Dear St. Andrew’s Family,

During this hectic and intense and wonderful first week of the School year, I took twenty minutes to sit down and talk with our Classics Department Chair & Director of Diversity Education Giselle Furlonge. During our conversation (I was picking her brain about the School’s first annual Ask! Campaign, which she organized—more on that below), she shared an idea that just completely captivated me: Giselle described St. Andrew’s as a place that continually expands and contracts over the course of the School year. Opening Weekend, she explained, is a time when we literally open the arms of our campus and expand to welcome and take in all our new students and families. The first week of classes that follows is a time when we contract into the more intimate spaces of our classrooms and dorms. This happens again and again throughout the year and even throughout each week: we gather as a community and stretch the space of our Chapel, Dining Hall, Engelhard, playing fields and sidelines; and we draw into smaller groups: around the Harkness table, in the locker room, with roommates on dorm, or during a student-advisor chat on the T-Dock. 

This expansion and contraction is the act of breathing, of course, and I’m in love with the idea of St. Andrew’s as a living, breathing organism. Can’t you just picture the ribs of the Chapel ceiling rising and falling with the breath of the School? Or envision how, during School Meeting, the red heart of Engelhard fills up with the inimitable and vital energy of our students?

Bishop Wright touched on the importance of expansion in particular in his Chapel Talk (his last as Bishop; he will retire in early 2017) on Wednesday night: “What’s important is that we all join in this place together,” he said, gesturing at the vaulted ceiling. “As the School has grown—I notice you all sitting in the back on the steps! Thank you!—and as the School has welcomed new folks, it’s become even more important. The thing about the lives that we live today is that people very seldom sit together in big groups like this, except to, for example, go to the movies. Sitting together in Chapel is a different experience: we all have something to contribute. We’re all here together in this place. Not to be entertained, but to participate, and to be part of the life and the spirit that comes from being together. And honestly it could not be happening at a better time. This is an important time for people to sit together, to work together, and to live together.”

This is what we do at St. Andrew’s: we work, and live together in community, contracting into conversation and relationship with one another, and expanding to embrace and celebrate all the members of our family.

Here’s to the new School year!

All my best,
Liz Torrey
Director of Communications
Opening of School!
The 2016-17 School year "technically" began on Monday, August 29, when our VI Formers returned for a few days of intense leadership workshops. That Wednesday, many underformers returned for cross-country, field hockey, football, and soccer preseason camps. On Friday, new international students and families arrived for our annual International Student Orientation. Finally, we welcomed all other new and returning students on our "official" Opening Day on Sunday, September 4. 
Big thanks to the Class of 2017 for working hard to welcome our new students and families on Opening Day! VI Form group selfie compliments of Dean of Admissions Louisa Zendt (front left) and Director of Admissions Matt Wolinski (front right). 
Family Photos

If you're looking for your family & friends photos from Opening Day, you can find them all on our Flickr page. Photos are available for download there, and our Advancement Office will also being mailing prints to each family in the next few weeks!
International Orientation

Dean of Admissions Louisa Zendt writes:

Arriving to campus a few days early is a huge help for new international students and their parents, who are juggling passports, visas, luggage, packages, and new time zones (oh my!). ​Twenty new international students arrived last Friday, from Bermuda, China, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain and Vietnam. Students and parents then participated in two separate orientation programs, each with a goal of helping our new international families move from uncertain, to undaunted! In anticipation of a year of tremendous growth and change for our students (international and otherwise), returning parents, seniors, faculty, and Headmaster Tad Roach led a variety of panel discussions and activities for both orientation programs. 

It wasn't 24 hours before these students found the Front Lawn, and a pick-up game of Four Square emerged on the slate patio [as seen in Louisa's Instagram post of the game at left]. We watched throughout the week as these students muted the distance from home and fell into great conversations around our Harness tables, in faculty homes, and at meals in the Dining Hall. We welcome our new Saints from around the world!
Form Orientations

On Labor Day Monday, students gathered with their respective Forms and participated in class orientation activities. III Formers gathered in Engelhard Hall for leadership training, while IV Formers visited Echo Hill Outdoor School, where they participated in an "ultimate sit-down" challenge (click to watch at right). V Formers (seen below) went on a "new faculty scavenger hunt"; gathered in small groups to brainstorm ideas for the School, then presented their ideas to the entire Form; and read a letter from their parents, then wrote a response back to them. VI Formers had an application work day with the College Counseling Office.
Opening Faculty Meetings

What you don't see on Opening Day, of course, are all the faculty meetings and workshops that take place in the lead-up to the Opening of School. Normally these meetings would be nothing to write home about, but at the bequest of Dean of Teaching & Learning Elizabeth Roach, faculty spent one afternoon playing student, breaking out into groups and attended sample classes led by department heads (at left, an action shot from Mark Hammond's robotics-programming physics session). You can read the full prompt and philosophy behind this activity on our website. Mrs. Roach and her fellow Academic Deans Gretchen Hurtt (Dean of Studies) and Harvey Johnson (Dean of Math & Science) have also spent much of this first week of School visiting classrooms and observing pedagogical choices and innovations of our faculty. Mrs. Roach writes:

Here are some of things I learned this week:
  • what it means to be a scientist (in turns out, that I am, in fact, a scientist) and what the scientific process is
  • how to collect data, visualize it and determine pattern or a coincidence
  • that a velocity vector must have a direction and a magnitude
  • the components of a compelling vs. boring book review
  • how to engage in a conversation in Spanish when you don’t actually know any Spanish
  • how we ask questions matters, and it’s essential to invite different voices into the conversation
  • we need to bring energy, spirit and joy to our teaching every day
  • we need to care deeply about our students as individuals while at the same time insist on high expectations as they learn the material
  • storytelling, in any discipline, is an effective tool for teaching 
  • each class we teach is an opportunity to transform a student
In the Classroom
Classes began on Tuesday, September 4 (insider scoop: our teachers were VERY eager to get back in their classrooms!). Below, math teacher Sam Permutt engages his Intro to Problem Solving III Formers in a strategy/get-to-know-each other game in front of Amos Hall on Wednesday.  
Giselle Furlonge's Advanced Study Latin: Vergil students (seen here and below) were tasked with reading the first book of the Iliad over the summer, and were given the following as their first assignment of the year:

"As you know, Homer’s Iliad was not written down as we know it until the latter half of the 8th century BC. This story and its complex characters and their emotions existed primarily within the oral tradition, with Homer as its singer.... We can imagine the Iliad as one long song, a narration of the Trojan legend, its heroes, and the events which occurred in the last year of the Trojan War.

Your homework task is to select one song that best embodies a/the theme(s) and a/the character(s) of Book One. Write 3 sentences explaining why you think your song choice best represents Book 1 of the Iliad."

For those of you who had the pleasure of reading the Iliad during your time at St. Andrew's (or elsewhere), here are the songs the students selected:

  • Dorothy - Gun in My Hand 
  • Three Days Grace - I Hate Everything About You
  • The Temptations - My Girl
  • 4. Katy Perry - Dark Horse
  • 5. Fall Out Boy - Immortals
  • 6. Chaka Khan - Fate
  • 7. Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love?
  • 8. Queen - Death on Two Legs
Two visitors already to Will Robinson's Global Studies class. First up was an impromptu visit from Will's St. Andrew's classmate Alexandra Cox ’97 (below), Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY New Paltz. Cox's research focuses on criminology and juvenile law, and she spoke with students about juvenile and social justice and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, our all-School summer reading assignment.
Next up: Diplomat Mark Maloney (left), who spoke with students about the arc of his career from working in finance to working for the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Maloney most recently served in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and is preparing to serve in the U.S. Embassy in Burma. 
Go Saints!
Preseason practices have been in full swing for a week and a half, and our fall season begins in earnest this weekend. For a full schedule of upcoming athletic events, visit our website
On Tuesday, boys soccer played a scrimmage at home against Glasgow High School and won 6-1. You can follow all this week's (and upcoming) athletics results on our website
Campus Happenings
Convocation 2016

This afternoon, the entire School community gathered in Engelhard Hall for our annual Convocation, in which a member of the faculty makes gives a talk on his or her teaching/life philosophy to kick off the academic year. This year's Convocation speaker was Arts Department Co-Chair and Theatre Program Director Ann Taylor, who absolutely delighted and moved us with a highly interactive talk on how we might make our own lives extraordinary, and the vital importance of "recognizing the other". Don't miss it: you can watch Ann's talk on our Livestream channel
Square Dance!

It wouldn't be Opening Day without the annual St. Andrew's Square Dance. Although Tropical Storm Hermine had been forecasted to dump rain on us that Sunday night, it remained far offshore and the weather could not have been more perfect for a Saints hoedown: sunny, breezy, and cool. For the full set of Square Dance photos, visit our Flickr page
On Thursday, September 1, VI Formers not participating in preseason camps hit the town for a day of service. Terence Gilheany took a small group of students to clean the interior of Old St. Anne's Church (in anticipation of this Sunday's service there). Elsewhere in Middletown, senior boys helped out at a local Habitat for Humanity build site. 
Did you know that Bishop Wayne Wright drives a vintage yellow Mustang convertible? We didn't either. He drove it up for his visit to campus on Wednesday, and students enjoyed themselves to the fullest posing in front of the hotrod after Chapel let out. You can listen to Bishop Wright's Chapel Talk in full on our website
Upcoming Events
Fri 9/9, 6:45PM—Warner Gallery Opening: Laura von Rosk
Sun 9/11, 11:00AM—Chapel Service at Old St. Anne's
Fri 9/16, 8:00PM, Engelhard—Environmental Lecture with David Orr
Thu 9/22, 6:30PM, City Club of Washington (Washington, DC)—Alumni Reception
Fri 10/7-Sat 10/8—Trustee Weekend
Thu 10/13, 7:00PM, Princeton Club (NYC)—Alumni Reception
Fri 10/14—Haroldson Music Program
Fri 10/28-Sat 10/29—Homecoming & Parents Weekend
We Leave You With This
You may recall Chef Ray's daily emails from the Dining Hall (always sent well before dawn), full of cheerful weather forecasts and that day's menus. This week we particularly the opening salvo of his Wednesday email, printed below:

"As I was walking over to the gym this morning, I was enjoying the breaking day and the soft colors of the morning when I saw what looked to me like wrens flying in from a distance and gathering in the trees above me. Soon there were hundreds and maybe thousands of them flocking in and scrambling for a spot in the branches above me. While listening to all the chatter, I noticed a shower of tiny down feathers falling down around me. It was then that it dawned on me that they had just started their day as well, and were busy preening and prepping for the day ahead of them. Quite like us. It will be a brilliant day today, with clear blue skies. Temperatures will rise to near 90 by the afternoon, with winds out of the Northwest at 10-15 mph. Enjoy your day!"
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