NFTH: September 9, 2019
- From the Head of School
- Special Events
- 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,
The Class of 2020 is clearly on the same trajectory of excellence as previous Saint Mary’s Hall senior classes. With their example, leadership, and blue ties, this year’s seniors are setting the tone for our school year. As you know, SMH significantly cut back Upper School summer reading and projects so that our students may engage in a “summer of intentionality.” A total of 79 seniors responded to a survey about their summer activity. We learned that:
- 42 seniors had a paying job
- 17 students had an internship
- 26 seniors engaged in meaningful community service or service learning, locally, in Texas, around the country, and even internationally
- 24 seniors reported engaging in a formal college visit
This “word cloud” gives further insight into the meaningful summer had by the Class of 2020.
Our school’s mission statement is to prepare students for success in college and fulfillment in life. Our college placement consistently serves as strong evidence of high academic achievement and outcomes. That our graduates pursue lives of meaning and purpose is of equal importance to us and cause for much celebration. Our school’s emphasis on participation in arts, athletics, co-curricular activities, service learning, and formal leadership development leads to “fulfillment in life.”
SMH graduates are changing the world and excelling in life. Consider just four alumni profiles:
Saskia Reford (Class of 2019) is currently a freshman at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) in the Plan II and Business Honors programs. Saskia is a member of the UT Speech Team. For her accomplishments at SMH her senior year, Saskia was recognized and honored as a National Student of the Year Finalist by the National Speech and Debate Association. Of more than 141,000 active members, only six Finalists are named. And like so many other SMH alumni, Saskia returned to campus the first week of school to attend the Blue Tie Parade and Ceremony.
AJ Walker (Class of 2017) was recently made one of the faces of Air Force Academy basketball in their marketing campaign to sell season tickets!
Anthony Kayruz (Class of 2013), former Presidential Scholar while at SMH and recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale and journalist for the Today Show and Dateline, was just awarded Stanford University Law School's Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, the largest endowed scholarship in the world. Two weeks ago, Anthony shared with me while on our campus, “I am continuously thankful to the Saint Mary’s Hall teachers and administrators who believed in me from the first day I walked on campus. I would not be who I am or where I am today without Saint Mary’s Hall.”
Erin Cusenbary (Class of 2013) served as this year’s Blue Tie Ceremony speaker. Erin was a “Lifer” at SMH, attended Trinity University where she was captain and All-American for the Tiger volleyball team, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. A graduate of UT Law School, she now works as a corporate finance attorney for Vinson and Elkins in Houston.
These graduates, like all Barons, will be serious difference-makers in this world.
God bless Saint Mary’s Hall, our students, and their families.
Head of School
Taxi, Car Service, and Rideshare (Uber/Lyft) Policy
Saint Mary's Hall takes student safety seriously.
To ensure the safety of our students, the school prohibits any student from being picked up or dropped off on campus by a taxi, car service, or rideshare (including without limitation, Uber and Lyft) without the student’s parent or appropriate guardian present in the vehicle. Pursuant to school policy, students are only released to individuals that parents have previously identified in writing as authorized to pick up.
Fiesta ... Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Step 1: Save the Date
Our All-School carnival, Fiesta, is Friday, October 11! Games and food booths open in the Upper School Circle and parking lot at 3pm – check out all the details at www.smhall.org/fiesta.
Step 2: Buy Your Fiesta T-Shirt
T-shirts are now available for $20 online, at the Lower School Offices, and in the Spirit Store. T-shirts can be worn to school for Out-of-Uniform (OOU) days on:
- Friday, September 27
- Friday, October 4
- Friday, October 11
Be sure to check with your student’s division office for guidelines on OOU dress code.
Step 3: Pre-order Tickets, Medals, and Ticket Holders
Tickets are the currency of Fiesta, so pre-order today and go straight to the food and fun! Tickets are sold in strips of ten for $5. Most students start with 30-60 tickets, and buy more as needed from ticket booths during Fiesta. Medals are on sale for $10 and ticket lanyards for $10.
Step 4: Volunteer
Fiesta is possible thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers. Volunteering not only helps provide a great Fiesta environment, but it’s also a terrific way for parents to make new friends right here at SMH. Email Assistant Director of Special Events Bekah Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. Sign-ups for faculty and staff will open this week. Upper School students will have the opportunity to sign up beginning September 20, and will receive credit toward their campus service requirement.
Step 5: Bake for El Mercado Sweet Shop
All kinds of homemade goodies are needed to satisfy every sweet tooth in the Fiesta crowd! Every year, our wonderful families participate in Fiesta with delicious treats (like popcorn, jam, baked goods, and fudge) to be sold at El Mercado ... will you bake something this year?
Newest Capers and Elliott Members Kick-Off the School Year
The annual Upper School Capers/Elliott sorting took place in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel on August 28.
Each year the Sports Council draws names from the magical Bishops’ Day Championship Cup to determine which team each new student and faculty/staff member will call their own. Gentle face painting of team colors (Elliott — Blue; Capers — Yellow) helped welcome new team members, along with team t-shirts, and a few bead necklaces. Once the sorting had taken place, the first competition got underway, calling on teams to bounce beach balls from the back of the Theater/Chapel to the front, and then asking the new members to shoot the balls into a “hoop” on the stage — not as easy as it sounds. After a close finish, team Capers took the win, but all had a great time!
Students got to meet and ask questions of the student leaders and faculty sponsors of more than 20 Upper School clubs and organizations during the annual Club Fair on August 29. Though club membership is not required of any Upper School students, participation was tremendous, and SMH is so proud to have such a large selection of extracurricular options to help students engage in life, pursue interests, and round out their SMH experience.
Upper School Parent Night
Mark your calendars for your chance to meet your child’s teachers and advisor, see their classrooms, and reunite with fellow parents. Upper School Parent Night will take place this Thursday, September 12, beginning promptly at 6pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel. Parents are encouraged to arrive early, allowing time to get their student’s schedule, campus map, timeline for the evening, and list of Advisor meeting rooms in the Theater/Chapel galleries. Classes will be nine minutes long with five-minute passing periods. SMH looks forward to seeing you all and will have plenty of student ambassadors on hand to point you in the right direction (there will be cookies, lemonade, and water).
New Upper School Parents Hear from a Panel of Experienced Upper School Students
Parents who have never had a child in the Upper School were invited to hear from some Upper School veterans on August 27. Special thanks to our panelists, who answered questions, shared advice, and offered to keep the conversation going for any parents who care to reach out to them in the future:
- Vesta Mizani
- Berzhia (Form 10 daughter) joined SMH in Form 9 from BASIS
- Bardia (Form 8 son) joined SMH in Form 7 from BASIS
- Kim Cooper
- Trianne (Form 10 daughter) joined SMH in Form 9 from Cole Middle School
- Tracy Ayers
- Kate (Form 12 daughter) joined SMH in Form 9 from the Montessori School of San Antonio
- Hemal Patel
- Nitya (Form 10 daughter) joined SMH in Form 2 from the Discovery School
- Devika (Form 5 daughter) joined SMH in Kindergarten
- Natalie Matthews
- Emma (Form 12 daughter) joined SMH in Form 10 from Alamo Heights High School
- Lucie Frost
- Clark (Form 11 son) joined SMH in Form 9 from San Antonio Academy
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.
Weekly Faculty Feature
Each week, the Upper School section will feature a different faculty member to help the SMH community get to know our teachers. Last week, Head of Upper School Brent Spicer sat down for a few minutes with new Upper School Physics Teacher Nick Polito.
Here’s what Mr. Spicer learned:
“Nick grew up in the Woodlands, Texas, but since his entire family lives in or near San Antonio, he considers San Antonio home now. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics, with a minor in astronomy, from Trinity University. His master’s degree also came from Trinity, but was a Master’s in the Art of Teaching (MAT). Nick’s favorite San Antonio restaurant is Capparelli’s, where he loves to get the spaghetti with a giant meatball. When he’s in a serious movie watching mood, Nick considers Apocalypse Now his favorite, but when he’s more light-hearted he claims Hot Rod as his favorite movie. He is a fan of the Chicago Bears, Houston Rockets, and Houston Astros. What he’d like folks he doesn’t teach, or who are not in the Science Department, to know about him is that teaching physics is his dream job (he really seemed genuine about that … I pressed the issue), and he loves to do outdoor activities involving sweat (unless he’s in dress clothes). Welcome to SMH, Nick. We’re so glad to get to know you!”
Form 11 and Form 12 College Counseling Parent Coffees
Director of College Counseling Kelly Jorgensen and Associate Directors of College Counseling Dominick Bruso and Taylor Ditto held their first parent coffees of the year. Form 12 parents met on August 28 and Form 11 parents had their coffee on September 5 in the Remmert Theater. The attendees learned about upcoming steps in the college process and discussed some trends the counselors are seeing in the college admission world.
Study Abroad Adventures
The Upper School recently celebrated the return of two of its students for their senior year from School Year Abroad (SYA), and bid farewell to three members of the senior class as they began their study abroad adventures. Current seniors, Stella Markey, who studies in Rennes, France, and Sophia Prestigiacomo, who studied in Viterbo, Italy, returned to campus for their senior year, and will be able to share their study abroad experiences with their classmates and the SMH community. Three seniors embarked last week to two schools in Europe. Isabel Sala will be attending SYA in Rennes, France, and Emma Gunnin and Samantha Smith will be attending SYA in Viterbo, Italy. One of the first SYA attendees, Carla Alvarez Brozovich (Class of 2001) was in attendance to congratulate the newest SYA admits. Scholarship opportunities to SYA schools are made possible due to a generous donation from former SYA and SMH Board of Trustee member Carlos Alvarez.
Sports Council Movie Night
On Friday, September 13, the Middle School Council officers and sponsors will be hosting a Welcome Back to School Movie Night in the Remmert Theater.
The movie will start at 6pm and will end at 8:30pm. Drop off and pick up will take place in the Upper School Circle. Please be on-time for pick up. Food and drink will be provided and served during intermission. Pizza will cost $2 dollars a slice and drinks will be provided free of charge. The movie will be announced on campus to the students during lunchtime announcements the week of September 9.
Senate Welcomes Middle School
Form 6 students had a fun surprise when they arrived at school last Tuesday morning. Senate officers Ines Wallisch (Form 8), MK Lutz (Form 8), Julia Carter (Form 7), and Natalia Chapa (Form 7), created decorative magnets with individualized greetings for each Form 6 student. They came to campus at 7am to put them on all the lockers so the Form 6 students had a special surprise when they arrived to campus.
Form 6 Summer Reading
Form 6 English Teacher Deborah McInerney’s students did a great job with their book discussion of their summer reading book, Wolf Hollow. They enjoyed sharing their perspectives on the characters and the plot.
Life Science Exploration
During the first week of school, Middle School Science Teacher Patricia Nicoll’s Form 7 Life Science students got to know each other by practicing proper measuring. The students continue their learning during the second week by exploring variables and experimental design, including graphs.
Shining Your Light for Others
Head of School Emeritus Bob Windham spoke to students in Forms 1-5 in Morning Moments.
He challenged the students to light up the Lower School. To begin doing this, they were asked to actively practice gratitude and help others out. Mr. Windham asked students to be the first one to say hello and to reach out to others. He told them the story of how one 2nd grader’s act of kindness shone light on a dark day for another classmate, Boy holds hand of crying classmate with autism on first day of school. Following Mr. Windham’s words of wisdom will help the Lower School students and faculty light up their school. 2019-2020 will be one of the best years ever!
Congratulations to Tech Crew
Colston Book, Max Elmendorf, Aarav Gupta, and Lauren Thomas have been chosen as Form 5 technology assistants for this year! These students will work with Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood, preparing the Extended Care Building for Morning Moments and Chapel throughout the year. Form 5 students apply for this position and must make the commitment to be ready at 7:45am to prepare for Morning Moments and then to operate the computer, including sound, presentations, videos, and anything else that might be last minute additions to the program. It is quite a commitment for these students and one that is very important to the success of Morning Moments in the Lower School.
Full STEAM Ahead: How Lower School is Evolving to Meet the Needs of Our Students
Join Head of Lower School Khristi Bates and Lower School Library staff and facilitators for the first Lower School Coffee on Thursday, September 12 at 8am in the Lower School Library. Please note the change of venue. The coffees have previously been in the Prichard Classroom. The coffee titled, “Full STEAM Ahead: How Lower School is Evolving to Meet the Needs of Our Students,” will address the important topics of how Saint Mary’s Hall Lower School is emphasizing interdisciplinary learning and embracing educational methods and strategies that reflect best current educational practices. The school realizes that education is no longer about simply knowing facts and figures, and that it is necessary for children to develop skills in communication, creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. Lower School will share with you some of the innovative ways they are engaging students and facilitating learning. As an added bonus, the Lower School is expanding the role of the Media Center to include a Collaboratory in the Lower School Library and is excited to introduce you to this reimagined space.
Come learn more about how the Lower School is evolving to meet the 21st century needs of children. SMH welcomes you and will see you in the Lower School Library on Thursday, September 12 at 8am.
News from the Lower School Library
The Lower School Library will host the Lower School Parent Coffee titled, “Full STEAM Ahead: How Lower School is Evolving to Meet the Needs of Our Students.” Come join SMH on Thursday, September 12 at 8am in the Lower School Library.
Our annual Summer Reading Celebration will be on Friday, September 20 during Morning Moments. SMH observes this annually to celebrate student readers who read 1,000 minutes or more during the summer. The library staff is busy calculating the minutes from calendars that have been turned in. All calendars were due at the end of August. However, if you can get it to us by Tuesday of this week, they can still include your child. Please mark your calendars to attend our Summer Reading Celebration! Special SMH pens will be available this year for rewards.
The Collaboratory is almost ready! The Lower School’s Collaboratory will be a fully equipped STEAM laboratory for students and teachers to come experiment, imagine, design, and build through creative means.
Please explore the amazing Lower School Library resources by logging in to the SMH Community Portal and clicking on “Lower School Library,” listed in the left navigation. Come explore the amazing database and magazine for kids’ collection. The digital library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email Lower School Librarian/Instructional Technologist Linda Wells at (210) 483-9174 or email@example.com. The Lower School Library wants you to enjoy all they have to offer!
Reading by Flashlight
The end of every week is special in Form 3 Language Arts Teacher Jane Viccellio’s room because ... it’s Flashlight Friday! Students bring a book of their choosing, the lights go out, calm music goes on, and everyone (including Mrs. Viccellio) reads by flashlight. It is a great way to end the week!
Full STEAM Ahead in Form 2
Math came alive in Form 2 Teacher Suzanne Williams' classroom. Mrs. Williams put her students into groups and then challenged each group to build the tallest towers using notecards and tape. This fun activity involved the skills of team building, strategizing, engineering, and cooperatively communicating.
Helping to Reset After a Bad Day
Have you ever had a bad day? Of course, we all have, and so have our children. This recent article in The Washington Post, How to teach a child to reset after a bad day (without fixing their problems for them), offers some ideas on how to help your children reset after a bad day.
Young Barons in Community
Save the date for some very exciting YBIC community service projects. All after-school projects are from 3:15pm-4:15pm. Parents will receive a Signup Genius link with the opportunities available for their children's Form levels on the month that the pertaining service takes place. For more information, please contact the YBIC Team - Emily Azar, Keerat Bajaj, Jennifer von Durckheim, and Iza Wallisch at YBIC.SMH@gmail.com
8 Tips to Help Young Kids Develop Good Reading Habits
It is never too early to help encourage reading at home. Read 8 Tips to Help Young Kids Develop Good Reading Habits.
Montessori and Kindergarten Students Play
Numerous studies throughout the years have shown how important it is for children to spend time in nature and at free play. A recent parenting article in The Washington Post noted that “time spent in nature and increased fitness improve cognitive function [and that] outdoor play uses and nurtures the imagination. Read the article, Kids do not spend nearly enough time outside. Here’s how (and why) to change that. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Through play … children learn valuable communication skills, including negotiation, cooperation, sharing, and problem solving as well as coping skills, such as perseverance and self-control.” Please enjoy this quick video from the Montessori and Kindergarten teams showing you the beauty of the school’s newly-renovated courtyard spaces where students will experience learning and free play in the great outdoors for this and many years to come!
Tobin Fine Arts School
At the first Fine Arts faculty meeting of the year, Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood shared with the Fine Arts faculty information that she had learned at the gcLi Leadership Lab conference this summer.
One of the faculty’s takeaways from Mrs. Underwood’s presentation was that in order to develop leadership skills in students, educators must develop “competence, confidence, and connectedness” within their students. What does this leadership training have to do with the fine arts at Saint Mary’s Hall?
Charles Matthews, a former vice president and general counsel for Exxon Mobil Corporation, recently wrote an opinion piece for The Dallas Morning News entitled, The best, most creative leaders in any field have a background in the arts. In the article, Matthews states, “During my career in corporate law, I had the opportunity to interview and hire a significant number of attorneys. Creative thinking skills were always highly valued. As I became better acquainted with an attorney who possessed these skills, I often found that there was some connection to the arts in that person’s background.” He goes onto to discuss the link between great leadership and arts education. “When facing a tough challenge … I’ve always sought out innovative, imaginative people. They’re the ones you want to gather in a conference room to brainstorm solutions that no one has thought of before. They’re the ones who can see beyond what’s right in front of them to solve complex business and legal problems.”
Saint Mary’s Hall students develop leadership skills through the arts every day. Teachers are intentional to foster creative-thinking and problem-solving abilities, while developing social-emotional learning skills such as empathy through collaborative processes and artistic problems of practice.
The goal that Fine Arts faculty and I have for your student this year is to nurture their unique creative talents so they can develop the “competence, confidence, and connectedness” to become exceptional leaders and creative thinkers in the future.
Wanda Wiley Atkinson Director of Fine Arts
Fine Arts Office: #2616, near Upper School Circle
Upper School Art Show
The Upper School Art Show has opened in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel Galleries and the Middle/Upper School Library. Be sure to stop by campus to see selections of spring and summer 2019 artwork from the Drawing & Painting, Photography, and Sculpture & Design Programs.
Lower School Children’s Choir
The Saint Mary’s Hall Children’s Choir started the year off with a donut party! A total of 77 Forms 3-5 students and Lower School Music Teacher Liz Troutwine congregated in the Band Hall for their first rehearsal of the year, and to enjoy donuts.
This year the choir will sing the National Anthem at the UT Health Science Gala and at the Spurs-Lakers game. Stay tuned to News From the Hall for more information. Enjoy a clip from a past Spurs performance (above).
Middle School Drama Production Auditions
Auditions for the Middle School Drama production will take place on Wednesday, September 11 and Thursday, September 12 from 4:45pm - 6pm in the Remmert Theater. The show this year will be a collection of One-Act Plays, and will be directed by Tyler Keyes, guest artist and theater director/teacher. Mr. Keyes is also a regular guest artist for Middle School Speech and Drama, and worked with SMH students last week on improving technique.
Performances for the Middle School show will be November 13 and November 14. For more information, contact Middle School Speech and Drama Teacher Rachel Warnecke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, the Dance Program hosted two events welcoming dancers back-to-school. On August 17, Form 5 dancers were treated to the annual Form 5 Dance social in which the theme of this year’s Lower School Dance Production was revealed. The show will be The Fairy Doll, adapted from the classic Russian ballet story about a toyshop that comes to life.
On August 25, Middle and Upper School dancers came together to celebrate and learn the theme of November’s contemporary dance production, Kaleidoscope: “Take a Chance.” The production will honor what would have been the 100th birthday of choreographer Merce Cunningham. The ballet production this year will be Don Quixote.
For more information on SMH Dance, contact Head of Dance Yosvani Cortellan at email@example.com.
Volleyball Beats Cross Town Rival TMI in Straight Sets
On August 27, volleyball defeated TMI Episcopal in straight sets (25-10, 25-16, 25-14), marking their second win of the season.
“The girls were so excited," states Head Coach Danielle Gonzalez, “you can tell this meant a lot to them. Their hard work at practice shows with wins like this.”
“After a streak of a few losses, it was really nice to see our team come together and bring that streak to an end. I really felt that as a team, we worked as a unit, which I was really proud of. I’m looking forward to how we continue to grow and improve our teamwork in the near future,” said senior Zoe Ramon.
Zoe led the way with 11 kills, 2 blocks, 7 digs, and 6 aces, with sophmore Abby Lavender adding 24 assists. The team looks to build on their third victory of the season, with district play beginning this month.
Saint Mary’s Hall Paves the Way for Heat Safety Protocols
Nothing says fall sports season in Texas like 100-plus-degree temperatures, no clouds, and long, grueling practices. This also means an increase in heat-related illnesses.
Heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, are a real concern for all athletes, but adults need to be extra conscious of young athletes who may not know when they need to take a break. Parents and coaches need to pay even closer attention to those who play sports that require wearing heavy equipment, like football or field hockey. Studies have shown that the risk of developing a heat-related illness is 11.4 times higher in football than all other sports combined.
SMH Athletics, along with the athletic training staff, has decided to take a forward-thinking approach to this matter. With student safety in mind, the staff has set up very strict guidelines, based on state-of-the-art technology, to provide the safest practice/playing conditions possible. View our Saint Mary’s Hall Heat Guidelines.
“We have been using the wet bulb globe thermometer measurement as our standard for more than five years.” said SMH Athletic Trainer Phil Rogers, “There is only one other district in our area using this standard. This is the safest and most reliable method to measure heat conditions for our athletes.”
A wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) device is a measurement tool that uses ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind, and solar radiation from the sun to get a measure that can be used to monitor environmental conditions during exercise. Establishing WBGT guidelines that dictate modifications in activity (work: rest ratios, hydration breaks, equipment worn, length of practice) at given WBGT temperatures play a huge factor in helping to prevent external heat stroke.
As environmental temperature and humidity increase, there is an increase in the heat stress that is placed on the exercising individual. Exercise in the heat causes athletes to rely on evaporation of sweat from the skin as the primary method of dissipating heat that is produced by the working muscles. As humidity increases, the ability to dissipate heat through evaporation is further hindered, thus causing the body to have an increased body temperature, which increases Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) risks.
The use of WBGT as an environmental monitoring measure during exercise in the heat was invented in the early 1950s in response to the number of heat casualties occurring in the United States Armed Services that occurred during the 1940s and 1950s. For example, from 1942-1944, 198 soldiers died due to heat illness during military training.
In response to the large number of heat illness cases, the military began to make modifications to training sessions when environmental conditions reached extreme levels. Initially, temperature and humidity levels were used when making training modifications and were later changed to using WBGT as a preventive measure to protect against heat illness. After implementing WBGT policies in the military, there was a drastic reduction in heat illnesses during basic training.
As mentioned above, WBGT can be used to establish guidelines for activity modifications during physical activity in the heat.
Our goal is to avoid any heat-related illness by using the best evidence based practices such as the WBGT. However, we must be ready for the worst-case scenario. We have emergency action plans in place for different situations and exertional heat stroke is one of those emergency-action plans that we review and practice.
School sanctioned athletics programs should use WBGT as a preventive measure against the heat. For example, the Georgia High School Athletics Association, amongst others, passed guidelines that mandate all state high schools measure WBGT and make necessary practice and game modifications depending on the WBGT reading. The guidelines are specific for the length of practice, number of breaks, and equipment that is allowed to be worn depending on WBGT temperature.
When establishing WBGT guidelines for physical activity, the guidelines must be region (geographic) specific. For example, an athlete playing football in Louisiana may be accustomed to warm environmental conditions, unlike a football player from Maine. A football player practicing in 90°F temperatures in Louisiana could be comfortable whereas a football player practicing in the same conditions in Maine could be experiencing the worst conditions they have felt all year, which would increase the risk of heat-related illness.
“No matter what sport is being played, during practices and games when medical professionals are not present,” says Dr. Raj Deu, assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, “it’s extremely important for everybody — especially parents on the sidelines watching their children participate — to have some information regarding heat-related illness.”
Luckily for Saint Mary’s Hall, the school has a full-time licensed athletic trainer on staff to provide a safety net to help catch any of the warning signs for heat-related illnesses. Along with coaching staff participation, SMH has set the standard for heat-safety protocol in the city.
Field Hockey Ties in Home Opener
On August 27, varsity field hockey tied their home opener against Austin St. Andrews. While the team came out strong with more than 20 shots on goal, finding the back of the cage with three of them, they tired at the end of each half conceding three goals as well. The girls fought hard in the heat for 70 minutes and, despite the result, showed glimmers of greatness not often seen in the first game of the season.
All three Barons goals came in the first half. The first was scored by junior Annika Blomster, who tipped in a cross by fellow junior Caroline Berridge. The second goal was scored by senior captain Mia Sabom on a short corner of the direct shot inserted by senior Claudia Espy The final saw Mia score again from the top of the circle, this time unassisted after a 60-yard dash up field. Sophomore goalkeeper Abbie Zeller recorded eight saves on the night.
The team continues their season at the Hockaday Festival in Dallas, September 6-7, with the next home game being Saturday, September 21 against Houston Christian at 11:30am on Lewis Field.
Cross Country Competes in First Meet
August 31, the season kicked off for the Barons’ cross country team in Lockhart, Texas at the Lockhart High School XC Meet. Runners competed in the "varsity Boys and Girls 4A and below" Division in humid conditions at the Lockhart City Park, going head to head with a total of 10 schools in each of their Divisions.
In the girls race, freshman Julia Garcia led the ladies with a 19th place overall finish for time of 13:24. Junior Sarah Hernandez was the next lady Baron to finish in 34th place in a time of 14:55. Wrapping up the top five finishers for the team was senior Jillian Spicer at 15:42, which was good enough for 39th. The duo of freshman Camila Navas and junior Nikki Winter finished 45th and 46th in the time of 16:45 and 16:50. The girls managed to place 7th overall in the standings.
The boys managed to place two in the top 10, and take a 5th place overall finish. Senior Ben Eugster led the way, and was up near the front for the entire race, finishing second overall in a time of 10:02. Following behind him was freshman Patrick Lang, who came in 7th place in a time of 10:39. Another freshman was next to cross the finish line as Jonathan Largoza finished in 16th place in a time of 11:02. Wrapping up the field of the Baron runners was sophmore Gian Avalos-Delgado, who finished in 38th place in a time of 12:32, junior Matthew Garcia in a time of 12:33, and senior Weston Bohne in a time of 12:45.
AJ Walker (Class of 2017) “was one of the best basketball players to ever wear a Barons uniform,” proclaimed Athletic Director Barry Chamberlin, and former coach to AJ.
In his four-year career, AJ scored more than 1,800 points, and while leading his teams to 20 wins in every season he played. During that span, his teams were ranked in the top 10 for private schools in Texas, and ranked in the top 10 for all schools in the City of San Antonio by the San Antonio Express News. He was a 4-year varsity player and 3-year varsity starter.
Chamberlin continued, ”AJ was a phenomenal teammate and humble competitor throughout his career. Barons fans will forever remember his heroic 3-pointer at the buzzer in his junior season to lift the Barons to victory over Alamo Heights in the Mule Dome!”
AJ has moved on to make a name for himself on the court at the United States Air Force Academy. AJ took over as a starter part way through his freshman season at Air Force, and finished the remainder of the season starting 22 games along the way. He is primed and ready for his sophomore campaign at Air Force. SMH could not be more proud of AJ Walker!
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A Letter from ChapSu
Supporting Reverend Gunnin’s Deployment
I can tell you from personal experience that when you are deployed overseas with the military, there is nothing like a care package from home. Every week, organizations across our country send a little bit of home to military men and women serving all over the globe. It very often falls to the military Chaplain to distribute these gifts, which often make a tremendous difference, especially to lower ranking service members whose paycheck doesn’t stretch very far.
Our All-School Chaplain Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin and the team of Chaplains working with him are carrying out the distribution of such care packages each week in their location. To let Cameron and his teammates know we are holding them close in thought and prayer, we are holding a Support Our Troops drive the week of September 16-20. We invite you to drop off donations in the Upper School, Middle School, or Lower School Offices or at the reception desk in the Administration Building.
Cameron says these items are particularly helpful:
- Individual, small size, laundry detergent packets are really needed. Many people don’t realize that after basic military training, service members must buy their own uniforms, laundry detergent, etc.
- Personal hygiene items, especially soap, toothbrushes, dental floss, shampoo, tissues, disposable razors, cotton swabs, etc. Travel size items are best. No aerosol cans please!
- Protein/energy bars are a huge hit.
Other helpful items are:
- Cotton socks and underwear. Make sure the garments are made of 100 percent cotton rather than a cotton blend. Items for men and women are both appreciated. White, black, or olive drab green are best.
- Powdered drink mix, such as lemonade, tea, or a sports drink.
- Hard containers of chips, pretzels, or nuts. Nothing that will melt. Bagged treats are not as stable as items in boxes and tins.
- Writing materials: notepaper, envelopes, pens, pencils, and stamps.
- Reading materials: paperback books, current magazines, and comic books.
- Word games and puzzles: crossword puzzles, word searches, Sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles.
Personal notes and cards for Cameron, or general ones addressed to whomever may receive the gift, may also be dropped off for inclusion in the packages.
Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation towards the postage of these items is welcome to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 823-7020.
Thank you in advance for helping us help Cameron serve those in his charge and for letting him know we are thinking of him.
Chaplain Susan Douglas
Interim All-School Chaplain
No Chapel Due to Holiday
Due to the Labor Day holiday, there were no Chapels last week. Stay tuned to Chapel Corner for future information about upcoming Chapels.
- Lower School students will have a reflection on kindness.
- Middle School students will explore the connections between the school’s core values, character, and faith.
- Upper School students will explore the topic of spiritual health.
- Lower School students will have a reflection on happiness.
- Rabbi Ben Richards of the Agudas Achim Synagogue will speak to Upper and Middle School students about the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Healthy at the Hall
Healthy at the Hall
The Wellness Team
It’s important that you know that every adult on this campus cares about the wellbeing of your children and supports their development.
SMH is so fortunate to be surrounded by caring people who have dedicated their lives and careers to educating your children. That being said, the school is also unique among San Antonio schools in that they have a team of people whose primary role on the SMH campus is to work toward improving your child’s wellbeing. Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales is joined in this work by SMH’s three Divisional Counselors Elizabeth Clark (Upper School), Leslie Palmer (Middle School), and Susan Moore-Sickmann (Lower School). Health and Wellness Educator Amelia Teodosio is SMH’s part-time health educator in the Middle and Upper Schools. School Nurse Melissa Baumholtz has recently been joined by Eileen Petter as a part-time nurse. Phil Rogers continues to support students as the athletic trainer. When he returns from his deployment, Rev. Dr. Cameron Gunnin will resume collaboration as the All-School Chaplain. Finally, Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas (ChapSu) is responsible for originally pulling this group together. Last week, it was mentioned that ChapSu is the best predecessor that a person could have because she has worked tirelessly to ensure that the work continues in a seamless fashion. ChapSu has skillfully transferred leadership so that Dr. Lopez-Morales can continue the initiatives that were established long before she arrived, several of which she will preview in this edition of Healthy at the Hall.
September is Lice Prevention Month
Inevitably, every year the school learns about lice in the community. September is Lice Prevention Month! Though pesky, lice are not a health hazard and are not responsible for the spread of any disease (nor are they a sign of poor hygiene).
A few things to keep in mind:
- Prolonged direct head-to-head contact is the most common method of transmission.
- Indirect spread through contact with personal belongings (combs, hats, etc.) is much less likely.
- Historically, cases at our school have always been very mild thanks to early detection and prompt treatment.
- Lice do not hop, jump, or fly; they can only crawl.
- Lice infestations have been shown to have low contagion in classrooms.
- There often is an unjustified stigma associated with head lice, which sometimes results in children being ostracized. This is a community‐wide issue, occurs in all socioeconomic groups, and is not a reflection of parenting or inaction on a school’s part.
- The school follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- A diagnosis of lice is not a reason for exclusion from school and students may return after they have been treated.
- The school does not do class‐wide screenings as they have been proven ineffective and only result in unnecessary missed class time.
- Teachers send individual students for screening to us if they are symptomatic.
A few things you can do:
- Teach your child not to share personal items (brushes, hats, hair bows, etc.).
- Regular surveillance by parents is the most effective way to detect and treat early infestations.
- Observe for frequent head scratching.
- If you need pointers on how to properly screen, call School Nurse Melissa Baumholtz at (210) 483-9229 or stop by her office on campus.
- Do not initiate treatment unless there is a clear diagnosis with living lice (unless advised otherwise by a healthcare provider).
If your child has lice:
- Take a deep breath. Everything will be OK. Really.
- Notify School Nurse Melissa Baumholtz at MBaumholtz@smhall.org She will be discreet and guide you through the process.
- Notify those who have had close contact with your child (sleepovers, etc.).
- “Natural” products are not required to meet FDA efficacy and safety standards for pharmaceuticals and as such are not recommended.
Saint Mary’s Hall seeks to support the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center for the bi-annual Blood Drive on Monday, September 16 from 8:30am - 3:30pm in the Coates-Seeligson Theater/Chapel – East Gallery. All Upper School students, faculty, staff, and parents are encouraged to participate as “patient needs outstrip donations” in the area. Natalie Sheridan from the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center joined Interim All-School Chaplain Susan Douglas at the Upper School Chapel on Monday, September 9. Please encourage your students to donate as they will also receive community service hours for donations (and attempted donations). Community service leaders encouraged sign ups after Chapel and will continue to seek volunteers through the actual Blood Drive next week.
Individual Wellness Plans
One of the initiatives that precedes Director of Wellness Dr. Sandra Lopez-Morales that she is thrilled to be able to shepherd has been the development and implementation of the Individual Wellness Plan (IWP). As mentioned last week, the SMH Wellness Team is continuing efforts to help individuals across campus focus on their wellness. Everyone on campus from Form 5 through adult members of the community will reflect on their current and aspirational behaviors regarding their own wellness. This is truly an effort to generate insight and inspire purposeful decision making in the domains of mental, physical, spiritual, and interpersonal health.
For the students, the IWP is a form that the Wellness Team established to allow the students to think about, discuss, and reflect on their actual habits. Some questions on which they will reflect include: What is going well in your life? What could be going better? What can you do to improve? Who can you go to for support? For the Upper School students, they will complete the form independently and review their thoughts with their advisor at individual meetings. They may also meet with different adults on campus for additional support based on their reflections and conversations with their advisors. For the Middle School students, they will discuss it in a longitudinal way as well as review their thoughts directly with Middle School Counselor Leslie Palmer.
As parents, SMH encourages you to talk with your children about their process. They may or may not want to share their reflections. Please be patient with them and with the Wellness Team and trust that if they had any major concerns, you are the first people they would call. As they work, the Wellness Team will encourage them to talk with you.
The Upper and Middle School students will begin these reflections in the fall. Form 5 students will participate in December. SMH adults will embark on a continuous process throughout the remainder of 2019. The goal is to review these documents again in the spring to reflect on changes and ideas for the summer and following school year. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Dr. Lopez-Morales at email@example.com.