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St. Andrew’s students, families, faculty, and staff came together in a big way during Parents Weekend 2022, held on campus Friday, October 28 through Sunday, October 30. The weekend offered families a chance to meet in one-on-one conferences with teachers, and to get a sense of what their student’s everyday life is like at our all-residential boarding school.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday, October 27, with the Delaware Independent School Conference (DISC) Cross-Country Championships held on St. Andrew’s cross-country trails.
For the third consecutive year, the girls varsity team won the conference championship (in 2020, the team did not compete due to COVID-19). Top finishers for the varsity squad were Lily Murphy ’23, Lia Miller ’23, Leah Horgan ’25, Claire Hulsey ’26, and Caroline Meers ’24, each of whom earned All-Conference honors by finishing in the top 10 of the varsity race.
The girls JV team also topped the charts, finishing in first place and sweeping the top 10.
The boys varsity team placed second overall, with All-Conference honors going to Peter Bird ’25, who finished in second place, Harry Murphy ’23, and Chris Onsomu ’25. The boys JV squad also finished in second place, with Kyle Share ’23 finishing in the top five.
Parents Weekend officially began on Friday, October 28 after lunch, when parents began arriving on campus for happy reunions with their children and early parent-teacher conferences.
On Friday evening, the orchestra, led by Director of Instrumental Music Fred Geiersbach, performed a series of classical works in Engelhard Hall. Works included Edvard Grieg’s Norwegian Dance No. 2 and March of the Dwarfs, Georges Bizet’s Aragonaise from Carmen, and Felix Mendessohn’s A Dance of Clowns. You can watch the live performances here.
Following the concert, families were treated to a presentation of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour in Forbes Theater. The play, written in 1934, takes place in an all-girls boarding school. An encore presentation was also offered on Saturday.
“Creative exploration calls upon us to be vulnerable, to connect, and to expand our minds. The Arts broaden perspective and cultivate a person’s ability to communicate using more than words,” says Theatre Director and Co-Chair of the Arts Department Ann Taylor. “Theatre calls upon the mind, voice, body, and heart; it draws on life experience and it builds confidence. Work in the Arts enhances a student’s ability to be a scholar and a leader in the classroom.”
On Saturday morning, not even the brisk fall temperatures and strong mist rolling off the pond could dampen the joyous reunions in front of Founders between the day’s arriving parents and their children. Parents with students from all forms gathered to laugh and chat over hot coffee, and many deep conversations were had between parents and their children about precisely which donut to choose from the donut wall. After stopping for a selfie at the seasonal St. Andrew’s photo booth, families headed out for a day packed with conferences, athletics, student-led performances and, most important, togetherness.
“For us, this education is joyful. And I know that you will feel that throughout the weekend,” said Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 in her opening remarks. “We often consider, together and individually, what is education for? And what is this education for? We are relentlessly focused on the growth and development of your children—our students as individuals. We expect [our students] to find and then to be exactly who they are—works in progress, ever practicing, ever preparing, ever improving.”
Following McGrath’s opening remarks on Saturday, families enjoyed athletic events and camaraderie throughout the afternoon.
Field hockey parents weren’t the only ones winding their way down Main Drive to watch their girls play. Various groups of student athletes from other teams who didn’t have a game gathered on the field to cheer on the varsity field hockey squad as they went head-to-head with Wilmington Friends. They fought hard but ultimately fell to the Quakers, 0-2.
Varsity football tackled Havre de Grace, besting them 26-12 and bringing their record to 4-4, clinching the team’s playoff spot for the second consecutive season. Griffin Patterson ’24 had a big game, catching a touchdown pass, throwing a touchdown pass, scoring a touchdown on a fumble return and wowing the crowd with “a ridiculous one-handed interception,” says Coach Patrick Moffitt. (For his thrilling performance, Griffin was nominated for Athlete of the Week by Delaware Online. Vote for him here.)
Varsity volleyball finished out their season Saturday against Wilmington Friends, losing 0-3.
The varsity boys soccer team dug deep but in the end fell just short of overcoming Tower Hill, falling 3-4. The team’s record advances to 5-6-3.
On Saturday evening, attendees were treated to an energetic Jazz Ensemble performance in Engelhard Hall. Geiersbach led the ensemble in performances of Buster and Benny Moten’s Moten Swing (arrangement by Stitzel), Carl Strommen’s Como Te Va, Juan Tizol’s Perdido (arrangement by Murtha), Peter Blair’s Walking The Waves, and Dan Hartman’s Free Ride (arrangement by John Wasson).
A highlight was the small-group performance of Mr. P.C. by John Coltrane performed by saxophonists Brandon Blake ’25 and Lawson Kellner ’26, guitarists Avery Vaughan ’24 and Mac Gooder ’24, and drummer Encheng Wang ’26.
Watch the live Jazz Ensemble performances here.
On Sunday, families and students attended a chapel service with speaker Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith P’23 in the A. Felix duPont, Jr. Memorial Chapel.
Rev. Dr. Smith spoke about the lives of Thurman Adams and Martin Luther King, Jr. during the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, and how each of us might continue to follow in the footsteps of civil rights leaders.
“When [my daughter] Trinity chose St. Andrew’s, I was a parent who was reticent about sending my daughter elsewhere to learn and grow, but I sent her nonetheless, like all of you have done with your precious ones,” said Rev. Dr. Smith during the service. “We chose SAS because we believe in its Isaiah-like ethos that forms our children to pursue justice, sharpen your capacities to prove justice … put the cell phones away and pay attention to yourselves, pay attention to each other, pay attention to our environment, and pay attention to the world around us. Observe, analyze, communicate, and defend those who cannot defend themselves.”
Watch the full chapel service here.
Following chapel, attendees enjoyed choral and dance performances in Engelhard Hall.
Student dancers, led by Director of Dance Avi Gold, gave a preview performance of an hour-long show they will perform for the community on November 11 that will benefit the Food Bank of Delaware.
“It is because of you, parents and families, that we are able to be here today. It is because of the trust you put in us to live by the ideals that the founders of this school set as the cornerstone of this community and it is those ideals we try to live up to every day,” said Gold. “I am honored to watch [the students] strive to reach their goals every day. They are incredible.”
Highlights from the dance performances included St. Andrew’s first-ever step performance, a beautiful and emotional solo performance by Grace Anne Doyle ’25, a performance by the Adaptive Dance group (its first in three years), and an original choreographed dance by Olivia Costrini ’24.
Director of Choral Music Quinn Kerrane, with accompaniment by Odile Jacob on piano, led the Andrean Ensemble, the school’s choir, in three songs. The first, Kyrie from Missa Popularis by Martin Jansson, featured soloist Eleanor Livings ’23 and accompaniment by violinists Gabe Day O’Connell ’24 and Sophie Xu ’23, Instrumental Music Director Fred Geiersbach on viola, Celina Bao ’24 on cello, and Trinity Smith ’23 on bass.
The second, Eretz Zavat Chalav U’Dvash (A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey), arranged by Fran Avni, featured Juelz Clark ’25 and Finn O’Connell ’24 on drums.
The third, Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley and arranged by Pentatonix, was performed by the entire Andrean Ensemble.
The Noxontones, the school’s a cappella group, closed out the afternoon performances and brought down the house, with King of Anything by Sarah Bareilles featuring soloist Eleanor Livings ’23, and Lovely Day by Bill Withers featuring soloists Derek Ike ’23 and John Teti ’23 (both songs were arranged by Kerrane).
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