NFTH: April 14, 2020
From the Head of School
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
Grand Day at Saint Mary's Hall was supposed to have taken place last Thursday, but like so many beloved special events, it has been cancelled.
But this does not mean that we can’t love on our grandparents and “grand friends!” I invite you to watch my weekly video update:
My grandmother, Marie Eades of Sweetwater, Texas, was one of the greatest influencers on my character and who I am today. She and I used to love to look at old family photos together, and I always made time to write to her (old school, handwritten letters!). This New York Times article, To Battle Isolation, Elders and Children Connect as Pen Pals, articulates the power of letter writing between generations during this extraordinary time.
If you’re like me, as we enter week four of distance learning, I confess to feeling some weariness … mainly because I miss our students, my colleagues, and my extended family and friends. However, I am having no trouble at all maintaining my positivity because I know how blessed I am to have a job, a roof over my head, a fridge full of food, and a loving family. As encouragement to you this week, I share:
If you need encouragement and perhaps a good cry, this video of the cast of the musical Dear Evan Hansen performing, “You Will Be Found,” will move you beyond measure. It is worth watching in its entirety, for sure.
Finally, this poem, What If, forwarded to me by Head of School Emeritus Bob Windham, who in turn received it from a former teacher colleague who wrote it, offers additional great perspective and hope.
We are immeasurably blessed.
Be well, and now go love on all your grandparents through the power of a handwritten letter!
Head of School
Middle School has been busy with many engaging art and robotics projects in their distance learning. While Strings students practiced and played together via their Zoom meetings, band students created meaningful videos about the importance of music in their lives. Our dancers practiced within their own homes, enjoying creating movement with their classmates online. The youngest art students made wonderful, creative found-object bird houses, vases and wind chimes to decorate their yards, while the Art I students learned the difference between selfies and self-portraits by creating their own examples and posting them to a Padlet. Form 6 drama students auditioned online for parts in a one-act play they will produce this quarter, while Advanced Speech & Drama students created group video advertisements for real and imagined products. Robotics students took on a challenge to create useful objects requested by faculty and staff, such as a headphone holder made of found objects around the house. Thanks to our creative and dynamic teachers for helping our students develop their talents and share their creativity with each other and their families.
Enjoy this slideshow of Montessori Teacher Jennifer Hinson‘s (Room 1) students during week three of distance learning.
In early March, Form 7 and 8 Latin students took the National Latin Exam. The National Latin Exam is a test given to approximately 150,000 Latin students around the world. The test covers general knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, mythology, Roman culture, derivatives, and translation abilities.
Full results follow, but a few exceptional individual achievements should be mentioned:
- Intro Level (Latin 1A)
- The awards at Intro Level are as follows:
- Perfect Paper: Purple certificate of achievement
- Gold outstanding achievement certificate and a purple outstanding achievement ribbon for top scorers
- Silver certificate of achievement for second-place winners
At Intro Level George Braden and Lily Kelly placed in the top 2%-3% of students by making a perfect score of 40/40.
In addition Cooper Curry, Mary Ella McNelis, Sofia Nelson and Athena Sorenson came very close to this achievement with only one error.
- Level 1 (Latin 1B)
- The awards at Level 1 are as follows:
- Perfect paper: Hand-lettered certificate
- Gold medal and a summa cum laude certificate awarded to top scorers
- Silver medal and a maxima cum laude certificate to second-place winners
- Magna cum laude certificate to third-place winners
- Cum Laude certificate to fourth-place winners
Only 1% of entrants at this level achieve a perfect paper. This year Leonora Leykum made a perfect score for a second year running on the National Latin Exam.
Form 8 students Sofia Bishop, Sofija Dudhia, Sophia Junaidi, and Emilia Kniestedt made just one error.
Dear Saint Mary's Hall,
I hope you are able to take a moment and view my Chapel video message for this week!
This message focuses on giving ourselves permission to feel the losses we’ve experienced or may experience in the future. This message grows out of a recent, personal experience, and I hope it gives you strength for this week.
Please know that our school and larger community and you remain very much in prayers and heart and that I am here to be of support to you as needed.
I’ll close with the profound words of Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered at the very end of his life: “I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” In these challenging times and any to still come, let us search for the stars and those blessings from God himself.
Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin
Healthy at the Hall
Dear Saint Mary’s Hall Community,
I hope that you had a wonderful, long weekend with your children. This whole experience can feel like a “long weekend,” but perhaps it’s helpful to have fewer deadlines, emails, and classes. As we start a new week, I want you to think about the messages that you are verbally and non-verbally sending to your children during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine. Lynn Lyons, international speaker and psychotherapist, asks a profound question in reference to our children that I am asking you to consider this week:
“What will they remember?”In his Chapel message, All-School Chaplain Rev. R. Cameron Gunnin encourages us to experience emotion. He references an episode of Unlocking Us, a podcast with Brené Brown (research professor at University of Houston) and her invited guest, one of the world’s most foremost experts on grief: David Kessler. They discuss experiencing the full range of grief which you are undoubtedly feeling in some capacity right now. In order for our children to fully understand their emotions, they need to see you emoting and managing your own emotions effectively. In a Washington Post article titled, “Brené Brown: Be the adult you want your children to be,” Dr. Brown describes how we are the ultimate models for our children and that they will essentially do what we do.
There may be times in which our emotions are too high or overwhelming and that we may need to experience those emotions privately so as to not frighten our children. The New York Times offered a terrific piece last week titled, Crying in Your Car Counts as Self-Care.
Combining last week’s wellness message about purposefully bringing joy to others and this week’s message of modeling, please consider a fun family activity: creating a time capsule about COVID-19. Kindergarten Teacher Karen Rosende assigned this task to my son and his classmates. I think it is a phenomenal way to capture this moment in time for your family. Here are some ideas from CNN and NBC in Columbus, Ohio.
I look forward to hearing how your days modeling have gone and how they have been impacted by your decision to share joy with others in your life.
Wishing you well,
Sandra L. Lopez-Morales, Ph.D.
Director of Wellness