NFTH: February 24, 2020
- From the Head of School
- 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,
Fine Arts Director and Teacher Win Prestigious Awards
Saint Mary’s Hall is pleased to share that Director of Fine Arts Bethany Bohall has been named Central Texas National Speech and Debate Administrator of the Year. Saint Mary’s Hall is known near and far for our Fine Arts Program, and that is because we have tremendously talented student-artists, supremely gifted arts educators, but also in great part because of Ms. Bohall’s expert leadership of the arts at Saint Mary’s Hall. A highly capable, dynamic, and beloved administrator, Ms. Bohall is known among her department members, parents, and students as being approachable, for her organization, her collaborative spirit, and her notable expertise with all the arts … performing, visual, and media.
I invite you to read Upper School Debate Teacher Colin Malinak’s nomination letter to get a sense of the high regard that we all feel for Ms. Bohall. Of this award, Ms. Bohall shared, “I am humbled and honored by Mr. Malinak’s words; however, the accomplishments listed here belong to Mr. Malinak, Mr. Muller, and Mrs. Warnecke, and their students. They are the ones doing the hard, great work in the classroom and at tournaments. These educators have nurtured a community of passionate, smart, and articulate speakers and actors. Their students are developing real life skills that will serve them in whatever professions they choose in the future. I am also keenly aware that it is also because of the administration’s ongoing support and commitment to the activity of speech and debate, the faculty’s great teaching, and our talented students’ dedication, that we have one of the best Middle and Upper School Speech & Debate teams in the country.”
Saint Mary’s Hall is also pleased that Upper School Speech & Drama Teacher Joe Muller, was just named the National Speech and Debate Association's Central Texas District Coach of the Year. I invite you to read Upper School Debate Teacher Colin Malinak’s nomination letter of Mr. Muller’s award. Ms. Bohall states of this honor: “The fact that Mr. Muller won this award immediately prior to his team receiving the Speech Sweepstakes Award at the District Tournament is a testament to why he is so deserving of this award. Students who participate on the SMH Upper School Speech Team consistently win top recognition regionally, state-wide, and across the nation. His students are taught acting techniques and speaking skills that make them outstanding young performing artists, with some even going into speech or theater programs in college. However, what is truly special about Mr. Muller’s legacy, beyond his students’ learning and success, is the bonding that happens between team members, the heart and compassion Speech & Drama students exemplify, and the young actors’ home that he has created during musical rehearsals, in classes, during coaching sessions, and on the road at tournaments. Mr. Muller’s current and former students, as well as the Theater, Speech, and Debate Program, will forever be impacted by what Joe Muller has developed during his time at SMH.”
Mr. Malinak is perhaps the most deserving of our gratitude. He not only took the time to recognize Ms. Bohall and Mr. Muller for these awards, but he did so in the midst of of hosting the tournament as district chair and while preparing his own students for competition. Thank you, Mr. Malinak, for presenting these two special nominations during a very busy time of your competitive season.
Congratulations to Ms. Bohall and Mr. Muller!
Viva the Arts at Saint Mary’s Hall,
Head of School
The son of an SMH alumna was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Since then, he has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy; however, he needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.
The family has been unsuccessful at finding a match on the Bone Marrow Donor database. They are asking that members of the SMH community come forward and get tested to be a match. The process of entering the database is simple, and just requires the swabbing of the cheek.
The Donor Drive will take place on Sunday, March 1 from 12pm – 5pm at Trinity University. View a map of Trinity’s campus. The drive will be in the Coates Student Center, with parking across the street in the Alamo Stadium parking lot. It is easy access off 281 if you exit Hildebrand either from the north or south.
This is a life-threatening situation, and it is critical the family find a bone marrow transplant. Donating your bone marrow could save his life and that of others in the same situation. Please help! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
We heard you!
Based on feedback and interest in a transportation service, we are now able to offer increased convenience and accessibility. Saint Mary’s Hall is excited to partner with our families to provide a student transportation service to certain areas.
- Each route offers one morning bus.
- Each route offers two afternoon buses.
- Our late afternoon bus is a perfect option for students participating in extracurricular activities.
Please contact the Associate Head of Admission and Enrollment Management Mark Remington at (210) 483-9140 or email@example.com for more details and to see if we will be offering the transportation in your area.
Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe’s Form 10 AP World History and Global Studies III-IV students were studying events leading to the rise of Nazi Germany during the week of February 10-14.
The lesson focused on the critical thinking skills of historical causation and comparison that would help orient her students to humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina’s visit to Upper School students on February 14. Humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, who is the subject of the 2004 film, Hotel Rwanda, hid and protected 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees from the Interahamwe militia during the Rwandan genocide.
Students studied key events leading to the start of a genocide under the Nazis and in Rwanda to see if they could determine a pattern that would enable a genocide to occur. One key event that was common to Nazi Germany and Rwanda was the justification of the consolidation of power in the hands of one or a very few people. Next, students used primary documents to compare the Nuremberg Laws from the 1930s and the Hutu “10 Commandments” from the 1990s. The similarities between the formal laws of Nazi Germany and the informal Hutu “10 Commandments” far outweighed the differences despite more than a half century of time having passed and geographically being a continent away from one another. Class discussion allowed students to tie in their knowledge of previously studied philosophies such as Social Darwinism and key events such as the “Scramble for Africa” to help explain the development of a century of genocide. SMH is so grateful to Mr. Rusesabagina for speaking to the Upper School and allowing our students and faculty the opportunity to hear firsthand about one person who made the decision to make a difference!
Griffin Rubin (Class of 2013) stayed for 3 1/2 hours on the morning of February 14 to talk to Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jane Mannock’s AP U.S. Government students about interning for Congressional committees in Washington D.C., which he has done twice, and about law school and politics in general. SMH is blessed to have such successful alumni, but also because they remember how they got where they are and they care to give back.
The 28th Annual Saint Mary’s Hall Issues Day will take place Thursday, February 27. This is an annual Saint Mary’s Hall tradition that allows the Junior Class to select and conduct an in-depth discussion of an intellectual and timely topic of our day. This year the Junior Class has chosen the subject of abortion with its three essential questions: 1) Why should we make the choice? 2) Who should make the choice? 3) What does the future hold?
Issues Day Speaker Team committee members include select members of the Junior Class who have been engaged in weekly early morning meetings to choose the delegates who will be participating on this year’s event panel. They have been guided carefully by the Issues Day faculty leadership that include Director for Instructional Technology & Libraries Barb Bertoldo, Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe, Middle/Upper School Assistant Librarian Gerri Walls, Upper/Middle School Library Assistant Allyson Allen, Head of Upper School Brent Spicer, and Assistant Head of Upper School Jeff Hebert.
Head of School Jonathan Eades has stated that “to encourage such civil discourse on this difficult question shows respect for our students’ intellect and maturity while highlighting our faculty’s professionalism and abilities in working with our students to help them develop their own beliefs and opinions regarding difficult topics.”
As in the past, this year’s topic is not one which yields an easy answer or simple consensus. However, our students’ active participation will help them view opposing opinions as they solidify their own thoughts and beliefs. We are encouraging our Upper School students to examine the topic with openness and respect for self and others.
Issues Day Schedule
Thursday, February 27
- 8:45am Opening remarks & introduction
- 8:55am Moderator intro of delegates
- 9am Delegate presentations
- 10:30am Break
- 10:40am Point & counterpoint
- 11:15am Student participation
- 12pm Closing remarks
- 12:30pm Dismissal
The Middle School Community Service Council (CSC) teamed up with the Middle School National Junior Honor Society (NJSH) for a special new project. Form 8 students wrote personalized cards to offer encouragement to seniors as they are awaiting college acceptances and making final decisions. The cards were designed with the help of the NJHS officers, and Form 8 students came during their study hall, office hours, or club time to write personalized notes to every senior. Form 6 and Form 7 CSC members also assembled goody bags. Perhaps a new Saint Mary's Hall tradition has been born, and the rising Form 9 class will continue to support the graduating seniors in years to come.
Seniors received their cards during the February Senior Luncheon on February 18. The pictures above tell the story!
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.
Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe visited Form 4 classes on February 17, after students had just completed a unit on China. Students had wonderful questions and were even able to greet Empress Wu on her birthday with a Chinese phrase! Read more about her visit to Form 4 in the Lower School section of this News From the Hall.
Over the February 7 weekend, several students in Junior State of America (JSA) went to Washington D.C. for Winter Congress. Ahead of time, they wrote bills and then, with students from around the country (and even the U.S. territories), they argued, amended, killed, and passed bills in their House and Senate rooms. With some free time on Friday, students from SMH even got to tour the Supreme Court.
This week’s faculty spotlight is on Upper School Math Teacher Jennifer Jacobson.
Jennifer shared that Tuscaloosa, Alabama feels most like home to her, but as a child of a military family, she has lived several places. Her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Math, came from the University of Alabama, where she also earned a minor in Chemistry. Jennifer later earned a Master of Science in Math from Georgia Tech University, and since then has completed an Education Specialist Degree in Education from the University of West Florida. Currently, she is working on Chapter 3 (of 5) in her doctoral dissertation, also through the University of West Florida.
What her colleagues outside her department might not know about her is that she knows how to play two different instruments (piano and alto saxophone), is an experienced seamstress, and loves to read “anything, but I don’t really like romance novels.” Jennifer shared that her favorite artist is Gustav Klimt, and in particular she loves the 1908 painting titled, The Kiss (pictured above). Her favorite song is “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and her favorite movie is The Princess Bride. If Jennifer could have any other career, she would design and construct formal wear. What an accomplished, multi-talented professional we have in Jennifer!
In Assembly on February 17, members of the National English Honor Society shared another round of “Voices of Gratitude” as part of their unofficial mission to spread goodness and positivity throughout the Upper School student body. Read the messages that were shared (from faculty and students alike) in the Healthy at the Hall section of this issue of News From the Hall.
Wednesday, February 26 will be a No Homework Night.
On February 14, the Community Service Council (CSC) hosted a Valentine’s Day Pizza Party. Students had an opportunity to pre-order either a whole pizza or individual slices and pick up their orders on their way into lunch. In addition, CSC offered a Valentine’s Day themed Out-of-Uniform Day opportunity for a $3 donation. Thanks to all who participated in this fun and festive day!
The Middle School Community Service Council (CSC) teamed up with the Middle School National Junior Honor Society (NJSH) for a special new project. Form 8 students wrote personalized cards to offer encouragement to seniors as they are awaiting college acceptances and making final decisions. The cards were designed with the help of the NJHS officers, and Form 8 students came during study hall, office hours, or club time to write personalized notes to every senior. Form 6 and Form 7 CSC members also assembled goody bags. Perhaps a new Saint Mary's Hall tradition has been born, and the graduating Form 8 class will continue to support the graduating seniors in years to come!
The Middle School students and faculty “saddled up” and got into the rodeo spirit on February 13. Yee-haw!
The Athletics Department took the time to honor all of the Winter Athletes for their contributions to the school and athletics program. View the Athletics section of this News From the Hall to view photos and see the listing of award recipients.
As part of SMH’s commitment to substance abuse prevention FCD Prevention Specialist Eduardo Torres was on campus for five days to conduct learning sessions with students and speak with parents regarding the latest findings regarding substance use and effective prevention. FCD (https://fcd.org) has a long tradition of student education, prevention, and treatment efforts. Spending a full day with Form 8 students and four days with Form 7 students, Mr. Torres provided research driven information and opportunities for open discussion. Students had the opportunity to meet in small groups in their science and social study classes to discuss this important topic and dispel myths regarding vaping, marijuana, and alcohol use. These lessons focused on healthy decision making and risk reduction. In the parent coffee, Mr. Torres answered parent questions regarding their concerns about substance use and how best to support their children’s healthy decision-making and reduce risky behavior. This event was taped and is available to view via SMH's Livestream Channel (https://livestream.com/saintmaryshall).
Congratulations to Athena Sorenson (Form 7) who recently competed in the YMCA indoor Mini Reverse Triathlon and was awarded the overall winner in the Women’s division. Athena was the only youth participating in the event that had 38 participants with half of them age 18 years or older. Athena’s parents credit her sheer will and determination after the serious injury she sustained last year and want to thank all of the amazing teachers, staff, and students at SMH for their words of encouragement. Athena is excited for track and field season and cannot wait for warmer weather to bring her an opportunity to compete outside. Read more in the Athletics section of this News From the Hall.
Young Barons in Community (YBIC) offered an opportunity for students, parents, and teachers in Forms 3-5 to participate in a service project to make paracord survival bracelets and notes to support the troops.
These bracelets provide 7.5 feet of cord that can hold up to 550 lbs. of weight and can be used for different emergency needs like:
- Secure nets to trees or vehicles
- Build a shelter
- Create a harness to extract an injured person from a bad location
- Make a sling to support an injured arm
- For fishing, sewing, and many other ways
If you want to try this at home or if you are interested in learning about other ways to support our troops please visit the Operation Gratitude web page for some amazing ideas.
Questions? Please contact us at YBIC.SMH@gmail.com
Thank you so much to all the parent volunteers who made Lower School Valentine parties so fun. The variety of games, fun, food, and decorations were fabulous. Enjoy a quick recap of the frivolities in the photos above.
Twinkle the Tooth Fairy visited SMH Montessori and Kindergarten students to emphasize the importance of good dental hygiene. It is always fun to have the tooth fairy visit, and this one even sang about the best way to brush teeth.
Happy Birthday to you, Empress Wu! Did anyone see a Chinese empress wandering through the Lower School on February 18? It was Empress Wu’s birthday (born February 17, 624 C.E.) and she came to discuss Ancient China with the Form 4 scholars. They are studying Ancient China, and were thrilled to talk about her life, Buddhism, jade, silk, and the Silk Road. Form 4 Teacher Duzie Queen said, “Form 4 students wait for her to knock on the social studies door every year on her birthday.” (They did notice that she looks remarkably like an Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe, who shares a birthday with the Empress!) What will happen next in Saint Mary’s Hall Lower School?
Form 2 students celebrated Western Day in true cowboy style by making delicious homemade chili. Cooperative learning turned into cooperative cooking, which turned into a delicious dish! Each student brought an ingredient and the entire class worked to perfect the recipe. As the chili simmered in crockpots all day, the hallway filled with the mouth-watering scent of the best chili ever. Don’t believe it? Just ask a Form 2 student. Zain Beg, Reagan Marx, and Elias Rodriguez enjoyed their chili!
It’s never too early to start practicing basketball skills. Saint Mary’s Hall Kindergarten students have been doing just that during Lower School PE classes. They have practiced dribbling, passing the ball, and shooting hoops. More importantly, they have learned good sportsmanship and team playing. These students will be ready to begin playing basketball next year in Form 1 as members of SMH sports teams. Click here to see a video.
The Texas school children have spoken! The winners of the Texas Bluebonnet awards for the year 2019-2020 are as follows:
- 1st Place: El Chupacabras, by Adam Rubin and Crash McCreery
- 2nd Place: The Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell
- 3rd Place: The Boo-Boos that Changed the World, by Barry Wittenstein
Many thanks to all of Lower School parents who encouraged their children to read and support the Texas Bluebonnet books. The Lower School Library now has all of the Bluebonnet nominated books for the year 2020-2021 for the students’ reading pleasure.
Tobin Fine Arts School
Spring is a busy time for the arts at Saint Mary’s Hall. We are heading into the time where we have multiple fine arts events every week, showcasing our students from Montessori through Form 12 in the visual, media, and performing arts. Below you will see what is in store for the next week. If you are not already following the Fine Arts Instagram page, please be sure to look us up to enjoy all the behind the scenes action that brings our students’ art shows to life.
We also invite you to enjoy the Saint Mary’s Hall Livestream channel, where many of our performances are available to share and enjoy.
We look forward to seeing you on campus for one of our exciting spring events.
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
Head of Dance Yosvani Cortellan, Ballet Teacher Yanaylet Lopez, and Dance Registration Coordinator/Modern Teacher Stephany Rayburn performed at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts last weekend in Ballet San Antonio’s production of Romeo and Juliet! Mr. Cortellan and Mrs. Lopez played Lord and Lady Capulet and Ms. Rayburn performed the role of Juliet’s Nurse. Some of the artists performing with the faculty members will be performing in SMH’s April’s production of Don Quixote! Stay tuned to News From the Hall for more details!
You are invited to come hear students from the Middle School vocal and instrumental music program this week! The Middle School Music Showcase features performances by the Middle School Beginning and Concert Bands, Middle School Strings Ensemble, and the Middle School Chorus Club. The performance will be on Thursday, February 27 at 6pm in the Remmert Theater. The concert is free and open the public.
Fashion designer Gina Tarantino visited the Upper School Sculpture & Design classes on February 19. Ms. Tarantino shared fabric construction and design techniques with the students, who are working on creating wearable art. Pieces that the students create will be exhibited in April’s One Big Show exhibition.
Friday is the big day when SMH’s tiniest of dancers take stage! The Montessori-Kindergarten Dance Recital will be held on Friday, February 28 at 1pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater Chapel. The theme this year is Pinocchio. In addition to our Montessori and Kindergarten dancers, dancers from Lower, Middle, and Upper School will be featured for a “glimpse up the hill!” The performance is free and open to the public.
The Saint Mary’s Hall Children’s Choir and Orff Ensemble take the stage on Tuesday, March 3 at 8am and 6pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel with the groovy theme of the “The Beatles!” The 8am performance is for students, with parents and family members invited to take any additional open seats. The 6pm performance is ticketed. For information and tickets, visit the Fine Arts box office online.
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 Barons men’s varsity basketball team is a TAPPS 2020 Area Champion.
The Saint Mary’s Hall Barons defeated the Village School from Houston by a score of 75-60 in the TAPPS 6A Area round playoff matchup. This brings the Barons overall record to 27-8 on the season. Senior Avery Eugster paced the Barons with 37 points and 12 rebounds. The Barons advanced to the Regional Final against Tomball Concordia in College Station on February 22.
Congratulations are in order for the women’s Baron golf team as they won their first event of the 2020 Spring Season at Fort Sam Houston Golf Club. On a less than pleasant Tuesday morning, the shorthanded squad led by sophomore Emily Harris, persevered through the cold and wet conditions to shoot a team 338. This team total was good enough to top the next best team by 20 shots. Individual honors go to Emily and freshman Julia Garcia as they took 1st and 2nd place with rounds of 76 and 79, respectively. Junior Annika Blomster and sophomore Lauren Strauch rounded out the team of four ladies responsible for the first win of the season. Great start women’s Barons golf!
The women’s Baron golf team at SMH are off to a hot start in 2020! Led by sophomore Emily Harris who picked up her second straight individual tournament title (1-under par 70), the Barons took 3rd place as a team overall shooting 358 at the Republic Golf Club in their second event of the spring. Special mention is in order for junior Annika Blomster for firing a personal best 85 at this week’s event. Her round was good enough for second amongst the Barons, followed by sophomores Lauren Strauch and Georgia Kemmett. The women have a week off before teeing it up at Fair Oaks Ranch for their next event.
The next letter jacket fittings will be Tuesday, March 17 at 3:15pm in the Team Room. Please stop by the athletic offices today and pick up a jacket packet. Packets are due the day of the fitting.
Payments may be made by check or credit card the day of the fitting or online within five days of the fitting.
The baseball teams kicked off their season with two annual events that focus on the two most important parts of their program, family, and service. The team first had their annual “First Pitch” brunch, which brings the entire program, Middle and Upper School, together to talk about the year to come and expectations for the season. “This is a great way to help the players understand they are a part of something bigger, from Form 6 to graduation,” said Assistant Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach Josh Baker.
The following Saturday, the team participated in its annual service project, building bunk beds with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) project. SHP believes that no kid should sleep on the floor. That a bed is a basic need for the proper physical, emotional, and mental support that a child needs.
“Our annual service project has become one of our favorite events of the year,” said Coach Baker, “as we aim to grow servant leaders. Being a small part of such a great organization like SHP was a great opportunity for our players and families.”
How Effective Sports Coaches Help Students Feel Understood at School
By Linda Flanagan, Mind/Shift (from January 28, 2019)
Aly Carter graduated from high school 13 years ago, and what she remembers most distinctly about those years were her experiences on the playing fields. She ran cross-country and track, played soccer, and threw herself into lacrosse, helping her school team make it to the state final in 2005. She barely remembers her high school teachers, as her classes and teachers rotated, preventing her from passing much time with any particular one. However, she spent four years with several coaches and remains connected to some of them.
Read the article, How Effective Sports Coaches Help Students Feel Understood at School.
Men’s varsity tennis kicked off district play with a big 5-4 victory over the Central Catholic Buttons. The doubles teams of senior Yash Pamar and junior Quinton Battah, and juniors Marcel Chavez and Michael Karkar, won two matches each, with the doubles team of junior Fletcher Spear and sophomore William Herff, winning one match. Senior John Bourland fell in a close match to last year’s State Singles Champion.
At the end of January, Form 7 Barons athlete Athena Sorenson took 1st place in the Mini Reverse Triahlon at Lifetime Fitness (11-16 Age group). This is her first competition since suffering a traumatic head injury in late 2018.
In August 2018, Athena sustained a concussion on a bike ride with a friend, which was not initially diagnosed as a concussion. Two weeks later after attending another Sprint Tri and Cross Country Meet, she started experiencing symptoms. In December of 2018, an Opthomoogist admitted her for cerebral swelling, and was diagnosed with a chronic subdural hematoma. She was transferred to a hospital and underwent a burr hole brain surgery. Athena recovered quickly and after physical therapy, she slowly returned to training and swimming with her coaches.
According to the Mays YMCA Facebook post regarding Athena’s success, she is a big advocate for exercise and wants to bring awareness to the increasing obesity rate in San Antonio's youth. "No matter what happens, you have the choice to sit down or get up and move to keep healthy."
Athletics Honors Its Winter Sports Athletes
The Athletics Department took the time to honor all of the Winter athletes for their contributions to the school and athletics program. See the listing of award recipients below.
- Middle School 'A' Girls Basketball
- MVP Emily Ton (Form 7)
- Barons Award Abby Winter (Form 8)
- Defensive MVP Ana Richards (Form 8)
- Middle School 'B' Girls Basketball
- MVP Bianca Rodriguez (Form 6)
- Most Improved Mazreen Sanjana (Form 6)
- Defensive MVP Grace Beauchamp (Form F6)
- Middle School Form 6 Boys Basketball
- Offensive MVP Jahan Sayeed (Form F6)
- Defensive MVP Luke Garcia (Form 6)
- Most Improved Sam Miller (Form 6)
- Middle School 'A' Boys Basketball
- MVP Cade Barry (Form 8)
- Defensive MVP Oliver Eades (Form F8)
- Coaches Award Henry Viccellio (Form F8)
- Middle School 'B' Boys Basketball
- MVP Peyton Soltis (Form 7)
- Most Improved George Braden (Form 7)
- Coaches Award Adam Berg (Form 7)
- Middle School Girls Soccer
- MVP Holland Hoelscher (Form 6)
- MVP Greer Kemmett (Form 7)
- MVP Izzy See (Form 8)
- Coaches Award Lindsey Do (Form 6)
- Coaches Award Sophia Nelson (Form 7)
- Coaches Award Paulina Esquinca-Moreno (Form 8)
- Middle School Boys Soccer
- Offensive MVP Marco Watson (Form 6)
- Defenseive MVP Landon Stowers (Form 7)
- Coaches Award Justus Kleberg (Form 7)
Can't make it to the game? Tune in from home or while on the go via any device to watch SMH sports events live as they unfold. You can also relive the glory again and again, as all events are archived for future access. When you follow us on Livestream, you'll get updates anytime we add or update an athletic event.
It's easy! Join Livestream today:
1. Go to Livestream.com/smhathletics
2. Click the black "Follow" button on our page.
3. Create an account using your email or connect with Facebook.
4. Sit back and enjoy the game!
There were no Chapels on February 17 due to the President’s Day holiday.
We are excited to have All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin back home from his military service with the U.S. Air Force Reserves in the Middle East. We look forward to hearing about his experiences and thank God for his safe return. Rev. Gunnin will be leading Chapels this week as outlined below.
- February 24: There was a Lower School Chapel only.
- February 26: Upper and Middle School will have Ash Wednesday Chapels. SMH will also offer alternative Chapels for those that do not observe this Christian tradition. Please see the Ash Wednesday section below for more details.
Saint Mary's Hall offers Chapel services for Christian-based traditions and ceremonies like Ash Wednesday in light of its strong historical ties to the Christian faith as stated in our Statement of Religious Expression. This year's schedule, dress code, and other important details for each division are below.
Ashes will be offered for all Lower School (Montessori - Form 5) students and families on Ash Wednesday, February 26 in the Eleanor Duncan Sarratt Memorial Library as follows:
- 7:30am - 7:50am
- 3:15pm - 4pm
Please note: Students must be with a parent so that we know that the child may receive ashes. Also, Lower School students will wear their normal uniform on Ash Wednesday, and will wear their dress uniform as usual on Monday, February 24.
Middle and Upper School
Ashes will be offered for Middle and Upper School students and families during Chapel on Ash Wednesday, February 26 in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel as follows:
- Upper School: 11:30am - 12:05pm
- Middle School: 12:10pm - 12:45pm
Please note: All Middle and Upper School students will wear their dress uniform on Ash Wednesday, February 26. Also, Middle and Upper School students will wear their normal uniform on Monday, February 24.
Middle and Upper School students whose families are of a faith other than Christianity, or who do not practice a particular faith, are welcome to attend the service to observe this important Christian tradition. They will not be expected to participate in receiving ashes.
Middle and Upper School students from families who do not wish for their student to attend this service can attend an alternate Chapel on Ash Wednesday and will still need to wear their dress uniform. We ask that a parent/guardian notify the relevant division office if you are sending your student to the alternative Chapel. Both alternative Chapels will include reflection on values and/or character related topics.
Healthy at the Hall
Dear SMH Community,
We are rapidly approaching Spring Break and I cannot believe how quickly the school year has passed. I wanted to pause and give a few updates. You may recall that two of the biggest wellness initiatives at Saint Mary’s Hall this school year are the Individual Wellness Plans (IWPs) and the High Achieving Schools Survey (HASS).
Head of School Jonathan Eades did a fantastic job helping the Upper School students wrap up the final domain of their IWP. He reflected on the importance and necessity of healthy relationships in our lives. One of the most compelling points he made was: “In healthy relationships, we lift each other up.” He described how it is important to lift up the people we love, but also others. His message was further exemplified by student representatives of the Upper School National English Honors Society (NEHS) who shared select words of gratitude. The messages read aloud were chosen from among many expressions of gratitude throughout the Upper School. Thank you to Upper School Counselor Elizabeth Clark for carefully, methodically, and diligently guiding the Upper School students and faculty through the first version of the IWP. Thank you also to Upper School English Teacher Breanne Hicks for supporting the NEHS students in gathering, selecting, and presenting the messages of gratitude. (See the slideshow below of these messages.)
Through the strong leadership of Middle School Counselor Leslie Palmer, the Middle School students have reflected on their coping strategies, behaviors, and spirituality throughout the fall and winter and will pivot toward mental health, physical health, and healthy relationships in the coming weeks. The Middle School students will also outline their coping strategies and identify support people this spring. In a very thoughtful and loving way, Lower School Counselor Susan Moore-Sickmann has oriented the Form 5 students to the IWP and is actively working to prepare them for their transition to Middle School. More specifically, she has worked with the Form 5 students to discuss the purpose and function of the IWP, reflect on healthy relationships, and identify coping strategies. Next, the Form 5 students will discuss mental and physical health as well as reflect on their academic decisions. In April, the students will discuss their extracurricular activities and how these choices play a role in their wellness.
The faculty in all three divisions have also had the opportunity to reflect on their own wellness through insight development, identification of coping and problem solving strategies, and connecting with sources of support in their lives. As a wellness team, we look forward to reflecting on our design and implementation of the first iteration of the IWP at Saint Mary’s Hall and adjusting for the 2020-2021 school year.
Designed by Authentic Connections, the HASS is a comprehensive measurement of school wellbeing that SMH students in Forms 7 through Form 12 will complete anonymously to help us evaluate student mental health, risky behavior, school climate, and relationships. The tool will also allow SMH to engage in a self-comparison to similar schools and to obtain information regarding school climate and relationships. Additionally, Dr. Suniya Luthar (co-founder and chief research officer at Authentic Connections) will address various constituencies at SMH to discuss results. There will be slightly different versions for Middle School (30 minutes) and Upper School (45 minutes). Please look forward to a letter that further outlines the purpose and utility of the survey at Saint Mary’s Hall.
Consistent with the aforementioned new wellness initiatives, Saint Mary’s Hall consistently seeks to innovate. I am so fortunate to be engaged in an open dialogue with parents, teachers, and students! Thank you to all who have made suggestions this year and please know that I am very open to ideas. Please email me to set up a time to talk and brainstorm. Keep the feedback and ideas coming!
Sandra Lopez-Morales, Ph.D.
Director of Wellness
Giving blood is a fantastic way to give back to your community as well as earn community service hours. Saint Mary’s Hall seeks to support the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (STBTC) for the bi-annual blood drive on Monday, March 2 from 8:30am - 3:30pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel East Gallery. All Upper School students, faculty, staff, and parents are encouraged to participate. According to STBTC’s web site, they supply more than 100 hospitals in 48 South Texas counties. They describe how, “Refrigerated red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days, plasma is frozen and stored for up to one year, and platelets can be stored for only five days.” To see the general distribution of blood, please see the above graphic. Melodie Vise from the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center will present to the Upper School students on Tuesday, February 25. Please encourage your students to donate as they will also receive up to two community service hours for donations (and attempted donations). An online signup sent through an eblast next week. Please visit the STBC web site for more information about the organization and/or blood donation.
A quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln goes something like this, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
In this busy society, it’s easy to get caught up with all the doing, that sometimes one needs to take a break and “re” some things. Re-flect. Re-fresh. Re-juvenate.
This week was all about the importance of rest, sleep, and recovery. The class covered the idea of “Sharpening the Saw,” one of the pillar habits in Steven Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Again, in an effort to DO science in order to learn science, Health and Wellness Educator Amelia Teodosio gave students a dedicated time to “sharpen the saw.” Students could take a walk (or a nap!), journal, meditate, color ... the guidelines stated they could not use technology or do academic work.
At the end of their time, they debriefed on their thoughts. Some students admittedly felt anxious during the downtime, feeling that there was so much on their “to do” list. The vast majority reported that it was certainly a gift to themselves to be able to stop and savor the moment.
For most of us with busy and stressful lives, recovery doesn’t happen by accident. Students ended the class by writing a specific goal with how they will proactively pursue times of refreshing in their lives.