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Dear St. Andrew's family, 

One of my favorite moments on screen comes from the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love. Philip Henslowe, owner of the Rose Theatre, is trying to hold off the demands of Hugh Fennyman, “the money” financing the new (yet to be written) Shakespeare play, a little longer:
 
Philip Henslow: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Fennyman: How?
Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
 
For the last ten years, as director of the Winter Play—the non-musical theatre option for the season—I have played and replayed this scene in my mind every early February, a reassuring refrain in the face of last-minute, seemingly “insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster”: props that have seemed to grow legs and walk away, stage lights that have stopped working the day of the final dress rehearsal, actors who have fallen ill (and that’s all just this year!). “It’s okay,” I tell myself. “Embrace the mystery, the magic of the theater. Have faith. Tom Stoppard [co-author of Shakespeare in Love] is never wrong about the theater.”
 
But even as I console myself with these words, I know that one of the most important lessons I try to teach my actors is this: that the mystery of how it all turns out well is not so mysterious after all. It is the creation of their hard work and commitment throughout the season: pushing themselves to understand a character constitutionally unlike themselves, to learn more lines than they thought their brains could hold, to embrace the risk of revealing on stage more emotion than they are comfortable revealing in their own lives. That is the mystery, the magic of the theater in which I truly have faith.
 
Of course, the basic principles of this practical magic are being taught and learned by St. Andreans off stage as much as on. We don’t simply believe it will “all turn out well” and passively wait for it to do so. The VI Formers who are in the early stages of the Senior Exhibition project—the culmination of their work in English here—know that the sophistication of the arguments at which they ultimately arrive will be built on the foundation of lots and lots (and lots!) of hard work, because as students of literature at SAS, they have learned that they find out what they are thinking by writing, to paraphrase Joan Didion. The swimmers who won the DISC meet last weekend put in countless hours, at early morning swims as well as afternoon practices, because they embraced their coaches’ promise that hard work would pay off. The students who gave up most of this past Sunday to go to the Polar Bear Jump in Lewes to support the Special Olympics didn't quietly rely on the arc of the moral universe to bend towards justice on its own; they got out there and pushed, with their minds, their voices, and their bodies. 

So, too, does the Antigone at the center of this winter’s play, a translation of Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of Antigone, written in 1944 as a veiled celebration of the Resistance in the face of Nazi occupation and French collaboration. Creon questions Antigone’s commitment to what she knows to be moral, right, true. “What good would it do?” he asks her, for her to bury her brother, when she knows it is against the law Creon has handed down—and that her brother will only end up unburied again in the end. 

“I know that,” Antigone replies. “But that much, at least, I can do. And what a person can do, a person should do.”
 
So I’m going to keep believing in the mystery, but with the understanding that that we conjure our own magic—theatrical and otherwise—through hard work, action, and commitment: through “faith and learning.”

My best,
Emily Pressman
History Department Chair
epressman@standrews-de.org
In the Classroom
Third Formers in Will Porter's English 1 course debate the mind of Macbeth in class on Thursday.
Whiteboard work for students in Sam Permutt's Problem Solving in Geometry & Algebra 2 class.
Clockwise from top, Drawing students Tori Tull ’18, Mia Beams ’19, William Park ’19, Wilder Berl ’19, and Robert Portnoy ’19 work on black and white line drawings in the studio.
Neemu Reddy's English 1 students acted out scenes from Macbeth for each other on the stage in Engelhard. Clockwise from top are William Liu ’20 and Zach Tull ’20; Eli Tuveson ’20, Tien Duong ’20 and Bwembya Tembo ’20; Roman DeMarco ’20; and James Turner ’20.
#GoFightSaints
Last Saturday we hosted the DISC Swimming Conference Championships at our Genereaux Aquatic Center, and both our boys and girls teams clinched the title! The boys placed first, fifty points ahead of their next-nearest competitor, and the girls placed first in a tie with Wilmington Friends School. "For the first time in years, the St. Andrew's boys and girls hold the title of conference champions simultaneously," said Head Coach Richard Samulski after the meet. "I credit the determination and effort of our girls, the camaraderie and work ethic of our boys, and the leadership and examples set by our captains for this incredible accomplishment. These swimmers have worked so hard to achieve their goals and I'm so proud of what they've been able to do." Read all the details on our website
 
Claire Miller ’18 and Tina Taylor ’18 (seen here and below) are heading to Boston to compete in the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships this Sunday. Both Tina and Claire have been training incredibly hard for this competition, along with and Grace Xu ’17 (seen below) and Avery O'Brien ’18 (not pictured) both of whom have to miss this weekend's competition due to non-rowing related injuries. Avery, Claire and Tina have all PR'd twice during their training this winter. "To say they have grown this winter is the biggest understatement," said St. Andrew's girls rowing Head Coach Lou Berl. "These girls are growing as athletes and people. I can't tell you how rewarding it has been working with them." Want to cheer on Claire and Tina in Boston? Visit the CRASH-B website for full event schedule.
St. Andrew's indoor track team got to meet the one and only Joe Biden after their meet at Tower Hill on January 21. Mr. Biden was there to watch one of his grandchildren compete at the eight-team meet.
Campus Happenings
Students and faculty traveled to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for St. Andrew's biannual all-School day trip to our nation's capital. Arranged by Director of Alumni Relations Chesa Profaci ’80, the purpose of the trip is to provide students with opportunities to access the inner workings of federal government and national politics through meetings with alumni involved in those fields—and to explore the city's museums and monuments, natch. Read about the trip and all the fantastic alums who met with our students & faculty (thank you!!) on our website.
Below left, Florida Williams ’04 with Lucy Dai ’20, Emily Paton ’20, and Associate Chaplain Dave DeSalvo outside of Florida's office at the World Food Program. Below right, students and faculty outside the CBS News studio, which they toured with Louise Dufresne ’09.
And of course: VI Formers had to take in some ice skating on the National Mall.
Last Saturday, fourteen students headed down to Rehoboth Beach, DE with Chaplain Jay Hutchinson to participate in the annual  Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) Polar Bear Plunge. "St. Andrew's students raised 800 dollars for SODE, and had plenty of fun along the way," said Hutch. "We joined 3,500 plungees who came from far and wide to run into the ocean in February. It was a balmy day and some of the students even went back in the water a second time. Special thanks to Maria Sargeni ’17, Charlotte Berl '17, Alex Horgan '18, Abbi Tarburton '18. and Emily Paton ’20, who organized SAS participation in this event." Seen here are the before and after pictures!
Students attended Semiformal on Saturday, and per School tradition, cooked dinner for themselves in faculty homes or dined at Harkness tables before heading over to the dance in the Dining Hall, where student photogs Sylvia Reed ’19 and Jamie Rowley ’19 took "prom portraits" for their fellow students for the first hour of the dance.
The gals of Moss took solace in pints of Ben & Jerry's during finals in January.
All this fall and winter, ceramics teacher Elizabeth McGiff has been inviting local special needs adults into the SAS pottery studio to glaze bowls thrown on the wheel by St. Andrew's ceramics students. Last week, these students, alongside McGiff and SAS ceramics majors, presented the finished bowls to the Salvation Army for use in their "Souper Bowl" fundraiser in Middletown. Proceeds from the Souper Bowl support efforts to feed the hungry and reduce food insecurity in Delaware.
The latest addition to the slate of afternoon activities at SAS is martial arts, helmed by Religious Studies teacher Jason Kunen. The program focuses on equipping students with practical street self-defense skills, and incorporates aerobic exercise and meditation as well. Below are some shots of martial artists in action this past week.
This winter, students (led by Genesis Javier ’17 and Emma Marvil ’17, seen here) have been conducting a bra drive for victims of domestic violence, and have collected 209 bras for donation! 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. All donations will be distributed to women and girls living in shelters affiliated with the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Big thanks to all who contributed!
News & Notes
Grandparents & Special Friends Day is Around the Corner!
Grandparents and Special Friends Day invitations are going out next week! Every year, we invite our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends to spend a Saturday morning with us on campus. They can accompany their St. Andreans to classes, spend some time with Headmaster Tad Roach, and cheer on the Saints in athletic competitions! If you'd like your child's grandparent or special friend to receive an invitation to this event, please fill out this form by Friday, February 17. (You can also use this form to update the grandparent or special friend contact info you've provided to us in the past, if need be.)
Upcoming Events
Fri Feb 10 & Sat Feb 11—Winter Play
Fri Feb 17 & Sat Feb 18—Winter Musical
Fri Feb 24 & Sat Feb 25—Mock Trial Competition (Wilmington)
Sat Feb 25-Sun Mar 19—Spring Break
Sat Mar 25—Grandparents & Special Friends Day

All-School Calendar  |  2016-17 School Calendar  |  2017-18 School Calendar
We Leave You With This
A light dusting of snow at St. Andrew's yesterday, as seen from the roof of Founders.
Copyright © 2017 St. Andrew's School, All rights reserved.


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