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Dear St. Andrew's Family,

Here at St. Andrew’s we are all about the questions. We’re fortunate to be a part of an institution that puts a primacy on uncovering the “joy of authentic inquiry,” as we say in our Admissions Viewbook. But it’s important, I think, to go a step further: in a given situation, are we asking the most effective questions we can? Are we thinking about how the questions we’re asking may be affecting the answers we receive?

I recently read the following in an article about Sara Blakely, the inventor and founder of the billion-dollar “shapeware” brand Spanx:
 
Some parents are content asking their children, “Did you have a good day?” or “What did you learn at school?” Not at the Blakely household. The question Sara and her brother had to answer night after night was this: “What did you fail at today?” When there was no failure to report, Blakely’s father would express disappointment. “What he did was redefine failure for my brother and me,” Blakely told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “And instead of failure being the outcome, failure became not trying. And it forced me at a young age to want to push myself so much further out of my comfort zone.”
 

Who would think the simple after-school questions of childhood could have such an effect on the path of one’s life? In his talk to parents on Opening Weekend, Tad suggested some similarly out-of-the-box questions that parents might want to ask their kids about their lives at St. Andrew’s: how well do you know those students whose background is different than your own? How much time are you spending in front of a screen? To that list I’d add: what did you fail at today?

I really wonder what today’s St. Andrew’s students would say in answer to this question. We report the “happy stuff” in the Friday News, but of course students are “failing” every day at St. Andrew’s: they struggle to grasp a new math concept, miss breakfast check-in, sprain their ankle on the soccer field, grapple with bouts of homesickness. But as Blakley says, these don’t have to be failure outcomes; the only real failure at SAS is not trying. We expect our students to give their best effort toward a goal, no matter the odds of success; to pick themselves up after a disappointment; to seek solutions, not settle for excuses. (Dumbledore put it best: "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.") Failure doesn't have to be an admonition to "try harder"; rather, failure is the necessary doorway to exploration and self-understanding. We don’t expect our students to be perfect and never make mistakes; on the contrary, we hope they make mistakes, so that they may learn from them. 

It’s up to us, as adults—parents and teachers—to ask our students and children the best questions we can throughout this learning process: not only “What’s been going on?,” but also, “How did you respond to it?” We ask these questions not to catalogue mistakes and “failures,” but to help our students and children grow, to show our belief in them, to build them toward adult life. For it’s our questions, far more than our answers, that show how much we truly care.

All my best,
Liz Torrey
Director of Communications
etorrey@standrews-de.org

 

In the Classroom
Above and below, VI Form students in Dan O'Connell's Advanced Study Biology course conduct experiments along the strand.
Below, drawing students (under the watchful eye of studio arts teacher John McGiff) concentrate on their charcoal drawings. 
Guest Speakers
Visionary environmentalist David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College, delivered the School's annual environmental lecture in Engelhard Hall on Friday, September 15. In his talk he drew parallels between the Civil War and our current environmental crisis, and spoke to the need for radical selflessness in the fight for a more sustainable world. While on campus Orr visited classrooms, met with faculty, and even did dorm duty with biology teacher Peter McLean, where he stayed up talking with the boys of Hillier until 11:00 p.m. You can read more about Orr's visit to campus on our website, and watch his talk on our Livestream channel.
Former SAS classics and creative writing teacher Chris Childers also visited SAS on Friday, September 15, and led a seminar on the art of translation (plus a reading of his own poetry) to Katherine Crowley’s English 3 classes, Will Porter’s English 3 class, and upper-level Latin and Greek students.
The Warner Gallery's first show of the 2016-17 season opened on Friday, September 9: artist Laura Von Rosk visited campus and gave a talk at the gallery opening. The show, titled "Finding Ground," spans 25 years of Von Rosk's artistic work and landscape painting. For more on the show and Von Rosk, visit our website.
Campus Happenings
On Saturday, September 16, students enjoyed the School's annual Pond Day (formerly known as Environmental Orientation). Activities included canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and Bio Barge-cruising on the pond; hiking and fort-building in the woods; outdoor photography, sculpture, and creative writing workshops; apple picking and organic gardening; and a campus history walk with Tad.
On September 11, students and faculty walked to Old St. Anne's Church (just down Noxontown Road) for Sunday service. You can read the text of Tad's remarks at the service on our website.
For our September 14 Wednesday night Chapel service, we celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Noor El-Baradie ’18 and Bilal Morsi ’18 led us in readings and prayer, with Noor reading in Arabic and Bilal reading English translations. 
Throughout the first two weeks of School, Director of Diversity Education Giselle Furlonge orchestrated the first-ever Ask! Campaign. "Designed for new and returning members of the St. Andrew’s community to learn each other’s names and stories, this opening exercise will set the tone for a year of community and personal inquiry," Ms. Furlonge said in her introduction to the campaign. Students, faculty, and staff were challenged to engage in conversations around a series of questions, posted in various locations around campus, each day. "Our motto is faith and learning," Ms. Furlonge noted. "And the root of both is inquiry." Questions included:
  • What’s your story? (Language Corridor)
  • What will be written on page 211 of your biography? (History & Religious Studies Corridor)
  • What is your ultimate concern? (Amos first floor)
  • What do you bring to a sacred space? (Chapel)
  • What’s your favorite number and why? (Field House)
Listen to more of Ms. Furlonge's thoughts on the impetus behind the Ask! Campaign.
Advisee dinners!
The MudRun!
And of course... the Frosty Run.
...Our time-honored annual tradition in which the entire student body descends on unsuspecting Wendy's in the Middletown area to consume literally gallons of ice-cold Frosties. For a history of the Frosty Run, watch this informative video produced by the members of SWAG (St. Andrew's Weekend Activity Group).
Go Saints!
Saints cross-country runners wait at the starting line of the White Clay Creek Classic on Friday, September 16....
.... while Saints girls field hockey battled it out against Sanford School at home. (Field hockey photos compliments of Robert McCoy GP’19.) You can read recent athletic results and game recaps, and review the calendar of upcoming athletic events, on our website at standrews-de.org/scores.
Can't Help But Connect
Last night, SAS alumni, parents, and faculty gathered for a reception at the City Club in Washington, DC. Thanks to all who came out!!
News & Notes
Call for Class Notes
 
Alumni, we know that you are out in the world making a profound and positive difference, and we would love to hear about what you're doing! Drop us a line and let us know what you've been up to. What did you do this summer? Did you get a job you’re excited about? Finish a graduate degree? Have you gotten married or had a baby? Did you reconnect with a classmate or run into another St. Andrean at a conference? Whatever it is, let us know, and we'll share it in the fall issue of the SAS Magazine! Jot down your updates, news, and announcements, and email them to classnotes@standrews-de.orgCandid photos, snapshots, selfies encouraged! Deadline for submission is this coming Monday, September 26.
 
Upcoming Events

Fri 10/7-Sat 10/8—Trustee Weekend
Sat 10/8, noon-Tue 10/11, 6:00 p.m.—Long Weekend
Thu 10/13, 7:00 p.m., Princeton Club (NYC)—Alumni Reception
Fri 10/14—Haroldson Music Program
Fri 10/28-Sun 10/30—Homecoming & Parents Weekend
Fri 11/11—Women's Network Weekend
Sat 11/19—College Meeting for V Form Students & Parents
 
All-School Calendar  |  2016-17 Academic Calendar
Copyright © 2016 St. Andrew's School, All rights reserved.


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