NFTH: January 8, 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
From the Head of School
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
Happy New Year!
The faculty, staff, and I are excited to begin 2020 and start the second semester with our students. We’re already off to an exciting, important start. Consider:
- Yesterday, we sent out a communication, announcing the appointment of Len Miller as our next head of school. While change can be hard, Saint Mary’s Hall has identified the right person to lead our school into the next exciting chapter in our history. I am confident that Mr. Miller will be a great fit for our culture, that he’ll be immediately successful in continuing to carry out our strategic plan, and that our beloved school will continue to evolve to even greater heights. I have no doubt SMH will thrive under his leadership, and this semester Mr. Miller will have an eager partner in me as I work intentionally to begin this leadership transition. As you well know, Saint Mary’s Hall will get my very best effort, full commitment, and engagement through June.
- Monday, January 6 was a faculty/staff professional development in-service day. Our productive day included:
- A welcome back breakfast (did you know our faculty and staff love being with each other, and that our reunion was sweet?)
- A presentation to faculty and coaches on concussions by Head Athletic Trainer Phil Rogers, including the medical history behind concussions, the law, best practices around return to school and return to play protocol, and how the faculty can best support our students who experience a concussion. The science behind the brain, concussions, and healing is thankfully evolving at a rapid rate. We’re so fortunate to have the tremendous expertise of “Trainer Man.”
- Faculty broke into the PLN groups and had a productive day of collaboration and learning. What’s PLN? A Professional Learning Network is a way people learn – by connecting with others who have shared interests, ideas, or resources. It’s essentially an affinity group, and faculty came together across divisions and departments to become better educators. Some of the PLN groups SMH faculty have formed include: virtual reality, digital assessment, digital publications, Google apps, media systems, cloud drives, college counseling, personal student counseling, Office 365, maximizing your Clevertouch Board, among other PLNs. Saint Mary’s Hall is a fun, dynamic place to teach, because like our students, we are always learning and evolving. Faculty at SMH fiercely possess a “growth mindset.”
- Faculty and staff gathered on Lewis Field for a photo shoot for the next issue of our school magazine, The Shield. Stay tuned for this great upcoming issue highlighting the talented faculty and staff of Saint Mary’s Hall. After all, a school will never exceed the quality of its faculty, and at SMH, we simply have the best!
Blessings and good health to our students, their families, our alumni, and faculty and staff in 2020!
Head of School
Welcome Back Barons Luncheon
It was all smiles and hugs as alumni from the SMH Classes of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 who were on campus on December 17 for a Welcome Back Barons luncheon!
While they were home for the holidays, these alumni were invited to join us for a tasty Mexican food lunch in the Peggy Pitman Mays Dining Hall. After enjoying the food, they walked around campus and visited with their former teachers and friends. Some of these young alumni even met with our Form 8 students to give them insight to college life. It was great to welcome our Barons home!
A Thank You from the Holiday Fund Committee
The Holiday Fund Committee would like to thank all families in our Saint Mary's Hall community for supporting The Holiday Fund last month. Through your immense generosity, we collected $44,189 with 238 families contributing, which we distributed among each of the full and part-time SMH employees. Our committee delivered the Visa gift cards directly to each employee just in time for the Christmas Break; we conveyed our thanks for their dedication to students and the school and experienced the joy, firsthand, that the community brings to them.
The Holiday Fund Chair
The Holiday Fund Co-Chair
San Antonio Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon
On December 8, a group of Upper and Middle School students, parents, and teachers volunteered as sponsors of the very last water station located at the 24.7-mile marker on the San Antonio Rock “N” Roll Marathon. Community Service Coordinator Elsa Tonone de Sala commented, “This is always a fun activity where participants get the opportunity to support their community and thousands of runners and walkers. Students wrote inspirational messages using sidewalk chalk, set-up water and Gatorade towers and distributed drinks, but most importantly, they cheered and supported the runners as they approached the finish line. Race participants report their efforts made all the difference on the course.”
Volunteers from Upper School included:
- Form 12
- Hunter Allen
- Nico Papay
- Isabella Sanchez
- Cooper Terry
- Sydney Ulmer
- Corina Zarate
- Form 11
- Lainie Hoalst
- Form 10
- Abby Lavender
- Ashley Mitchell
- Bella Muñoz
- Valeria Ramos
- Alexandra Ulmer
- Rudy Zarate
- Form 9
- Jasmine Adolphe
- Ali Dunn
- Patrick Lang
- Daniela Sala
- Ferzine Sanjana
- Hannah Storrie
- Parker Thill
- Nancy Doehler
- Greg Dunn
- Christa Gillham
- Oscar Sala
- Elsa Tonone De Sala
Merry Fractivities from Geometry
As a way to celebrate the end of the semester and the winter holiday season, Upper School Math Teacher Rachel Alford’s Geometry class created a Sierpinski pyramid made out of 256 smaller triangular pyramids and decorated it with Koch snowflakes to complete the effect.
Community Service Council (Written by Form 11 Student Olivia Zachry)
Saint Mary’s Hall Community Service Council brought 12 volunteers to the Snack Pack 4 Kids and Believe It Foundation holiday party! Volunteers packed snack packs so children in Bexar County can have weekend food supplements if they may not be able to afford it outside of school, creating food security for those children in San Antonio. In our line alone, we packed 800 snack packs, but there were many more lines with many more volunteers from other groups and organizations, so they ended up with thousands of snack packs to give to children struggling with hunger in San Antonio. Along with helping so many children in the community, the students also had a great time with lots of holiday cheer!
National English Honor Society
On December 12, SMH’s National English Honor Society hosted more than 30 students from the Calderon Clubhouse of the San Antonio Boys and Girls Club on campus for the 8th Annual Holiday Literacy Celebration. Students enjoyed decorating cookies, reading with professional storyteller Miss Anastasia, and selecting a new book of their own to take home as a gift.
The Week Ahead
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.
Form 8 College Counseling Introduction for Parents – January 9
Form 8 parents are invited to join our Director of College Counseling Kelly Jorgenson and Assistant Director of College Counseling Taylor Ditto in the Remmert Theater this Thursday, January 9 at 8am.
The counselors will give you an overview of the support the College Counseling team offers SMH students and parents over the course of their time in Upper School, beginning with the spring semester for Form 8 students. There will be time for the counselors to answer your questions, so save this date and join SMH for your introduction to the College Counseling experts on campus.
Congratulations to Duke TIP Qualifiers
The following Form 7 students have qualified to participate this year in the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP). Only current 7th-grade students scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a recent grade-level standardized test are invited to participate in Duke TIP’s 7th Grade Talent Search. Congratulations to these Form 7 students!
- Tanzeel Ali
- Gray Altmeyer
- Caroline Archer
- George Braden
- Lexi Cardenas
- Julia Carter
- Natalia Chapa
- Maddie Chbeir
- Ana Cruz
- Cooper Curry
- Harper Daetwyler
- Audrey Anne Davis
- Emily Doehler
- Lilla Eades
- Kate Edwards
- Andres Fernandez
- Rusham Goyal
- Wynton Harris
- Alexandra Holmgreen
- Anna Hurd
- Zach Johnson
- Eleanor Jones
- Teagan Kaase
- Lily Kelly
- Justus Kleberg
- Walker Kruger
- Madison Mautz
- Stella McNab
- Mary Ella McNelis
- Patrick Miggins
- Wesley Mitchell
- Hudson Moore
- Sophia Nelson
- William Ogle
- Sai Ono
- Isaac Parkhurst
- JC Pena
- John Presutti
- Cy Rabke
- Genevieve Seeligson
- Isa Serna
- Peyton Soltis
- Athena Sorenson
- Hugh Stone
- Landon Stowers
- Emily Ton
- Iris Underwood
- Raquel Vildosola
Middle School Competes in Region 12 Orchestra
After enduring three hours of grueling auditions a month ago, George Braden (Form 7) and Sofia Bishop (Form 8) were selected to participate in the competitive Region 12 orchestra clinic. The clinic took place over two days on December 6 and 7. George played 1st violin, 5th chair (ranked 5 out of 110 Form 7 students), and Sofia sat 2nd violin, 5th chair (ranked 25 out of 72 Form 8 students). The stunning culmination of all their hard work was a concert at Reagan High School featuring all the selected students for the Region 12 Middle and High School orchestras.
Form 6 Robotics Competes
Robotics/Computer Science/STEM Teacher Dr. Hong Zhou’s Form 6 Intro Robotics class held the Lego EV3 Sumobot competition last week. Each student designed and constructed their own Sumobot with parts from the Lego EV3 Education set, and programmed it using EV3 software or Scratch. The main objective is for each Sumobot to remain in the battle ring while pushing the opponent off. The video above is of the battles. The proud winner was Jahan Sayeed (Form 6). Jahan’s Sumobot will enter the Lego Sumobot competition hosted by the Bexar Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers in the spring.
Life Science Explores Genetic Traits
Middle School Science Teacher Patti Nicoll’s Form 7 Life Science class had some fun exploring how the information for genetic traits is passed from parents to their children. During class, the students created some crazy babies with some funny and interesting traits. Above are some family portraits!
Baron Sportsmanship Awards
Once a month, two students from each Form level (Forms 1 – 5) are recognized by their coaches during Morning Moments.
These students are honored for their excellence during PE classes. Coaches select students with good attitudes who participate, cooperate, play fair, and show overall good sportsmanship.
Congratulations to the December recipients:
- Form 1: Henry Brooks and Sophie Mendoza
- Form 2: Leopold von Dürckheim and Ashlyn Whyte
- Form 3: Sofia Garcia and Eric Yang
- Form 4: Sawyer Daetwyler and Morgan Graf
- Form 5: Eleanor Brooks and Cesar Serna
Hour of Code
In December, Saint Mary’s Hall Lower School participated in the Hour of Code as part of Computer Science week to bring awareness to how many coding concepts are necessary in a variety of jobs. Instructional Facilitator and Technologist Teri Bohlsen visited all Kindergarten-Form 5 classrooms to introduce “What is Code?” Then students in Forms 1 -5 chose an activity from the many Hour of Code Activities to practice their coding skills. Kindergarten practiced their skills with the Prereader Express Coding. In the Eleanor Duncan Sarratt Memorial Library, Lower School Librarian and Instructional Technologist Linda Wells also helped students continue coding! It was a fun, educational, and engaging week … and it earned everyone an Out-of-Uniform Day!
Non-Fiction Book Talks
Form 2 recently finished their last Book Talk for the year. The theme for this quarter in reading was Nature Walk so the students were to read a non-fiction book about an animal in nature. The students then presented facts that they learned about their animals. The students also made a diorama to show their animal in its own habitat. Everyone did a fabulous job on their Book Talk and their dioramas. Many thanks to all of the parent Book Talk helpers during this fall semester. The projects are on display in the Form 2 hall display case. Form 2 students invite you to come by and enjoy the collection.
Parenting Articles for the New Year
Here are two parenting articles for the new year:
Roman Market SMH Style
Have you ever seen 59 Ancient Romans with American passports? Our Form 4 students traveled to Ancient Rome (in the Zeller Theater), dressed in togas, stolas, and olive wreaths, stamped their passports, then experienced the fun of a real-life Roman Market. After spending six weeks studying Roman history and culture, earning denarii, and making Roman artifacts to sell, these Romans arrived to sell their goods, shop for favorites, and enjoy fruit, cheeses, breads, and grape juice. The hardest decision for all was deciding which goods to buy: Roman spear tips, gladiator shields, or bulla necklaces? (Many found their best deals at the half-price sale!) After enjoying all the fun of Ancient Rome, it was great traveling home to enjoy their Roman treasures and a pasta lunch in their classrooms. As the Romans said, “Experientia docet,” or “Experience is the best teacher.” Thanks to all the Form 4 parents, Technical Director/Theater Manager/Scenic Designer Patrick Cunningham, other faculty and student visitors, Lower School Art Teacher Kellen Stanley, and Lower School Librarian and Instructional Technologist Linda Wells for all their support!
Lower School Students Show Upper School Students Their Community
As part of a culminating activity in the unit of studying communities, Form 2 students read the book Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran. The students then worked together to create their own classroom community. Just like the children in the book, Form 2 students used items found in nature to create the components of a working community. They then invited students from the Upper School to come explore their community. The Form 2 students explained to the Upper School students what their part in the community was and why it was important to the community as a whole.
News from the Lower School Library
Children’s author, Nancy Loewen, will share her writing wisdom with Forms 2, 3, and 4 on Wednesday, January 15 at a special presentation in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. Then the Form 2 students will have a Writing Workshop with Ms. Loewen since they use her writing books as part of their curriculum. Ms. Loewen’s books are for sale. An order form was sent home in December.
Tobin Fine Arts School
Lower School art hosted Topher Sipes as its first visiting artist this school year on December 16. Topher Sipes is an interdisciplinary artist and designer whose art practice spans the gamut of illustration, digital painting, performance, and virtual reality. No matter how digital his artistic applications, Sipes has a foundation of starting ideas and inspiration in his sketchbook. He came all the way from Austin to show students how his sketchbook has evolved throughout 20 years of drawing. After showing a wide variety of sketches, Sipes taught a sketchbook workshop to make an abstract drawing from watercolor pencils combined with everyday materials, specifically a steeped tea bag. Using the tea bag as a chance encounter to create something new, Sipes modeled to the students his method of sketching something from nothing.
Sipes is a collaborator and long-time friend of Lower School Art Teacher Kellen Stanley. Mr. Sipes shared that he “thoroughly enjoyed his time as Lower School’s first visiting artist.” More info can be found at his digital portfolio. Specifically be on the lookout for his 2020 Live VR performance in collaboration with the Houston Symphony!
Saint Mary’s Hall brings working artists in throughout the year to work with students in all divisions to supplement the curriculum being taught by our artist-educators. See the article below on the upcoming One-Act Play auditions. The show will be directed by guest artist, Tyler Keyes.
Stay tuned to News From the Hall for more updates on guest artists this semester!
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
Upper School One-Act Play Auditions
Auditions for the Upper School One-Act, Almost Maine, will be held on Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16 from 3:30pm - 5:30pm in the Remmert Theater. The play will be directed by guest artist, Tyler Keyes, and will be performed at the ISAS Fine Arts Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at Saint Mary’s Hall, both in April. Students must be available for after-school rehearsals starting after the Winter Athletic Season concludes, as well as for all performances including the ISAS Festival. For more information, contact Director for Fine Arts Bethany Bohall at email@example.com.
Talent Show Auditions
Auditions for the Upper School Talent Show, sponsored by the Fine Arts Council, will be held on Tuesday, January 21 from 3:30pm - 5:30pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. All students are welcome to auditions. For information, contact any Fine Arts Council member! Just look for the white ties!
More Lower School Art Fun
On December 13, members of the Upper School National Art Honor Society presented a holiday party with crafts and treats in the Lower School Circle for students to enjoy at the end of the school day. Take a look at the slideshow above and all the smiling faces of the Lower and Upper School students!
Fine Arts Events
Middle & Upper School Ballet Production
Middle & Upper School Ballet Production
One Big Show Exhibit Begins
Fine Arts Social Media
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!
SMH Falls in SAISD Championship Game
The Saint Mary’s Hall men’s varsity basketball team lost in the championship game of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) tournament to the Antonian Apaches, 69-61.
The Barons took their talent to the SAISD Tournament just before the break. The tournament that is a perennial top tournament in the State of Texas did not disappoint this year, bringing in some of the top talent from around the state. The basketball team did not disappoint either, going 3-1 against bigger, and traditionally some of the stronger basketball programs from around the city.
The tournament started with an opening round victory over the strong MacArthur Brahmas basketball team, 77-55, in what can only be described as a dominant performance by the Barons. Scoring was led by senior Avery Eugster with 21 points.
The Saturday morning match-up brought on an SAISD powerhouse of Jefferson High School in which the Barons controlled the game from the opening tip, capturing the lead early, and not allowing the Jefferson Mustangs to come up for air. The 90-41 victory was led by three Barons being in double digits: senior Dane Huggins scored 13 points, senior Max Terry 12 points, and senior Ben Eugster with 17 points.
The Saturday afternoon, semi-final match-up brought about a rematch from the previous week’s tournament East Central High School. In what was a ferocious rematch of two very fast teams, the Barons were able to hold off the Hornets with a final score of 90-86. Seniors Avery and Ben Eugster had two outstanding performances, accounting for 56 of the teams 90 points (Avery 30, Ben 26).
The Championship Game brought on defending State Champion and district foe, the Antonian Apaches. The game was what you would expect from two of the top teams in the city. Back-and-forth action, with multiple lead changes, ultimately led to the Barons losing in the final minute, 69-61.
The strong performance from the team helped both Ben and Avery earn All-Tournament Team honors, while propelling the team to now be ranked as the #6 team in the city.
District Play Heats Up for Soccer
District play began to heat up for both men’s and women’s varsity soccer. Both teams took the short drive to West Avenue to take on the traditionally strong program of the Antonian Apaches. Both teams ran into what was to be expected. Strong performances by the Apaches led to Baron loses from both the men’s and women’s teams.
Lower School Students Thank the Coaches
The SMH coaching staff would like to thank the Lower School for inviting them to Morning Moments to express their gratitude for them and what they do. The staff appreciates their caring comments for the coaches.
Middle School Spotlight
Big Wins for Boys Soccer
Barons record their first win of the season, 3-0 over Atonement. In typical Middle School fashion, the SMH boys waited until the final 10 minutes of the game to put it all together. All three goals were scored with multiple passes and selfless play, highlighted by great sportsmanship. Goals were scored by Form 7 student William Ogle, Form 6 student Marco Watson, and Form 8 student Max Dubbous. Form 8 student Bardia Mizani recorded his second shutout of the season.
This moves the team to 1-0-1 in conference, and 1-3-3 on the season.
Form 6 Girls Basketball
The Form 6 girls basketball picked up their second win of the season over Gloria Deo, 24-5. Coach Joel Garcia said, “ The girls did an awesome job! This should boost their confidence moving forward.”
Men’s Soccer Captures First District Victory
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 score 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.
Barons Women’s Basketball Lose Tough Game
The Barons women’s varsity basketball team took on a strong Providence team and fell in a hard fought, close game. The short bench for the Barons, only playing with seven, proved to be difficult to overcome in the final minutes. The Barons fought hard to find the energy to make a final push, but eventually fell short, losing 45-40 to next year’s district opponent.
Freshmen Men’s Basketball Fall to TMI JV in a Nail Biter
In what might have been the most exciting game of the winter, the freshmen men fought back from a 32-9 deficit against TMI junior varsity to eventually lose 50 – 46. The Barons mounted an unbelievable comeback, coming to within three points with just seconds remaining in the game. This was a tremendous show of heart against on older, more experienced team. Congratulations to showing your Baron pride and effort!
Former Baron #1 Golfer Finds a Home in Space
Former SMH #1 golfer, Hans Uy (Class of 2014), and now SpaceX employee talks about his dream of space travel, his influences, and some of his obstacles, in this very well written blog post, My Kindergarten Ode to the Cosmos. Take a moment to read about this Baron's dream, journey, and goal of space.
Athletics Livestream Channel
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!
Follow @SMH_Barons on Twitter
Happy New Year
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
As we welcome a new year in a new decade, one may naturally wonder what the future brings.
While some of it can be foreseen, there is no way to predict every opportunity or challenge we or our students may encounter. That is why Chapel is so important to the school’s mission statement of preparing students for success in college and fulfillment in life. Each week we help students reflect on their beliefs and learn about the various traditions they will encounter in a world made small by travel and technology. We examine the many aspects of spirituality and how they relate to the faith practiced in one’s home. We consistently reflect the values we carry forward from our Christian heritage, such as compassion, service, humility, kindness, and gratitude. These things help students develop the habits of heart and mind that allow for appreciation of joyous times and resilience when difficulties arise. As we begin this work anew in 2020, we offer our gratitude to the Saint Mary’s Hall community for your continued support. May your new year be filled with goodness and peace.
Interim All-School Chaplain
Chapels – December 16
As reported in the December 16 Chapel Corner, all divisions celebrated in the traditional Christmas Lessons and Carols service. It was good to see so many parents in the audience celebrating with students. There were also two alternative Chapels for Middle and Upper School students.
The Lessons and Carols service told the story of Jesus’ birth through Scripture and song. Students read from the Book of Isaiah and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Fine Arts faculty and students performed beautiful carols that helped the audience reflect on the Scriptures.
No Chapel on January 6
There were no Chapels on January 6 due to the holiday break.
In Lower School, the readers were Form 5 students Abbey Azar, Sam Smiley, Liam Cox, Reese Arrington, Colston Book, and Eve Cavazos.
Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine led her choir students and an enthusiastic audience in a program of traditional songs. Students were 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. Lower School Spanish Teacher Zarela Rios and her students sang the recessional carol in Spanish, “Al Mundo Paz.”
In Middle and Upper School, SMH offered ecumenical alternative Chapels to our traditional Lessons and Carols service for those students whose family ask for them to be excused. These Chapels, led by faculty volunteers, offer values-based lessons on relevant topics.
In Middle School, Mathematics Teacher Stephen Hudson 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, especially in building resilience and confidence for the future.
In Upper School’s 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 generosity. Using examples from history, as well as from popular culture, students were asked to reflect upon how generosity impacts them, as well as those around them, even people they don’t know directly.
Middle and Upper School Chapels
In Middle and Upper School Chapels, Assistant Band Director Jaime Ramirez, Guitar Teacher George Gaytan, and Middle School Strings & Private Violin Teacher Julie Post demonstrated why they are so loved and respected by their students. Their piano, guitar, and violin duos were beautiful. Form 11 students Clark Webb and Callie Tibbetts sang a duet of "Mary Did You Know" that left the audience with goosebumps. Form 9 student Alex Riebe played with Mr. Gaytan and his solo on "Silent Night" was a time for reflection as the audience considered the Scripture reading telling of Christ’s birth. View a video of the Chapel.
The Middle School acolytes and readers were Form 6 students Max Farber and Matthew Dubois, along with Form 8 students Gabriela Afsous, Bardia Mizani, Cole Simpson, Isabella See, Ali Rose Davis, Divya Vasan, Ximena Mora, and Abby Winter.
The Upper School acolytes and readers were Bishops Chapel Society students, including Form 12 students Molly Byrd, Catalina Barrera, Felicia Early, and Form 11 students Sarah Hernandez, Annabelle Huang, and Leah Gomez.
A Look Ahead
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 tradition, ashes will be offered at a variety of times and locations throughout the day. Details coming soon.
Healthy at the Hall
Healthy at the Hall
It’s a New Year!
Many people are accustomed to setting New Year’s resolutions and spend time thinking about ways they can improve their lives in the New Year. Whether a person chooses to set New Year’s resolutions or not, it’s important to consider goal setting and mindset when supporting students as they seek behavioral change. Here are some helpful tips to consider.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers these tips when setting resolutions that could also be considered when setting goals in general.
- Start small: Determine sustainable changes that one can build upon.
- Change one behavior at a time: Focusing on one behavioral change at a time minimizes the chances that a person will feel overwhelmed and increases the chances that a person will achieve that behavioral change.
- Talk about it: It can help to have an accountability partner or someone supportive to help in establishing behavioral change.
- Don’t beat yourself up: Perfection is unattainable. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
- Ask for support: Seek help from family members and friends. If overwhelmed feelings are interfering, a trained professional can help elucidate obstacles.
According to Chris Hulleman and Larry Happel, writers of the article, Three Mindset Shifts That Can Help Students Succeed: “Psychologists define mindsets as the attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about ourselves, other people, and the environments we’re in.” They described three mindsets that can help students persist: growth, purpose, and social.
The authors note social psychologist Carol Dweck’s research on growth mindset and describe how it “refers to a person’s belief that skills and abilities can develop, especially through hard work, trying challenging things, learning from failure, and adjusting strategies to accomplish goals.” They argue that “when we adopt a growth mindset, we are more likely to stick with things longer, perform better, and enjoy what we’re doing more than when we believe that our skills and abilities are fixed.” They argue, “It helps students focus on what is in their control and reduces the crippling fear that they may be stuck in their current state forever. It helps them be proactive instead of reactive or disengaged.” It is incumbent upon adults to encourage “a new approach, takes risks when learning, and get feedback often.”
Hulleman and Happel describe, “When people find meaning and purpose in their life – whether it’s something grand like curing cancer or more modest like connecting with friends – they persist longer, enjoy what they’re doing more, and feel better about their lives.” Adults can help by encouraging “students to reflect on how attending school aligns with their core values. They can ask them how taking specific classes gets them closer to their goals.”
The authors describe how students who are struggling often feel like “they’re the only one struggling.” This perception can lead to students assuming that “they aren’t cut out for school.” Hulleman and Happel go on to describe how, “The more students interact with others, the sooner they can build relationships and make friends. To help students develop a social mindset, instructors and mentors can remind them that others probably feel uncomfortable at first, too, and may be waiting for someone else to reach out. Encouraging students to step outside their comfort zone and ask a peer to lunch or helping them start a study group before an exam can go a long way to establishing new relationships.”
Adults play a critical role in supporting behavioral change in students. It is of critical importance to encourage students to be skillful in their goal setting and to adopt a mindset that is conducive to change. These combined efforts will maximize the likelihood that students can incorporate change and build upon their already existing skill sets.