NFTH: May 29, 2020
A Farewell from the Eades Family,
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
After 13 years, it is bittersweet to realize this will be my last News From the Hall.
My family and I have recorded a special video for you to say farewell, but first I want to share a reminder about an initiative that is near to my heart. Last week, we announced the Barons-to-Barons Fund as a way for those in our community who are able to support our Baron families who are struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19. I am pleased to say the response to this newly-formed opportunity to help those in our SMH family has been positive and heart-warming.
If I could use just one word to describe Saint Mary's Hall, it would be "family." Throughout my tenure at Saint Mary's Hall, I have witnessed countless acts of compassion, support, camaraderie, and love. Together we have experienced many joyful and victorious days as well as some difficult and challenging days, and we are bonded to each other because of our shared experiences. We are committed to supporting our families now and into the next school year, and your contribution, if you are able, to the Barons-to-Barons Fund will help bridge the gap for families facing unexpected difficulties during these unprecedented times. Click the button below to contribute; just designate your gift by selecting the Barons-to-Barons Fund from the available options. Saint Mary’s Hall has a storied history, and we’ve faced adversity in the past and gotten through it because of the strength of our community. Saint Mary’s Hall survived the Flu Pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, a polio outbreak in the 1940s, and we even survived the inclusion of boys at SMH in the late 1980s! We will get through this historic time together.
It is the heart of Saint Mary's Hall that makes it the remarkable school it is, and it has been my privilege to have been a part of this incredible family. Thank you for the many good wishes and fond farewell notes. My family and I will carry the memories of these past amazing 13 years with us forever. I leave Saint Mary’s Hall with my heart full of profound gratitude. My wife, Elizabeth, had the excellent idea of our family creating a gratitude jar. We cut strips of paper and then Oliver, Lilla, George, Elizabeth, and I all wrote on the paper what we were most grateful for about Saint Mary’s Hall. No surprise, the names of every teacher, coach, and advisor we’ve experienced were included, as was the Bell Tower, the Blue Tie Parade, Fiesta, the SAGE Dining ServicesTM staff, the Maintenance staff, Head of School Emeritus Bob Windham, and many other deeply impactful leaders and benefactors of our great school. Prior to burying it in a secret location on campus this past weekend, we each read aloud our gratitude.
Additionally, though we bid farewell to some of our beloved faculty and staff members, we hold much excitement about strong replacements for next school year. View a list of new hires and transfers for 2020-2021.
It has been a tremendous honor to lead our beloved school, and I pray this blessing for all of you:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
God bless Saint Mary’s Hall!
Head of School
Congratulations to the Class of 2020 who graduated from Saint Mary’s Hall on May 22. A virtual ceremony was held via the SMH Livestream channel. If you missed it or would like to watch this milestone event again, click here.
A total of 88 seniors graduated. These exemplary students earned nearly $10.5 million in merit scholarships. The class had a 100 percent acceptance rate and will attend 52 different colleges and programs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Just some of the impressive colleges and universities our graduates will attend include Harvard, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, New York University, Georgetown, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame. See the list of the Class of 2020 college acceptances and a list of the Top 30 Colleges (2016-2020) of which SMH graduates have been accepted.
Congratulations to our Form 5 students who were promoted to Middle School. A virtual ceremony was held via the SMH Livestream channel on May 20. If you missed it or would like to watch this milestone event again, click here.
On May 20, Saint Mary’s Hall held a Senior Send-Off Parade (practicing safe social distancing by staying in their vehicles) to celebrate the Class of 2020, who graduated last Friday. Senior families made thank you signs, decorated their cars, and cheered as faculty parked along the parade route and waved from the safety of their vehicles. The parade was a fun way to send-off our seniors on their journey to college and beyond.
The Jamie Armstrong Bennett Award recognizes a faculty or staff member for outstanding service to Saint Mary's Hall. Nominations are received from all members of the Saint Mary's Hall faculty and staff, and the winner is approved by the SMH Board of Trustees. A nominee must be a member of our school faculty, administration, or staff who exemplifies the qualities of mind and spirit most valued by the founders of Saint Mary's Hall through positive and productive contributions to our school.
Congratulations to our 2020 Jamie Armstrong Bennett Award winner Head of Middle School and Dean of Academics Sam Hamilton.
On April 9, Middle School World Languages Teacher Kristen Villalvazo’s French IA and French IB students took the National French Contest. This exam is based on 70 questions which test students’ listening and reading comprehension skills and grammatical, vocabulary, and cultural knowledge. The French IA students competed at the national level against 4,543 other French students. The French IB students competed at the national level against 16,490 students. This year’s recipients are:
Form 7, Level 0IA
- Andres Fernandez (Form 7) - 75th percentile, ranked 12th on national level, and 5th on chapter level.
- Mason Schuster (Form 7) - 75th percentile, ranked 12th on national level, and 5th on chapter level.
Level 0I A:
- Isa Serna (Form 7) - 90th percentile, ranked 8th on national level, and 4th on chapter level.
- Iris Underwood (Form 7) - 90th percentile, ranked 7th on national level, and 3rd on chapter level.
- Raquel Vildosola (Form 7) - 90th percentile, ranked 6th on national level, and 2nd on chapter level.
Level 0I A:
- Lilla Eades (Form 7) - 95th percentile, ranked 4th on national level, and 1st on chapter level.
Form 8, Level IA
- Izzy See (Form 8) - 80th percentile, ranked 13th on national level, and 11th on chapter level.
- Rachel Weissmann (Form 8) - 80th percentile, ranked 11th on national level, and 9th on chapter level.
- Dama Richards (Form 8) - 80th percentile, ranked 10th on national level, and 8th on chapter level.
Level I A:
- Bella Mauri (Form 8) -90th percentile, ranked 7th on national level, and 5th on chapter level.
- Ana Testas (Form 8) -90th percentile, ranked 7th on national level, and 5th on chapter level.
Level I A:
- Paulina Esquinca (Form 8 taking Upper School French I) -95th percentile, ranked 3rd on national level, and 1st on chapter level.
- Ines Wallisch (Form 8) - 95th percentile, ranked 3rd on national level, and 1st on chapter level.
Félicitations à tous! Congratulations to all of these students!
Upper and Middle School musicians were honored last week with the annual Music Awards. These are nationally recognized awards, and are the highest honor a musician can get from their school. Students and parents were sent a video where the award winners were revealed. The winners will have their names added to the plaques that hang in the band hall and the Remmert Theater, and will also be presented with their personal plaques at a later date. Seniors are also traditionally presented with a medal with their names and time in the program. Those names were announced during the video. We would also like to recognize Isabel Sala and Samantha Smith, who were studying abroad and were left off the video. Both seniors spent three years in Chamber Orchestra on violin and will be presented with a medal as well. The winners are below:
- Quincy Jones Musicianship Award: Leonora Leykum (Form 8, Trombone)
- Director’s Award for Orchestra: Sofia Bishop (Form 8, Violin)
- Director’s Award for Band: Ava Greenberg (Form 8, Flute)
- VIP Shining Star Award: Itza Martinez (Form 11)
- Leonard Bernstein Musicianship Award: Caroline Hale (Form 12, Guitar)
- National School Orchestra Award: Sarah Hernandez (Form 11, Violin)
- John Philip Sousa Award: Mehwish Rehman (Form 11, Flute)
- Louis Armstrong Jazz Award: Karl Sanjana (Form 11, Percussion)
- Here is the link to the Middle School awards video: Middle School Music Awards
- Here is the link to the Upper School awards video: Upper School Music Awards
Band/Chamber Orchestra Teacher Trevor Docwra, Assistant Band Director Jaime Ramirez, and Middle School Strings & Private Violin Teacher Julie Post are proud of all the winners!
On May 20, during the virtual Upper School Awards Ceremony, the editorial staff dedicated this year’s literary magazine, The Walrus, to Middle School Head and Academic Dean Sam Hamilton.
This dedication celebrates Ms. Hamilton, a leader who is known for her love of reading and writing. The members of the editorial staff see her as a woman who cares about students and appreciates their abilities to express themselves through art and writing.
This year’s theme for The Walrus, comes from the filmmaker Federico Fellini, who believed that, “A different language is a different vision of life.” As a community, Saint Mary’s Hall speaks many different languages and uses of variety styles and genres in their art and writing for self-expression. It is the editorial staff’s hope to demonstrate the different cultures and lifestyles that make the Saint Mary’s Hall student body unique. The editorial staff of The Walrus celebrates the voice and vision of the Upper School with this edition and knows that Ms. Hamilton played a major role in many students’ lives.
The Walrus would like to wish Ms. Hamilton a happy retirement.
Congratulations to our Form 8 students who were promoted to Upper School. A virtual ceremony was held via the SMH Livestream channel on May 21. If you missed it or would like to watch this milestone event again, click here.
Class of 2020 graduate Tristan Cantu was featured on KSAT 12 as a Great Graduate. Take a look at his amazing story!
Grades for Quarter 4 and Spring Semester, along with any comments, will be published in My SMH Backpack on the SMH Community Portal on Tuesday, June 2 by 4pm. Please mark your calendars!
On Wednesday, May 20, Head of Upper School Brent Spicer released a recording of the annual Upper School Honors Ceremony (above). We are so proud of the students who earned honors and accolades for their hard work and dedication throughout the 2019-2020 school year. View a list of those honored with awards and accolades.
Middle School Science Teacher Patti Nicoll’s Form 7 students finished off the year creating presentations about current science news, mostly about human biology, but incorporated some animal and plant science as well. Their topics ranged from COVID-19, to a headless chicken, to dogs (and humans) smelling disease, to trees that can communicate, and lots in between. Some of them really got into their presentations and they were a joy to watch. Here are two selections:
- Middle School English Teacher Deborah McInerney’s Form 6 English students ended the year with two very different projects. As a wrap up for their novel study of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, students created board games in which they incorporated elements from the book such as character, conflict, and plot. It was so much fun to see such creativity and variety of approaches to each game.
Their final writing project was entitled, “Quarantine Writing.” Students had the opportunity to explore how this time of the pandemic and our quarantine status has impacted them. Some students chose to write poetry, while others described their experiences through personal essays, op-ed pieces, as well as how-to writing in which they shared interesting ways to pass the time. These Form 6 students created powerful statements about this historic time with their writing.
View a video of the Form 6 project.
On April 9, Upper School French students took the National French Contest. This exam was based on 70 questions which tested students’ listening and reading comprehension skills and grammatical, vocabulary and cultural knowledge. The French students competed at the national level against 16,490 students. This year’s medal recipients are:
Level 1 A:
- Analia Rodriguez-Fernandez (Form 9) - 95th percentile, ranked 5th on national level, and 3rd on chapter level.
- Grace Ogden (Form 9) - 95th percentile, ranked 5th on national level, and 3rd on chapter level.
Level 2 A:
- Alex Riebe (Form 9) - 95th percentile, ranked 2nd on both national and chapter levels.
- Penelope Luna (Form 10) - 95th percentile, ranked 3rd on both national and chapter levels.
- Ellie Mueller (Form 9) - 95th percentile, ranked 3rd on both national and chapter levels.
Level 2 A:
- Ali Dunn (Form 9) - 85th percentile, ranked 6th on both national and chapter levels.
- Sofia El-Hajj Moussa (Form 9) - 85th percentile, ranked 6th on both national and chapter levels.
- Hannah Storrie (Form 9) - 85th percentile, ranked 6th on both national and chapter levels.
Level 3 A:
- Sofia Mauri (Form 10) - 90th percentile, ranked 5th on national level, and 6th on chapter.
- Gian Avalos-Delgado (Form 10) - 90th percentile, ranked 6th on national level, and 5th n chapter level.
- Cici Yang (Form 8) - 90th percentile, ranked 6th on national level, and 5th on chapter level.
Level 3 C:
- Camille Serot (Form 10) - 85th percentile, ranked 8th on national level, and 7th on chapter level.
- Natalia Zambrano (Form 12) - 90th percentile, ranked 12th on national level, and 6th on chapter level.
- Emma Tucker (Form 11) - 85th percentile, ranked 16th on national level, and 10th on chapter level.
Level 2 A:
- Jonathan Largoza (Form 9) - 80th percentile, ranked 7th on both national and chapter levels.
- Daniela Sala (Form 9) - 80th percentile, ranked 7th on both national and chapter levels.
- Gabe Chbeir (Form 10) - 80th percentile, ranked 9th on national level, and 8th on chapter level.
- Lara Weissmann (Form 10) - 80th percentile, ranked 9th on national, and 8th on chapter level.
- Camila Navas-Hahn (Form 9) - 75th percentile, ranked 12th on national, and 11th on chapter level.
- Level 3 C:
- Sophie Morgan (Form 10) - 75th percentile, ranked 11th on national, and 10th on chapter level.
- Nicole Detiveaux (Form 11) - 75th percentile, ranked 14th on national, and 20th on chapter level.
The Upper School English Department would like to congratulate senior Shilpa Gunuganti for being selected as one of the Poets of the Year by the National English Honor Society (NEHS). NEHS Director, D. Wendelin said that her poem, “’Mother’ was so moving as [it] relate[s] the difficult journey she takes to ensure a better life for others.” Shilpa has been an active participant in many of the NEHS writing contests and the NEHS Advisory Council recognizes her efforts as exemplary.
Shilpa’s poem can be read in the Upper School literary magazine, The Walrus.
To see the newly released Upper School Literary Magazine, The Walrus click here. A printed copy can be obtained from adviser Amy Williams-Eddy in the fall.