hagberg ’25
Gibson Hurtt ’24
Cooper Drazek ’24

USRowing Youth National Championships is an invitational championship regatta. Crews must qualify for a Youth National Championship bid by attending a recognized qualification regatta, placing in one of the Youth National Championship events, and receiving a bid.

The Men's Youth 8+ field features 31 teams, including the fastest club and scholastic boats in the country. The 10 fastest scholastic boats championed the top two places at Stotesbury Regatta, SRAA's, NEIRA, and the Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Championship. St. Andrew's, in addition to 20 other boats, represent the next fastest teams nation-wide.

The Mens Youth 8+ Time Trails are set for Thursday, June 8 at 11:20am. Once seeded, the Saints will either race in the A/B Semi-Finals on Friday, June 9 or the C/D Finals on Saturday, June 10.

USRowing will live stream the races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on their YouTube page here.