NFTH: November 11, 2019
- 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,
All great schools have special traditions, and our school is extremely fortunate in that we have many rich traditions. Founders' Day is one such special tradition, and, along with Commencement and Blue Tie, it is one of my favorite days of the year, as we do two very important things. First, we recognize our Founders' Day Award recipient, and then we present the Master Teacher Awards – all special, exciting, and significant recognitions. In fact, this is the highest honor we award to benefactors of our school, in the case of the Founders' Day Award, and the highest honor we bestow on our faculty in the case of the Master Teacher Award.
The Founders' Day honor goes to an individual – or family – who meets exclusive criteria:
- They have a long-standing, multi-generational supportive relationship with Saint Mary’s Hall.
- They have been such a remarkable and generous friend of our school that simply said, we are a vastly different, better place because of their partnership and support.
- They are someone our community proudly holds up as an exemplar of our core values of Saint Mary’s Hall.
The Founders’ Day award is our way of saying “thank you” to our best, most devoted friends for their ongoing dedication, care, involvement, and support over many, many years. This year's Founders’ Day Award recipient is Ruth (Ruthie) Bowman Russell (Class of 1966). Ruth and her family have an extensive legacy with Saint Mary’s Hall, with several facilities baring their name, including the Extended Care Building, Middle/Upper School Library, and the Bell Tower, among others. In 1938, Ruth’s mother, Ruth McLean Bowman Bowers, graduated from SMH and was honored with the same award in 2003. Ruth has served as a Board of Trustees member, among other official capacities; a benefactor; and an SMH parent and grandparent. She was a recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Through the generosity of key donors, Saint Mary’s Hall offers a unique and exciting way to reward outstanding teachers "for the positive impact they have had on our students and their families." Master Teachers are selected from each of the three divisions, along with an at-large selection. The four recipients are honored at the celebration, and each winner receives a check for $10,000. View a list of our past Master Teacher winners. Please join me in congratulating this year’s four Master Teachers:
- Lower School Science Teacher Bitsy Mayberry
- Middle School English Teacher Deborah McInerney
- Upper School Social Studies Teacher Adrian Viccellio
- Middle School Art Teacher and All-School Soccer Coach BJ Pyrc
I invite you to watch the Livestream of this special event. You’ll immediately get a sense of how pleased the students were with the selected winners, and it will be evident to you that this is a sort of academic pep rally for Saint Mary’s Hall! How wonderful that we learn and work in an environment where teaching excellence and effective relationships with students are so valued and celebrated. And thank you, Ruthie, for your deep, multi-generational impact on Saint Mary’s Hall!
Head of School
Celebrate the holiday season by purchasing a poinsettia and supporting Issues Day 2020!
Each year, Form 11 students organize Issues Day for the Upper School. Delegates from around the country are invited to speak their viewpoints on a topic chosen by the Form 11 class. The day is dedicated to discussion and exploration of an important issue in our society. This year’s Issues Day is February 27.
The Issues Day Committee sells poinsettia plants each year to support the planning of Issues Day. These festive plants make great gifts, as well as lovely decor for your home during the holidays. Proceeds from the sale fund travel, accommodations, and meals for the distinguished guests.
Poinsettias are available for pre-purchase now through Friday, November 15 and will be available in the Middle/Upper School Library for immediate purchase and pick up Tuesday, December 3 through Friday, December 6.
Each poinsettia is $20 and may be reserved by completing the electronic order form or in the Middle/Upper School Library. Cash, check, or Book Bill charge are accepted.
Your support is most appreciated! Please contact Allyson Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 483-9108 with any questions. Thank you!
The annual tradition continues!
All 36 students in Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jane Mannock’s Intro to Psychology A course have been learning about child development, and last week they had helpers in Montessori so that theoretical content became live and engaging. After studying cognitive psychologist Jean Piaget and practicing on each other, Form 10-12 psych students used play-doh, stickers, puppets, and buttons in play activities with the preschoolers to fully understand the developmental milestones Piaget and others have written about. It’s hard to say who had the better time – the teenagers or the 3 and 4 year-old children.
On Halloween, the Upper School Math Madness team competed in the second qualifying round to make it into single elimination. Taking on a tough Saint Mark’s School team from Scarborough, Massachusetts, the Baron mathletes fell a little short, 35-26, but were back in action on November 7 against the Crean Lutheran High School Saints from Irvine, California. Leading up to both events, Karen J. & George C. Hixon Master Chair in Mathematics Jim Polito announced the team to the Upper School student body in true March Madness style. Check out the video (above) taken during Assembly as the rookie members of the SMH team were announced in style during Assembly a few weeks ago!
Members of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) shared the latest installment of Voices of Gratitude during Assembly on November 5. NEHS launched this initiative last year to help celebrate the many, and often small, kindnesses that we show one another, which make our community what we want it to be—full of loving, kind, and supportive Barons. Take a moment to browse through the Voices of Gratitude shared this fall.
On November 5, Dr. Buddy Swift (father of Brandon, Class of 2000, and Nikki, Class of 2005) came to talk to Upper School Math Teacher Jose Molina’s Principles of Finance and Investing classes about his experiences, not only creating the well-known Texas MedClinic, but also broadly as an entrepreneur and businessman. He detailed the vastly different times in which he began his business, as there were limited choices for what are now deemed “urgent care” facilities in 1982. In crafting their business model, Swift and his partners sought to shift from a doctor/hospital focus to a patient/customer focus, placing their locations in easily accessible spaces such as shopping centers, contributing to rapid embracement by the public. Dr. Swift also spoke to the importance of believing in yourself and your ideas, knowing you’ll be successful even if other people are hesitant. He went through this same dilemma in the start of his entrepreneurial venture, but continued to stay the course and developed the business into what it is today. In order to do so, Swift shared, it is crucial that we are involved in our world and know what’s going on, particularly how the public attitude changes, as these factors are integral for the success of any business. It was a pleasure to hear from Dr. Swift today, and his advice was important for any aspiring entrepreneur.
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.
This week we feature two teachers: Upper School Math Teacher Dr. Richard LeBlanc and Upper School English Teacher Brittany Wallace.
Upper School Math Teacher Richard (Doc) LeBlanc (Algebra II and Calculus III, and an occasional Directed Studies in Linear Algebra and/or Differential Equations) grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for his Bachelor of Science in Math and almost two minors in Geology and Philosophy. For graduate school, he attended University of Lousiana-Lafayette (a.k.a. “U La La” sometimes, but the school frowns on that moniker). At “U L,” Dr. LeBlanc got his Master of Science and Ph.D. in Math, then quickly joined the SMH community in 2014. Thus far, his favorite SMH memory has been the chance to teach directed studies in high-level math and the time two years ago when his Calculus III students held a gumbo party.
What those who don’t have the pleasure of eating lunch with Doc might not know about him is that his passion is traveling to new places to try different foods. For instance, he is quick to share that his favorite restaurant in Texas (that’s a pretty big area) is Vaudeville in Fredericksburg. The menu rotates, but Doc recommends the Chicken Confit Salad and the Venison Reuben. When he’s at SMH, his favorite SAGE Dining Service meal is the Coq au Vin. His favorite book is Hunger, by Knut Hamsun, (it’s about an artist who’s starving, but because he’s starving he can’t become a successful artist … remember, Doc almost got a minor in philosophy) and his dream car is … wait for it … a 1989 white Honda Civic Wagon. Didn't expect that, did you?
Upper School English Teacher Brittany Wallace lived several places while growing up, but feels like home is Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. She attended Pensacola Christian College (PCC) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Journalism. She stuck around PCC to get her master’s in secondary education, and a few years later - 2017 to be exact - she made her way to SMH. What you might not know about Brittany unless you were in her inner circle is that she’s very family-oriented. “Since my dad was an active duty Marine for 30 years, it was just the five of us,” meaning dad, mom, Brittany, and her two younger sisters. So far at SMH her favorite memory comes from her first year, “We had a snow day and I was caught off guard by how unusual that was for our students. They were all so excited!”
Brittany’s family is from the Bronx, so she cheers for the New York Giants, Knicks, and Nets. If she could trade teaching Form 9 and 10 students English, she’d love to be a travel writer blogging about all the places she got to go, starting with Africa. “I would go on a safari. I love elephants so much, but they’re being slaughtered.” One fun fact she chose to share was that her first car was a 2002 manual Ford Mustang. “It was white with a black racing stripe, but I didn’t think it was the best car to move across the country in, so I sold it.” I think we’re all regretting not seeing Brittany pull up in her hot rod each morning, but we’re also proud of her for never having gotten a ticket. (She asks that we all knock wood, please).
This first weekend in November, three students from Saint Mary’s Hall participated in the Region 12 Middle School Orchestra auditions.
Athena Sorenson (Form 7) was ranked 45 out of 110, just missing the cut off for the orchestra. George Braden (Form 7) was ranked 5th and will be sitting 1st violin 5th chair. Sofia Bishop (Form 8) was ranked 25 out of 75 and will be sitting 2nd violin 5th chair. The concert will take place the evening of Saturday, December 7 at 4pm at Reagan High School.
Form 6 students enjoy learning to design, build, program, and drive their EV-3 robots in Robotics/Computer Science/STEM Teacher Dr. Hong Zhou’s Introduction to Robotics class this year. Form 6 engineers learn to create a design from a working idea and then build it, program it, and test it out to see where they need to adjust their design or program. Students are currently working on building Sumobots, which will compete with each other within a circular board and try to push their opponent off the board. Like good engineers, students test and collaborate and redesign or program, helping each other improve their robots’ performances. Soon, the students will build their final designs and compete for the Sumobot championship!
Healthy decision-making is a skill one can use their entire lives. Health Educator Ami Teodosio led students in discussions and activities to steer away from risky behavior, such as taking illegal drugs and drinking underage. Form 6 compared making decisions with short term benefits vs. long term vision in mind. Given a fly swatter as a prop, they energetically created one minute skits on prescription drugs, alcohol, and vaping. Form 7 explored the role values play in the decision-making process. They whittled down their personal values and explored how those values impact their choices to avoid risky situations. Form 8 had candid discussions about how drugs have an impact on their current student life. Considering neuroscience, they explored how the brain uses emotions and rational thinking to make decisions. The Middle School students recognized that the school has done diligent work in presenting drugs in large scale Assemblies, Chapel, and Advisory. They appreciated the fact that they were able to have some “real talk” with fun activities in a small classroom setting as well.
This past weekend the Saint Mary's Hall Middle School Speech Team traveled to Klein Oak High School, just outside of Houston, to compete against 800 students from 20 teams from Houston, Austin, and Corpus Christi, in their final tournament of the semester. The team had seven event champions and won the highest award of the tournament: 1st place Sweepstakes (Tournament Champions). A huge thank you to James McGoon traveling with the team this weekend and helping with anything and everything the team needed.
Another big thank you to the following parents for providing a huge variety of snacks to keep the team energized throughout the tournament day: April Childs, Ekaterina Bieler, Beatriz Cardenas, Jill Cruz, Laillah Guice, Manju Gunuganti, Jody Lutz, Kate MacLachlan, Julie Nguyen, Flor Richards, Sara Simpson, and Nicole Stowers. Thank you to Middle School Social Studies Teacher Anne Allbritton, Middle School Math Teacher Stephen Hudson and Health Educator Ami Teodosio, who spent their weekends chaperoning the team. The team is so appreciative of all of your time and effort to make sure this trip happened and for providing support and help throughout the weekend!
The team had 57 semi-finalists. This was more than any other school. View the individual final round results.
The Middle School Community Service Council is partnering with Upper School Community Service next month to offer an exciting service opportunity to students and families! They will be hosting a water stop at the Rock and Roll Marathon on Sunday, December 8. Many volunteers are needed to help distribute water and cheer on runners in the very last mile of the race. Two shifts are available: 7:30am – 11:15am and 11am – 2:30pm. Please visit this Sign Up Genius link if you would like to join us! More information will be coming next week about parking and water stop location. Email Middle School Social Studies Teacher Anne Allbritton at email@example.com with any questions.
On October 31, the Middle School World Languages and Cultures students participated in their seventh annual World Languages and Cultures Day. The students researched and prepared presentations of one particular aspect of their area of studies. Their research included architecture and the arts, traditional foods, daily life, cultural celebrations, historical figures, and other aspects of the ancient Roman world and of French and Spanish speaking countries. Students also put together a 3D model to represent their research.
Students proudly displayed their finished products in the East and West Galleries of the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel, while parents, faculty, staff, and fellow students toured the exhibits. The celebration also included wonderful culinary treats that many amazing parents prepared for students, such as Roman Isicia Omentata (the original hamburger) and Psoai (pork in piquant sauce), delicious French crepes and éclairs, tamales, tasty campechanas, pan dulce, and more. Thank you so much to all who participated and congratulations to these students for all of their work to prepare for this event!
On November 1, students throughout the Middle School attended a Movie Night sponsored by the Sports Council. Students watched Mulan, chowed down on pizza and Halloween candy, and participated in a spaghetti squash decorating competition (it turns out that stores stop selling pumpkins on October 30). Prizes were awarded to the top three squash creations and all were put on display in Middle School Social Studies Teacher Brian Fleming’s classroom! Be sure to join them for the next movie night in the New Year!
Form 6 headed out for a day of hiking and geology at Enchanted Rock. With Middle School Science Teacher Mary Poarch, Instructional Technology Coordinator Matt Montez, and Upper School Science Teacher Brian Kaestner, students learned everything from the history of the formation of Enchanted Rock to Vesper Pools, Hoodoos, and xenomorphs!
As Form 5 students concluded the social studies unit on “Reasons Explorers Came to the New World,” students learned the job of archaeologist is much harder than one would think!
Working in small groups, they examined replicas of artifacts found in early colonial times and collected information about where it was found (on a grid), its material composition, made a guess about its function, and then tried to predict what it was used for. Occasionally students were able to not only determine its real use, but also find out how challenging this work is. Some of the artifacts examined were a wig roller, a shoe buckle, a sugar cone, clay marbles, nails, a “twig” which was often used as a toothbrush, and pieces of eight (Spanish coins.)
Form 5 students had a great time participating in team building activities at T Bar M. During the morning, students played different games with their counselors that encouraged them to work together as a group. After lunch the students headed out to the ropes course. Form 5 Teacher Claire Damarodas said, “Not timid, our students exhibited their courage and confidence as they attempted to do a number of challenging tasks. Just ask them about: the SCREAM! The zip line! The LEAP of FAITH! I have to say they amazed us with their desire to participate, not just sit back and watch. And … they always encouraged one another to not give up, but believe in what they could accomplish!”
YBIC - Family Service Day at the San Antonio Food Bank Urban Farms
The Young Barons in Community (YBIC) volunteered their time and hard work to help the Food Bank! On November 2, a total of 50 Lower School volunteers and their families worked at the Food Bank Urban Farms picking butternut, spaghetti, and tomato squash. They filled up the back of a flatbed truck! This produce is used to nourish the hungry in our community. Thank you YBIC! You make a difference!
Form 5 - YBIC Service Project
The Form 5 students showed their support to Serna Elementary School by putting together 500 prize bags for Serna's Fall Festival. Thanks to our families in the Lower School, this is the third year that Serna is able to give prizes during their carnival.
Thank you Young Barons in Community! Be Kind. Be Proud. Be YBIC.
YBIC Coat Drive
Last Monday, Form 5 students arrived at school to find their math classroom transformed into a hospital. Five operating rooms contained the details about the patients in need of care and the fraction tasks that needed to be completed in order to save the patients! Students scrubbed in for their surgeries with hospital badges (which for many students included their parents’ specializations), caps, masks, gloves, and shoe covers. Students practiced adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators, ordering fractions with unlike denominators, solving multi-step fraction and mixed number word problems, and solving various fraction concept problems. Thankfully, all patients were saved, and the Form 5 students were highly engaged in their fraction review. Clara Wallisch said, “It actually felt like a real hospital!” JP El Hajj Moussa said, “Room transformations help me remember what we are learning.” Max Elmendorf said, “Room transformations transform our room into fun and challenging experiences!”
“Experiential” and “inquiry-based” learning has been in full force in Kindergarten science! Lower School Science Teacher Bitsy Mayberry shared her enthusiasm for the fun Halloween-themed book, Room on the Broom, and how its story inspired her to bring the “magic” of the engineering design process to the laboratory. Click on the Book Creator app link below to see videos and pictures of Kindergarten teacher Jenny Graf’s students working hard as engineers creating their own brooms out of straws, clothespins, tape, and pine needles strong enough to support cutout paper characters from the book. Finding “room on the broom” made for a fun and exciting science challenge with Mrs. Mayberry! Thank you to Kindergarten Assistant Teacher Amy Whittington for creating the digital book to share, Room on the Broom Engineering Lab with Mrs. Mayberry.
Form 1 Teacher Cathy Canipe’s class enjoyed learning about measuring the height, weight, and circumference of pumpkins on Halloween. The students estimated and counted seeds and then got to carve the pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. According to Ms. Canipe, Halloween math was a blast and the parent volunteers were the best!
The Lower School Choir sang, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” at the San Antonio Spurs game on November 3, and, as always, did an outstanding job!
Stay tuned for information about the Lower School Winter Book Fair on December 2-6. All proceeds for the book fair support the amazing authors, illustrators, and photographers that visit the Lower School students each year.
Tobin Fine Arts School
This upcoming week is packed with the exciting Fine Arts events consisting of the Lower School Art Night, the Transformations exhibition and reception, and the Middle School Drama production.
Details about all the events are below. In addition, our Forms 3 and 4 students are busy getting ready for their musical, Willy Wonka KIDS, directed by Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood, with musical direction by Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine. Performances will be held on Thursday, November 21 at 9:30am and 2pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. The performances are free and open to the public.
We hope you will be able to join us!
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
Film students who participated in the All-American High School Film Festival earlier this semester in New York City, recently found out they have been nominated for the Best 3-Day Complete Experience Film at the festival. Students honored are:
- Peter Beaudette (Form 11)
- Alex Glast (Form 10)
- Wilson Jones (Form 12)
- Emi Kosterlitzky (Form 10)
- Maggie Leavitt (Form 11)
- Sofia Mauri (Form 10)
- Bella Muñoz (Form 10)
- Isabella Sanchez (Form 12)
- Edward Snyder (Form 10)
- Natalia Zambrano (Form 12)
On November 8 and 9, a total of 31 members of the SMH Speech and Debate Team competed at the Fourth Annual “Champion Way” Tournament at Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School. We are pleased to share that SMH took home the 2nd Place Speech and Debate Sweepstakes Award!
See the Middle School section of News From the Hall to read about the amazing success of the Middle School Speech Team!
Individual results for Upper School are as follows:
- Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking
- Tournament Champion – Anish Beeram (Form 9)
- 2nd – Penelope Luna (Form 10)
- 3rd – Anna Albrecht (Form 9)
- Semifinalists – Lance Berryman (Form 10), Luz Elena Chapa (Form 9), Leah Gomez (Form 11), Cardo Gutierrez (Form 12), Nitya Patel (Form 10), Isabel Hackney (Form 11)
- Impromptu Speaking
- Tournament Champion – Anish Beeram (Form 9)
- 3rd – Isabel Hackney (Form 11)
- 4th – Penelope Luna (Form 10)
- 5th – Nitya Patel (Form 10)
- 6th – Margaret Esquinca-Moreno (Form 11)
- Original Oratory
- Tournament Champion – Leah Gomez (Form 11)
- 3rd – Marguerite Morgan (Form 12)
- 4th – Lara Weissmann (Form 10)
- Semifinalists – Alexis Aguallo (Form 11), Margaret Esquinca-Moreno (Form 11)
- Informative Speaking
- Tournament Champion – Jay Paliwal (Form 12)
- 4th – Caroline Largoza (Form 12)
- 6th – Bernardo Serra-Franco (Form 11)
- Dramatic Interpretation
- Tournament Champion – Jack Rykert (Form 9)
- 3rd – Adele Davidson (Form 9)
- Semifinalist – Lainey Hopkins (Form 9)
- Humorous Interpretation
- 3rd – Grace Ogden (Form 9)
- 4th – William Herff (Form 10)
- 6th – Ben Cruz (Form 9)
- Congressional Debate
- 5th – Anna Albrecht (Form 9)
- Finalist – Luz Elena Chapa (Form 9)
- Finalist – Anish Beeram (Form 9)
- Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking
- Semifinalists – Margaret Esquinca-Moreno (Form 11), Jay Paliwal (Form 12), Yash Pamar (Form 12), Peyton Randolph (Form 10)
- Novice Extemporaneous Speaking
- Semifinalists – Jack Archer (Form 10), Rob Pena (Form 10)
Saint Mary’s Hall will present Transformations, an all-school art exhibition featuring work of students in Forms 1-12. Opening Night Reception will be held at 6:15pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. A Forms 1-2 Art Open House immediately precedes the Transformations exhibition in the Lower School Art Room.
Please join SMH for a collection of hilarious one-act plays starring our Middle School actors in Middle School Comedy Madness! Performances are Wednesday, November 13 at 4pm and Thursday, November 14 at 6pm in the Remmert Theater. Tickets are not required for Wednesday’s performance. General admission tickets for Thursday's show are available online at www.smhall.org/fineartstickets or at the door.
The plays and their casts are as follows:
- Thank You So Much For Stopping, by Halley Feiffer
- Ashleigh Sophie Holder
- Check, Please, by Jonathan Rand
- Girl Campbell Cage
- Guy Axel Morgan
- Louis Nicholas Morgan
- Ken Sani Karkar
- Mark Ryan Spicer
- Tod Sohan Bhakta
- Manny Sani Karkar
- Melanie Kathryn Tubb
- Mary Lily Kelly
- Pearl Caroline Archer
- Sophie Kathryn Tubb
- “Brandon” Anna Hurd
- Linda Juliet Parkhurst
- Mimi Bianca Rodriguez
- Miss You, by David Auburn
- Man 1 Sohan Bhakta
- Woman 1 Anna Holder
- Man 2 Henry Ames
- Woman 2 Sophia Rincon
- Controlling Interest, by Wayne Rawley
- Jack Luke Garcia
- Brad Nicholas Morgan
- Steven Ryan Spicer
- David Henry Ames
- Ashley Amruta Patel
- Bethany Lily Kelly
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 men’s varsity basketball team took to Laredo for the Patrick H. Alexander Jr. Basketball Showcase to start the season.
The tournament offered some of the best private school talent in the State of Texas, and the Barons did not disappoint.
The Barons got off to a slow start against a very good TAPPS/SPC 6A #9 ranked Midland Christian with an early 18-9 deficit at the end of the 1st quarter. The Barons battled back to get within striking distance several times, but could not overcome the early deficit. Seniors Max Terry, Dane Huggins, and Avery Eugster led the scoring for the Barons.
The second game of the weekend brought on perennial powerhouse Westbury Christian. The Barons took an early lead and never looked back against TAPPS 5A #1 state-ranked Westbury Christian. The Barons controlled the game from start to finish and came away with a solid 89-77 victory. Max surpassed a career milestone by scoring his 1,000th point.
The third and final game of the week brought on another strong program with Concordia Lutheran. Another slow start hindered the Barons early against TAPPS/SPC 6A #4 ranked Concordia Lutheran. The Barons came roaring back, however, to take a halftime lead. The Barons clung to a small lead midway through the 4th quarter, but they were unable to hang on down the stretch to seal the victory. Scoring was led by seniors Avery, Ben Eugster, and Max.
The team looks to carry the momentum of the strong weekend into their next game against FEAST on Tuesday, November 12 at 7pm in the Booke Family Gym.
The women’s varsity soccer team kicked off their season with a powerful performance against The Atonement Academy. The Barons were in complete control of the match from the first whistle, turning in a final score victory on 9-0.
Scoring came from multiple players, as the team spread the wealth against the Crusaders. Sophomores Hunter Hoelscher and Trianne Cooper led the scoring onslaught with two goals each. Seniors Caroline Largoza, Sloane Basse, Claudia Danysh, junior Chelsea Huffman, and sophomore Georgia Kemmet each added a goal of their own. The shutout was a joint effort from senior Isabella Sanchez and freshman Ellen Meltzer.
The junior varsity team carried on the success over The Atonement Academy with a 5-4 victory. Sophomore Katherine Drawert started the scoring run just 12 minutes into the game, followed by a quick score from senior Melena Nikmaram. Drawert added one more and the half finished 3-3. Katherine and Melena each scored in the second period, SMH going up 5-3. Atonement pushed everyone forward for the last five minutes and, despite multiple saves from freshman keeper Ellen Meltzer, Atonement scored with one minute remaining to make it 5-4. With 30 seconds left, the Atonement attacked, launching a long shot from 30 yards, but Meltzer tipped the final shot over the ball as the whistle blew to end the period. The team takes back to the field on Friday, November 15 at 4:30pm against St. Stephen’s.
High School athletic careers are often bookmarked by big team victories, individual efforts, and personal highlights. Senior Max Terry can add another to his personal resume. On November 2 against Westbury Christian, Max scored his 1,000th career point. Marking a major milestone in any basketball career.
Congratulations Max! The Athletics Department is proud of your hard work and dedication to your craft. The 1,000th-point milestone is much deserved.
Sophomores Ethan Doehler and Kirsten Schlort took to the NEISD swim complex to participate in the Battle for the Crown last weekend. Ethan was able to take 1st place in the 100 Fly and 100 Backstroke, with Kirsten capturing 1st place in the 200 Free and 100 Backstroke. Congratulations to the Barons meet champions!
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As is our tradition, Chapels began with a call and response from Psalm 118: 24 – “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
As Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas (ChapSu) will tell you, there is nothing like hearing hundreds of student voices shouting “let us rejoice” to get your Monday morning off to a great start.
On November 4, the cute animal photo of the week was the Upper School armadillo. For the lesson, students focused on the topic of “Why How We Treat Others is Important.” ChapSu used every day examples from the classroom and campus to illustrate how respect and common kindness create a good learning environment, help students stay healthy and create the conditions by which they can work together to get things done. She demonstrated that treating others as you would wish to be treated and to not harm others is a common human value across many cultures and religions. ChapSu shared with students that they can even go one step further than the Golden Rule by taking the time to know each other and make sure they are treating people the way they wish to be treated. This is important because sometimes they may unintentionally upset their classmates because they want different things. For example, some people are huggers and others are not. ChapSu shared some life wisdom by Lolly Daskal (see the presentation) emphasizing that if they approach each person they meet with openness and respect, they have the opportunity to be blessed in ways that may surprise them. Students ended Chapel with the Lower School prayer.
- November 11
- All divisions will have a special Veterans Day Chapel program. Rear Admiral A.B. Cruz III, U.S. Navy (retired), an SMH parent and Board member, will be our guest speaker at Middle and Upper School Chapels.
- December 2
- All divisions will learn about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Rabbi Ben Richards of the Agudas Achim synagogue will speak at Middle and Upper School Chapels.
- December 9
- All divisions will learn about the Christian season of Advent. Father Ram Lopez, Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church and School, will speak at Middle and Upper School Chapels.
- December 16
- In Lower School, students will hear a traditional Christmas story, scripture, and song.
- In Middle and Upper School Chapels, ChapSu will lead a traditional Christian Lessons and Carols service. All students are welcome to attend. However, SMH will offer an alternative Chapel on the subject of hope, led by faculty members, for those children whose parents request they be excused from regular Chapel. Further information will be provided in December.
Please contact Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the beginning of the school year, ChapSu asked students and faculty how they would like to use their Chapel time. One request was to learn more about the Holocaust. On November 4, Middle and Upper School students were fortunate to meet Julie Tzucker, M. Ed., the education coordinator for the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio. In Upper School Chapel, Form 11 student and Bishops Chapel Society member Leah Gomez led the Psalm and introduced Mrs. Tzucker. Mrs. Tzucker gave an engaging and important talk about the conditions in Germany that allowed the Nazis to take power and bring the Holocaust about. Carefully laying out the incremental steps that saw the Jews lose their rights, their homes, their freedom and, for many, their lives, Julie highlighted the systematic abuses of the Nazi Reich. She described situations where some survivors lost their faith in the death camps, while many credited their faith with saving their lives. She also pointed out the many ways that people responded with resilience and courage in the face of persecution.
While on campus, Julie donated two sets of four outstanding resources on the Holocaust to the Middle/Upper School Library, one of which documents the stories of local survivors. The books and videos will support the SMH Social Studies Department and students interested in researching this topic. Upper School Social Studies Teacher Hillary Relyea Gerdts is teaching a course on the Holocaust this semester, which has captured student interest and has them working hard to understand this complex history.
For more information on the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio (HMMSA), please see the information below.
The HMMSA educates about the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy, and promotes good citizenship, democratic values, and respect for human dignity. They do this in memory of the six million Jews and other innocent victims of the Holocaust.
HMMSA is located at 12500 NW Military Highway inside the campus of the Jewish Community, and the museum is open from 9am - 3pm Monday - Friday and 1pm - 4pm on Sunday afternoons. They welcome visitors free of charge, and docent-led tours may be scheduled for groups of 20 or more. They offer resources for schools and teachers, including professional development workshops and educational trunks. Please visit their web site at hmmsa.org or call (210) 302-6807 for more information.
Healthy at the Hall
Halloween in the Lower School was fun, relaxing, and community building.
Parties underscored the benefit of taking time to have fun, play games, and enjoy time with friends and family. Smiles were everywhere as students engaged in creative, competitive, and innovative activities. Middle School students were chased by their teachers in zombie tag which allowed opportunities for all to have fun and be silly! While Halloween represents a unique opportunity to have fun and be with friends and family, the same spirit of play, creativity, and being silly can be recreated any day of the year. It is incumbent upon parents, teachers, administrators, and students to come together regularly to have fun. Find 30 minutes each week to try this at home with a board game, baking, or creating something as a family.
The SMH Young Liberals Club, advised by Debate Teacher Colin Malinak, earned just under $3,000 for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The AFSP seeks to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025. The event was moving, sad, inspirational, and painfully relevant to the SMH community. Suicide is on the rise among pre-teens, teens, and young adults in the United States (ages 10-24). This is a preventable issue that we endeavor to address institutionally and throughout San Antonio. Thank you to Mr. Malinak and the SMH Young Liberals who contributed significantly to suicide prevention on November 3.
Another way to spend time as a family or as a community is to host a film screening of the movie LIKE at home. Please be on the lookout for an email soon on the details around hosting an at-home screening movie about the impact of social media on society.
Healthy decision-making is a skill one can use their entire lives. Health Educator Ami Teodosio led students in discussions and activities to steer away from risky behavior, such as taking illegal drugs and drinking underage.
Form 6 compared making decisions with short-term benefits versus long-term vision in mind. Given a fly swatter as a prop, they energetically created one-minute skits on prescription drugs, alcohol, and vaping.
Form 7 explored the role values play in the decision-making process. They whittled down their personal values and explored how those values impact their choices to avoid risky situations.
Form 8 had candid discussions about how drugs have an impact on their current student life. Considering neuroscience, they explored how the brain uses emotions and rational thinking to make decisions.
The Middle School students recognized that the school has done diligent work in presenting drug issues in large-scale Assemblies, Chapel, and Advisory. They appreciated the fact that they were able to have some “real talk” with fun activities in a small classroom setting as well.