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Dear St. Andrew's Family,

One of the things that makes St. Andrew’s truly unique among American high schools, I think, is the frequency with which visiting speakers come to campus, whether to make a major address to the entire the School community in Engelhard Hall, or to take part in a handful of Harkness table discussions. So far this year, we’ve welcomed painter Laura von Rosk, sociologist Alexandra Cox ’97, diplomat Mark Maloney, environmentalist David Orr, former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, poet and translator (and former SAS faculty member) Chris Childers, Navy pilot Schafer Newman ’08, classical musicians Trio St. Bernard, playwright and actor Mark Brown, social entrepreneur Sophie Stenbeck ’98, an Egyptian interfaith delegation of Muslim scholars and Coptic Christians, voice & breathing coach Suzanne Spangler Jackson, business professor and Marine veteran Joseph Blake P’97, Broadway producer Ed Strong ’66, psychologist Dr. Dahra Jackson Williams, feminist activist Jamie O’Leary ’14, author and innovator Alec Ross, biology professors Dr. Nike Olabisi and Dr. Jennifer Nauen, dancer Barbara Satine, county prosecutor Gwendolyn Williams P’17, Reverend Dr. Dorothy White, Argentinian arts nonprofit PH15, physicists and podcaster Dr. Ben Lillie, and, just this morning, lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson (more on his visit below).

Sorry if I exhausted you with that list—and it doesn’t even include all of the faculty-led excursions students take to Philadelphia, Wilmington, and D.C. for talks and lectures in those cities.

So how do we get all of these great people to visit the golden shores of Noxontown Pond? Some of the guests are, as you can see, alums or parents or alumni parents. Often our visitors get connected with St. Andrew’s through our faculty, who utilize their professional networks to connect their classrooms with leaders in their fields. And sometimes, as in the case of Bryan Stevenson, Tad gets a visiting speaker to come to St. Andrew’s through sheer force of will—and by getting every student in the School to write a letter to Bryan with a request that he come to campus to discuss his tireless civil rights work and his book Just Mercy.

Arts Department Co-Chair John McGiff and I were recently debating the "why" behind this steady stream of visitors. “These additions happen for visionary reasons,” McGiff suggested. “The engine of the School has been tuned in such a way as to direct the attention of the kids outwards, and then to support that outward focus by teaching the kids to articulate their thoughts, find connections, think critically about what’s happening in the world.”

I think Tad must have prepared Bryan Stevenson in advance with this outward-facing element of the St. Andrew's ethos, because this morning, Stevenson didn't ask students if they wanted to change the world for the better. He assumed that they did, and assured them that they could. 

"Just because we haven't achieved something doesn't mean it's not achievable," Stevenson said near the end of his talk. "This concept is built into the notion of science, and I think the same concept is true for social justice. Innovation means you have an idea and you work really hard to create it. So we can imagine things that haven't existed, but ought to exist, to create a healthier society. Just because they don't exist doesn't mean they're impossible."

All my best,
Liz Torrey
Director of Communications
Bryan Stevenson Visits SAS
Author, lawyer, and civil rights leader Bryan Stevenson spoke to the St. Andrew's School community earlier this morning. Stevenson is the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that provides legal assistance to prisoners on Alabama's Death Row and advocates against racial and economic inequality in the criminal justice system, and is also the author of the bestselling Just Mercy, St. Andrew's all-School read during the summer of 2016. In his talk, Stevenson shared four things we all must do if we want to "change the world": make ourselves proximate to suffering; challenge narratives that sustain inequality; stay hopeful; and be willing to be uncomfortable and even broken. After his talk he took student questions and signed students' books for more than an hour. Read more about Bryan's talk on our website.
In the Classroom
It's mid-term exam week at SAS! The Dining Hall and Library have been preternaturally quiet and chock full of students study for and taking exams.
Emily Pressman goes over a research paper assignment in her Advanced Study in History: History of Social Reform Movements class earlier this week. 
Melinda Tower hosts exam review Jeopardy for III Formers in her US History: Research Challenges class. 
Students in John McGiff and Navanjali Kelsey's Drawing class sketch with black and white oil pastels in the O'Brien Arts Center.
III Formers taking English 1 with Gretchen Hurtt acted out "tableaux" of Macbeth in class.
Peter McLean took his III Form Biology students to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge as part of their winter term bird unit, in which students are asked to observe birds in their natural habitats both on and at Bombay Hook. Students must record at least 75 unique bird observations of at least 25 different species of birds. Bombay Hook offers a 12 mile wildlife drive, five walking trails, and three observation towers, and according to Dr. McLean, allows for some of the best birdwatching on the East Coast. 
Go Saints!
We grabbed some photos while Saints girls varsity basketball battled Wilmington Friends this past Tuesday. The girls put up a great effort but ultimately lost to WFS 25-35. Check out all recent Saints scores and results on at
Campus Happenings
The Rev. Dr. Dorothy White visited St. Andrew's campus January 15-16 to visit classrooms and deliver the homily at the Sunday morning Chapel service. Reverend White is an Episcopal priest who grew up in segregated Knoxville, TN, and currently serves as the school chaplain and teaches religion and philosophy at St. Catherine's Episcopal School in Richmond. St. Andrew's Religious Studies Department Chair Terence Gilheany met Reverend White at the National Association of Episcopal Schools Convention in New Orleans this past fall. "She described her teaching in her philosophy classes," Terence recalled, "and I knew I had a lot to learn from her. We spoke at the convention for about an hour, and I invited her to visit St. Andrew's to both speak in Chapel and to visit our religious studies classes." You can read the homily Reverend White delivered in Chapel on our website
The Science Department invited physicist Dr. Ben Lillie to campus last week to visit with classes and talk with students and faculty about interdisciplinary learning and "the human side of science." Lillie has a PhD in physics from Stanford, and has devoted his career to science communication and public outreach. He is the director of the The Story Collider podcast—which shares stories of how scientific discoveries came to be—and a former writer for
2016 Women's Network speaker Sophie Stenbeck ’98 was back on campus this week to workshop social entrepreneurship start-up ideas with interested students.
French teacher Diahann Johnson organized the School's annual Summer Opportunities Fair for students last Wednesday. Interested Saints got a chance to check out various national and international language immersion, outdoor, and service summer programs for high school students.
Adaptive Aquatics is still going strong (in its third decade!) every Tuesday afternoon in the Genereaux Aquatic Center. Saints who are involved in this community service program give weekly swim lessons in the School pool to local students with physical and mental disabilities.
We had a cafeteria lunch last Friday to allow students and faculty to watch the Inauguration in the Student Center and in classrooms (we didn't get any photos of the viewing crowd, unfortunately). On Saturday, a number of our students and faculty participated in the Women's Marches in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The St. Andrew's Alumni Clothes Closet (STAACC) had a successful grand reopening on Sunday in its new permanent location in the basement of the Old Gym. One-day sales yielded $500, all of which will be put toward SAS financial aid. The STACC is ALWAYS looking for apparel donations, and asks that donors be thoughtful about both the quality of your donations and the fact that STAACC customers are for the most part teenagers. And remember: any St. Andrew's gear is always a hot commodity! Drop off your donations to Kristin Honsel in the Admissions hallway of Founders.
During exam review days, Director of Diversity Education Giselle Furlonge, Director of Academic Support Annalisa Alleyne, and Dean of Teaching & Learning Elizabeth Roach hosted drop-in sessions on counteracting stereotype threat for all faculty. 
Yesterday afternoon, the entire Arts Department (performing and visual arts alike) challenged themselves to learn how to throw pottery on the wheel under the careful guidance of ceramics teacher Elizabeth McGiff.
News & Notes
Parents, Please Send Us Your New Insurance Cards
As we begin a new calendar year, we'd like to ask current parents that if you have new health, dental and/or prescription insurance, please send the Health Center a copy of the front and back of your new or updated insurance cards, so that we may keep your child's health record up to date. Please snap a picture of the front and back of the card(s) and email it to us at We wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017!
Calling Unwanted Bras of Any Kind
Students have been conducting a bra drive for victims of domestic violence. Women living in shelters and safe houses often don't have time to pack a suitcase, let alone a bra, when leaving their homes for a shelter—but bras are also not typically donated to women's shelters. So far students have collected 175 bras, and anything that students can bring back to campus from friends and family at home is greatly appreciated! All donations will be distributed to women and girls living in shelters affiliated with the National Network to End Domestic Violence
Upcoming Events
Fri Jan 27-Tues Jan 31—Winter Long Weekend
Fri Feb 3-Sat Feb 4—Trustee Weekend
Sat Feb 11—Winter Play
Fri Feb 17 & Sat Feb 18—Winter Musical
Sat Feb 25—Spring Break Begins

All-School Calendar  |  2016-17 School Calendar  |  2017-18 School Calendar
We Leave You With This
Associate Chaplain Dave DeSalvo snapped this picture of the sunrise over Noxontown Pond on his way in to work this very morning.
Copyright © 2017 St. Andrew's School, All rights reserved.

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