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

Ike Lawrence ’23 gives a talk at Awards Night 2023.
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Isaac Lawrence ’23

Ike Lawrence ’23 gave this talk on student life at St. Andrew’s during Awards Night 2023

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. After returning from Thanksgiving break this year, I arrived on campus with the primary objective of procuring a Christmas tree for Sherwood Dorm.   

Prior to the break, Mr. O'Connell found somewhere in the woods what he believed to be the perfect Christmas tree and marked it with a small flag. A group of us were determined to find the tree, but we first needed a saw. After asking some faculty and looking through the gardening shed we realized saws weren’t readily available on campus. Luckily, Mr. O'Connell came through, because like any proud minivan owner, he keeps a saw in his trunk. 

We set out toward the New Forest amidst a beautiful Delaware sunset and an endless line of trees with various imperfections; all were either too big, too small, or oddly shaped. Compounding our struggle, we realized that finding a single tree marked by a small flag in a rapidly darkening landscape would be nearly impossible. We needed to find our own tree. So we pushed on, analyzing each we passed until we found the one. Not too big or small. Perfectly symmetrical. Strong and mighty. We took turns sawing a clean cut, tied a rope around the trunk, dragged it to the Organic Garden to hose it down in hopes of avoiding a spider infestation, and then triumphantly returned it to Sherwood. 

Gathered in our cozy common room we laughed, listened to music, and strung our new tree with festive lights.

Moments like these are what make living at St. Andrew’s different. Here, we can be inquisitive students, committed athletes, and creative artists, and perhaps most importantly, we can be kids. While being a kid can mean many things, I would argue that it finds its purest adolescent form here at St. Andrew’s. Circumnavigating the pond, playing in (or DJing) at an electrifying SAISL final, or trekking with friends to find a Christmas tree in the woods, are all moments of connection that build lifelong friendships. At St. Andrew’s, we prioritize genuine human connection by not allowing technology to define our social sphere and by embracing the many possibilities within our diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and experiences. The intentionality of St. Andrew’s student life and culture serves to preserve an ever-more uncommon experience of living and learning in a world we choose to build, away from the unhealthy and unnecessary pressures found beyond campus. Instead, we are privileged to live with our friends in residential communities, deepen school traditions, and spend warm spring days lounging on the Front Lawn. What more can you ask for? 

Underformers, pursue your endeavors with passion and grit, but also take time to be a kid. Live in and love this place, get outside, be creative, embrace this unique experience, and carry it with you in the future. Life doesn’t have to be boring and tedious. Some of it certainly will be, but keep having fun, keep creating, and keep enjoying the life you’re building for yourself here at St. Andrew’s. We still haven't found Mr. O’Connell’s perfect tree in the woods. So go find it.  

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