NFTH: December 16, 2019
- From the Head of School
- Parents' Association
- Upper School
- Middle School
- Lower School
- Fine Arts
- Chapel Corner
- Healthy at the Hall
From the Head of School
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
Good Deeds Do In Fact Multiply
Last Friday was arguably the best day I’ve had this semester. The day started with the Lower School Children’s Choir and Orff Ensemble Winter Concert (see video #1 and video #2 of the concert). What a treat! Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine, the concert's musical director, is supremely talented, and it was impossible to sit through this joyful program and not get into the holiday spirit. Oh, and did I mention that our youngest son was on stage?
After the performance, I witnessed Upper School Spanish Teacher Elsa Tone-DeSala and the Community Service Council presenting holiday and Christmas cards to members of our Sage Dining Services® staff (view a video). At the end of the day, they presented cards to all members of the SMH Maintenance staff. I was so proud of and inspired by our students’ gratitude of all these important members of our community.
Midday I had the good fortune to see the annual Form 1 mime performance under the expert direction of Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood. I invite you to watch this brief video of the performance. Marcel Marceau, anyone?
The afternoon included Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers Master Chair in History Bret Bigelow’s Upper School Social Studies class visiting Form 2 students who were presenting projects inspired by the story Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran, and then the Upper School National Art Honor Society hosted a holiday crafts party for Lower School students outside on a picture-perfect beautiful afternoon.
I invite you to see this slideshow (right) of these magical events from this one day in the life of Saint Mary’s Hall.
But the highlight on this day was when two Form 2 students entered the back door of my office, Robert holding up a $20 bill and John holding up a $5 bill. They proceeded to tell me that they found the bills on the ground on their walk to lunch, and they immediately asked their teacher for permission to go to my office to turn in the money since it was not theirs. I profusely commended the boys for their high character, and I let them know that if no one claimed the money that I’d donate the money to The SMH Fund in their honor. Well, no one claimed the money, and one of the boy’s mom let me know that she would match the gift to further celebrate the boys’ demonstration of integrity. Then our Director of Philanthropic Engagement Rhonda Vasbinder was so inspired by our fine boys that she let me know that she, too, would match the gift. So you know what’s next, right? I, too, was inspired by this spirit of giving and integrity at SMH that I also matched the gift. And so this goodness and generosity multiplied when most children (and adults) would have shoved the money deep in their own pockets. May you be inspired to give and to serve others at this special time of year. Wishing you joy, love, and holiday blessings to you and your family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2020!
Head of School
Don't be left out! Show your gratitude for the teachers and staff who celebrate and inspire each one of our children all year long! The collection period ends tomorrow, December 17 at noon.
Make a Gift Today!
- Debit or Credit Card. Gifts can be made online by clicking the "Give a Gift Today" button above.
- Cash or Check. Place your gift in one of The Holiday Fund contribution lockboxes located in the Lower, Middle, and Upper School Offices. Checks should be made payable to Saint Mary's Hall with a notation referencing The Holiday Fund.
- Down to the Wire. Text us at (210) 885-4782 and we will have one of our elves meet you at a convenient pick up spot to collect your gift of cash or check.
The Holiday Fund Committee extends its heartfelt appreciation to Frost Bank for its commitment to Saint Mary's Hall and The Holiday Fund.
Upper School Creative Writing Teacher Amy Williams-Eddy, supported by her English Language Arts colleagues as well as those from the Visual Arts Department, held the annual Art and Creative Writing Coffee House on December 11.
A new addition to this year’s event was Form 12 student Polly Powers performing an original song, but the anchor of the program featured four senior writers—Mafer Benavides, Joy Ding, Emily Garrett, and Natalia Zambrano — sharing their work. A surprise bonus came when both Mrs. Williams-Eddy and Upper School English Teacher Megan Soukup shared poems of their own.
Afterward, Upper School Social Studies Teacher Paul Gage sent this nice note to his colleagues, summarizing the event: “As always your coffee house was a wonderful combination of the visual arts and the art of creative writing. I enjoy the informality of the 30 minutes before the readings. That allows time to talk with the 2D, 3D, and photography students about their work, and to view their pride as they discuss that work. The readings of both students and faculty were a pleasure to hear, with their poignancy, feelings, and moments of humor. Thanks for an enjoyable experience.”
On December 9, Cell Biology Teacher Kristen Polito surprised her classes with a “pick me up” activity to get them through the end of the semester where they modeled cellular replication by decorating sugar cookies with the stages of mitosis. “My hope is that they will slightly decompress and start off the week with a positive outlook while reviewing their content.” By the look of the smiles, it seems like she accomplished her mission.
Upper School English Teachers Breanne Hicks and Megan Soukup have transformed the upstairs hallway of the Marrs and Verna McLean Library Complex into a “winter wonderland” of student work from their American Literature and AP English Literature students. The student reflections, thesis sentences, and some of their funny holiday photos are on display for all who need some inspiration, or maybe just a humorous interlude, in their day.
For a look at everything that's happening in the Upper School this week (including college visits to SMH, varsity and JV games, important assemblies, meetings, and upcoming birthdays), please read The Week Ahead.
A handful of students in the inaugural Upper School Ultimate Club took to Lewis Field on December 7. Sponsored by new Upper School Physics Teacher Nick Polito, this club has been a welcome addition, but as field space is at a premium during the school week, these dedicated disc throwers opted to come back to school on the weekend.
On November 29, a group of Saint Mary’s Hall students, parents, and teachers, participated in our 12th Ford Holiday River Parade at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. During this community service project, the volunteers set up about 700 chairs on the River Walk and hosted 75 wounded warriors and their families for a delicious dinner. After dinner, special guests watched the River Parade from front-row seats purchased by SMH Upper School Student Council. Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services, and events for wounded veterans of the military. Saint Mary’s Hall has been pairing up with this organization for the past 12 years to organize this event in an effort to honor and thank military families. Sincere thanks to the following volunteers for helping make this year’s project another success:
- Form 12: Ana Lacau, Tristan Cantu Nico Papay, Catalina Barrera, Sydney Ulmer
- Form 10: Abby Lavender, Nitya Patel, Ava Pace, Gwyneth Morgan, Penelope Luna, Bella Munoz, Emi Kosterlitzky, Alexandra Ulmer
- Form 9: Daniela Sala, Allyson Gibbs, Ali Dunn, Parker Thill, Javier Barrera
- Form 7: Ellie Wyche
- Form 6: Anna Szalai
- Faculty/Staff/Parents: Elsa Tonone De Sala, Oscar Sala, Greg Dunn, Shannon Dunn, Tom Thill, Ildiko Agoston, and Michelle Wyche
On December 4, students from Middle and Upper School performed in the Winter Music Concert.
Featuring songs like “African Holy Night,” “Frosty’s Caribbean Holiday,” and the “Hallelujah Chorus,” it was a great way to begin the holiday season. The musicians had been working on the music since October and put on a fun show. Students are already starting to work on the music for the Music Showcase, and look forward to performing it on February 27. Special kudos to Band/Chamber Orchestra Teacher Trevor Docwra, Middle School Strings & Private Violin Teacher Julie Post, and Assistant Band Director Jaime Ramirez for their work with music students!
SMH’s hearts are overflowing with gratitude for the amazing generosity that poured from the school community to the children of Serna Elementary School, just outside the gates. With your spirit of kindness and giving, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) Leadership Council, in partnership with Senate, Sports Council, and Community Service Council, was able to donate well above the goal of 250 sets of pajamas! It was truly an ‘all-hands’ effort, with everyone giving and pitching in to make this drive a success.
A special thank you goes to SMH parent Emily Azar and Form 8 Zizi Azar, who faithfully made the many trips to deliver bins and bins of collected pajamas. Mrs. Azar passed on a story from the Serna Elementary Family Specialist Leticia Farias:
“A little boy came in her room and saw all the pajamas. He told her he’s never had pajamas. She told him that the pajamas were for the kids at Serna and he asked if he had to pay for them. Leticia told him that all the pajamas were a gift from other kids. Leticia is so very appreciative! Thank you so much for helping this be such a success! She also said with the amount you’ve collected, she’ll be able to meet her goal.”
This week in Chapel, as the school prepares for Advent, they were encouraged to “change the world.” And while that can be an unimaginable statement for those in Middle School, they are reminded that through this Pajama Drive, they did change the world, for that one little boy and many of his classmates.
Middle School World Spanish Teacher Lourdes Saks and Middle School Math Teacher Stephen Hudson, NJHS sponsors, wish everyone a blessed Holiday Season!
To celebrate the end of a successful first semester and to provide a little study motivation, the Community Service Council (CSC) will be providing breakfast tacos, donuts, and waters for all students and teachers Tuesday, December 17 from 7:15am – 7:45am. Let’s "taco-bout" how you can be prepared for end of semester assessments! "Water" you worried about? You’ve been preparing all semester long! "Donut" be nervous! You’ve got this!
The CSC will also be providing breakfast tacos and donuts for the true Heroes of the Hall, the Maintenance Department, to thank them for the amazing work they do on a daily basis to provide a safe, clean, beautiful environment in which to learn. Please use the pictures on the bulletin board in the hallway to get to know these devoted employees and to thank them for all they do.
Under the direction of the Upper and Middle School Community Service Councils (CSC), several members of the Middle School joined Upper School students to volunteer at the very last water stop located at 24.7 miles on the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon course on December 8. Students wrote inspirational messages using sidewalk chalk, set-up water and Gatorade towers, distributed drinks, and cheered as runners passed through the station. Thank you to Middle School volunteers Nandini Cheruku (Form 8), Emily Doehler (Form 7), Abigail Gilham (Form 7), Mona Komatsu (Form 7), Leonora Leykum (Form 8), and Rachel Weinstein (Form 8). As you can imagine, their efforts made all the difference to the runners on the course! And very special thanks to Middles School Social Science Teacher Anne Allbritton and Middle School Math Teacher Missy Northington, CSC sponsors, for supporting student volunteers all day at the race!
If you participated in the Hour of Code, you earned an Out-of-Uniform Day on Tuesday, December 17. Remember, no shorts, and you must wear closed-toed shoes.
This past week, Middle School Science Teacher Patti Nicoll’s Form 7 Life Science students took advantage of the fact that SMH is a Montessori through 12th grade school by doing a genetic traits survey that encompassed students from every single Form level. In total, 552 students and teachers were sampled focusing on four traits - free versus attached earlobes, having mid-digit hair versus not having it, non-hitchhiker versus hitchhiker thumbs and tongue-rolling versus non-tongue-rolling. In calculating the frequencies of distribution in the school population, the following results were found. They predicted they would have a 3-to-1 ratio, according to Mendel’s rules and some of the data did come close, but mid-digit hair was closer actually to a 1-to-3 ratio, which the students found interesting. Thanks to all of the teachers who graciously allowed the class to do a quick disruption of their day to get this data!
Saint Mary's Hall Traits Survey (553 sampled)
Trait Frequency (%)
- Free earlobe 71
- Attached earlobe 29
- Mid-digit hair present 29
- Mid-digit hair absent 71
- Non-hitchhiker thumb 63
- Hitchhiker thumb 37
- Can roll the tongue 69
- Cannot roll the tongue 31
On December 11, Mrs. Warnecke’s Form 6 Drama Class presented their end of the semester showcase. The students performed Bobby Wilson can Eat His Own Face, by Don Zolidis. The students were magnificent as they portrayed a zany cast of characters, and an even crazier plot. Bravo to these young actors!
And that’s a wrap! Health and Wellness classes for the Middle School close as the semester ends. Health Educator Amelia Teodosio’s students reflected on the lessons learned and celebrated with snacks and games. Each class voted on what they wanted to do to bond as a group. They played everything from charades, to gaga ball, to “duck duck goose.” It was a joy to see the young Barons delight in simple things.
Mrs. Teodosio would like to thank all the Middle School students for their energy, their honesty, and their dynamic participation in activities and discussions. Next semester, she will be teaching the Upper School Form 9 students.
Enjoy this opportunity to take a peek into the Middle School Winter Dance! Congratulations to Band/Chamber Orchestra Teacher Trevor Docwra, Middle School Science Teacher Valerie Felger, and the outstanding Senators for their hard work on putting this fun dance together for 140 students from Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio Academy, and St. Luke’s. As you can see from this video, the kids had a blast (and so did the teachers)!
Thank you so much to all the Lower School families who donated to this year’s Toys for Tots toy drive.
Last week in Morning Moments, it was exciting for the students in Forms 1-5 to see all the toys in one place. The Baron Ambassadors presented facts about the Marine’s Toys for Tots toy drive that began in 1947 to the students in Forms 1-5. Saint Mary’s Hall Senior Systems Administrator Glen Guerra accepted the toys on behalf of the Marine Corp and thanked the students for their generosity. Mr. Guerra served as part of the Marine Corps Military Police.
Special thanks also goes to Assistant Head of Lower School Nur Mangalji and Lower School Baron Ambassadors for the commitment of being at carpool daily to collect the toys, promoting the collections, and packing all the toys to be taken to the Marines for distribution.
Do you have a hero in your life? Recently Form 5 students wrote descriptive essays about their heroes. The students read and studied exemplars from authors and teacher examples. Then they wrote essays choosing a hero from their lives who has made an impact.
Students along the way learned about thesis sentences, topic sentences, clincher sentences, and strong conclusions. After revising and editing their final drafts, students turned their work into online slideshows using an app called Puppet edu.
Form 5 parents and heroes were invited to attend the Hero Gallery Walk and using QR codes, parents were able to listen to the essays for the first time.
Form 5 Language Arts Teacher Shannon McGloin said, "Parents expressed deep gratitude for not only the project, but the format of hearing their child and seeing the photos at the same time. It added a level of emotion and connection to the piece which parents will be able to save and revisit in the future."
Form 4 students ended the semester with their third book club of the year. Sweep, by Jonathan Auxier, is a wonderful mix of historical fiction and fantasy. Set in Victorian England, it tells the story of Nan, who is forced to be an apprentice chimney sweep. When misfortune besets the plucky protagonist, she discovers that she is not as alone in the world as she once thought, thanks to a magical piece of coal that grows to be her protector. During the book club, readers learned about the practice of child labor and laws put into place to protect innocent lives as well as the symbolism associated with Golem, or “the monster,” which is also a nod to an aspect of the Jewish faith. Form 4 readers got a jumpstart on the Bluebonnet listed titles for the 2020-2021 school year since Sweep is listed on next year’s list!
- Tuesday, December 17: Out-of-Uniform Day to celebrate students’ participation in Hour of Code. Forms 1-5 students may wear clothing of their choice (Refer to Dress Code)
- Thursday, December 19: Annual Sing Along and Pajama Day for entire Lower School (Montessori-Form 5)
- Friday, December 20:
- No Extended Care after 8am
- Montessori and Kindergarten Winter Concert at 9:30am in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel.
- Montessori and Kindergarten students will wear festive holiday attire.
- Forms 1-5 will have a full Out-of-Uniform Day to express their holiday cheer (refer to Dress Code).
- Classroom Winter Parties in classrooms at 10:15am
- Early Dismissal at 11:30am
Form 1 students have been learning to mime in Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood’s class. This month parents came to drama class for a special mime performance. Each class shared the facts that they have learned about mime, demonstrated their mime skills, and participated in activities in which mime was used. Students mastered the “hand click,” “pulling a rope,” “climbing a rope” and the “mime walk.” Parents were also treated to two special acts, including “trapped in a box” and “walking a dog.” The students loved sharing what they have learned!
Lower School teachers had the opportunity to attend an Open House in the Collaboratory to explore the many Makerspace and Robotics materials available. Instructional Technologists Teri Bohlsen and Lower School Librarian Linda Wells helped teachers to brainstorm ways to integrate the resources into the curriculum they teach. Some ideas they came up with were about a rowing expedition through Drake’s Passage, investigating geometric figures, using VR goggles, and many more. The teachers not only had a great time “playing” but they were also very productive! Many more classes are signed up to come to the Collaboratory in the next few days.
Giving books for presents this year? Lower School Librarian and Instructional Technologist Linda Wells loves to recommend giving books for holiday presents. The following are lists that she uses to find appropriate books for the library. She can also recommend many other books. Just ask!
Saint Mary’s Hall hosted a six-hour physical education professional development for Lower and Middle School coaches and 25 other local coaches. SMH flew in PE 2 the Max’s National Board Certified PE Teacher JD Hughes to instruct the workshop. SMH Associate Athletic Director Katrina Benoist said, “Our coaches had a great time learning new concepts and ideas while getting to participate in some very fun activities. It will enhance our PE curriculum as we introduce the activities to our students.” Take a look at some of the fun activities the SMH coaches participated in during the day.
Tobin Fine Arts School
Happy holiday season from SMH Fine Arts faculty and staff! We hope the holidays will give you some time to recharge and connect with your loved ones. We also hope you will make the arts part of your lives over the break and always.
If you are interested in exploring some arts opportunities in our community check out the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture Event Calendar for a listing of great holiday themed performances as well as exciting exhibitions and workshops. Students also enjoy some downtime making and creating with you at home. There are plenty of resources online, but this one from Artful Parent has some fun projects for Lower School aged students, though we would not be surprised if the older kids would have fun with these as well!
Before you leave, we hope you will join us for the Montessori-Kindergarten Winter Music Concert on Friday, December 20 at 9:30am in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. Our youngest children lifting their voices in song is sure to warm your heart and put you in a holiday mood.
Have a great break! The Fine Arts faculty and I look forward to welcoming you back to more fine arts fun in 2020!
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
On December 8-9, a total of 62 students competed at The University of Texas Longhorn Classic. We are pleased to report that Saint Mary’s Hall earned the 3rd Place Speech Sweepstakes, which consists of all speech events, extemporaneous speaking, and congressional debate! This is the team’s sixth consecutive year placing in the top five.
Look at the students' fantastic results below:
- Congressional Debate (89 entries):
- Tournament Champion – Shilpa Gunuganti (Form 12)
- Duo Interpretation (56 entries):
- 4th – Ethan Parkhurst (Form 11) / Adam Jacob Swider (Form 11)
- Quarterfinalists – Kathleen Benson (Form 10) / Jack Rykert (Form 9), Juliana Cavazos (Form 10) / Marinna Nicoll (Form 10), Michael Karkar (Form 11) / Devika Kumar (Form 11)
- Oral Interpretation (98 entries):
- 4th – Sophie Velez (Form 12)
- Quarterfinalist – Kathleen Benson (Form 10)
- Humorous Interpretation (98 entries):
- 6th – Ben Cruz (Form 9)
- Semifinalists – Devika Kumar (Form 11)
- Quarterfinalists – Juliana Cavazos (Form 10), Bailen Ganeshappa (Form 9), Emily Garrett (Form 12), Ethan Parkhurst (Form 11)
- United States Extemporaneous Speaking (119 entries):
- 6th – Jonathan Tubb (Form 9)
- Quarterfinalists – Vivek Beeram (Form 11), Claire Brown (Form 11)
- Public Forum Debate (101 entries):
- 9th Top Speaker – Tori Menendez (Form 12)
- 16th Top Speaker – Nicholas Trujillo (Form 12)
- Octofinalists – Tori Menendez (Form 12) / JD Walls (Form 12)
- Double Octofinalists – Rylan Schendel (Form 12) / Nicholas Trujillo (Form 12)
- Informative Speaking (72 entries):
- Semifinalist – Jay Paliwal (Form 12)
- Quarterfinalist – Nitya Patel (Form 10)
- Original Oratory (108 entries):
- Quarterfinalists – Maria Benavides (Form 12), Margaret Esquinca-Moreno (Form 11), Leah Gomez (Form 11), Marguerite Morgan (Form 12), Abigail Zeller (Form 10)
- Program of Oral Interpretation (88 entries):
- Quarterfinalists – Ben Bankler (Form 10), Sophie Velez (Form 12)
- Foreign Extemp (109 entries):
- Quarterfinalist – Vivek Beeram (Form 11)
- Dramatic Interpretation (125 entries):
- Quarterfinalist – Jack Rykert (Form 9)
SMH Dance is offering a new Middle School Hip-Hop Dance class for the spring semester on Fridays from 4:45pm to 5:30pm taught by Boys Dance/Hip-Hop Teacher AJ Abrams. Beginners are welcome! In this class, students will have the opportunity to learn hip-hop moves and to ultimately present their work on and off campus next semester. The class is now open on the portal. To register, click here or call Dance Registration Coordinator Stephany Rayburn at (210) 483-9194 or email her at email@example.com. The first class will be held on Friday, January 17.
For questions, please contact Head of Dance Yosvani Cortellan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On December 6 and 7, Upper School instrumental students rehearsed and performed at their Region concerts. Upper School Strings students rehearsed Friday night and most of Saturday, before performing two concerts at Reagan High School. Leah Dooling (Form 10) played cello in the Philharmonic Orchestra, while Matthew Averyt (Form 10), Javier Hernandez (Form 12), Dylan Rybacki (Form 9), and Shane Rybacki (Form 12) performed with the Symphony Orchestra.
On Monday, Upper School band students rehearsed at La Vernia High School, before performing in their concert that night. Donovan Bowley (Form 10) and Joy Ding (Form 12) performed in the Concert Band, while Caleb Miller (Form 12) and Mehwish Rehman (Form 11) performed in the Symphonic Band.
Middle and Upper School Instrumental Teacher Trevor Docwra had this to say about the concerts: “Congratulations to all the Upper School students that performed in their Region ensembles last weekend. All of them did an incredible job!”
Check out the Fine Arts Instagram page. This account is a great way to get an up-close and personal look at the day-to-day excitement in these amazing, ever-buzzing programs. In addition, check out Saint Mary’s Hall main social media channels for more Fine Arts news
on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
The annual Saint Mary’s Hall vs. Alamo Heights men’s varsity basketball game did not disappoint this year.
You had a son playing against his father, a coach on the Alamo Heights team. Your community pride on the line. You had a comeback. You had a last second shot. You had school records falling. You had an overtime victory. Needless to say, this was an instant classic.
The game started at a furious pace with each team scoring more than 20 points in the first quarter, and the Barons down by 2. As the pace slowed, the Mules were able to play their style game, and control the tempo, putting the Barons at a 10-point deficit at the half.
The Barons, not willing to concede defeat, went toe-to-toe with the Mules in the third quarter matching points 14 a side. Heading into the 4th quarter, Head Coach and Athletic Director Barry Chamberlin rallied the troops, “The boys showed a ton of resiliency. I am so proud of this group.”
Still trailing by 10, the Barons picked up the tempo, and began to run. The Mules were unable to keep up with the pace of the recharged SMH ballers, as they made their final push. With 2.9 seconds left in the game, a missed shot lead to a rebound kicked out to senior Dane Huggins. With the confidence of a seasoned pro, Dane drains the three to send the game into overtime, completing the 10-point comeback in the 4th quarter for the Barons.
The women’s varsity basketball team took off north of the city for the Johnson High School tournament. The team started the tournament off slow against Ingram High School losing 42-30, but was able to recover after lunch, beating Canyon Lake High School 43-32. Senior Ana Lacau led the team with 25 points on the day.
Qualifying for the Semi-Finals, the Barons faced off against a tough Randolph Ro-Hawk team. Down by 1 at the half, the Barons pushed hard to mount a comeback, but ultimately fell short. The consolation game saw the Barons take on the Huffman Hargrave. Short some players from injury, the Barons fell again, claiming fourth place in the tournament. Senior Ana Lacau led the way with scoring again on the day.
With a quick turnaround, the women’s basketball team set their sights on the Holy Cross Knights, a traditionally strong program in the city. Barons, up by 8 at the half, held off a late charge from the Knights early in the second half, with the Barons ultimately winning 46-40 in a hard fought victory. Senior Ana Lacau led the team with 19 points, with fellow senior Catalina Barrera scoring a career high 15.
If victory over Alamo Heights during your senior year isn’t enough, senior Avery Eugster added something special to this big night. With 24 points scored, Avery is now the all-time leading scorer in school history for men’s varsity basketball (2,042), surpassing Rene Martinez (Class of 1993) total of 2,042. Congratulations to Avery on his hard work and new record.
The men's varsity soccer team kicked off district play with a 1-0 victory over St. Dominic Savio. After 80 minutes of play, the scored remained 0-0 as teams were forced into golden goal extra time.
Junior mid-fielder Taylor Wyatt won the match for the Barons a couple minutes into the second period of extra time with a finish off the bounce and over Savio’s goalkeeper. Barons district record moves to 1-0.
Busy Week for Middle School Athletics
The past week brought around plenty of sporting competition for the Middle School. See the scores from the matchups below.
- Girls’ Soccer (2-2)
- SMH 0 – Cornerstone 2
- SMH 9 – Great Hearts Monte Vista 9-2 (6 Goals from Form 7 Greer Kemmet)
- Boys’ Soccer (0-3-2)
- SMH 0 – St. Matthew’s 1
- Form 6 Girls’ Basketball
- SMH 30 – Concordia Lutheran 4
- Girls’ A Basketball
- SMH 24 – Keystone 17
- Boys’ B Basketball
- SMH 35 – Keystone 14
- Boys’ A Basketball
- SMH 22 – St. George 57
- SMH 31 – TMI 29
- SMH 47 – Keystone 11
The Athletics Department took the time to honor all of the Fall Athletes for their contributions to the school and athletics program. See the listing of award recipients below.
- Varsity Cross Country - Women
- MVP - Julia Garcia
- Coaches Award - Jillian Spicer
- Newcomer - Camila Navas-Hahn
- Varsity Cross Country - Men
- MVP - Jonathan Largoza
- Coaches Award - Weston Bohne
- Newcomer - Patrick Lang
- Varsity Volleyball
- MVP - Zoe Ramon
- Coaches Award - Remy White
- MIP - Miley Hamilton
- 1st Team All District - Zoe Ramon
- 2nd Team All District - Abby Lavender
- 2nd Team All District - Remy White
- Varsity Field Hockey
- MVP - Mia Sabom
- MIP - Nicole Mays
- Coaches Award - Lily Miggins
- Academic All State, TAPPS All State - Mia Sabom
- TAPPS All State - Lucia Canseco
- MVP - Lainie Hoalst
- Newcomer - Ainsley Hunter
Barons women’s varsity soccer kicks off district play with a big 3-2 victory over Incarnate Word Academy. Sophomore Hunter Hoelscher, junior Whitney McCormick, and sophomore Trianne Cooper each scored a goal, with senior goalie Isabella Sanchez recording five saves in the victory.
The women’s soccer team faced off with St. Dominic Savio Tuesday Night, for their second district contest. The Barons were in complete control of the match from the get-go, striking the posts on multiple times, with a barrage of shots. Senior Caroline Largoza and sophomore Hunter Hoelscher (2) were able to find the back of the net, propelling the Barons to a 3-2 victory, moving their district record to 2-0.
SMH had two swimmers who placed highly in the 2019 South Zone TISCA Swimming and Diving Championship. Sophomore Ethan Doehler placed 3rd in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, while winning the 50 Butterfly and 200 Butterfly. Fellow Sophomore Kirsten Schlortt 8th in the 200 Butterfly while winning the 200 Freestyle and 200 Backstroke. Their combination of points was enough to place SMH in 17th as a team.
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It seems like yesterday that I announced my intention to retire, only to be offered the chance to cover All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin’s deployment, allowing me the joy of serving as your All-School Chaplain for this semester. There truly is little better in life than starting one’s Monday mornings calling out, “This is the day that the Lord has made,” and to be answered by hundreds of Lower School voices shouting, “Let us Rejoice and Be Glad in it.” Add to that the serious questions of Middle School students pondering the mysteries of life, the push and pull as Upper School students consider spiritual issues, and the community of outstanding colleagues and student families who do so much to make our Chapel program successful and you’ll understand why I have felt very blessed indeed to have had this opportunity.
As the year draws to an end, so now must my physical presence on campus. I will still support the divisions to ensure the handful of Chapels we have in 2020 before Rev. Gunnin’s return are covered with appropriate content and speakers, but at a distance. I cannot thank the SMH community more for your love, friendship, and support. It has truly been a privilege to serve with you in this great endeavor of developing young people for success in college and fulfillment in life. May God grant you and your family peace and hope this holiday season and may you be blessed with all good things in the New Year.
As part of the effort to have faculty and staff be regular contributors to the Chapel program, Wellness Director Dr. Sandra Lopez Morales led a discussion about Advent for Lower School students on December 9. As they learned about the traditions associated with this special time in the Christian liturgical year, students were interested to know more about the Advent Wreath. Form 5 students Bailey Swaney and Jack Schwab explained the meaning of the purple and pink candles, which are lit one at a time over the four weeks preceding Christmas. Dr. Lopez Morales challenged students to reflect on the themes of Advent - hope, love, joy, and peace, considering where they may give and receive them this Christmas.
The Lower School Lessons and Carols service on December 16 was a joyous occasion marked by excellent music and the telling of an ancient story at the heart of the Christian tradition, the birth of Jesus.
Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas, supported by Form 5 students Abbey Azar, Sam Smiley, Liam Cox, Reese Arrington, Colston Book, and Eve Cavazos, told the story through passages from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine led an enthusiastic audience in a program of traditional songs. Lower School Spanish Teacher Zarela Rios and her students sang "Al Mundo Paz." Students were also surprised and delighted to hear a beautiful rendition of “Away in a Manger” by guest artist, Audrey Gaytan, accompanied by her father, Guitar Teacher George Gaytan on guitar.
On December 9, Form 11 student and Bishops Chapel Society member, Ryan Tanner, opened Chapel with the traditional responsive from Psalm 118, verse 24. She then introduced the special guest, Rev. Ramiro Lopez, Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church and School. Rev. Lopez, affectionately known as Father Ram to students, shared his reflections on Advent. Students and faculty particularly enjoyed his beautiful poem reflecting the anticipation and mystery of this special time in the liturgical cycle of the Christian church. His reminder that all need time to be still and draw breath in order to ponder deeper things is worth consideration in this busy holiday season.
The Lessons and Carols service on December 16 was a joyous occasion marked by excellent music and the telling of an ancient story at the heart of the Christian tradition, the birth of Jesus.
Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas (ChapSu), supported by Bishops Chapel Society Form 12 students Molly Byrd, Catalina Barrera, Felicia Early, and Form 11 students Sarah Hernandez, Annabelle Huang, Ryan Tanner, and Leah Gomez told the story through passages from the Book of Isaiah and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
In her reflection, ChapSu shared that the readings caused her to ponder the humility of God, who came, as the ancient texts tell us “to pitch his tent among us.” She mused that Mary was called to God’s great task of incarnation, perhaps not because she had special skills for the job, but because she simply said yes when God called. Quoting Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, she noted that “Christmas is not an event within history, but is rather the invasion of time by eternity.” Thus, Chaplain Susan noted, Jesus continues to arrive in lives today, waiting for us to answer yes to a relationship with God or a call upon our lives.
Music Director and Assistant Band Director Jaime Ramirez, Guitar Teacher George Gaytan, Form 9 student Alex Riebe and Form 11 Students Clark Webb and Callie Tibbetts joined forces to deliver carols, old and new, with some bringing the audience to wipe away a tear and others getting everyone on their feet to sing out a joyous message of love, hope, and peace.
On December 16, SMH also offered an ecumenical alternative Chapel. Middle School English Teacher Kevin Pleshko, supported by Upper School Social Studies Teacher Paul Gage and Associate Head of Admission & Enrollment Management Mark Remington, led an engaging discussion about giving and receiving. Using a story about how a family responded to their young daughter’s realization about the true nature of Santa Claus, students were asked to reflect upon how giving and receiving impacts us as well as those around us, even people we don’t directly know.
On December 9, Rev. Ramiro Lopez, Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church and School, shared his reflections on Advent with students. Students and faculty particularly enjoyed his beautiful poem reflecting the anticipation and mystery of this special time in the liturgical cycle of the Christian church. His reminder that we all need time to be still and draw breath in order to ponder deeper things is worth consideration in this busy holiday season.
Our Lessons and Carols service on December 16 was a joyous occasion marked by excellent music and the telling of an ancient story at the heart of the Christian tradition, the birth of Jesus.
Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas, supported Form 6 students Max Farber and Matthew Dubois, with Form 8 students Gabriela Afsous, Bardia Mizani, Cole Simpson, Isabella See, Ali Rose Davis, Paulina Esquinca-Moreno, Divya Vasan, Ximena Mora, and Abby Winter told the story through passages from the Book of Isaiah and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In her reflection, Chaplain Susan shared that the readings caused her to ponder the humility of God, who came, as the ancient texts tell us “to pitch his tent among us.” She mused that Mary was called to God’s great task of incarnation, perhaps not because she had special skills for the job, but because she simply said yes when God called. Quoting Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, she noted that “Christmas is not an event within history, but is rather the invasion of time by eternity.” Thus, Chaplain Susan noted, Jesus continues to arrive in our lives today, waiting for us to answer yes to a relationship with God or a call upon our lives.
Music Director Jaime Ramirez, Guitar Teacher George Gaytan, Form 9 student Alex Riebe and Form 11 Students Clark Webb and Callie Tibbetts joined forces to deliver carols, old and new, with some bringing the audience to wipe away a tear and others getting everyone on their feet to sing out a joyous message of love, hope, and peace.
On December 16, SMH also offered an ecumenical alternative Chapel. Middle School Mathematics Teacher Stephen Hudson and Head of Middle School Sam Hamilton led an engaging discussion about hope – where it comes from, how it develops, how one nurtures it – that encouraged students to identify their personal sources of hope and reflect on the role of hope in their lives.
All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin sends his greetings from Southwest Asia. Individuals wishing to send him holiday greetings can reach him at his SMH email address, email@example.com, or at the postal address below:
- Cameron Gunnin (please no titles or rank, just his name)
- 386 AEW/HC
- Unit 61401
- APO, AE 09855
Please note that Lower School Chapels for the new year are still in development, but will occur on the dates below. Topics for Middle and Upper School are given by date.
- January 13: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day reflections for all three divisions
- January 27: A Talk on Positivity by Form 11 student Jennings Stuart in Upper/Middle School Chapels
- February 3: Bishops Chapel Society presentation in Upper School Chapel; Middle School topic TBD.
- February 10: Upper School English Teacher Megan Soukup will share her thoughts on life as a spiritual journey in Upper/Middle School Chapels.
- February 24: Lower School Chapel only, led by All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin
- February 26: Upper School/Middle School Ash Wednesday Chapels with All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin. As is our tradition, ashes will be offered at a variety of times and locations throughout the day. Watch Chapel Corner for details.
Healthy at the Hall
The American Psychological Association defines stress as any “uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical physiological and behavioral changes.” They also note that it is “often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down.” Stress does not discriminate and can adversely impact “people of all ages, genders, and circumstances and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues.” They go on to note that “some stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines.” In contrast, “an extreme amount of stress can have health consequences and adversely affect the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central nervous systems.”
The Stress Response
Harvard Health Publishing describes how stressful situations can “trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes.” They describe how these physiological changes include: racing heartrate, increased respiration, muscle tension, and sweating. This is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight response.” Humans inherited these qualities from ancestors who survived because these physiological changes facilitated their abilities to escape life-threatening situations. These days, the stress response often occurs in non-life-threatening situations such as prior to exams, performances, or even the holidays. For a more detailed explanation of the physiology of the stress response, please review the article below from Harvard Medical School.
Ways to Calm Your Mind
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, describe the importance of “cultivating a calm state of mind” to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming and even mitigate the effects of chronic stress.
Simply breathing helps regulate emotions. In stressful situations, individuals can focus on their breathing to achieve a more calming state of mind. With calm and measured breathing, an individual can also slow their own heart rate and blood pressure. Try to simply breathe in for a count of four, hold and then breathe out for a count of six or eight.
Perfectionism is linked to self-criticism. The Berkeley researchers above describe how chronically criticizing oneself actually depletes resilience. They describe how “self-compassion is the ability to be mindful of your emotions – aware of the emotions that are going on inside whenever you fail at something.” It also involves “understanding that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s part of being human.”
The peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs includes (in order) food/water, shelter, and LOVE. We must connect with others in a genuine, authentic, and unconditional way. Feeling accepted and loved by connecting with the people who matter the most to you is of critical importance as a way to mitigate stress. That can include taking study breaks with friends to breathe, encourage each other, or just have fun!
Compassion for Others
When one helps others, they often feel better. There are so many opportunities to help others during the holiday season. Taking a break from the stresses of one's own life to assist others can offer a sense of perspective and calm while also improving the conditions of someone else’s life. Think … Have I Filled a Bucket Today?
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