News From the Hall
February 14, 2022
- A MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD OF LOWER SCHOOL
- Upper School
- Middle School
- Lower School
- Fine Arts
A Message From the Head of Lower School
On January 23 - with just 13 seconds left in regulation play - it looked as though the Buffalo Bills would move on to the AFC championship.
Texas native and Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, stepped out on the field and threw a pass to connect with Travis Kelce, setting up a 49-yard field goal which would tie the game and send it into overtime. With an advantageous coin toss, and another complete pass to Kelce, the Chiefs came out victorious. What is it that gave Patrick Mahomes the composure to push through in the face of adversity and near certain defeat?
According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child 2022 brief What is Executive Function? And How Does It Relate to Child Development? executive function “refers to a group of skills that help us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, monitor errors, make decisions in light of available information, revise plans as necessary, and resist the urge to let frustration lead to hasty actions.” Executive function skills are believed to be regulated by the prefrontal cortex area of the brain, which is not fully developed in children. So, although children are not born with executive function skills, they have the potential to develop them. In the Lower School, we are focusing on teaching students in Forms 1-5 eleven executive function skills:
- Task initiation
- Working memory
- Time management
Executive function skills help individuals to regulate emotions, pay attention, problem solve, and make decisions. When children learn new skills, they need to practice those skills, but they must also practice executive function skills to develop higher-order, goal-directed, critical- thinking skills. It is also thought that executive function influences moments of stress by enabling controlled cognitive processing. These capacities all contribute to successful school achievement and lifelong wellbeing.
My guess is Patrick Mahomes has highly developed executive function skills which served him well in those game-changing 13 seconds. Each of us experiences varying degrees of 13-second moments, it’s how we are prepared to meet them that makes the difference.
Head of Lower School
The San Antonio Spurs will host Faith and Family Night with special guest David Robinson on March 11. Saint Mary's Hall students, families, staff, and friends are invited to participate. For this game, the Spurs are providing a custom t-shirt, a post-game chat with David Robinson, and exclusive access to discounted tickets for the night. Purchase tickets HERE.
In celebration of Black History Month, the Student Equity Collective invited the Upper School student body to attend a Zoom discussion with Form 11 student, Ainsley Hunter '23, and her grandparents, Mr. Theotis and Mrs. Jeanelle Bronson.
During the discussion, Mr. and Mrs. Bronson shared their experiences attending segregated and integrated schools, earning law degrees from the University of Florida, and advocating for civil rights. Mrs. Bronson is the first African American woman in Orange County, Florida to be elevated to partner in a majority firm. Mr. Bronson is the second African American to serve as a judge of the Ninth Judicial Court in Florida. On behalf of the Upper School, the Student Equity Collective would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Bronson for sharing their experiences and wisdom.
January 30, 20 Upper School students met on campus to work on the greenhouse and garden beds. Students worked on cleaning the greenhouse floors, trimming trees, laying stones, and converting old Lower School sand boxes into repurposed raised gardening beds. Community Service Council leaders, Helena Hanor ‘23 and Jay Adolphe ‘23 planned and organized the on-campus service event. Students hope to hold a follow up event in the spring to continue their work.
This past week, the Middle School Drama Program performed, Revenge of the Space Pandas.
The students worked very hard for several months, and their dedication was well worth it. Congratulations to the drama students on a very successful show run! Many, many thanks also go to the show’s directors, World Languages & Cultures Chair Laura Renard and Form 7 English Teacher Chase Hebert.
On February 1, SMH Form 5 students made the walk up the hill to experience the magic of Middle School. Missy Northington (Math), Debra McInerney (English), Matt Hayes (Social Studies), and Mary Poarch (Science) provided several super fun, exciting classes that let our future Middle School Barons get a feel for the great year they have in store! Our Middle School Faculty and Administration anxiously await the arrival next August of this fantastic group of SMH students.
We are so excited to announce that Middle School overnight field trips are on the calendar!
Form 7 and Form 8 Overnight Field Trips to Port Aransas and Corpus Christi (two separate field trips)
- When: The Form 8 trip will take place April 4-6, and the Form 7 trip will occur May 2-4
On this field trip, students and faculty chaperones will travel to Port Aransas and Corpus Christi and stay at the Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center in Port Aransas. The buses for this trip will depart on Monday morning and return on Wednesday afternoon by the end of the school day.
One of the fun activities during the three days include a trawler boat excursion in Port Aransas Bay to study various types of marine life found in the bay habitat. In Corpus Christi, students will enjoy time aboard the U.S.S. Lexington as well as a tour of the Texas State Aquarium and all of its fun educational offerings. One of the highlights of this trip occurs on the private beach at the Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center where all students will take a class in sand sculpting and then participate in a team sand sculpting competition between class members, with faculty chaperones will serving as judges. This trip always proves to be one of the most popular events of our Middle School experience and we are especially excited that our Form 8 students will also be able to experience this trip that was not possible last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Form 6 Overnight Field Trip to Camp Buckner in Burnet
- When: The Form 6 trip will take place April 28-29
On this field trip, our Form 6 students and faculty chaperones will travel to the Texas Hill Country to spend two days and a night at Camp Buckner outside of Burnet. The buses for this field trip will depart on Thursday morning April 28 and will return to campus on Friday afternoon by the end of the school day.
Activities during these two days include a wide range of outdoor education experiences and recreational events. Some of the fun outdoor education and recreation options available to our kids are team-building challenges on a state-of-the-art ropes course, zip line, a swimming pool with blob/slide, Frisbee golf, basketball, soccer, sand volleyball, gaga ball, 9-square, and human foosball. Professional facilitation for activities is provided by The University of Texas Outdoor Education Department, and lodging and meals are provided by Camp Buckner staff professionals. The Form 6 faculty and staff chaperones are very excited to share in the experience with their students.
Get ready for fun this spring!
On Tuesday, Community Service Council (CSC) led an advisory activity. Students drew cards to send to Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (CHOSA).
The following people received nominations this week for the Middle School Dean’s List for Kindness and Respect:
- Christian Albrecht ’28
- Mac Berridge ’28
- Brittany Girling ’28
- Pearl Moore ’28
- Renzo Morrill ’28
- Chase Hebert, Form 7 English Teacher
- Bruce Marshall, MS/US Learning Specialist
- Laura Renard, MS/US Spanish Teacher
As a reminder, any Middle School student or parent may nominate a fellow classmate or faculty member by sending Assistant Head of Middle School and Dean of Students Mike Mayberry an email describing the act of kindness or respect. These names will be shared weekly in the Middle School section of News From the Hall as well as announced during Middle School Monday morning announcements. We encourage everyone at SMH to have an attitude of kindness and respect, one that brings out the best in you and those around you!
Executive function skills are the abilities in the brain that help us complete everyday tasks.
These are skills like planning, organizing, being flexible, using working memory, paying attention and choosing self-control. Each skill plays an important role in accomplishing daily responsibilities and long-term goals. The skills interact, overlap, and depend on one another to ensure we are working efficiently and effectively during all of our “everyday doings.” These skills are keys to success!
Since October 2021, the Form 4 and Form 5 students have attended an executive function class during interdisciplinary time one or two days out of each eight-day rotation. Recently, students in Forms 1-3 were introduced to the concepts of “Brain Boosts,” another name for executive function skills. The classes uses resources from Pathway 2 Success by Kristina Scully and are taught by Learning Specialist Libby White and Academic Support Specialist Amy Read and enthusiastically supported by the class mascot, Mojo the Pickle!
In January, each Kindergarten class set a goal to collect 100 food items in honor of the 100th day of school to donate to the San Antonio Food Bank. They surpassed their goal and collectively donated over 400 food items. View a video of their service project HERE.
Saint Mary’s Hall Lower School students and teachers joined millions throughout the world to celebrate World Read Aloud Day on February 2. Form 2 Teachers Suzanne Williams and Courtney Pierce guided the students through virtual ”read-alouds” by authors scheduled throughout the day. Kindergarten Teacher Amy Whittington cheered on Kindergarten student Julia Dingivan ‘34 while she read A Snowy Nap to her peers. Spanish Teacher Jessica Rivera read Creepy Carrots to her students in Spanish. The Form 3 students enjoyed stories read by Head of School Len Miller and Lower School Instructional Facilitator and Technologist Teri Bohlsen. The sound of stories being read aloud resounded throughout the Lower School as many more teachers and students celebrated the power of words.
Congratulations to our dancers who were recently honored with the Form 3 Dance Awards: Kasey Mitchell ‘31, Samuel Montemayor ‘31, Andrea Farret ‘31, and Hildebrand Petty ‘31.
Dancers in Forms 1-5 are selected by faculty for the awards because of their demonstrated: Positive attitude and joy in dance class, willingness to grow as a dancer, respect and appreciation for the discipline of dance, and support of their classmates in and outside the dance studio.
Auditions for the One-Act Play Almost Maine will be held Wednesday, February 16 and Thursday, February 17 at 4:15pm in the Remmert Theater.
Students should be prepare to cold read from the scripts. For an appointment, time or more information contact Form 7 English Teacher Chase Hebert.
Good luck to our Form 5 students this week on the opening of Camp Treefall, the Form 5 drama production. The entire class collaborated to create this special performance, under the direction of Lower School Drama Teacher Clea Underwood.
Performances for a general audience is on Thursday, February 17 at 6pm. Visit the SMH Fine Arts Ticket Page for more information.
Join our Middle School musicians onstage for their February showcase on Wednesday, February 23 at 6pm in the Remmert Theater. Performances by Beginning Band, Middle School Chorus Club, and Middle School Concert Band will be sure to delight. Tickets are free and the showcase is open to the public.
Our SMH Speech & Debate team competed virtually at the Louis D. Brandeis/BASIS Swing. Three Form 9 students champion their individual events at the tournament: Evaristo Derby-Elizondo ‘25, Emily Ton ’25, and Sophia Nelson ‘25!
Some team members who qualified for TFA State at this tournament include:
- Kathleen Benson ’22 – Humorous Interpretation & Original Oratory
- Grace Ogden ‘23 – Original Oratory
- Angus McGoon ’24 – Informative Speaking
Dragon Portion (Day 1 – Friday, January 14)
- Kathleen Benson’22 – Humorous Interpretation & Original Oratory – 1st Place – Tournament Champion
- Jonathan Tubb ’23 – Informative Speaking – 2nd Place
- Noor Shamieh’24 – Humorous Interpretation – 3rd Place
- Angus McGoon ’24 – Informative Speaking – 3rd Place
- San Ono ’25 – Humorous Interpretation – 4th Place
- Angus McGoon ’24 – Dramatic Interpretation – 5th Place
Bronco Portion (Day 2 – Saturday, January 15)
- Evaristo Derby ‘25– Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking – 1st Place – Tournament Champion
- Sophia Nelson ‘25 & Emily Ton '25 – Duo Interpretation – 1st Place – Tournament Champions
- Grace Ogden’23 – Original Oratory – 1st Place – Tournament Champion
- Abbie Zeller ’22– Original Oratory – 2nd Place
- Jonathan Tubb ’23 – Informative Speaking – 2nd Place
- Sophie Holder ’24 – Humorous Interpretation – 2nd Place
- Grace Ogden ’23 – Informative Speaking – 3rd Place
- Noor Shamieh ’24 – Humorous Interpretation – 3rd Place
- San Ono ’25 – Humorous Interpretation – 5th Place
- Sophie Holder ’24 – Program Oral Interpretation – 6th Place
- Sophia Nelson ’25 – Dramatic Interpretation – 6th Place
- Emily Ton ’25 – Program Oral Interpretation – 7th Place
- Rusham Goyal ‘25– Dramatic Interpretation – 7th Place
- Anish Beeram ’23 – Student Congress – Finalist
- Henry Zachry ’23 – Student Congress – Finalist
Following the Form 5 show on Thursday, February 17, celebrate our Form 5 and 6 visual artists’ artwork new art exhibition will be celebrated with a reception outside the Theater/Chapel Galleries. The reception and art show opening will be held at 7pm.
Join our youngest dancers onstage for one of the most delightful events of the year, our Montessori-Kindergarten Dance Recital! The performance will be at 1pm on February 25 in the Coates-Seeligson Theater Chapel.
To support and cultivate the next generation of filmmakers, SXSW Film hosts a special competition for students enrolled in Texas high schools.
Congratulations to our film makers on being selected for SXSW 2022:
- William Herff ‘22, Nicholas Campos ‘22, Peyton Randolph ‘22
- William Herff ‘22, Alex Glast ‘22, Sofia Mauri ‘22, Bella Muñoz ‘’22, Emi Kosterlitzky ‘22, Matthew Medellin ‘24, Christopher Chan ‘24, Ana Testas ‘24, Ines Wallisch ‘24
- Waiting for Divine Intervention
- Bella Muñoz ‘22, Emi Kosterlitzky ‘22, William Herff ‘22, Alex Glast ‘22, Sofia Mauri ‘22, Alex Schroeder ‘23, Ines Wallisch ‘24, Kate Whittington ;24, Ana Testas ‘24, Analia Rivera ‘24, Matthew Medellin ‘24, Christopher Chan ‘24
Alexandra Kuperman's piano students will shine bright at 2pm on Sunday, February 27 during their Piano Recitals!
Broadway Hits takes the stage on Tuesday, March 1 at 6pm. The SMH Orff Ensemble and the SMH Children’s Choir will perform favorite tunes from Broadway on the Coates-Seeligson stage. Tickets are available online on the SMH Fine Arts Ticket Page.
As the men’s basketball season comes to an end, the Athletics Department would like to recognize the seniors who have given the extra time to support our athletics department through their efforts on the court.
#3 Alec Czar
- Alec has attended Saint Mary’s Hall for four years and played basketball all four years.
- Alec hopes to attend the University of Colorado Boulder and major in Business.
- Alec’s other extracurricular activities include football and lacrosse.
- Alec’s favorite basketball memory is making the playoffs and almost having an undefeated season his junior year.
#10 Blake Miller
- Blake is a lifer at Saint Mary’s Hall, and has played basketball at SMH since Form 1.
- Blake is going to Tulane University, and plans to major in Economics.
- Blake’s favorite basketball memory is from sophomore year, when Alec bought a big tray of cookies during an hour break and they ate the whole batch.
#31 Jack Hall
- Jack has attended Saint Mary’s Hall for 12 years and played basketball for six years.
- Jack hopes to attend the Southern Methodist University in the fall and major in economics.
- Jack’s other extracurricular activities include football and lacrosse.
- Jack’s favorite basketball memory at SMH is bus rides with the team.
Varisty Basketball Head Coach Barry Chamberlin said, “We are so proud of this senior group of young men. We are thankful for the hard work and dedication that our seniors have invested into the SMH basketball program. Thank you seniors!”
The Barons are almost wrapped up with their incredible season. After a string of losses to Top-5 teams, the Barons reeled off five straight victories to improve to 17-9 on the season. The Barons have also clinched the #4 seed in the playoffs to secure their second straight playoff berth. The team has their eyes set on their first ever TAPPS playoff victory Saturday, February 19.
Men’s and women’s tennis kicked off their season with the Dominion Winter Classic. The draws were separate for each player in the lineup. All number 1 singles were in 1 draw, same for 2 singles, and there were 3 doubles draws. Both sides saw some tough matches, played their best, and came out with some tremendous results against much bigger schools.
- Women’s Results are below:
- A Singles
- Ally Gibbs ’24 had 3 tough opponents from Lee, Madison and East Central. She lost all three but gave 100 percent.
- B Singles
- Catherine Mao ‘25 lost first round then had a win over East Central and lost the third match in a close pro set to Roosevelt.
- A Doubles
- Ali Rose Davis’24/Ana Testas ‘24 came in 4th and had a win over Roosevelt.
- B Doubles
- Nitya Patel ’22/Sofia El Haj Moussa ‘23 came in 3rd place, had wins over Madison and TMI.
- C Doubles
- Aarya Shah ,24/Avani Gunuganti ‘24, came in 1st place, had wins over East Central, Brandeis, and TMI.
- A Singles
- Men’s Results
- A Singles draw
- Brian Berman ‘24 had strong opponents, lost two matches and had a win over East Central.
- B Singles draw
- Ash Menick ‘25 finished in 2nd place, had wins over East Central and TMI.
- A Doubles draw
- William Herff ’22/Will Azevedo ’22 came in 3rd, wins over Madison and Roosevelt.
- B Doubles draw
- Hudson Moore ’25/Richard Cage ’24 – 2nd place, wins over Madison and Brandeis.
- A Singles draw
In their second match of the year, the Barons took to the home court against TMI. The teams had a successful day with the men’s team tying 3-3, and the women’s team winning 3-2.
The Barons men’s soccer team faced the state ranked TMI Panthers last week in what would be their strongest performance of the year, ending regulation in a 2- 2 tie.
Midfielder Alex Akeju ‘24 started the scoring for the Barons with a strike from outside the box to tie the game 1-1. The Panthers answered pulling ahead 2-1 before Evaristo Derby ‘25 buried a put-back to bring the Barons even with the Panthers.
With no overtime period in district play, the Barons lost in the penalty kick tie breaker, 3-0.
Congratulations to the Saint Mary’s Hall men’s varsity bowling club team on winning the 2022 Astro High School Shoot-Out.
February 1 was a date for the SMH women’s soccer record books as senior team captain Hunter Hoelscher ‘22 became the 42nd player in San Antonio Area history to eclipse the 100 career-goal mark, in a decisive district victory over Austin Brentwood Christian, 7-2. Hoelscher, a New York University women’s soccer commit, is currently second in the city for scoring this season with 36 goals, but she also entered a very distinguished group at Saint Mary's Hall as she became the third player to accomplish the feat of 100 career-goals, along with women’s soccer all-time leading scorer, Cissy Wafford ‘88 (135) and Erin Freeman ‘99 (131). Always the great team player, Hunter shares this with all of her teammates as well. Thank you for your commitment and all you do for SMH Soccer and SMH Athletics, Hunter!