NFTH: May 18, 2020
From the Head of School Emeritus
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
It has been more than five years since I have written a letter for News From the Hall, but because today is a very special day, I wanted to share one more time with our Saint Mary’s Hall community.
Today is Head of School Jonathan Eades Day! To celebrate and thank him for his energy, unwavering dedication, and strong leadership of our school, I have included a couple of videos with what I hope are insightful and fun stories about my time working with Jonathan. One story deals with how we handled the rare, but sometimes “less fun” side of the job and the other is about how you almost never got the chance to meet Jonathan at all.
Over the past 13 years, it has been my privilege to watch what was a “new” division head become one of the very best heads of school in the country. It has been all of our privilege to benefit from a highly-skilled, caring, and dynamic leader. As I say in one of the clips below … “The one true way to judge the success of a leader is to ask if the school is better now than it was when they got there.” That is a very easy question to answer. In closing, I think schools that are truly blessed by God seem to always have the right leader in place to match the specific needs at a specific time in the history of the school. Looking back over Jonathan’s time with us, we had the right person to match our needs.
I invite you to watch these two clips by clicking the play buttons below. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I enjoy sharing them.
I thank Jonathan for his friendship and leadership. From the point of view of someone who knows first-hand the challenges and sacrifices, I thank Elizabeth, his wife, for her support of our leader.
Enjoy Jonathan Eades Day!
Head of School Emeritus
Lower School is still hosting Morning Moments, only virtually.
Enjoy this Friday's Morning Moments!
The annual Upper School Honors Ceremony was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 20 at 11:30am. For many years, that event has marked the official end of the Upper School academic year and has served to bring closure and launch our school community into a well-deserved summer vacation. Our school calendar during distance learning still has May 20 as the final day of classes for students in Forms 9 -11, and some classes will still take place up until 3:15pm. Even so, Head of Upper School Brent Spicer hopes that students, families, and faculty will take time to watch his recorded Honors Ceremony to celebrate one another and to honor the hard work our students have put in throughout the year to achieve so many accomplishments. Please keep an eye out for Mr. Spicer’s Wednesday e-blast!
What better way to show your appreciation than to nominate a teacher for the SMH Master Teacher Awards. Through the generosity of key donors, Saint Mary's Hall is able to offer a unique and exciting way to reward outstanding teachers for the positive impact they have had on you and your family.
The Master Teacher Awards are presented at our annual Founders' Day Celebration in the fall. One teacher is selected from each division (Lower, Middle, and Upper School), along with one at-large selection. Each of the four recipients is honored at the celebration for their contributions and presented with a check for $10,000.
Selections for the Master Teacher Awards are based on nominations from parents, students, alumni, and fellow SMH teachers. Nominations are evaluated based on outstanding performance of a teacher in any or all of the following areas:
- Curriculum implementation
- Teaching effectiveness
- Personal impact on a specific student, their family, or the school as a whole
- Personification of the core values of Saint Mary's Hall
- Support of school activities outside of the classroom
* The teacher nominated must be a current teacher who is returning next year.
Unfortunately, teachers who have won the Master Teacher Award within the past five years (2015-2019) are not eligible for the award this year. View all of our past winners, dating back to the start of the program in 2002.
Making a Nomination Has Never Been Easier!
We've made the nomination process electronic. To nominate a teacher, simply click the button below, and fill out the requested information. Once you click submit, you're done!
Lower School parents ... please help your student complete this form.
Please submit your nomination by Friday, May 22 at midnight. Your nominations are an integral part of the Master Teacher Awards and impact who receives the award. We need you to submit nominations and help us reward our outstanding teachers! Your time is appreciated by the Board, administration, and by the teacher you nominate.
Questions: Administrative Assistant to the Head of School Darlene Steubing at (210) 483-9237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Middle School Art program would like to honor and acknowledge Form 8 artists for the 2019-2020 academic year. Whether they have been in Art since Form 6 or joined as recently as the second quarter, we are in awe of your commitment, dedication and exploration of the arts. Click this link to view a special dedication to the Form 8 artists. Middle School Art Teacher BJ Pyrc is immensely proud of you and will miss you greatly!
Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and for the safety of our community, we are holding Form 5 Promotion, Form 8 Promotion, Baccalaureate, and Commencement ceremonies virtually this year.
The good news is you can enjoy and celebrate all these tremendous milestones from the comfort and safety of your own home! Just tune in to the SMH Livestream channel on the designated dates and times indicated below.
Livestream Event Details
Saint Mary's Hall is streaming our promotion and commencement ceremonies live! We are giving you a seat at these special moments, and making it easier for you to share them with family and friends during this challenging time.
- Form 5 Promotion - Join the Class of 2027 as they are promoted to Form 6 and begin their Middle School journey. This special event will stream on Wednesday, May 20 at 8:30am CST.
- Form 8 Promotion - Join the Class of 2024 as they are promoted to Form 9 and begin their Upper School journey. This special event will stream on Thursday, May 21 at 9am CST.
- Baccalaureate - This special non-denominational service, honoring the Class of 2020, will stream on Thursday, May 21 at 5pm CST.
- Commencement - Join the Class of 2020 as they graduate and prepare for life beyond Saint Mary's Hall. This special event will stream on Friday, May 22 at 5pm CST.
Join Livestream Today!
When you follow us on our SMH Livestream, you'll get updates anytime we add an event or update event times and dates. Joining is easy, just follow these steps ...
- Go to Livestream.com
- Create an account using your email or connect with Facebook.
Search for Saint Mary's Hall, and click the "Follow" button on our page.
- Once you are on the SMH Livestream channel, you can click on the event to watch it live!
Watch It Again!
You can also revisit your student's big moments anytime. After an event, the video is archived on the SMH Livestream channel where you can easily access past events.
Grades for Quarter 4 and Spring Semester, along with any comments, will be published in My SMH Backpack on the SMH Community Portal Tuesday, June 2 by 4pm. Please mark your calendars!
The Visual Arts faculty and staff are pleased to share with you an exciting digital exhibition of artwork from all three divisions. Please join SMH in celebrating these student artists and their teachers for this amazing body of work. Click here to view the digital exhibition!
While we still have a few weeks of this semester remaining, some of you may already be looking ahead to summer. The Middle School Math Teachers have put together a list of summer math review opportunities for your consideration. Summer math review is not mandatory, but students who spend some time practicing their skills retain more of what they learned and feel more confident when they return in the fall.
At the end of February, six Saint Mary’s Hall Middle School students took the National Classical Civilization Exam (NRCE), a challenging 50-question test on the history and culture of the ancient Romans from 753 BC to the end of the reign of Constantine the Great. Since 2016, the exam has been offered to students in middle and high school. This year 1,567 students took this test nationwide.
Awards are given at three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. This year all six of Middle School Latin Teacher Raoul Nicoll’s students scored high enough to win a silver or above.
Please congratulate the following students:
Sofia Bishop (Form 8)
George Braden (Form 7)
Will Carter (Form 8)
Kate Edwards (Form 7)
Wynton Harris (Form 7)
Jason Jones (Form 8)
Dear Saint Mary’s Hall,
I hope you are able to take a moment and view my Chapel video message for this week.
In this message, I focus on “giving thanks in all circumstances” and being grateful, which was also the focus of my very first video message in March at the beginning of distance learning.
My hope is this final video message prompts you to reflect on how good and how God has come into your lives during the past two months in the midst of such different and challenging times.
As you reflect, I hope you find much to give thanks for and that your spirits are lifted and that you are compelled to continue to bring much good and God’s very love to those around you.
Thanks be to God for giving us the strength and ability to complete our year and for carrying us through this very unique and different final quarter of our year.
Congrats again to the Class of 2020 on their graduation from Saint Mary’s Hall, which is a monumental achievement, and to each of our students, teachers, and parents for their impressive accomplishment of completing this year too!
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin
Healthy at the Hall
Dear Saint Mary’s Hall,
As our final message of the year, the Saint Mary’s Hall Wellness Team would like to encourage every member of our community to engage in reflection. Lower School Counselor Susan Moore-Sickmann shared the quote (on the right-hand side) with the Lower School. As Dr. Dewey teaches, we must reflect to learn from our experiences. Jennifer Porter, an executive coach writes in her article titled, Managing Yourself: Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It), the following:
“At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought. But the kind of reflection that is really valuable to leaders is more nuanced than that. The most useful reflection involves the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions for the purpose of learning. Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. For leaders, this 'meaning making' is crucial to their ongoing growth and development.”
Please pause to reflect on the last ten weeks. Where have you spent the majority of your time? With whom have you spent this time? Think through the sights, sounds, and smells of this time period. Try to relive it. As you ponder your experiences, please consider answering the following questions for yourselves:
- Who helped me through this trying time?
- Who did I support?
- What were the ways that I helped myself?
- What have I learned about myself?
Based on these reflections, what do I need to do to prepare for next academic year? Emotionally? Physically? Spiritually? Mentally? Socially? Occupationally?
Write out your thoughts and plan for the coming months. Your future self will be appreciative of you taking the time to course correct and prepare yourself with flexibility and courage. Please encourage your children to do the same.
Thank you for a wonderful year and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Stay well and rest.
All my best,
Sandra L. Lopez-Morales, Ph.D.
Director of Wellness