Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) has many rich traditions holding special meaning and significance to the school community. We celebrated one of those honored traditions on November 19, our annual Founders’ Day. Despite the current challenges, SMH was still able to successfully and safely hold Founders’ Day on campus virtually. A number of the community attended, including seniors, with 6 ft. distance between seats and masks worn for safety. The rest of the student body and faculty watched the streamed event from their classrooms and homes.
This unique event recognizes a person or family whose faith, vision, and determination have made a lasting impact on the school. Though we did not have an honoree this year, we carried this tradition forward with an official installation of Head of School Len Miller and the presentation of our Master Teacher Awards. Special commemorative bells were made for the community to ring in acknowledgement of Mr. Miller and the Master Teacher Award recipients as they were honored. During the ceremony, Mr. Miller was presented with symbolic gifts. He received the following tokens of appreciation, representing the community’s excitement for him to join the SMH family and to honor his new role as head of school:
- On behalf of the alumni and parent community, Carla Brozovich '01 presented a compass, representing the important role Mr. Miller plays in guiding the school into the future;
- On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Board Chair Curtis Vaughan presented a lapel pin with the Saint Mary’s Hall crest, celebrating Mr. Miller’s new role as head of school;
- On behalf of the faculty, Upper School Social Studies Teacher Adrian Viccellio presented a book, the collected papers of Architect Frederick Law Olmsted, serving as a reminder of Mr. Miller’s ongoing journey as a lifelong learner, scholar, practitioner, and teacher-leader;
- On behalf of the students, senior Max Rosenbloom '21 presented a duffle bag filled with SMH spirit wear for both Mr. Miller and his wife, Penny, welcoming them as Barons and acknowledging Mr. & Mrs. Miller will be cheering students on in the classroom, at performances, and from the sidelines/courtside.
“Given the challenges this year. Given this moment. I believe we are stronger. We are bound together in common purpose. We are guided by values we hold dear. Thank you for this opportunity to serve you in the best way that I can,” said Mr. Miller. “I want every member of this community to feel that deep sense of belonging that elicits pride in this institution that our founders undoubtedly felt over the storied history of this great school.”
In addition to the installation, Mr. Miller presented the Master Teacher Awards to four deserving faculty members. Since 2002, faculty members who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to the Saint Mary’s Hall community and through extraordinary instruction have been awarded the title of Master Teacher. An endowed gift, each recipient receives $10,000 along with a certificate. Nominations are based on submissions by faculty, staff, students, parents, and school administration, and honor one faculty member from each of the three divisions and one “at large” faculty member.
The 2020-2021 Master Teachers are Social Studies and Science Teacher Mary Scherrer (Lower School), Prentice Huntington Miller & Reid Huntington Miller Endowed Chair of World Languages and Cultures and Spanish Teacher Laura Renard (Middle School), Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Master Chair in History and Social Studies Teacher Bret Bigelow (Upper School), and Drawing and Painting Teacher Logan Blanco (At-Large, Upper School). These exceptional teachers show true passion for the students, community, and mission of Saint Mary’s Hall.
We stand steadfast in upholding our most dear traditions and strive to celebrate those moments together as a unified community. If you were unable to attend or watch the event live, you can see it on our Saint Mary’s Hall Vimeo page.