NFTH: April 20, 2020
From the Head of School
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
As I wrote last week, Saint Mary’s Hall now turns to hope and joy, because I feel we must. There is much blessing all around us, and we, as a school, as a city, as a state, and as a country will emerge stronger from this pandemic.
Please take an important moment to see this campus update and reflection from Upper School AP Environmental Science Teacher Brian Kaestner, and this exceptionally powerful letter from an SMH dad who is a doctor on the front lines.
My pastor recently remarked in a e-sermon that it is really hard to run a race for which we don’t know where the finish line is. That really resonated with me and is so true about how we all surely feel about COVID-19 and being stuck at home. Did you know that “Zoom Fatigue” is a thing? I encourage you to read this short, interesting article, which includes some helpful suggestions to combat it.
Finally, I found this New York Times article, What Students Are Saying About Remote Learning, to be remarkably insightful. If you don’t have time to read it, here are the highlights of the candor and insight shared by students about how they are feeling during this time, feelings surely echoed by many of our students:
It is important that we honor our students’ feelings. This is indeed extraordinarily hard, and the sense of longing and loss are justifiable and real. But it will end, and we will get through this!
I want to make sure you are aware that the following important communications are now featured in this issue (and all future issue)s of News From the Hall:
- All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin’s weekly Chapel talk
- Wellness resources from Direct of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales
- Virtual Morning Moments from the Lower School and news across divisions and departments
Please let us know how we can support you as we enter Week 5 of distance learning. We are listening, you are known, you are loved, and we are here for you.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.” ~ Romans 12:12-13
Head of School
Lower School is still conducting Morning Moments every week via Zoom. Take a look at this week’s Morning Moments!
Since most families were not be able to celebrate Easter weekend the way they might have done in the past with extended family and friends, Form 6 students were given an opportunity to participate in a Family Fun Challenge through a virtual scavenger hunt using an app called GooseChase. The best feature of the game is that participants were able to view the Activity Feed and see the other families’ submissions in real time. Families were also able to see how their family stacked up against other families by clicking on the leaderboard throughout the game. However, after the game ended, scores could still have changed since some submissions might have earned bonus points or might possibly have been deleted if the family’s submission didn’t meet the criteria! Families were challenged with missions like finding fruit trees and flowers in their neighborhood, going on a bike ride, giving a piggyback ride, performing a dance, and writing letters to a loved one or a “hero” from their family.
Take a look at some of the photos (above) and videos (video #1 and video #2) of Form 6 families having fun with GooseChase! The Form 6 teachers would like to thank our awesome families for being such good sports and taking the opportunity to connect with one another during an Easter holiday that, for most, was anything but traditional. And now, the results! Congratulations to all! Results:
- 1st place – Valente Gomez-Molina's family
- 2nd place – Kathryn Tubb’s family
- 3rd place – Eleanor Pulis' family
Students in Form 3 Teacher Mary Scherrer’s class are finishing up a science unit with a Natural Resource project. They have turned in some fabulous work through distance learning. View student Sammy Schwope’s project.
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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 our school’s motto, Teach us delight in simple things, and I hope it is uplifting and enriching to you and your spirit.
I continue to pray for all of us and our community during these difficult days, praying we find much strength as we delight in the simple yet most important aspects of life, like spending time with loved ones and focusing on our faith and spirituality.
I’ll conclude with two insightful quotes on delighting in simple things. First, Jeanette Walls says, “If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise.” Second, Paulo Coehlo writes, “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise ones are able to understand them.”
May you cherish those simple moments in your life this coming week, such as a sunrise or sunset, and may your spirit and perspective be transformed.
All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin
Healthy at the Hall
Dear Saint Mary’s Hall Community,
As All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin reminded us this week, our school motto is Teach Us Delight in Simple Things. Though we are in the midst of COVID – 19 and much about our lives feels overwhelming and unpredictable, we have the opportunity to truly slow down and appreciate the world around us, to experience AWE.
With the image they sent above, my parents reminded me that life continues to go on and we are surrounded by beauty. The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) out of The University of California, Berkeley, published an article last week titled, Stuck at Home? How to Find Awe and Beauty Indoors. They quoted the poet, W.B. Yeats, who wrote: “The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
The GGSC researchers use an acronym for engaging in awe:
- A – Pay ATTENTION to the world around you
- W – WAIT for yourself to truly focus
- E – EXHALE and EXPAND to allow yourself to fully appreciate what you are observing
I am a visual person and I think about it like taking a picture in my mind that I’ll archive. They offer different ways of engaging in awe at home and my favorite was: “Experience your home as a museum.” For those of you who have read Marie Kondō’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing or are familiar with KonMari, it is appreciating the history of objects in your home. It allows you to reflect on why you originally acquired the item.
The suggestions that I am making will not solve COVID – 19, but my goal is to help you and your children manage this crisis with ease and additional tools in your toolbox.
Sandra L. Lopez-Morales, Ph.D.
Director of Wellness