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



Our academic program is built around a sequence of requirements in the core subject areas of English; history; science; mathematics; classical and modern languages; religious studies; and the arts. Course curriculums strive to be interdisciplinary: that is, in developing coursework, faculty consider what else a student is learning in that particular school year, and attempt to connect that work across classrooms, putting disciplines and methods in conversation with one another.

In all disciplines, coursework is intensely focused on the teaching of writing, critical reasoning and scientific investigation. Our course offerings reflect our goal of connecting students with contemporary issues, technologies, and innovations of the wider world, and our deep belief in the world's religious, philosophical and artistic traditions as a lasting source of wisdom and hope.

What's Going On In Our Departments?

Introducing Our 2023-24 New Faculty!

Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 announced and welcomed the new faculty who will join St. Andrew's in the 2023-24 school year. The school is grateful to Emily Pressman, Ana Ramírez, and the many department chairs and faculty members who engaged in the faculty hiring process this year. 

A photograph of Anabel Barnett, 2023 Teaching Fellow in Spanish

Anabel Barnett joins St. Andrew’s as a teaching fellow in Spanish. Anabel graduated from Kenyon College in 2023 magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature (emphasis Creative Writing) and Spanish Literature and Language. In May 2023, Anabel received Kenyon’s annual Spanish Award for excellence in the study of Spanish literature. While at Kenyon, Anabel worked both as a Writing Center consultant and a foreign language assistant tutor. She was also an editor for Sunset Press, Kenyon’s student-run publishing house. Her own work has appeared in Spires Literary Magazine and she was a finalist for Driftwood Press’s Short Story Prize in Spring 2023.

Prior to joining St. Andrew’s, Anabel worked in Gredos, Spain, as an English-Spanish liaison at Equiberia, an equine tourism business. An avid equestrian, Anabel competed in multiple national equitation finals as a junior rider. She is a six-time 4H state champion and qualified for the North American League Junior Jumper Finals in her final year as a junior rider. Last summer, Anabel worked as an editorial intern at The Chronicle of the Horse, and she continues to cover and provide commentary for The Chronicle during national equitation finals.

In her free time, Anabel enjoys reading, writing, riding, and leading a writing workshop of fellow Kenyon Creative Writing alumni.

Amelia Browne

Amelia Browne joins St. Andrew’s as an English teacher and head volleyball coach. She graduated from Yale University in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in creative writing. While at Yale, Amelia worked as a reader for two literary magazines, The Common and The Yale Review, and served as a board member for the Yale Film Festival. She has studied with novelist and screenwriter Derek Green, who served as her advisor for her senior thesis, and the playwright Donald Margulies; has read scripts for Heyday Films; and participated in United Talent Agency’s summer extern program. 

In addition to her affinity for writing and literature, Amelia is an athlete at heart. She played Division 1 volleyball at Yale, where her team captured two Ivy League Championship titles and appeared once in the NCAA Tournament. Pre-college, Amelia’s club volleyball team won a gold medal at USA Volleyball Nationals in 2017, and she led her high school to two North Coast Section Championships as a captain. She has coached volleyball across the West Coast, including at Vision Volleyball Club and Santa Barbara Volleyball Club.

During her free time, Amelia loves to hike with her two dogs, Roxy and Lulu.

Connor Doughty

Connor Doughty joins St. Andrew’s as a teaching fellow in religion and philosophy, who will coach lacrosse and soccer. He is originally from Northbrook, Illinois. Connor graduated from Kenyon College in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, focusing on the philosophy of religion. His particular area of study centered on how the language describing faith and belief affects the accessibility of religion.

Throughout his four years at Kenyon, Connor was a member of the men’s lacrosse team, helping bring the Owls to three consecutive conference championship finals and their first NCAA appearance since 2012. He spent his college summers working as an assistant defensive and face-off specialist coach with his high school’s lacrosse program, and helped coach the school to its sectional championship victory in the 2021 season.

James Garrett

James Garrett joins St. Andrew’s as an English and art teacher who will coach football and baseball. Originally from Sacramento, California, James attended the University of California Riverside, where he majored in sociology. After graduating in 2013, he pursued an Americorps placement with City Year Sacramento, followed by a placement at his former high school via Teach for America. In 2020, James received a master’s from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. 

James has experience teaching high school English and middle school social studies, and has coached and mentored students in athletic programs and community organizations. He is a reading, writing, and literacy scholar and a multimedia artist. He is passionate about student-centered teaching, coaching, and mentorship that supports students to become their most actualized selves. 

Before coming to St. Andrew’s, James, his wife Janay, their three children, Joie, James II and Janai, and their dog, King, and cats, Bas and Pebbles, have called California, Philadelphia, and Connecticut home. In his down time, James enjoys spontaneous family road trips, finding waterfalls and hiking trails, playing or making music, and cooking for the family.

Alec Hill ’12

Alec Hill ’12 joins St. Andrew’s as a teaching fellow in English who will coach cross-country and crew. At St. Andrew’s, Alec ran cross-country, wrestled, and rowed, and contributed to The Cardinal and The Andrean

Alec graduated summa cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South with a bachelor’s degree in English and forestry. He ran track at Sewanee, earning two conference championship medals in the 800 meters. He was also president of the Order of the Gown, the local academic honor society. After college, Alec joined the staff of the Sewanee Review, one of the most prestigious literary magazines in America, serving first as an assistant, and later as managing editor, and editing fiction, poetry, and essays.

For the past three summers, Alec has served on a wildland firefighting crew. He has fought wildland fires across the American West, spending time on both a helitack and a hotshot crew, and using the winter season to write fiction and train for ultramarathons. In his free time, Alec likes to (no surprise) write and run, as well as practice meditation.

Alex Horgan ’18

Alex Horgan ’18 joins St. Andrew’s as a teaching fellow in science, and will teach biology and environmental science, and coach cross-country and crew. He is originally from Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a minor in English. While at University of Delaware, Alex served as a captain of the club cross-country and track and field teams, and worked as a research assistant on a project collecting the oral histories of the Lenape Tribe in Cheswold, Delaware. Prior to returning to SAS, Alex was a natural lands fellow at Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, where he conducted forestry work and invasive species removals in the meadows and woodlands. In his free time, he enjoys running, cycling, and cooking. 

Ben Kang ’13

Ben Kang ’13 joins St. Andrew’s as a math teacher, who will coach football and lacrosse. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Ben has always called St. Andrew’s his true home ever since he graduated in 2013. Ben attended Haverford College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At Haverford, Ben was a member of the men’s lacrosse team for two seasons and also competed for the Korean National Lacrosse Team during the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship in Denver. He recently received a master’s degree in teacher leadership from Mount Holyoke College; his capstone project focused on supporting and retaining teachers of color in independent schools.

Ben has taught math at Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, where he also served as a dorm head and student advisor and coached lacrosse and football, and has taught seventh and eighth grade math at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, where he was also the Korean language instructor, a member of the DEI Committee, and an AAPI Affinity Group leader. 

Aside from teaching, Ben is an avid fan of horror movies and Korean TV shows. He is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. 

Bradley Skeen

Bradley Skeen joins St. Andrew’s as a history teacher and a coach of soccer and basketball. Bradley attended the University of Virginia, where he received bachelor’s degrees in political philosophy, policy and law, and Africana studies. He completed an honors thesis exploring hate speech jurisprudence in the United States and South Africa, conducting a comparative analysis informed by his experience studying in Durban, South Africa, as an undergraduate. He recently earned a master’s degree from the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York, New York. 

Prior to joining St. Andrew’s, Bradley lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a public interest consultant and taught social studies. In addition to reading and spending time with family and friends, Bradley enjoys biking, traveling, hiking, and playing a wide variety of sports. 

Read More about Introducing Our 2023-24 New Faculty!
When Science Meets the Stage

In its fifth year, the McLean Science Lecture Competition continues to inspire students to boldly go down the rabbit hole and report on what they find.

Balancing the demands of academics, athletics, club meetings, and all the other miscellaneous responsibilities at boarding school can be a difficult load to carry for a teenager. It was one of the main concerns from colleagues when Science Department Chair Dr. Ashley Hyde first proposed a lecture competition that would require students researching topics outside of class.

“There was a big question if students were going to have the time and give the effort to do a big project like this,” says Hyde. “I just said, ‘Trust me, the students will blow you away if you let them run with it.’”

Five years later, the science lecture continues to blow people away. Hyde, who directs the project with the help of the entire science department, reviewed a number of topics this year from students that included the science behind faith, fusion energy, and its engineering, and technology and cognitive functions in adolescents. After hearing numerous auditions, the science faculty selected four finalists to present in front of the school on March 24. Those finalists and their topics were:

  • Lia Miller ’23 - Biotechnology and the Deep Ocean Genome
  • Zachary Macalintal ’24 - Oncolytic Virotherapy [OV]
  • Angela Osaigbovo ’24 - Bioremediation
  • Sarah Rose Odutola ’23 - Xenotransplantation

By virtue of their titles, these aren’t breezy subjects to present to peers, let alone engagingly discuss. Hyde likens the presentations to TED Talks: students not only have to master the scientific understanding of their subject, but also communicate the research in an engaging way. It’s no accident that this year’s winner, Odutola, has a background in musical theater.

“[Acting] helps you think outside the box,” says Odutola. “Reading the textbook is important, but there has to be an element of creativity to your thinking. You can’t just be formulaic with everything.”

Odutola’s inspiration for the project started while reading about blood and organ shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was stunned when she heard about xenotransplantation–the use of non-human animal parts (cells, tissues and organs) to replace human parts–and was equally amazed to find out it’s been going on since the 17th Century. In January 2022, surgeons at the University of Maryland School of Medicine performed the first transplant of a pig heart to a human. The surgery captured Odutola’s interest in the subject.

“My mother is a doctor, and I've always been in fun conversations about immunology and the future of transplants,” Odutola explains. “What I'm most excited about is I got an opportunity to share what I learned with my classmates. Then, I got really excited about how excited my classmates got about it.”

Like Odutola, the three other finalists were passionate about their topics. Macalintal researched OV because his brother, Austin, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. He explains how using viruses to attack cancer cells is a valuable form of target therapy that helps other therapies work their magic. 

Osaigbovo’s topic also hit close to home–she grew up near both the polluted Hudson River and a Superfund site (an area plagued by hazardous materials) in New Jersey. Watching cloudy water stream out of her facet led to her interest in bioremediation and how microbes can be used to break down pollutants in different elements like air, groundwater, water, and soil. 

Miller’s interest in nature led her to an internship with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod last summer. One day, she found a research paper in the lab about deep ocean genomes that detailed the fragility and strength of life in high-pressure, under-resourced parts of the ocean. That passion led to extensive research outside the classroom. 

For the students presenting to the department in the hopes their lecture would be green-lit, free days and weekends were spent reading and watching videos to find relative material. Then, the fine-tuning aspects kicked in as the students prepared for their auditions. Science faculty were available to answer questions about particular material and give presentation tips, but the onus of communicating their research was solely on the students.

“It’s not only that they are passionate about science and understand it, it’s that communication piece, which is so important in science,” says Hyde. “How many times in a high school science class do you get to exercise that muscle? Not often. And it’s really important. The ability for scientists to explain complex ideas to the public is critical.”

Odutola’s topic is a bit unsettling, yet she started with humor. Her final presentation was titled “Xenotransplantation: Coming to a farm near you!” and she started with a trigger-warning slide, telling her audience the next picture “is not for the faint of heart, so close your eyes if you are squeamish." She then flashed a picture of surgeons performing open heart surgery on a patient. The audience gasped, and Odutola, recognizing the moment, chimed in with an “I told you so!”, which prompted laughter. With the crowd at ease, she let her natural stage presence take over. The presentation explained the importance of xenotransplantation in solving organ shortages, its history in medicine, how it works on a cellular level, and the moral and future implications of the research. Throughout the presentation, she interacted with the audience and offered comedic relief to the topic, ending the presentation about pig-to-human heart transplants with the Looney Tunes closing sequence from Porky Pig: “That all folks!”

“That combination of really mastering the material, the confidence of teaching her audience, and the ability to bring joy and fun into a topic that others might have found squeamish. … She made it so no one wanted to check out,” says Hyde.

Indeed, Odutola was approached by some classmates who were enthralled by her presentation and looking to learn more about it.

“That made me so happy,” says Odutola. “It made all the work I spent, all the hours I spent, more than worth it.”

After the competition, Hyde and the finalist celebrated and reflected at Playa Bowls. Hyde asked how much time each student spent on their projects, and was amazed at the answer: “We don’t know.” Turns out, to them, it didn’t feel like work at all.

“Giving them the time and freedom to go down rabbit holes, a lot of them will have a dead end; but the ones that don’t, they will surprise us,” says Hyde. “The most important thing is that they can surprise themselves. What all four finalists said was how much fun it was. They got that experience out of it and realized they could do this.”

“I really loved my science classes [at St. Andrew's],” says Odutola, who graduates this spring. “Learning about science has always been eye-opening since I was a little kid. You don't even think about something, and then you learn about it and it changes the way you see the entire world. That's what I love about science class.”

Watch the entire 2023 McLean Science Lecture Competition here.

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The Independent Approach to the Senior Exhibition

In the early afternoon light, Trinity Smith ’23 stands cross-legged against the hallway wall in Founders. She taps her No. 2 pencil against the back of her hand and peeks into Mrs. Reddy’s classroom a few times, waiting for her turn to enter. In a few minutes, Smith will embark on her capstone English assignment as a St. Andrew’s student: the senior exhibition.

“It’s a big deal,” says Smith. “I’ve seen students walk out of their exhibition and start dancing on the Dining Hall tables.”

Although it has evolved many times since its inception in the early 1990s, the senior exhibition has always consisted of a student meeting with English faculty members to discuss an eight- to ten-page analytical paper on a text they write independently over the course of the winter of their senior year. The goal of these discussions is to give students the opportunity to self-evaluate and re-evaluate their writing process and thesis.

“Somebody described it to me as the difference between practice and game day,” explains English faculty member and alum Will Porter ’96. “An exhibition is a game day for papers. It raises the stakes of a regular paper in a great way.”

Porter is one of those rare people to experience an exhibition as both a student and a teacher. As a student, he remembers sitting across from the entire English department at a large, round table, fielding a variety of questions about his paper on The Brothers Karamazov, an 800-page, drama and theology-filled mammoth of a Russian novel.

“It was pretty intimidating,” says Porter.

Smith feels similarly as she enters the classroom. Opposite her are Neemu Reddy, the English Department’s chair, and Dr. Martha Pitts, her teacher. She’s still fidgeting with her pencil when Pitts opens the exhibition by expressing how grateful she is to have taught Smith. Reddy, who taught Smith freshman year, quickly follows suit by complimenting the confidence and conviction in Smith’s writing. Suddenly, Smith is smiling and laughing, free of any tension she entered with.

“All they know is that it’s the biggest moment for them,” says Reddy. “We, as the classroom teachers, take the opportunity to tell the student everything we appreciate about what they’ve given to the classroom and the school during their time here. We speak to specific moments or examples of their lovely scholarship and it’s really special.”

Every member of the English Department sits in on exhibitions, but it’s especially rewarding for Reddy. In addition to her duties as department chair, Reddy teaches freshman English. From laying the groundwork to helping her colleagues implement the curriculum, Reddy has a wide perspective on the full English experience at St. Andrew’s.

“From freshman year to junior year, we’ve taught students how to read a book, build an argument, write their argument, refine it, discuss it, and then go back and revise it,” says Reddy. “By senior year, they're doing that intensive work in the first half with Toni Morrison's Beloved, a really difficult book. In many moments during that first half, teachers start to loosen the reins. The students are continuing to do oral exhibitions, and they're really investigating the work independently.

“The senior exhibition is the final, overarching project. We are saying to students, ‘We've shown you all the moves. We've taught you how to read a book. Now, try to do it yourself.’”

The project starts with students selecting a book from an array of texts curated by the department. After reading it and formulating topics they’d like to write about, students meet with teachers to refine the central question their papers will argue. Students write a first draft, review it with their teacher, and then submit their final paper. After that, they await their oral exhibition. 

“They are showing up with their own agenda and their own plan for this,” Reddy explains. “If they haven't seen what's missing in their paper, then we are there to ask questions.”

Typically, as St. Andrew’s English classes progress through books, teachers facilitate round-table discussions where students interpret passages and offer ideas. The big change for this final paper is the absence of class discussion. Suddenly, students are forced to develop and articulate their own ideas without communal feedback. 

“Figuring out what I wanted to say was actually really hard because unlike past classes, I had to interpret everything on my own,” says Smith. “I never had discussion-based classes before I arrived at St. Andrew’s, but I really loved it. It didn’t feel like an English class sometimes; it just felt like you were talking about a book.”

This summer, the department revamped the project with the idea of having students read the texts multiple times. As a result, they chose five novellas, ranging from James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room to Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams.

Smith chose Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, a novella based in the 1920s that chronicles the life of Helga Crane, a mixed-raced woman who struggles to find her identity while moving from the Deep South to Harlem and eventually to Copenhagen. Smith’s paper, “A Lifestyle Driven by Nonconformity to Societal Expectations,” argues that Crane’s nonconformity to societal constraints derived from gender expectations ultimately led her to submit to those burdens that Black women often face alone. 

“On a big project like this, where you're doing everything by yourself, it can be daunting,” says Smith. “You are unsure if you're interpreting a passage correctly.”

Her writing, however, is assured. She explores the symbolism of Crane’s stylish fashion, the patronizing messages from men in power, her objectifying experience living as a Black woman in Copenhagen, her failed search for love, and her submission to motherhood. It’s a forceful paper that wrestles with a book whose themes extend beyond its time.

“I think that the list of books we have is really extraordinary,” Porter says. “They are real gems with a wide range of topics and voices.”

Porter has methodically sculled the project forward over the last 13 years. He’s helped change and tweak it with the idea of scholarship in mind. He spearheaded the transition to novellas; the genre's shorter page counts allows for a deeper investment in the material on multiple readings–a far different approach from his days as a student when he had to make sense of 800 pages. This year, most of Porter’s students were able to read their book twice, which he says made a big difference in the drafting process, which was crucial for Smith.

“After I got Dr. Pitts' comments on my rough draft, I was really able to pull it together,” says Smith. “I have a habit of over-complicating things and Dr. Pitts' main comment on my rough draft was ‘go smaller and be more specific.’ I ended up cutting so many passages, but I was able to write a really good paper as a result.”

Smith’s copy of Quicksand brims with notes, underlined phrases, and starred passages. Smith opens the exhibition by talking about Crane’s parents–a white Danish mother and an absent Black West Indian father–and how she reclaimed some individual autonomy in Copenhagen. Smith wanted to write about this, but was unable to fit it in her paper, she explains. Reddy and Pitts listen attentively, and Pitts comments on Smith’s excellent analysis of the male presence in her paper. Then, graciously, she asks Smith to consider what female characters might have been models for Crane. Like a scholarly reader, Smith offers her thoughts and dives straight into the text for supporting evidence.

The conversation ebbs and flows with Pitts and Reddy gracefully landing Smith at pivotal parts of the text while asking open-ended questions. Smith offers a few more of her ideas that didn’t make it into her paper but were scribbled in the margins. They discuss Crane denying parts of her mixed-race identity in different environments, her desires in relation to her reality, and who is really to blame for Crane’s situation at the end of the book. It becomes apparent they are enjoying themselves.

“We were talking very professionally about my work,” says Smith, “but it felt accessible and easy to talk about my ideas casually. When I was confused, I felt like I could be honest.”

“The goal with these exhibitions,” says Reddy, “is that you're never done writing. There's always another draft that can be done. So after submitting it, now we're going to revise it and rethink it.”

“Pretty much every exhibition, if everybody's really bought in, yields a breakthrough,” says Porter. “That's such an incredible experience. That's why we love teaching.”

Smith’s exhibition doesn’t end poetically; rather, someone notices they’ve conversed well past the allotted time. No one is ready for it to end. There are more ideas to discuss, more scenes to unpack, more connections to be made. Really though, they just want to spend more time together.

“Having both of them there, together, was surreal,” says Smith. “It felt so good having two people who have seen my trajectory and journey from where I started and then where I'm ending. I built pretty meaningful relationships with them over my four years. To be there, talking about this culmination of what I've learned at the end of my senior year, it felt really reassuring and made me feel like I can handle college.”

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The Art of Looking Inward: St. Andrew’s New Creative Nonfiction Unit

Like most teenagers, Sasha DeCosta ’24 has some “stuff.” Stuff to process, deal with, reflect on, and work through. DeCosta also has the St. Andrew’s English Department, which, this year, offered its V Form students a new way to muck through all that stuff: Put it on the page.
English Department faculty members Will Torrey and Will Porter collaborated to create “Stranger in a Strange Dynamic,” a new creative nonfiction writing unit within the English 3 course for juniors that included work by stars of the genre like James Baldwin, David Sedaris, Roxanne Gay, and more.
“Even though it's so fun and important to read and talk about fiction and literature, we also want to keep things fresh and interesting for our students,” says Torrey. “Sometimes from their perspective, and even from ours, it just feels like, ‘Okay, now it's another book. Now it's another paper. Now it's another book. Now it's another paper.’ So much of what this course is about is to understand who you are and your identity through your own experiences.”
Adds Porter, “We noticed over the years that at [V Form/junior year] grade level, that age, the students have lots of questions. Looking to literature for answers is valuable, but so too is looking inward to have them think about how to tell their own story.”
For DeCosta, that story was one in which they weren’t the hero—and that’s precisely the point. “It’s hard to admit you've done wrong,” DeCosta says. “I think for a good essay, you can't paint yourself as a one-sided hero. In our class, we read a lot of personal essays where people weren't the hero or this perfect character, which made it easier for me to write about those times when I'm not perfect.”
While the culmination of the unit resulted in each student writing a 1500- to 2000-word essay, with additional writing and journaling exercises throughout the unit, there was also the non-rubric requirement to opt in.
“I think these kids naturally feel a little bit of reticence when there's this opportunity to write about their own truths or in some cases, their own families,” Torrey says. “But they really came to not only embrace that vulnerability through the writing process, but to also be present and listen to their classmates, who are talking about the mistakes they’ve made. It felt like something that was very useful, and powerful, and in some ways therapeutic, for them to participate in.”
DeCosta’s essay—which chronicled their failed attempt to eschew the “screenager” life and instead truly live in the moment at a concert they finally got permission to attend—used humor as a venue for deep self-reflection. “From the actual experience of missing an entire concert because I was trying to record it, I learned obviously living in the moment stuff. I was devastated for missing it, but was just going to move on and not think about it anymore,” DeCosta says. “But going through the writing process, I was forced to relive what happened, and to understand why I did what I did. I’ve never really reflected like that through writing.”
For her essay, Angela Osaigbovo ’24, the head of the school’s Creative Writing Club, wrote about a time she was in the spotlight at a national Scrabble tournament. Losing, her team rallied to win on the strength of some “crazy” words; the lesson there, Osaigbovo says, was not to give up.
“Since this was a recorded competition, it’s online, so I went back and watched myself and the decisions I made,” she says. “It is so weird watching yourself like that, but through the watching, and then the writing, I got to really relive the past in an interesting way.”
Osaigbovo, who took the course with Dr. Martha Pitts, says she wasn’t writing about “a big, emotional moment,” which is a notion Porter wanted to impart to all students in the unit.
“The main thing that matters is we're just looking for honesty,” Porter says. “We're looking for specificity. We're not looking for the sort of revelation where you have a day that changed your life, but look for a day where something small happened to you that made you approach an element of your life in a different manner.”
Osaigbovo appreciated the craft notes she received from Pitts, on elements like tone, narrative structure, tension, and mood.
“This is a completely new style of writing for me, and figuring out how to get your emotions and surroundings structured on a page in a way that makes sense, and that the reader can feel, was really helpful,” she says, “particularly right now as we are all juniors and have to think about college essays.”
Both Osaigbovo and DeCosta say they hope “Stranger in a Strange Dynamic” is on the curriculum to stay. “As we become seniors and leaders of the school, what we do in this class is really impactful,” Osaigbovo says.
“I just felt all of the best of St. Andrew's was encapsulated in the essays I read from my students,” Torrey says. “I felt so honored that the students believed me when I said that they could write about anything, and they could be vulnerable, and seeing that they trusted me enough with that—it was a joy. It was the highlight of my time with my juniors so far.”

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Fail Hard & Fail Up: Astrophysicist Ronald Gamble Visits Campus

It’s not every day a nationally renowned NASA theoretical astrophysicist who can pontificate for hours on supermassive black-hole rotations stops by your high school to hang out. It’s an even rarer occasion when that same pedigreed scientist judges a longest-curly-fry-at-lunch competition or commiserates with art students about how frustrating it can be to work with liquid gold leaf in paintings.
But St. Andrew’s is not an everyday kind of place, and theoretical astrophysicist Dr. Ronald Gamble isn’t your everyday kind of scientist.
In his own parlance, Gamble is “an anomaly.” When Gamble finished his Ph.D in 2017, there were only four doctoral graduates that year in STEM from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “By that I mean, all of STEM,” Gamble told students at this year’s William A. Crump Jr. Annual Physics Lecture on February 10. Gamble, the cofounder of Black in Astro—a nonprofit that celebrates and amplifies Black experiences in space-related fields—noted he was often on the receiving end of comments like, “Yeah … theoretical physics isn’t really for ‘our’ people.”
The representation Gamble brings to the field—and which he brought to the stage in Englehard Hall—spoke to Brandon Blake ’25. “Dr. Gamble had a lot of firsts as a Black man in this field, and that really impacted me, and I’m sure others in our school community,” he says. “And the inclusivity wasn’t only that he was Black, but that he also has ADHD, which I think resonated. I liked how honest he was in talking about his challenges.”
Like, for example, failing.
“I failed calculus three times in college,” Gamble told students. “But am I an actual expert in general relativity and differential geometry right now? Yes, I am. How? Because if you’re gonna fail, fail hard, and fail up.”
That notion appealed to Mary Troy ’24. “I really loved that,” Troy says. “I whipped out my notes, and I was like, ‘Yes!’ One of my goals for this semester has been to focus less on my grades and more on the actual learning aspect of St. Andrew’s, and immerse myself fully in that experience. I don’t think I was given permission to fail, but it was nice to see someone at his level acknowledge that failing happens, and that it can propel you in an interesting way.”
The title of Gamble’s lecture could be a mouthful for the un-space-savvy: “The Nature of Cosmic Geometry: The Intricacies of Black Holes, Spacetime, and the Motion of Matter.” Yet Gamble kept things simple, fun, and human.
“I kept forgetting I was at a lecture,” Blake says. “He came across not only as a really smart physicist, but as a regular person that I can talk to.”
(Speaking of “regular people” stuff, much to the delight of students like Troy, Blake, and Sarah-Rose Odutola ’23, Gamble had dinner with a small group the night before his lecture in which he ruminated on the science in Marvel Cinematic Universe films. “It’s getting better,” Gamble told them with a smile.)
Troy says Gamble broke down complicated concepts in a way that made sense. “At one point he was talking about how if you got stuck in a black hole, you’d eventually see the back of your own head,” Troy says. “That’s so crazy, but he didn’t make it feel hard to understand.”
One of the reasons Gamble was selected as speaker, notes Science Department Chair Dr. Ashley Hyde, was because of how specifically he fit the SAS culture: not only is Gamble an astrophysicist, he’s an accomplished painter, too.
“One of the great things about St. Andrew’s is that we really don't have any students that just do science and nothing else,” Hyde says. “Students who love science, also love art. They love music, they love playing sports, they love history. I think it's really important that the people that we bring in show scientists not as these one-dimensional characters.”
Hyde is also cognizant of science’s problem with diversity. “It’s certainly no secret,” she says. “In some fields of science, it is incredibly difficult to find a Black or Hispanic person, which is terrible. We want to challenge the messaging that our students see when they look at the professional sphere of scientists. They typically see older white men who tend to win the Nobel Prize. They tend to be the ones who everything is named after. They get bombarded with that messaging. We want to give students access to people who look like them, that have the same background as them, that have the same kind of stories, in the hopes that student who's like, ‘This doesn't seem like it's something for me, maybe I shouldn't pursue it’ instead thinks ‘Wow, maybe there is space for me.’"
Blake, who this year was named to the Delaware All-State Jazz ensemble for his sweetness on the sax and who also hopes to enter a STEM field in the long term, was inspired to see the completeness of Gamble’s path. “I’m a person who likes visual arts, theater, and dance, but who also has a passion for STEM. I think Dr. Gamble further demonstrates how the arts can play a critical role in the sciences,” he says. “Seeing how he was able to bring the two things together is cool because you don’t have to choose.”
Odutola was particularly taken by Gamble’s closing remarks. “First, I have to say just seeing such Black excellence brought to campus meant a lot to me,” she says. “But also, he tapped into something that I, too, struggle with. He told us to always ask, ‘What if?’ Like, what if he had listened to the people who told him he’d never get to NASA? Or who told him he was ‘a minority?’ That really meant a lot to me because so often I think, ‘I’m not good enough.’ But what if I just try? What if I just believe in myself? That’s a really powerful message.”
The annual Crump Lecture in Physics is an endowment from Bill Crump ’44, who came to St. Andrew’s from a one-room school house in rural Maryland and graduated at the top of his class. Crump established this lecture series so St. Andrew’s students could meet and learn from most exciting physicists in the field today.

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Chaplain Jay Hutchinson Attends U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Mid-Atlantic Summit

While most of the St. Andrew's community was enjoying a well-deserved “Free Day” on February 6, Chaplain Jay Hutchinson engaged in plenary sessions at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition's Mid-Atlantic Summit held at the Hotel duPont in Wilmington, Delaware. The summit brought together senior national security and foreign policy experts, faith-based and community leaders, and public servants from around the world. 

President William Ruto of Kenya joined virtually in the morning session to discuss U.S.-Africa relations and the future of the African continent with Sen. Chris Coons; Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council; and Dr. Donna Patterson, chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Delaware State University.

Other sessions focused on global health and climate change, and meeting the moment of rising global crises. Panelists included Sen. Dan Sullivan; former Sen. Rob Portman; State Department Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman; Teresa Christopher, Head of Climate, Sustainability, and Environmental Policy at Amazon; and Dr. Atul Gawande, who is currently serving as Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID.

For Chaplain Hutchinson, who was a classmate of Sen. Coons at Amherst College, it was an opportunity to think globally about our impact and opportunity here at St. Andrew's. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to sit in a room with so many global thought-leaders all considering the best way forward on some of the most pressing issues of our time—climate change, global health, and economic prosperity for all,” he said. “These are issues we discuss every day at St. Andrew's in classes, at School Meeting, and of course through Chapel services. I”m looking forward to continuing these conversations with the broader context and implications in mind."

Chaplain Hutchinson was invited to the summit as a faith leader in Delaware. He has served as Chaplain at St. Andrew's since 2000 while teaching in the Religious Studies department and coaching soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse. 

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