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Exhibitions: Opportunities for Independent Scholarship
In the St. Andrew’s exhibition process, students learn to self-critique and revise both their thinking and writing, and to engage in complex, dialogic reading and writing processes. The exhibition process is born out of an approach to learning that assumes learning never truly concludes, and creates a collaborative space for deep learning, rather than strategic learning “for a grade.”
“Best academic experience of my life was the Senior Exhibition. It was harder than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was going to be very hard. But it was so rewarding to work out those difficult thoughts, and to go into that exhibition feeling confident that I could identify the strengths and weaknesses of my argument and have an insightful conversation about the book with some really awesome teachers.”
VI Form Student
The Arts at St. Andrew’s
St. Andrew’s provides students with an environment in which they can explore their artistic interests and passions within a master-apprentice system of teaching, and without fear of judgment from peers. The student community prides itself on its genuine and intense support—without regard for typical social expectations or level of expertise—of the artistic efforts of all its members.
Joe Baker ’24 Breaks School 2k Record
Joe Baker started rowing competitively last year, and already he's one of the top recruits in the country. Read about his journey to St. Andrew's and rowing a sub-6:10 2k here
Since the founding of the school in 1929, St. Andrew’s has been a school affordable to all students who are qualified for admission, regardless of their financial means.
What matters most is your character and the contributions you will make to our community and our world.
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For 93 years, we've offered revolutionary need-based financial aid to all admitted students. Our mission is—and always has been—to be a school accessible to all, regardless of means
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We not only learn together, but live together—and that fundamentally changes the nature of your high school experience.
Hear from current students on the ways in which living at St. Andrew's has transformed them.
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 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.
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.”
On the first day of math class, I write an equation on the board:
love = attention
Each school year, I work to create a classroom culture that helps the students in the room feel safe and loved. I tell the students that I love them, and I ask that they love one another. We set the ground rules of listening to each other. We are polite. We ask questions. We work together. And, I remind them, whenever our attention is divided—whenever we are distracted—we miss an opportunity to love.
I believe our work as humans is to wake up to our lives. As we practice waking up together, we cultivate the ability to focus our attention and, therefore, our love. By writing this equation on the board, I call on students to sow the seeds of mindfulness and love for each other. When we become aware of the intrinsic relationship between attention and love, it is an opportunity—as Sharon Salzberg says—to do something different with our lives.
Though my SAS nametag states I am a teacher, I am a student, too. As students, we are seekers. As seekers, we wonder about the nature of ourselves, our world, and our lives. I have many teachers, including Dipa Ma, a Buddhist adept, who was once asked whether she recommends mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation to students. Her response was that for her, there is no difference between the two: “Meditation is love. Enlightenment is great love.” So Dipa Ma is also the first mathematician that the students meet in my class; she is the author of the equation above.
Another of my teachers was Dave DeSalvo, legendary SAS math teacher and chaplain. In his last year of teaching, I overheard Dave end some of his classes with the goodbye, “I love you; God loves you.” As a secular Buddhist, I usually think “universe” when I hear “God.” By virtue of the very fact of our existence, the universe, itself, quite literally, is “aware” of us. You could say that we are being loved into existence in each moment. I think Dipa Ma and Dave are sharing two perspectives on the same truth. It is this truth that I want my students to glimpse. I believe The Beatles were right when they harmonized: “All you need is love.” Our lives consist of waking up, over and over, to the truth that love is all there is.
Does this mean that there is no hate, sorrow, war, or division in the world? Of course not. I would argue that these rise in proportion to our collective mindlessness. In Buddhism, there is the concept of bodhicitta, the aspiration “to wake up with wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings.” In our age of distraction, I have found this to be both a skillful and timely prayer. Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice about meditation puts this idea another way:
“Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it.”
The work of inclusion and belonging at St. Andrew’s is to lift up the voices of our students, faculty, and staff; to appreciate the diversity of our community; and to fully recognize each other’s humanity. Our classrooms, our residential spaces, and our playing fields offer countless opportunities for us to embrace inclusive practices, celebrate differences, and consider our collective responsibility to create the just and equitable world in which we want to live.
To share a bit about myself, I am a native Delawarean who also calls South Carolina “home.” I am a fourth-generation educator who follows a long maternal line of Black women who’ve served both within the classroom and in school administration. My great-grandmothers were teachers and principals in segregated high schools in Montgomery, Alabama. My grandmother and mother, both English teachers, were outstanding influences in my life—and are the reasons I chose English as a major in college. My late mother, Alice Carson Tisdale, was selected as District Teacher of the Year in Smyrna, Delaware, in 1986. As one of a handful of Black teachers in the district at that time, this distinction was one in which she, and our entire family, took great pride. My mother retired in 2019 after 21 years in secondary education, and a subsequent 25 years of service as a college administrator.
Standing on the shoulders of these women, I see education as a calling and feel grateful to work at a school where my talents can be put to good use. I am a very proud graduate of Spelman College, a private, historically black, women's liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. I completed an M.A. at Temple University and a doctorate at Emory University. My career has taken me all over the country, and I have had the great fortune of working in both higher and secondary education settings. To share what I’ve learned as a student, as an educator, and as a servant leader with this community is an incredible privilege.
My decision to join St. Andrew’s as a dean of inclusion and belonging was not made lightly. In my first conversation with Head of School Joy McGrath ’92, however, I began to understand just how special this school is and how committed our students, faculty, and staff are to the practice of inclusion and belonging. When I visited the school last spring, I met with students who were enthusiastic about rolling up their sleeves and working diligently to ensure that St. Andrew’s is a place where all students can thrive. I was also deeply inspired by the faculty and staff whose unwavering commitment to students is unmatched. I knew, after that visit, that St. Andrew’s was not only a place where I could be impactful, but a place where every day would offer me—and my family—opportunities, as American author and social activist bell hooks writes, “to work in community, and to be changed by community.”
I am honored to be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of building upon the foundation laid by those committed to this important work at St. Andrew’s before me: Treava Milton ’83, Stacey Duprey ’85 P’04,’10, Giselle Furlonge ’03, and Devin Duprey ’10. I lift these names up to acknowledge the considerable contributions of alumnae of color whose dedication to advancing diversity and inclusion at St. Andrew’s, both past and present, cannot be overstated. My goals for this year extend from their work and include developing a formal infrastructure for the office of inclusion and belonging; offering effective and meaningful diversity education programming for students, faculty, and staff; and providing robust educational opportunities for affinity group faculty leaders and affinity group members.
I look forward to working in collaboration with colleagues, students, parents, and alumni to meet these broad goals and to reconnect. I welcome your ideas, your curiosity, and your honest feedback on our work together. I am deeply grateful for your generous support and am excited about all that is to come!
Danica Tisdale Fisher
Dean of Inclusion and Belonging