NFTH: November 18, 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
From the Head of School
Dear Saint Mary's Hall Community,
"Adulting" Workshops for Our Seniors
Our mission statement is to prepare our students for success in college and fulfillment in life. We take the fulfillment in life piece seriously, and, under the leadership of Upper School Counselor Liz Clark, this year we have launched inaugural “adulting” classes to help prepare our students for life beyond their parents’ immediate guidance and beyond the traditional Saint Mary’s Hall curriculum. On November 13, seniors were able to take one of three workshops:
- General Car Maintenance, taught by Upper School Science Teacher Brian Kaestner, Associate Director of Admission Mark Remington, and Upper School Math Teacher Richard LeBlanc
- Classic Country Two-Step and Country Line Dancing, taught by Upper School English Teacher Breanne Hicks
- How To Grill, taught by Upper School English Teacher Ben Gerdts, Middle School Art Teacher BJ Pyrc, and Athletic Trainer Phil Rogers
The workshops were a definitive hit and were a welcome break from the regular curriculum. In addition, knowing how to fix a car, country line dance, and grill are skills for a successful, fulfilling life! Ask me sometime to tell you the pitiful story of experiencing a tire blowout when I was 16 years old and was almost three hours from home … and I had no idea how to change a tire. If I’d gone to Saint Mary’s Hall, I would have known what to do! Senior Nikki Curry said of the Car Maintenance workshop, “I really enjoyed the Adulting workshops. I think they're really informative and should take place more often. I learned so much about how to do monthly checkups on my car in that short amount of time,” while fellow senior Molly Byrd said of her time country line dancing, “I loved learning how to line dance with Ms. Hicks. It was a great way to take my mind off of school and learn something that we can use in the future, but in a fun way!”
Seniors are looking forward to the next round of “adulting” workshops, and potential offerings for next semester may include the following topics:
- Practical Matters (laundry, sewing a button, registering to vote, jury duty, grocery shopping, living independently, etc.)
- Digital Safety
- Creating a Budget, Paying Bills, Credit Cards, Taxes, Loans, and Principals of Personal Finance
- Safety Around Alcohol
- How To Prepare a Meal
- Recognizing When to Go to the Doctor
- And more!
We love our classic liberal arts education at Saint Mary’s Hall. Cheers to continued learning … of all types!
Head of School
It’s Time For the SMH Issues Day 2020 Poinsettia Sale!
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!
Online Yard Signs Orders
Saint Mary's Hall is thrilled to announce that yard signs are available for sale. Yard signs are a great way to show support for the school, a specific student, a specific student activity, or all of the above.
These signs are for any SMH fan, including all athletics parents (not just varsity athletes). Display your sign with pride!
- Price: $15 for Generic, $20 for Personalized
- Payment: cash or check to Athletic Operations Administrator Tammie Patino to ensure order is placed
- Orders due: November 22, 2019 at 12pm
- Orders will be available for pickup in the athletic offices.
Upcoming Community Service Projects — Volunteers Needed!
River Parade/Wounded Warrior Project – Friday, November 29
SMH organizes this event together with Wounded Warrior Project to help veterans in our community enjoy the Holiday River Parade and celebrate Thanksgiving.
We're looking for 28 volunteers to set up, serve dinner, and to accompany veterans to watch the parade. Volunteers can earn up to eight hours of community service.
Beyond the benefit of serving our veterans, volunteers get to enjoy the Holiday River Parade in downtown San Antonio from the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.
Transportation will be provided to and from the event for SMH volunteers.
Departure from the Upper School circle is at 3pm. The return time to SMH will be approximately 10pm.
Please click this link to volunteer.
Questions? Please contact Community Service Director Upper School Spanish Teacher Elsa Tonone de Sala at email@example.com.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – Sunday, December 8 (Open to Upper and Middle School Students)
The Middle and Upper School Community Service Councils are partnering together next month to offer an exciting service opportunity to students and families! SMH will be hosting a water stop at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Many volunteers are needed to help distribute water and cheer on the runners for 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 SMH for this great cause! More information will be coming soon about parking and the water stop location.
Questions? Please contact Community Service Director and Upper School Spanish Teacher Elsa Tonone de Sala at firstname.lastname@example.org
SMH JV Bowling Teams Take to the Lanes
The SMH boys and girls junior varsity bowling Barons were pitted against one another during the first competitive matchup of the season. When Head of Upper School Brent Spicer asked Club Sponsor and Upper School Math Teacher Jose Molina who won, he got this reply: “You know Mr. Spicer, it’s not all about winning. But the girls did better than the guys.” Congratulations to the girls and best of luck to all Baron bowlers this season. Varsity contests begin in December.
SMH Marketing Director Speaks to Students
SMH Director of Marketing and Communications Liz Thompson spoke to Upper School Math Teacher Jose Molina’s Principles of Finance and Investing classes on November 13. Ms. Thompson presented on the basics of marketing, creating and sustaining a brand, and the function and efforts of the SMH Marketing and Communications Department in marketing our school.
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.
Math Madness Update
On November 7, a total of 21 students competed in the Math Madness competition. The high scorers were seniors Shane Rybacki, John Bourland, Drew Stewart, and Ana Lacau; and sophomores Matthew Averyt, Leo Schoenbrun, and Katherine Drawert. The cheerleaders came and performed a cheer for the SMH team. SMH defeated Crean Lutheran High School from Irvine, California, 24-22 in a close match.
Competition continued last week against Tenafly High School from Tenafly, New Jersey. In this match, SMH was a distinct underdog. Results will be shared soon, once Tenafly’s team members compete.
Meanwhile, please congratulate John, Shane, Drew, Caleb Miller (Form 12), and Ana, who are ranked in the upper 50% of all students participating in Math Madness across the country.
Form 10 Wall of Sonnets
This semester, the sophomores in Upper School English Teachers Amy Williams-Eddy’s and Brittany Wallace’s Survey of British Literature and World Drama classes have studied the sonnet form and its variations from the Renaissance. Working individually and in pairs, students learned what it was like to be a writer and creator. Students were instructed to write a sonnet following one of the three forms that they have studied, including Italian, English, or Spenserian. They were then required to build images around a theme or construct a central metaphor or conceit. Many of the students’ creations were displayed along the wall in the upper level of the Marrs and Verna McLean Library Complex.
Peter Holt Speaks to Students (By Form 12 Student Hunter Allen)
Peter Holt (Class of 2005), gave Upper School Math Teacher Jose Molina’s Principles of Finance and Investing class a talk during lunch on November 15. During his talk, he covered what his business, Holt Cat, deals with in terms of construction equipment and technology rents, leases, and services. In addition, being the majority owner and chairman of the Spurs, he gave insight onto his powers with the team and how it runs. Finally, he described his investment firm, detailing the specific companies he looks for and the qualities that he targets in a business. He even answered questions on the state of San Antonio’s educational system, the economy, and the future of technology affecting society.
Middle School Students Celebrate National French Week
Middle School French students began national French Week on November 4 by receiving letters and small trinkets from their French pen pals who live in Saint Chély D’Apcher, France.
Middle/Upper School World Languages Teacher Kristen Villalvazo’s students wrote back to their pen pals and included some fun American Christmas decorations and pictures. They played a game of Francophone culture, Kahoot, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. On Tuesday of that week, students practiced singing the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” as well as watching a slideshow presentation of the Upper School trip to France in the summer of 2019. Students enjoyed seeing their siblings with their friends on their adventures in Paris and Aix-en-Provence.
The Middle School students are already anticipating a summer trip to France when they are in Upper School. On Wednesday, they learned about the famous French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire, and students created their own “calligramme” poems. They also inducted seven new members into the French National Junior Honor Society. The French National Junior Honor Society (Jeunes Amis du Français) recognizes outstanding students in the study of French. Chapter membership at Saint Mary’s Hall not only recognizes students for their accomplishments but also challenges them to develop further leadership skills through active involvement in school activities and community service projects. Congratulations to the following Form 7 French National Junior Honor Society inductees:
- Julia Carter
- Lilla Eades
- Teagan Kaase
- Mason Schuster
- Isa Serna
- Iris Underwood
- Raquel Vildosola
On Thursday, students hosted the annual crêpe and hot chocolate sale run by Form 8 French students. This year, enough funds were earned to send nine disadvantaged children to the State Primary School in Haiti. Without this generous donation, these children would not be able to attend school. On Friday, the Form 5 students participated in a French culture trivia quiz hosted by Form 7 students. They ended the week by singing “La Marseillaise” at lunch and sharing a bit of French culture with classmates and faculty.
Special Guest in Form 6 English
Form 6 English had a special guest lecturer this week. Head of School Jonathan Eades captivated Form 6 English Teacher Deborah McInerney’s students with a lesson on the Vietnam War, giving students much needed contextual knowledge as they begin reading the novel, The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt, which has the Vietnam War as an important backdrop. While the students are quite familiar with Mr. Eades as their head administrator, they learned that he is also a passionate and dynamic history teacher. Thank you, Mr. Eades!
Attendance Reminder from the Middle School Office
We have been experiencing some inclement weather and quite a few traffic accidents in the morning, preventing some of our students from arriving on time. Please note that students are not to go directly to class, even if they arrive during a passing period. When arriving late, please remember the following from page 21 of the 2019-2020 Student-Parent Handbook:
- Students arriving late to school should:
- Immediately bring a note to the Middle School Office or ask a parent to call explaining the tardiness (traffic would only count if there are major wrecks or traffic tie-ups reported).
- Sign in at the Middle School Office noting the time and nature of their late arrival.
- Obtain a tardy slip from the administrative assistant to turn in to the teacher for whom the student has been tardy. Repeated tardiness will be addressed by the assistant head of middle school.
Save the Date! Middle School Fall Dance
Middle School Fall Sports Awards
On November 13 during Assembly, the Athletics Department took time to honor the fall middle school teams and top performers as nominated by their coaches. View a list of the award winners and congratulate the special awards winners from each team.
Pajama Drive for Serna Elementary School
More than 80% of the students at Serna Elementary are transient, meaning they often are homeless or moving between residences and do not have a stable home environment. The SMH Middle School is collecting new pajamas, children’s 2-piece pajama sets, sizes 6 through 14, boys and girls. These pajamas will be wrapped and given to the Serna students as holiday presents. Often, these warm pajamas for the winter will be the only present these students receive. The goal is to collect enough pajamas for every Serna student. Students may drop off their donations to either Middle School Form 7 Math Teacher Steve Hudson or to Middle School Spanish Teacher Lourdes Saks. Bennett and Bailey points will be awarded, and students who donate will enjoy an Out-of-Uniform Day in December. Students who donate two pajamas will also receive a coupon for a free ice cream treat at the Middle School dance. A huge thank you in advance to a very generous Saint Mary’s Hall Middle School family!
Important Dates to Remember
- Form 8 Field Trip to Lost Maples, Wednesday, November 20
- Middle School Out of Uniform on Thursday, November 21. Wear your SMH school or SMH sports gear
Christian Albrecht Joins Coaching Staff for a Day
Parent support of last year’s Passport 2019: Ignite! continues to provide fun opportunities for students this year. Form 4 student Christian Albrecht’s parents won the bid for Christian to be on the Lower School Physical Education staff for a day. Christian conducted PE classes from the Montessori level through Form 5.
Associate Athletic Director Katrina Benoist said, “Christian did a great job conducting Lower School PE classes. I think the students enjoyed their 'guest' coach, and we really enjoyed having him teach with us for the day.” Check out Christian’s busy day in the iMovie (right) Coach Benoist made of the day’s activities.
Form 1 Turkey Projects
Creativity at its best can be seen in the Form 1 hallway. As part of a family project, each student created a turkey with his/her family. The turkeys were decorated in any way the student chose. It was a fun time for all involved.
Art Night Enjoyed by Students and Parents
Forms 1 and 2 Art Night was a great success. Students were able to share their artwork with parents and enjoy the beautiful work of others. Thank you Lower School Art Teacher Kellen Stanley, students, and parents who participated.
Form 4 Biomes in the Lower School Library
The Form 4 students studied all of the biomes of the world, created an Explain Everything show, and then prepared a physical biome to demonstrate their knowledge. They then presented their expert knowledge to the class. Form 4 students’ biome projects are currently featured in the Lower School Library.
Helpful Parenting Articles
Here some articles about parenting you may find helpful:
Dressing Appropriately for Recess
Recess is an important time in the Lower School. In winter conditions, children should always have appropriate outerwear, such as a winter coat, hat and gloves. Please be sure and label all pieces of outerwear with the student’s name.
Here are the weather guidelines established for the Lower School based on temperature/wind chill:
- 40 Degrees or Above
- Regular outdoor play
- 35 to 40 degrees
- Maximum of 15 to 20 minutes outdoor play
- 34 degrees or less
- No outdoor play
It’s a Beautiful Day in Lower School
On November 13, many Lower School faculty members wore cardigan sweaters in honor of the National Day of Kindness and Fred Rogers who promoted kindness throughout his life, especially to children.
Form 3 Math-terpieces on Display
While working on a unit that reviewed addition and subtraction, Form 3 students used their subtraction skills to create their own “Math-terpieces” of The Milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer. First, students solved 20 subtraction problems. On another piece of paper, pieces of the famous painting were divided into squares and mixed up. Students had to match the answers from the problems to the numbers on the squares and glue each one over the problem. If done correctly, the students were able to recreate The Milkmaid. The students’ recreations are hanging in the Form 3 hallway.
Tradition of Giving Continues
During classroom guidance with Lower School Counselor Susan Moore-Sickmann, students in Forms 1-5 made Thanksgiving cards for the patients at the Northeast Baptist Hospital. The students carefully drew and colored the cards before signing them “from a Saint Mary’s Hall Student.” This year, students in Forms 3-5 were able to finish younger students’ cards, as well as some of their classmates’ cards. This has become a tradition spanning more than 20 years for Lower School students, and it is a great way to give back to the San Antonio community while enjoying time with the school community. While working on cards, students shared for what they were grateful. The answers included families, teachers, school, homes, pets, air to breathe, and life itself.
News from the Lower School Library
The annual Winter Book Fair is December 2-6, right after the Thanksgiving holiday. Lower School Librarian/Instructional Technologist Linda Wells and Lower School Library Associate Angie Veale are seeking parent volunteers to help decorate the library for a magical Winter Wonderland on Monday, December 2 at 8am. Volunteers are also needed during the days and on Wednesday night for the late shopping evening. Please help support the Lower School Library! Contact Mrs. Wells if you are interested in volunteering at email@example.com.
Tobin Fine Arts School
The holidays are upon us and there is no better place to celebrate holiday cheer with your friends and family than at one of our upcoming winter Fine Arts events!
The season starts right after break with the Middle and Upper School Winter Concerts, followed up by the Creative Writing & Studio Art Coffee House, the Children’s Choir & Orff Ensemble Winter Concert, and the Montessori-Kindergarten Music Concert. We know you will want to mark your calendars for all the excitement, so we have included all the details right here for your convenience.
December Fine Arts Events
All events are in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel unless indicated otherwise:
- Wednesday, December 4
- 6pm – Middle School Winter Music Concert*
- 7pm – Upper School Winter Music Concert*
- Wednesday, December 11
- 5:30pm to 7pm – Creative Writing & Studio Art Coffee House, Middle/Upper School Library
- Friday, December 13
- 8:15am and 6 pm* – Children’s Choir & Orff Ensemble Concert “Joyful, Merry & Bright”
- Friday, December 20
- 9:30am – Montessori-Kindergarten Music Concert
Tickets required for select performances (*) and can be purchased at www.smhall.org/fineartstickets
The Fine Arts faculty and staff wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving and we look forward to having you at our festival holiday events after the break!
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
On November 9, Leah Dooling (Form 10) spent the morning auditioning for the Region Philharmonic Orchestra, and was accepted, placing 10th out of more than 60 cellos that auditioned. In addition, Matthew Averyt (Form 10) and Javier Hernandez (Form 12) were both accepted into All-State Orchestra. Thousands of students across the State of Texas audition for this achievement. Matthew earned 13th overall in cello in the entire state, while Javier placed 33rd on bass. Shane Rybacki (Form 12), Dylan Rybacki (Form 9), and Victoria Kim (Form 12) also performed exceptionally well at their auditions. Please congratulate these students when you see them!
Sophomore Honored for Dance
Form 10 student Sofia Zavala received the “Jenny’s Piece” Award for her work on the piece in the recent production of Kaleidoscope. Guest artist Justin Tornnow selected Sofia for this honor after the rehearsals last month. Congratulations Sofia!
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!
Men’s Soccer Starts the Season Off Hot
Men’s varsity soccer took to the home pitch for their second game of the season Tuesday night in a non-district match-up with The Atonement Academy.
The cold weather did not slow the team down as they were able to capture the victory by a score of 7-0.
The scoring was started early as junior Taylor Wyatt and senior JD Walls both scored in the first 10 minutes of the match, putting the Barons ahead 2-0. Taylor added his second goal in the 58th minute, putting the team up 3-0 heading into the half. JD added his second goal of the night shortly after the half, with additional goals by freshmen Ty Komatsu and seniors Rylan Schendel and Javier Hernandez. Goalkeeper David Flores recorded five saves in the shutout victory.
Middle School Spotlight
Middle School Winter Sports Kicks Off with Multiple Victories
Boys’ soccer kicked of their season with a nail-biting finish against Geneva School of Boerne. Geneva jumped out to an early lead scoring within minutes of the opening whistle. The Barons battled through the wind and over-sized opponents to ultimately be rewarded with a last second goal ending the game in a 1-1 tie.
Form 8 goalkeeper Bardia Mizani recorded double-digit saves while Justus Kleberg (Form 7) and Landon Stowers (Form 7) established themselves as the backbone of the defense. The lone goal was scored with only seconds left in the game by Marco Watson (Form 6).
Middle School girls’ soccer battled hard in their season opener last Monday night, losing a tough matchup against Geneva School of Boerne, 3-4. The girls were down 2-0 and 4-2 during the game, but kept battling to the final whistle.
Form 7 midfielder Greer Kemmet scored all three goals in the game for the Barons, each one a shot from outside the 18-yard box. Team captain Izzy See (Form 8) was a dominating force in the defense.
Head Coach Trevor Docwra on the performance: “I am so proud of how the girls kept encouraging each other and cheering on the team, and giving everything they had on the field, despite the temperature being in the 30’s with high winds at kickoff.”
Other Scores from the Week
- Girls’ Basketball – SMH 17 – Concordia Lutheran 13
- Boys’ A Basketball – SMH 29 – Concordia Lutheran 47
- Boys’ B Basketball – SMH 29 – Concordia Lutheran 22
Women’s Basketball Takes Down Cross-Town Rival
The women’s varsity basketball team took the short drive across the city to play cross-town rivals TMI Episcopal last Tuesday night. In what is always a fierce battle, the Barons were able to jump ahead early and hold on for the victory. Scoring was senior Ana Lacau (23 points) and junior Caroline Berridge (20 points).
Head Coach Stephanie Takas-Mercer on the victory: “The girls started off on fire and had a strong first half and went into halftime with a 32-12 lead that sustained us through the second half. It was a good team effort.”
The team record moves to 1-1 on the season with the victory. They look to continue the momentum with their next game against St. Anthony Catholic School, Tuesday, November 19 at 5:30pm in the Booke Family Gym.
Men’s Basketball Continues with Momentum
The men’s varsity basketball team made their home debut Tuesday night against FEAST. The team did not disappoint as they carried the momentum over from the tournament the previous weekend, capturing the victory 109-98.
“The boys captured the lead early,” said Assistant Coach Lance Lewis. “We still have defense kinks to work out, but all-in-all a good performance in front of the home crowd.”
Scoring was led by seniors Dane Huggins (25 points), Avery Eugster (25 Points), Ben Eugster (22 Points), and Max Terry (14 Points).
- Men’s JV Soccer – SMH 0 – KIPP UPREP 4
- Men’s JV Basketball – SMH 53 – FEAST 91
- Men’s Freshmen Basketball – SMH 32 – FEAST 56
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
Chapel – November 11
On November 11, all division Chapels were devoted to giving thanks for those in the SMH community who are currently serving or have served the nation in the Armed Forces. Staff and faculty enjoyed submitting photos and stories about their service and the service of veterans in their families. Please enjoy this video produced by Instructional Technology Coordinator Matt Montez, which reminded students of the long line of Americans who have answered their nation’s call. Saint Mary’s Hall is proud to have so many veterans in the school’s community.
Lower School Chapel
Veterans Day Chapel, led by Head of Lower School Khristi Bates, is one of the highlights of the year. The oldest Lower School scouts from Saint Mary’s Hall Cub Scout Pack 496 have the honor of serving as the color guard each year. Thus, Form 5 Webelo II scouts posted the colors. Students were very excited about this opportunity to invite a veteran to attend Chapel as their guest. Some invited family members and others a neighbor, or one of the SMH faculty or staff. Each student introduced their guest and told a little bit about them. It was a sweet and moving experience for all. Head of School Jonathan Eades offered this beautiful prayer for the veterans (which he also gave at the Middle School Chapel).
A Look Ahead
- November 18
- Lower School students will consider how to nurture their spiritual health. Middle and Upper School students will learn how a trip to visit the SMH sister school in Japan, sponsored by the Peggy Pitman Mays Fund for Teacher Excellence, became a journey of personal growth and spiritual connection for Prentice Huntington Miller & Reid Huntington Miller Endowed Chair in World Languages and Cultures Laura Renard. Additionally, Upper School will hold its Bishops Chapel Society induction ceremony.
- 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, Interim All-School Chaplain Susan (ChapSu) Douglas 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 ChapSu if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle School and Upper School Chapels
Led by Dean of Academics and Head of Middle School Sam Hamilton and Head of Upper School Brent Spicer, respectively, these Chapels formally recognized the veterans in attendance and saluted the country. With assistance from Form 12 Eagle Scout John Bourland; Form 7 students Madison Mautz, Maddie Chbeir, and Kate Edwards, part of the Saint Mary’s Hall Scouts USA Troop 496; posted the colors at both Chapels. Audrey Gaytan, daughter of SMH Guitar Teacher George Gaytan, performed one of the most beautiful renditions of the National Anthem you will ever hear (view a video of the performance). In Upper School, Bishops Chapel Society member and Form 12 student Felicia Early introduced the guest speaker.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the guest speaker, Rear Admiral A.B. Cruz III, served 33+ years in a range of demanding assignments and positions in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. His inspirational message to students about leadership was entitled “Character: The Harder Right.” Referencing the SMH four Pillars of Excellence, he spoke to the students about why the school’s emphasis on leadership development is so important. Rear Admiral Cruz encouraged students to focus on their character as the key to becoming leaders who can weather the ups and downs of life. He has graciously allowed SMH to include his remarks and his life lessons here.
SMH is grateful to have Rear Admiral Cruz on the Board of Trustees as an Executive Committee member and Finance Committee chair. He and his wife, Jill, are parents to SMH students Ana (Form 7) and Ben (Form 9). Fun fact - a native of San Antonio, Rear Admiral Cruz comes from an accomplished family. His eldest sister, Raquel “Rocky” C. Bono, MC recently retired from the U.S. Navy as a Vice Admiral (three stars).
Healthy at the Hall
Healthy at the Hall
At the beginning of the holiday season, it is very important to remember all the things for which one can be thankful. Simply being a member of this community inspires gratitude.
Saint Mary’s Hall is fortunate to have excellent educators, engaged parents, and most importantly dedicated and thoughtful students. All three divisions are well known for delivering a high-quality education that prepares students for college and fulfillment in life. SMH’s Athletics and Fine Arts Departments provide successful physical and creative outlets for students and the community. There are countless opportunities for students to explore their passions and develop their skills at Saint Mary’s Hall. The following are ways to foster gratitude, which ultimately improves health and wellness for individuals as well as communities.
Count Your Blessings
A previous edition of Healthy at the Hall reviewed the importance of a daily practice where an individual can reflect on “three good things” each day. Building on that skill, individuals can reflect more globally in a gratitude journal. This is an activity where people can spend time each week thinking through one to five things for which they are thankful, reflecting on the significance of each of these items, and documenting their thoughts. The primary difference between the two activities is that with the gratitude journal, the individual goes beyond daily events to consider the impact of decisions made in the past as well as future possibilities.
With this activity, individuals are encouraged to consider monumental events or significant people in their lives and reflect on what their lives would be like without those events or people. Mental subtraction can remind individuals of the importance of life choices and loved ones to decrease a human tendency to take beloved things for granted.
Consider taking a savoring walk by yourself once a week for approximately 20 minutes. The purpose of the walk is to observe your surroundings and engage as many of your senses as you can as you appreciate the world around you. Observe the positive things you encounter such as the fresh air, sunshine, sounds of your environment, and the sturdy ground beneath your feet. Though this walk is less about exercise, that is certainly an added benefit. Researchers have found that a person can benefit from this experience even a week after it happens!
Say “Thank You”
For a variety of reasons, human beings seem to feel gratitude more than they express it outwardly. During this holiday season, consider showing your gratitude by writing a detailed gratitude letter or letters to people that matter to you. Expressing your appreciation is dually beneficial. It can make you and the person whom you are thanking feel good while simultaneously strengthening the relationship.
Please see the article, Four Great Gratitude Strategies, from the Greater Good Science Center for additional details on these and several other ways of expressing gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!