NFTH: September 23, 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,
Alumni Changing the World … and Giving Back to SMH
I invite you to take three minutes to watch the short interview (right) with Alexandra Flaherty (Class of 2015). You will be impressed with how Saint Mary’s Hall was so instrumental to her success and fulfillment, and why giving back to Saint Mary’s Hall is so important to her.
Head of School
Fiesta: What’s New, What’s Tried and True
At Fiesta, on Friday, October 11 from 3pm-6pm, we’re always looking for a good time!
You will find games and activities that have been enjoyed for years, but we also have an exciting new addition.
Get your tickets now and head straight to your favorite game when Fiesta opens! And don’t forget your t-shirt! The first Fiesta Out-of-Uniform day is this Friday, September 27.
- Halloween and Fiesta themed prizes!
- Play to win them before we run out! This year, get your tickets, and go on the hunt to win some fun Halloween or Fiesta themed prizes.
Come hungry! KHill BBQ, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Teka Molino, and Cheesy Jane’s are cooking up delicious snacks to feed your Fiesta hunger!
Take a look at www.smhall.org/fiesta for t-shirts, tickets, and all things Fiesta.
What's Tried and True
- Foam Pit
- Meltdown Action
- Dunk Tank
- Obstacle Course
- Inflatable Slide
- Lollipop Tree
Grandparents Visit SMH
A total of 48 grandparents joined Head of School Jonathan Eades on September 13 for coffee and raspberry pastries in the Remmert Theater. Greeted by members of the Office of Community Engagement, SMH grandparents had a chance to meet each other and learn more about Saint Mary’s Hall. Joining SMH were four brand new grandparents who had never been on campus and two grandparents visiting from California!
Attendees heard Mr. Eades talk about school life at Saint Mary’s Hall. Following the coffee, some grandparents joined their grandchildren for lunch in the Peggy Pitman Mays Dining Hall, while others made trips around campus, including a bus ride to Montessori, to gather hugs from their grandchildren and witness firsthand classroom interactions.
Grandparents, please mark your calendars for Grand Day at Saint Mary’s Hall on Thursday, April 9. Join SMH at 8am for breakfast with your grandchildren and capture the morning with a complimentary photo before heading off to your grandchildren’s classrooms. Invitations will be mailed in March.
For more information about grandparent activities or to sign up to receive the weekly newsletter, News From The Hall, and the school magazine, The Shield, please contact Director of Philanthropic Engagement Rhonda Vasbinder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 483-9243. Thank you to all SMH grandparents for being GRAND FANS and we look forward to seeing you on campus soon!
First Senior Luncheon of 2019-2020
September 17 was the Class of 2020’s first Senior Luncheon, sponsored by volunteer parents of that class.
Seniors enjoyed chicken strips, mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, and pulled pork from caterer Don Strange. They also got to wear either one of their senior shirts!
Upper School Tie Ceremony
The newly-elected members of all five councils: Honor, Student, Fine Arts, Community Service, and Sports, along with the newest lead ambassadors were recognized in a ceremony on September 10. Each council member received a new tie while lead ambassadors were presented with tie clips and pins. True to the nature of student leadership, once the senior members of each group were awarded their ties, clips, and pins by the adult sponsor(s), the seniors took over and welcomed their Form 9-Form 11 counterparts before Head of Upper School Brent Spicer led all elected members in taking the Oath of Office.
NEHS Inducts Newest Members
On September 17, the Saint Mary’s Hall Charles Dickens Chapter of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) inducted its newest members. NEHS President Marguerite Morgan (Form 12), Vice-President Sofia Gutierrez (Form 12), and Campus Service Coordinator Avery Eugster (Form 12) led the ceremony. In order to be invited to be a member of NEHS, students must complete the equivalent of two semesters of English at Saint Mary’s Hall, achieve a minimum overall grade point average of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), and an English grade point average of 3.7 (on a 4.0 scale). Upper School English Teacher Breanne Hicks is the NEHS sponsor. Congratulations to our newest members:
- Mia Sabom (Form 12)
- Marcel Chavez (Form 11)
- Alexandra Dalrymple (Form 11)
- Leah Gomez (Form 11)
- John Hart (Form 11)
- Sarah Hernandez (Form 11)
- Chelsea Huffman (Form 11)
- Sophia Jaafar (Form 11)
- Michael Karkar (Form 11)
Williams-Eddy Earns Another Gold Medal
The Alliance of Young Artists and Writers has given Upper School English and Creative Writing Teacher Amy Williams-Eddy a National Gold Medal and Certificate for her support of young writers last year. These gold medals are only awarded to educators whose students received one or more National Medals in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Sophia Markey (Class of 2019) won a National Gold Medal for Poetry.
This is a remarkable achievement! Nearly 340,000 works of art and writing were submitted to the 2019 Scholastic Awards. Sophia’s work was selected by some of the foremost leaders in the literary arts for excellence in originality, technical skills, and the emergence of a personal voice. Receiving this honor places Sophia within the top 1% of all submissions.
Sophia’s work has been published in the online gallery on the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards web site. A selection of student work is also included in the annual anthology, The Best Teen Writing, which is available for digital download or purchase on their web site as well, and the names of all National Medalists are listed in their publication, Yearbook 2019.
On September 17, Amy made a presentation to the Upper School student body, encouraging them to share their writing in the 2020 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest. Prior to the presentation, Head of Upper School Brent Spicer and Cynthia H. Grossman Master Chair in English Dr. Teri Marshall awarded her the medal and certificate. Dr. Marshall remarked, “This is truly a momentous award for our students and their writing, and Amy is to be commended for her dedication, commitment, and guidance as represented not only by the students who have received multiple honors for their writing but also for the sheer number of students eager to share their writing on the national stage.”
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.
Honor Code Signing
Senior Grace Boyan, a 4-year member of the Honor Council, spoke to her fellow Upper School students on September 12 about the importance of honor and integrity in life and in the Saint Mary’s Hall community. Then, all Upper School students signed their pledge to uphold the Honor Code before reciting the pledge with Head of Upper School Brent Spicer. The pages of signatures will be showcased on the north side of the Jamie Armstrong Bennett Courtyard (a.k.a. the Upper School Courtyard) as a public reminder of the school’s shared commitment to the high ideals to which all hold one another at Saint Mary’s Hall. Click here to read Grace’s moving and heartfelt address.
Form 10 History Students Study Early America
Students in Upper School Social Studies Teacher Hillary Relyea’s Form 10 Global Studies 3-4 course got hands-on with a compare/contrast of the conquest of Mexico and Peru. This was part of a Big Picture Question (BPQ) challenging students to explain the development of the Spanish and Portuguese presence in the Americas. Groups moved from station to station, diagramming their ideas on white boards, then sharing their findings and noting their similarities and differences. The combination of active movement, critical thinking and … wait for it … processing time sprinkled throughout the class period allowed Mrs. Relyea to cover a large amount of material while also facilitating deep thinking amongst her students.
Advisory Pearls, Aptitudes, and Volleyball
While Form 9 students met with Assistant Director of College Counseling Taylor Ditto for “pearls of wisdom” in the Remmert Theater, and while Form 10 students met with Associate Director of College Counseling Dominick Bruso to complete the YouScience aptitudes and interest inventory in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel, Form 11 and Form 12 students were encouraged to pair up and choose one of the following:
- Compare notes on summer opportunities
- Offer advice from older to younger ones
- Discuss challenges they’ve encountered
- Play a game
Members of Upper School faculty and staff in attendance included: Logan Blanco, Jamie Holbrook, Dominick Bruso, Brian Kaestner, J. Polito, Hepsy Singh, Lisa Westergard, Megan Soukup, Jose Molina and Mark Remington. Advisories chose to play volleyball. Thanks to Spirit Coordinator, Athletic Operations Administrator Tammie Patino, for getting the net set up so these groups could use it.
2020 Global Trips Still Open for Registration!
Is your student interested in travelling in 2020? Grab their passport and join SMH for unique travel opportunities this coming year:
- Cultural Exchange in Japan 2020 – SMH students will travel to Tokyo to visit SMH’s sister school, Keimei Gakuen, and experience all that Japan has to offer! This trip falls during part of spring break (trip dates are March 4 – 10, 2020) and is open to all current Upper School students Forms 9 – 12.
- Arts and Languages in Italy, France, and Spain 2020 –Students' language skills will be put to work for what promises to be an immersive cultural experience! With Rome, Nice, and Barcelona as home bases, SMH will participate in hands-on arts and cooking workshops in all three countries as well as visiting amazing sites and getting a view of daily life. This trip will take place June 6 – 19, 2020 and is open to all current World Language and Cultures and Fine Arts students in Forms 9 – 11.
SMH will host an informational meeting for both of these trips on Thursday, September 26 at 6pm in the Prichard Classroom. We hope to see you there (and bring your student!), and if you have any questions, please reach out to Prentice Huntington Miller & Reid Huntington Miller Endowed Chair in World Languages and Cultures Laura Renard at email@example.com.
The two faculty spotlights from the Upper School this week are Upper School Latin Teacher Ned Tuck and Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe. Enjoy getting to know the Upper School faculty a little bit better through these informal, quick interviews.
Ned Tuck (Upper School Latin Teacher)
Upper School Latin Teacher Ned Tuck (Latin III-AP) went to 1st grade and 12th grade in San Antonio, but spent the years in between away from the city he now calls home. Thanks to a nasty bout with mono during his senior year at Alamo Heights High School, he graduated with a GED. Even so, he found his way to The University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and History, and later a Master of Arts in Latin with a minor in Ancient Greek. Mr. Tuck began at SMH in 2005 and feels his best memory yet comes from acting in the production, The Importance of Being Ernest. What Mr. Tuck thinks those who aren’t closest to him might not know about him is his "tremendous sense of humor.” Head of Upper School Brent Spicer feels Mr. Tuck underestimates others’ estimation of his humor, but that can remain up for debate.
Ned claims Wednesday Mexican Food as his favorite SAGE Dining Services’® meal, with particular emphasis on the cheese enchiladas. The animal he most identifies with is “without a doubt the honey badger,” and he’s got the swag to prove it. If he could have any other career, Mr. Tuck feels he would have been an Egyptologist. His advice to other teachers is to collaborate as much as they can with colleagues in multi-disciplinary projects.
Jill Severe (Upper School Social Studies Teacher)
Upper School Social Studies Teacher Jill Severe (Global Studies 3-4; World History AP) grew up outside Chicago, but feels that San Antonio is now home. She attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in History. She then attended Georgetown University for a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies. Later still, while in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Eustis near Newport News, Virginia, Jill earned a Master of Science in Management through Florida Institute of Technology. Jill began at SMH in 2001 as a substitute in Latin (she focused on Latin history and culture since she doesn’t know Latin), an experience which she parlayed in 2002 into her full-time teaching job for courses in World History Honors, Asian/African History Honors, and Latin American History Honors.
Jill’s best SMH memory to date is not just one, but every time she helps a student make a connection between history and his or her own life. One example that sprang to mind was when the family of a student of Armenian descent learned that Jill was actually teaching about the Armenian Genocide. “They were so appreciative of someone finally giving their family history importance,” she explained. What people may not know about Jill is that she’s very committed to her church—Community Bible Church—and that she and her husband are avid Harley Davidson motorcycle riders. Jill’s favorite San Antonio restaurant is Sea Island (she loves the grilled shrimp), and she identifies most with cats since, “They’re independent, but loving. They rule the roost, and they make a place home. Plus, you don’t have to walk them.” We’ll spend some time puzzling out the connections between cats and Jill, but in the meantime we’ll enjoy knowing that if she could go anywhere if cost or time were not obstacles, she would travel the entire world, but especially India.
Form 7 Life Science Explorations
Middle School Science Teacher Patti Nicoll’s Form 7 Life Science students are exploring how various salt concentrations impact the hatching of brine shrimp eggs.
The students are really excited to see their “babies” grow.
Form 8 Students Enjoy the Day at T-Bar-M
On September 17, Form 8 students traveled to T-Bar M Camps for a day of fun and collaboration. The experiential learning trip, designed to push participants out of their comfort zone, showed students the benefits of communication in collaborative learning. “It’s more than just doing the same thing together,” said one Form 8 student. “You really have to listen to each other to reach your goals.” Another student said, “Sometimes someone else would take the lead, and sometimes I would lead. Leading really forces you to listen.”
Assistant Head of Middle School Mike Mayberry shared, “This group of Form 8 students is doing an exemplary job of starting our school year off on a positive note, and continues to set a great example for all of our Middle School students to follow."
Students will continue to share in off-campus collaborative learning experiences like this throughout the year. Keep reading News From the Hall for details.
Sports Council Hosts Movie Night
This past Friday, the Middle School Council Leadership students and adult sponsors hosted a beginning of the year movie night. More than 70 students crowded into the Remmert Theater to watch the movie Kung Fu Panda. At intermission, pizza and drinks were served. The intermission ended with a raffle and several smiles as winning tickets turned into candy treats, VR Goggles, and a personal speaker. The night also produced an increase in the year’s total points as the Baileys showed up in greater numbers. The current score is Baileys 97 vs Bennetts 86! See a video from Movie Night!
Do You Have A Growth Mindset?
After reading Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It, by Dr. JoAnn Deak, in Morning Moments to students in Forms 1-5, Head of Lower School Khristi Bates challenged students to have a growth mindset and to strengthen their brains.
Mrs. Bates explained that the magic word in a growth mindset is "yet." Nothing I am trying works, "yet." I don’t understand, "yet." She encouraged students to positively rephrase self-talk, to empower growth. Click here to see a graphic illustrating this concept.
Congratulations to the new Lower School Baron Ambassadors:
- Brielle Book
- Talia Reinsmith
- Marcello Tamez
- Michelle Cardenas
- Raj Isiguzo
- Sloane Phipps
- Eleanor Brooks
- Liam Cox
- Mellie Urban
Students in Forms 3, 4, and 5 apply for this position. As the 2019-2020 Baron Ambassadors, these students serve as role models for their peers, greet visitors when they come into the classroom, lead service projects, welcome guests that attend Lower School Previews, pass out programs at various events, help during Grand Day at Saint Mary's Hall, and represent their classmates at other special events.
There's Something Brewing in the Montessori Cauldron
Dr. Beth Clanton (and son Hugh) did a science experiment called, "Witch’s Brew," with students in the Montessori Room 2 classroom. Montessori Teacher Kathy Fetzer said, “The students were able to watch two chemicals react.” The students learned that baking soda has the chemical name sodium bicarbonate, and that vinegar is a combination of water and 5% acetic acid. Since both materials contain chemicals, when the two combine there is a chemical reaction. When vinegar and baking soda are mixed, a new chemical called carbonic acid is made. This carbonic acid immediately decomposes into carbon dioxide gas. When you mix the vinegar and baking soda, it's the carbon dioxide gas that makes the bubbles.
Form 5 Students Deep Into Science
Form 5 students are going “deep” into science! In the Science Lab every day, students are having fun working on labs which help develop a better understanding of the concepts of matter and mass using triple beam balances to find the mass of material and rulers and meter sticks to find the length of objects (always remembering to measure to the nearest tenth of a cm). Two recent labs were Taste a Rainbow (To Practice Measuring Mass) …. a.k.a. the Skittles lab and Stretch Out (A Measuring Activity). Students were all quite amazed with the results collected concerning the elasticity of different types of gum!
Kindergarten Music Classes Receive Special Delivery
Kindergarten students in the Lower School received a special delivery of xylophones and glockenspiels from France. Montessori/Kindergarten Music Teacher Jennifer Lee said, “When my students saw the boxes their curiosity could not be contained.” Mrs. Lee divided her eager students into teams who worked together to unpack the boxes and assemble the instruments. Mrs. Lee added, “It is important that every child experience the joy of opening a box and then take ownership by putting their instrument together.” It was a great day for all involved. Watch a video here.
See You at the Pole™
This year, students, faculty, and parents are invited to participate in a See You at the Pole™ event. Lower School will meet this Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30am at the Lower School flagpole. In the event of rain, please meet in the covered area on the Montessori playground. Students who wish to do so will be able to pick a slip with a simple gratitude prayer on it to read aloud.
National Constitution Day
Students in Form 5 Social Studies spent a week learning about the nation’s Constitution in honor of National Constitution Day. They learned how delegates to the Constitutional Convention, back in 1787, agreed to a federal system in which power was divided between state governments and a strong national government. They noted how these delegates separated the power of the national government into three branches: the legislative branch (law-making), executive branch (which would carry out the laws), and the judicial branch (which would settle disputes over the meaning of laws).
Form 5 students challenge you and your family to be sure you know:
- Who are the U.S. senators representing Texas?
- Who is the U.S. Representative from your district?
News from the Lower School Library
The Summer Reading Campaign was a huge success! Saint Mary’s Hall readers read a total of 567,564 minutes this summer! Lower School Librarian/Instructional Technologist Linda Wells said, “It’s always such a joy to see how much our children love reading! Many thanks to the parents who encouraged their children throughout the summer. Thank you for making summer reading a priority.” Enjoy this video (above) of students’ reading minutes.
The first Bluebonnet lunch was filled with happy readers enjoying food while learning about the Bluebonnet books. Students in Forms 3-5 can take part in the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet Award program. Children across the State of Texas can read five books and then decide which book they liked best. Voting will be in late January. Reading as many books out of the 20 books is encouraged. Here is a list of the Bluebonnet books for 2019-2020.
Montessori Celebrates Dot Day
Since 2009, millions of children all around the world have participated in International Dot Day. This year, more than 15 million children in more than 181 countries will celebrate their creativity by making their mark in the classroom. (Last year, there were more than 11 million children in 170 countries celebrating … that’s a high increase in just one, short year!) The day is based on the wonderful children’s book, The Dot, in which author Peter H. Reynolds ignited this global event from the inspiration of teacher Terry Shay to encourage adults and other children to celebrate what makes them all so special. Enjoy a quick video (above) of Dot Day being celebrated at Saint Mary’s Hall.
Lower School Science Lab Assistant
At Passport 2019: Ignite!, Form 1 student Lola Garansuay’s parents purchased “Lower School Lab Assistant for A Day,” donated by Lower School Science Teacher Bitsy Mayberry. Lola spent the afternoon helping Mrs. Mayberry teach the three Form 1 classes. The lab investigation involved testing whether materials were transparent, translucent, or opaque. Lola assisted students as they classified objects. Mrs. Mayberry said, “It was a fun experience for everyone involved.” A huge thank you to the Garansuay Family for supporting Saint Mary’s Hall.
Forms 1 And 2 Service Day: Making Blankets for Kids in Need!
Students in Forms 1 and 2 will make blankets in conjunction with Project Linus. The blankets will go to local hospitals, shelters, and to other kids that may need them. They provide love, comfort, and a sense of security to children who are seriously ill or who have been through trauma.
Parents of Forms 1 and 2 students may sign their children up on SignupGenius.
Questions? Send an email to YBIC.SMH@gmail.com
News from Lower School Art
Lower School Art Teacher Kellen Stanley gave her art classes a design challenge to create signs for the Lower School Library. This design challenge introduced the students to the Collaboratory, their collaboration laboratory allocated to experiment with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)-related projects. STEAM, formerly STEM, includes arts and design integrated with science, math, engineering, and technology. In this design challenge, the students in Forms 1-5 drew STEAM-related icons to symbolize each letter of the acronym. A lot of the students designed an entire letter of the acronym to play with how the icons interacted with their hand-drawn lettering. Forms 4 and 5 students took one more step and built “Quick Sculptures” out of materials commonly found in STEAM-based projects. These drawings and sculptures were designed, lit, and framed by the students to be photographed as entries for the Collaboratory and STEAM signs in the library. The assignment empowered the students with an interactive project where they could take ownership of this new space by creating its signage.
There were more than 200 designs submitted by students, so many of which could have been used for the Collaboratory signs. The designers were ultimately chosen by Lower School Librarian/Instructional Technologist Linda Wells and Instructional Facilitator/Instructional Technologist Teri Bohlsen, the design challenge “clients,” which Ms. Stanley brought into discussion as a common relationship artists and designers have in using their craft.
Below are the artists chosen for the design challenge:
- Guillermo Kypuros – (Form 4) – “Quick Sculpture” photo for the “Collaboratory” sign
- Sophia Hernandez (Form 3) – “S” in STEAM & the lightbulb
- Sofia Barbaro (Form 2) – laptop computer in “T”
- Luke Orsi (Form 2) – computer chips in “T”
- John Paul El Hajj Moussa (Form 5) – “E” in STEAM
- Kevin Gollner (Form 1) – robot in “T”
- Fiona Briggs (Form 5) – the “A” in STEAM
- Meggie Blecher (Form 4) – treble clef in “A”
- Eloise Light (Form 3) – calculator in “M”
- Reagan Marx (Form 2) – protractor in “M”
Tobin Fine Arts School
Saint Mary’s Hall is proud to partner with local, regional, and national artists during the course of a year to bring the best talent to Saint Mary’s Hall to work with students.
This week, professional actress Alex Hebert is working with Upper School Theater Production students on their performances for the fall Upper School Musical, 9 to 5. Tyler Keyes, professional actor/director, is also on campus working with Middle School Drama students for the Middle School play, Middle School Comedy Madness, which will premier in November. Having expert artists complement our outstanding Fine Arts faculty is one of the ways in which Saint Mary’s Hall provides experiences that you cannot get anywhere else.
Stay tuned to News From the Hall for more updates on our exciting guest artists in every arts discipline!
Tickets to the Upper School Musical, 9 to 5, are now on-sale! Be sure to take advantage of purchasing tickets early to get best seats. Performances are October 18-20 in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. Tickets for the Middle School play will be on sale October 14. To purchase tickets, visit our box office online!
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Tobin Fine Arts School at Saint Mary’s Hall
Upper School Speech and Debate
On September 6 and 7, a total of 24 students competed in the 31st Annual Grapevine Classic! This was our first UKTOC Bid Tournament of the year, and we are so excited for the team's strong start. With teams from 15 states represented at this year's Classic, these results are all the more impressive.
Individual results are as follows:
- Public Forum Debate
- Tournament Champion - Rylan Schendel (Form 12) / Nicholas Trujillo (Form 12)
- Double Octofinals - Trey Plante (Form 12) / Sam Hernandez (Form 12)
- Humorous Interpretation
- Tournament Champion - Ethan Parkhurst (Form 11)
- Original Oratory
- 3rd - Clark Webb (Form 11)
- Congressional Debate
- 10th - Shilpa Gunuganti (Form 12)
- United States Extemporaneous Speaking
- Semifinalists - Shilpa Gunuganti (Form 12), Jay Paliwal (Form 12)
- International Extemporaneous Speaking
- Semifinalist - Isabel Hackney (Form 11)
In addition to their competitive success, senior Tori Newman-Menendez was honored with the prestigious Jonathan Brody Service to Debate Award/Scholarship. The award is named in honor of the late Jonathan Brody, who was widely considered a visionary in the activity of debate and who gave back to the community for years. The award is in its 22nd year and celebrates a senior debater who has given back to the community. Example criteria include facing and overcoming obstacles in their personal lives to remain a part of the activity, leadership within the activity, and exhibiting a true dedication to debate.
El Mercado Needs You!
SMH Fiesta is coming on Friday, October 11 and your help is needed. Fine Arts parents, as well as others who love and support the arts, provide the baked goods and staffing for the Fiesta El Mercado. SMH needs your help and participation for this important fundraiser, as the proceeds come back to the Fine Arts to help support programs.
SMH invites you and yours to celebrate the SMH Fiesta event by baking and making savory treats, or working with the El Mercado set up, sales, or breakdown. There is plenty to do and your participation is most welcome.
To Sign Up:
Thanks for your support of the Fine Arts through Fiesta and all year round!
National Honor Society Members
Upper School Visual and Performing Artists have the opportunity to participate in two National Honor Societies. Members of the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) and the National Honor Society Dance Association (NHSDA) have finalized their membership for the year. To participate, students must demonstrate artistry in their discipline, as well as meeting other criteria established by the membership organizations. Students in these societies will participate in service events throughout the year to better the arts and humanity on and off campus.
The NHSDA members were inducted in a special event in the Dance Building on September 20. NAHS members will be inducted during Assembly later this year.
Congratulations to the NAHS and NHSDA student members! View a list of the NAHS and NHSDA members.
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!
Cross Country Continues to Improve
The freshman class once again led the way for the Barons as the top team finisher in both the varsity girls and varsity boys.
Leading the way in the girls’ race was freshman Julia Garcia with a two-mile race time of 14:18. This performance helped the girls secure a 10th place finish and shaved 26 seconds off her best two-mile race time. However, she was not alone; every woman Baron in the race established new Seasonal Record (SR) times by 20 seconds or better. Coming across the finish line second for the Barons was junior Sarah Hernandez in a time of 15:20 which reset her SR by 1:11. Sarah was followed by Caroline Largoza at 15:38 (SR by 48). The most impressive SRs came in to the finish line in Nikki Winter at 16:02 (SR by 1:52) and Camila Navas-Hahn at 16:06 (SR by 1:46). Wrapping up the girls team performances for the day was Jillian Spicer at 16:48, who also shaved 20 seconds off her best time.
The boys’ 5K race brought the Barons home a top 20 medalist in freshman Jonathan Largoza, who knocked out a time of 19:05, which was good enough to secure 17th place in a field of more than 130 varsity boy runners while shaving 23 seconds off his best 5K time for the season. He was also key to the team finiahin in 12th place overall. Finishing second for the Baron's was sophomore Gabe Chbeir, who crushed his Personal Record (PR) in the 5K at 21:37, which was nearly two minutes faster than his race time last week. Wrapping up the field of boys runners was Gian Avalos-Delgado at 21:59, Weston Bohne at 22:02, Patrick Lang at 22:25, Ojus Dutta at 22:53, and Jonathan Tubb at 23:03. The trio of Avalos-Delgado, Bohne, and Tubb also set new Seasonal Record times.
Volleyball Beats 2018 State Runner-Up Waldorf
The Barons women's volleyball team got a late start in the first set of their match up against the TAPPS 2018 2A State Runner Up, Austin Waldorf, but bounced back with a set two win of 25-10 over the Roadrunners. The Barons would go on to win the match 3-2, dominating the fifth set with a score of 15-8. Zoe Ramon led the way with 12 kills, while Abby Lavender had 24 assists and five aces. Hillary McAllister and Remy White had one block each and Lauren Vegas had nine digs.
Field Hockey Takes Down the Highlanders
The SMH field hockey team was victorious over the Austin St. Andrews Highlanders. After tying the Highlanders 3-3 a few weeks back, the team came back and beat them 2-0 Tuesday night in a tough, back-and-forth game. The Barons took nine shots on goal, with Abbie Zeller making six saves for the Barons. The shutout was preserved by Senior Captain Lucia Canseco with a goal line save later in the game.
The first goal by the Barons was a beautiful attacking breakaway that resulted in some commotion around the goal where junior Annika Blomster’s shot was tipped in by senior Captain Mia Sabom at the post. The second goal came three minutes into the second half after a short corner. The Barons lost the ball on the initial shot, but junior Sofia Meager took the rebound shot, that was tipped in by freshman Ava Daetwyler. Defender Claudia Espy and Midfielder Ellie Anderson also had strong games, playing every minute.
Show Baron Pride with a Letter Jacket
The next letter jacket fittings will be Thursday, October 17 at 3:15pm in the Team Room. Order packets will be arriving soon. Stay tuned for more information!
Middle School Spotlight
Football Wins Season Opener
The Middle School football team opened their season on September 12 against The Christian School at Castle Hills. The team was excited to get the season rolling, and it showed. The offense scored on all but one possession, while the defense only allowed one touchdown on a tipped ball by the SMH defensive line. The boys ultimately took the victory 40-6, scoring 33 points in the first half. The offense had scoring from Peyton Soltis, Josh Hurtado, Oliver Eades, and Landon Stowers. The defense was lead with multiple tackles by Jack Henry Bullock and San Ono.
Volleyball Continues to Improve
SMH volleyball-A white team had it first match against the Christian School at Castle Hills as well on Thursday, losing in two sets 8-25 and 15-25. Alena Montez had four aces in the second set with Eleanor Jones having six for the match. Head Coach Stephanie Mercer said after the match,” It’s going be a fun season filled with lots of learning and improvement.”
Starting the Recruiting Process
Getting recruited is rarely a fairytale story. It doesn’t just happen. The recruiting process is a complex, winding journey that is directed largely by the student-athlete. The more your family knows about the recruiting process — and the more effort you all put into getting the results you want — the better chance your son or daughter has to fulfill your dream of competing at the college level. The good news is that many have gone through this complicated process before, and there are many resources available to make it less overwhelming.
When Does The Recruiting Process Start?
Recruiting is starting earlier and earlier each year, and it’s no secret that top athletic programs are leading the charge. They look for freshman who have varsity or elite club film, were ranked as a top-tier recruit at a tournament or showcase or received prestigious awards, such as All-State. If this is your son or daughter, you’re probably ready to start the recruiting process as a freshman. For athletes who hit their stride later in their sophomore year, this could be a better time to get the process going. In most cases, we advise that athletes start the recruiting process before their junior year.
Think of it this way: If your son or daughter wants to compete at the NCAA DI or DII level, the sooner he or she can confidently start the recruiting process, the better off they will be. However, if they are late bloomers or just not sure they want to make the commitment to compete in college, it’s OK to wait a little longer. If they do decide to wait, make sure they’re willing to put in extra work during crunch time, and they’re comfortable with playing for a lower-tier program.
Understand the Recruiting Funnel
Understanding how to get recruited starts with learning how college coaches look at recruiting. Think of the process like a funnel. At the top of the funnel, thousands and thousands of potential recruits of various levels are tossed in. Coaches begin initial evaluations — focusing on basic requirements like height, weight, grad year, and position. Then, coaches send out correspondence to those they’ve identified as potential fits to see if there’s mutual interest. The funnel is beginning to narrow. Evaluations continue with the smaller class of potential recruits, which narrows it down even further. Near the bottom of the funnel, coaches are inviting recruits on official visits and extending offers.
Level Set Based On Interest, Talent, and Expectations
Getting an objective view of how your son or daughter stacks up against other student-athletes is an invaluable component of the recruiting process—and often one of the toughest parts of the process as families learn more about how to get recruited. There’s no point in striving for a DI scholarship if he or she doesn't have the size or skills to compete at that demanding level. There are a couple ways to figure out how they rank: researching college rosters and being evaluated by a third party like NCSA. Most importantly, they should be honest with themselves about their desire to compete at the college level. It’s nothing like high school; everything is more intense, from training to the competition itself.
Learn About the Different Division Levels
Once you’ve determined the level of interest, talent, and expectations surrounding college athletics, it’s important to consider the various division levels available to compete in:
- NCAA Division I—This is the highest level of college athletics and, thus, the most competitive. DI schools typically have large budgets, expensive facilities, and the student-athletes are expected to train and travel extensively.
- NCAA Division II—While still a competitive division, DII athletes are provided more balance in their lives, as training and competition aren’t as intense. Scholarships are also offered at this level.
- NCAA Division III—No athletic scholarships are offered for DIII student-athletes, but there are many other forms of financial aid. The competition levels are still very high, but practice seasons are shorter, and there’s more of an academic focus.
- NAIA—A much smaller community than the NCAA—with a little more than 250 schools—the NAIA is a great option for student-athletes who love their sport but are looking for a smaller or private college, or a specific major.
- NJCAA—Junior college (JUCO) is a good option for the student-athlete looking to get a sense of what college athletics are like at a two-year institution before transferring to a four-year college. Many student-athletes compete at the JUCO level because they are working on their NCAA eligibility or are trying to save money before transferring to a four-year college.
Understand Academic Eligibility Requirements
Academic eligibility is one of the most important aspects of the recruiting process and can be overlooked by families who aren’t sure how to get recruited. There are different eligibility requirements for NCAA, NAIA, and JUCO schools—and each school will also have its own entrance requirements—so it’s crucial to actively work to maintain grades. A great GPA and/or standardized test score can be the difference-maker between your son or daughter and another recruit. Think about it: A college coach wants to fill their roster with athletes who will work hard. If he or she can prove they have the academic chops, the coach will have less to worry about. Being academically sound will also open more doors for you scholarship-wise.
Information courtesy of Next College Student Athlete.
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
September 16 Chapels
As is the custom at all Chapels, Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas (ChapSu) or a student volunteer opens with a call and response of Psalm 118, verse 24: “This is the day that the Lord has made” with students responding “let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
This week, Felicia Early, Form 12 student and member of the Bishops Chapel Society, led the responsive.
Upper School Surveys Student Spiritual Health
This Chapel was very important in the life of the Upper School, as you will see. It also served as one response to a brave Form 9 student’s request during the first Chapel of school. The student asked that time was made during Chapel to discuss how people have made successful spiritual journeys that helped them figure out what they believe and live out their beliefs, faith, and values honestly.
To facilitate this discussion, Chapel included three speakers and parts. Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales introduced students to a new process the school will be using this school year to ensure students in Forms 5-12 have an opportunity to reflect on their personal wellness. In Upper School, a process created by Upper School Counselor Elizabeth Clark, includes an online form, which is broken into relevant wellness categories that helps students see what is working in their lives, what isn’t working, and where they might need help. Students will have the chance to discuss their reflections with their advisor and other relevant adults at school, such as the Chaplain, their division counselor, etc. (View Dr. Lopez-Morales’ slide, My Individual Wellness Plan, from the presentation.)
Dr. Lopez-Morales also reassured students that it is okay to not have answers to all of life’s questions. She shared a little brain science with the students to get the point across that adolescence is a time of development. It is normal to be in a process of figuring out one’s identity, values, and how to be in the world.
Upper School Science Teacher and Women’s Varsity Soccer Coach Brian Kaestner spoke next. He shared a very moving story about his own spiritual journey, and where he has found peace, compassion, and a purpose in life. As a student in a private Quaker school in Baltimore, Maryland, Brian’s world changed when his family moved from an urban neighborhood with one tree to a suburban area where he first had the chance to explore a forest with his brother. A chance encounter with an ornithologist, known only as “the bird lady” by local children, taught him a respect for the natural world and the creatures in it. In high school, he decided he wanted to be a teacher. At the university, he learned to be a good steward of the environment and developed a passion for helping others learn, which has made him a favorite with SMH students for decades. Mr. Kaestner shared two important lessons he learned from former students. Never pass up an opportunity to tell others you care about them. In addition, learn to accept others for who they are. Mr. Kaestner encouraged students to understand that life is a journey, not a destination and that finding one’s source of peace, compassion, and purpose is an integral part of spiritual health.
Students then had an opportunity to reflect on what they had heard and considered their own spiritual health. ChapSu introduced the spiritual health section of the student’s Individual Wellness Plan and encouraged students to capture their thoughts and insights about key things such as their faith and beliefs, the source of their strength and hope, etc. Feedback from students indicated this was a productive exercise and a good start to an ongoing discussion of student wellness on a personal and individual level. (View ChapSu’s Spiritual Health slide from the presentation.)
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Academic Accommodations
Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) begins on Sunday, September 29 at sundown and continues through Tuesday, October 1 at sundown. Students observing Rosh Hashanah with their families are able to receive additional time to complete work due Monday, September 30, Tuesday, October 1, and Wednesday, October 2 by request to their teachers.
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) begins on Tuesday, October 8 at sundown and continues through Wednesday, October 9 at sundown. Students observing Yom Kippur with their families are able to receive additional time to complete work due Wednesday, October 9 and Thursday, October 10 by request to their teachers. Please note that Tuesday, October 8 is an All-School No Homework Night.
The additional time to complete work allows students time to observe the holiday by attending services and spending important time with family. Parents, please communicate with your student’s teachers if you have any questions. To all SMH families and students observing the High Holy Days, Shanah Tovah! Have a good and sweet year!
Saint Mary’s Hall encourages families of all faiths to be active in their religion and faith communities, as stated in our Statement of Religious Expression, and the school strives to provide all the support and flexibility needed for students and families to put faith first. If you have any questions, please contact Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas at (210) 823-7020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lower School Considers Kindness
Linking students back to their previous discussion about kindness with Head of Upper School Khristi Bates, Chaplain Susan spoke with the students about kindness as a spiritual issue. Drawing from scripture and proverbs from several cultures, she noted that one makes SMH a better place to be when one is kind to others and every living thing. This led to Form 1 students spontaneously offering up numerous examples of caring for animals of all kinds. She also suggested that acts of kindness produce a ripple effect that enhances the lives of many others. Click this link to see how we color our world with kindness. ChapSu closed with a simple prayer that all give and receive kindness during the week.
Middle School Contemplates Courage
Students in Middle School looked at SMH’s core school values this month. ChapSu used this Chapel to connect to that discussion and also respond to a student comment in a previous Chapel that it is sometimes hard to speak up when something wrong is happening. She spoke about courage as a spiritual value, noting that many faith traditions emphasize that if one has faith, one can face one’s fears, knowing that God is ever present. ChapSu gave several practical examples of courage in action, including historical and public figures, as well as some people the students know. Students were invited to reflect and comment upon Maya Angelou’s assertion that without courage, one can’t practice other virtues with consistency. ChapSu closed with a prayer that students have the courage to live out their values during the week.
It is SMH’s hope that students come home and discuss what they’ve learned in Chapel with parents and guardians who are the most impactful people in their world when it comes to developing values. For resources on discussing values with students, please see this link.
Bishops Chapel Society Seeks New Members
The Bishops Chapel Society is taking applications for new members. All Upper School students are eligible to join. Please contact Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas at email@example.com for more details or to apply.
Lower School Supports Reverend Gunnin’s Deployment
Students in Forms 1-5 took the time this week to write notes and make cards for All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin and the service men and women he supports. There is nothing like mail from home to lift one’s spirits when you are a long way from home.
Lower School students will learn about the Jewish Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), which begins on Sunday, September 29 and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which begins on Tuesday, October 8.
Middle School students will continue exploring the importance of developing spiritual values and how their practice impacts one’s daily life.
Upper School students will hear their classmates from the World Language Department discuss a service project completed during a trip abroad this summer.
September 25 - See You at the Pole™
Each year, more than three million students from more than 20 countries around the world participate in a See You at the Pole™ event. The Saint Mary’s Hall community is invited to gather together to pray for the school, the students, faculty and staff, the nation, and any other needs on Wednesday, September 25.
Middle and Upper School will meet at 7:30am at the flagpole located on the base of the front lawn nearest to Lewis Field. In the event of rain, please meet in the Napier Gym. Attendees will have the opportunity to pray silently or aloud, followed by a closing prayer by a member of the Bishops Chapel Society, a voluntary student-led organization that supports the All-School Chaplain in providing a meaningful program.
Lower School will meet on the same day at 7:30am at the Lower School flagpole. In the event of rain, please meet in the covered area on the Montessori playground. Students who wish to do so will be able to pick a slip with a simple gratitude prayer on it to read aloud.
See You at the Pole™ is a grass roots movement that began in 1990 to allow students to pray at their schools. This initiative is an event that looks to lift up the community to God. If you have any questions, please contact Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 823-7020.
Healthy at the Hall
Healthy at the Hall
Blood Drive Results and Next Steps
The Saint Mary’s Hall community met its donation goal with the donation of 33 lifesaving units! Donor Recruitment Consultant Natalie Sheridan from the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center shared:
“The Saint Mary’s Hall students, faculty, and staff came to the rescue and really demonstrated their commitment to helping the community. Your drive helped to ensure hospital patients in need received necessary blood. Your time and efforts are very much needed and appreciated. We could not have done this without you. You all exceeded your goal! Please see the results of your blood drive:
- 36 donors were registered (seven of those scheduled were first-time donors)
- 33 lifesaving units collected (23 whole blood, thee doubles, and two red blood cell/plasma)
- Seven deferrals (donors unable to donate)
Total lives saved ... 99! Your drive has occurred at a crucial time – right after a holiday. I sincerely thank you on behalf of those hospital patients and your fellow community members. We look forward to working with you in the spring to continue to save lives!”
With hard work, commitment, and community involvement, it is certainly possible to reach a new goal in 2020! The South Texas community is unique in that members are interconnected and rise to the occasion to support one another in need. That is exemplary wellness!
Individual Wellness Plan Update
The Upper School students began work on their individual wellness plans during Chapel on September 16 when they reflected on their spiritual health in conjunction with Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas, Upper School Science Teacher Brian Kaestner, and Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales. (Read the Chapel Corner section of this News From the Hall for more info.) They will begin work on the academic section with their advisors on September 24. Middle School Counselor Leslie Palmer will begin working with Middle School students on their individualized wellness plans during Mental Health Awareness Week on October 8. Lower School Counselor Susan Moore-Sickmann will work with Form 5 students throughout the fall and spring in preparation for their transition to Middle School.
Head of School Jonathan Eades and Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales addressed the grandparent community regarding messages of community, partnership, and love at the Grandparent Coffee on September 13. Mr. Eades reviewed the unique opportunities available to SMH students throughout their education and discussed the fervent commitment of the faculty and parents.
Building on themes of love, please see this video that provides specific ways that parents can demonstrate the unconditional love they feel for their children. It is of the utmost importance for parents to communicate unconditional love to their children throughout their development. This provides a secure base by which children can feel positively about themselves and each other enabling them to explore their worlds confidently.
Meeting with the Form 9 Students
Assistant Director of College Counseling Taylor Ditto and Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales met with Form 9 students on September 18 to discuss words of wisdom from the Class of 2019. Some of the themes they extrapolated were: have fun, stay focused, be kind, be supportive, and live in the moment.
A member of the Class of 2019 summarized their experience well:
“Things will be difficult, but you are so capable. Push through the things that challenge you, because when you reach the other side, you will be so proud of what you have achieved. Do not procrastinate! Start assignments early! Turn in your community service hours early! Do not contribute to the culture of competition. Love and celebrate your accomplishments, but celebrate those of your friends as well. If they are true friends, they will cheer you on too. True friends never feel the need to compete with each other. Stay true to yourself, and never sacrifice who you are and what you believe in to ‘fit in’ with others. If someone truly loves you, they will never ask you to compromise your identity, interests, or goals. Respect everyone, but do not take disrespect from anyone. You have incredible value and worth. No one can take that away from you, ever. Friendship and mentorship are incredible gifts. Tell your friends that you love them every day, and tell your teachers thank you every day.”