St. Andrew's celebrated its annual Parents Weekend this past Friday through Sunday, October 26-28, and welcomed parents, siblings, relatives, and even pets of our current students. The weekend offers parents 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. Saturday was also Alumni Homecoming Day, and Saints alums joined families in cheering for games, applauding arts performances, and gathering for Sunday morning Chapel.
The weekend commenced on Friday October 26, when St. Andrew's hosted the Delaware Independent School Conference championship cross-country meet on its trails. Both the boys and girls cross-country teams finished second overall in the conference championships. For the girls, Charlotte Gehrs '20 led all Saint runners with a strong time of 20:20, good enough for sixth overall. Leandre Pestcoe '19 was right on her heels, placing eighth with a time of 21:31. Emily Boyer '21, Abby Sahs '20, and Bryer Wood '21 all placed within the top 15. Boyer was able to break 22 minutes (21:58, 12th place) while Sahs and Wood finished within two seconds of one another (22:32 and 22:34). For the boys,. Blake Hundley '20 and Carson McCoy '19 led the way, finishing fourth and seventh overall, respectively. Hundley broke the 16 minute mark, crossing the finish line in 15:54 while McCoy finished in 16:17. Tad Scheibe '19, Augie Segger '19 and Will Cammerzell '19 were the next three Saints to finish, each cracking the top 15. Scheibe and Segger each broke 17 minutes, good enough for 11th and 12th place, while Cammerzell finished in 14th (17:03). "What an amazing day we had," said Head Coach Dan O'Connell. "I am speechless. Congratulations to everyone."
On Friday evening, the School's Orchestra performed four works, led by the steadfast conducting of instrumental music teacher Fred Geiersbach. Students performed Bizet's Farandole, from L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2, Mendelssohn's War March of the Priests, from Athalia, Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms, and Orpheus In the Underworld: Galop, by Jacques Offenbach. You can watch or listen to the Orchesra concert on our Livestream channel. Following the Orchestra concert, over in Forbes Theatre, the St. Andrew's Theatre Program put on a production of David and Lisa, featuring Story Hentoff '19 and Andy Dupree '20 in the lead roles. You can view photos of the production on our website.
On Saturday, we woke up to the first Nor'easter of the year, and the rain and wind caused that day's field hockey and boys soccer games to be cancelled. However, the football team took the field against an undefeated Wilmington Friends School; the Saints lost, but played in pink jerseys as the culmination of a monthlong fundraiser the team has been conducting for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. The team sold pink t-shirts to the student body throughout October, and staff painted pink ribbons on the field in advance of Saturday's game, which the team dubbed the "Battle of the Pink." "The enthusiasm and support from the whole school for this cause has been overwhelming and wonderful to see," said the team's captains.
Inside the Sipprelle Field House, Saints varsity volleyball bested First State Military Academy 3-0, winning their final game of the year and finishing the season with a 9-4 record. Noor El-Baradie '19 capped off her incredible St. Andrew's career with another outstanding performance, handing out 30 assists while recording 11 digs. Emily Paton '20 and Lila Feldmann '20 each recorded ten kills while Kate Paris '19 added seven.
On Saturday morning. Head of School Tad Roach spoke to parents in Engelhard Hall, and shared the ways in which he hopes St. Andrew's can partner with parents to "cultivate in students habits of mind and heart that are authentic and responsible," Roach said. "In this era of St. Andrew's history, students have indeed sacrificed to make this culture real, recognizable, and vibrant. And so, as we begin a new year full of complexity, energy, and challenge, I try to remind our students that the cultivation of grace requires real effort, real discipline, and real commitment." You can listen to Tad's talk on our Livestream channel. Later that day, the School's Jazz Ensemble, also directed by Fred Geiersbach, took over the Engelhard stage for an evening performance, which you can watch on Vimeo.
On Sunday morning, we wrapped up the weekend with a Chapel service, featuring Jennifer Puryear P'17,'19. Jennifer spoke beautifully about her "life in books" and reading can "nourish your empathy, bring joy to your life, and might even help us form a more perfect union." You can listen to Puryear's talk on the Podcasts page of our website. After the Chapel service, the community gathered once again in Engelhard Hall to finish out the weekend with some powerful and moving performances by the St. Andrew's Dance Company, the Noxontones (the School's a capella group), and the Andrean Ensemble (the School's choral music group). You can watch all of these performances on our Livestream channel.
At the weekend's conclusion, Tad thanked the School's faculty and staff for their hard work throughout the weekend. "Parents Weekend at St. Andrew's is in many ways the most important event of the year, for these three days not only welcome grandparents, guardians, parents, and siblings to campus; the entire experience communicates the spirit, mission, and intention of St. Andrew's," he said. "Your work before, during, and after the weekend made all the difference for our guests. Your hospitality, warmth, dedication, and generosity set the tone for the School and the weekend. This good and promising year has now begun in earnest. We have good work ahead of us as we fight for a School of generosity, inspiration, and excellence."