May @ SA: A Story in Ten Snapshots

Sure, we’re diving into summer. But before we do, it’s worth commemorating all that makes May special at St. Andrew’s. I kept my eyes peeled the last few weeks for moments that either got me laughing or got me feeling, as the kids say “some type of way.” I didn’t have to look hard to find ten snapshots, and the crazy thing is I’m not even including the pile of events that are about to ensue the final two weeks of school. Here’s to the fun, the feelings, the frenzy of May!

The other day I was balancing my trademark massive salad and stumbled upon this joyful Spanish review game led by the Mr. Brister himself. I’m not exactly sure what was going on, but there were crumbled up pieces of paper, a trash can to make baskets in, teams, and some vocabulario to practice. Brilliant use of sunshine and middle school end-of-year energy, check.

Part moving-celebration-of-our-seniors, part stand-up-comedy-act, College Day Lunch has become a fixture of north campus in May. Stuff yourself with Mama Hamil’s while playing a hybrid of college trivia/college roasting and cheering on your buddies. What could be better? Hard to imagine the shape this event will take without Colin and Scott heading it up. Thanks for the food, the laughs, and your encyclopedic knowledge of the college landscape, guys.

If you’ve never had the privilege of attending the goodbye/retirement chapel at Lower School, add it to your bucket list. Not only does Shea read gorgeous write-ups celebrating the contributions of those leaving LS, you are regaled by a chorus of disappointed wails of “NOOOOOO!” each time a departing faculty’s name is read aloud. If that’s not enough emotion, the children all sing a traditional “goodbye” song to the tune of “Edelweiss” after the gift-giving. Alianna Rust declared that this chapel is “too sad” every year. I think it’s just right.

Sure school can be fun in May, but PRECALCULUS?! Dr. Bramlett had me laugh-crying at his annual Precalculus Film Festival, in which he showcased the students’ entertaining AND informative films and posters with a side of white cheddar popcorn. The videos reminded me of a lot of content I had learned approximately 25 years ago via raps, game show conventions, and even math pick-up lines. The only difficult part of that math class was deciding which film to cast my vote for!

Okay this one’s a little peripheral to St. Andrew’s, but our very own Sarah Walker owns a Studio Company that has been booming in recent years with students in voice, piano, and violin. (Since students take lessons in the space of our buildings, I feel like this is fair game!) Last week Sarah Walker Studios had its evening Spring Recital, and a packed crowd enjoyed watching a host of ages and instruments show off what they’d be working on. Best of all, students dressed in character! (Side note: the monkey costume and the mickey mouse costume with suspenders won my heart.) What a joy to watch the progression of talent throughout the evening!

Yeah so I definitely failed taking any pictures once people arrived, but here’s the photographic evidence (apps at Aplos) that we had for our final “new faculty” party of the year. You all, this past year we had an incredibly strong set of new hires across all divisions, with a record-breaking (?) ten new faculty joining us in upper school. We designed nearly-monthly New Faculty Fellowships targeting community-building and topics that folks new to our community might need.  We also learned a whole bunch from these professionals, and we can’t wait for all of them to move up to “veteran” rank next year! Big thanks to TEAM members, mentors, and division heads for helping with the mentor program!

Middle School Olympics brought all the joy a week ago Monday, and I was ultra-wowed by the ingenuity/wit but mostly bravery on display when each multi-age Olympics team stood on the stage in the CPA to deliver their song (a capella; no background music needed) to the crowd. There were posters; there was dancing; there were rhymes. Remarkably, there was very little self-consciousness. I call that a middle school miracle.

WHOOPS- how did this family picture hop on this very professional blog?! Sorry- not sorry! Our boys/girls state track meet was moved a week later than anticipated, and despite gloomy weather looming in the distance, everybody performed great! To be fair, I don’t really understand sports, but there were medals and smiles, and people doing things that looked dangerous to me in a three-ring-circus sort of way. I may never fully understand why the sport of track now encroaches on school days, but I can fully appreciate how this sport promotes fitness, grit, perseverance, and teamwork in ways that no academic class ever could. GO SPORTS!

For folks that don’t know, Hollie Marjanovic has taken on reimagining ASPIRE with big (pardon the pun) aspirations! The program has morphed to one that students can elect to be part of, into one that impacts each and every upper school student on our campus. Here’s the most recent iteration of “career day,” featuring a host of SA-affiliated alum, parents, and employees sharing honest stories of their own career trajectory with interested students. I’m so excited for how this program will continue to grow!

Any post about May would not be complete without paying homage to THE EVENT of the year: MAY DAY! I don’t know any happening that could better exemplify how much kids can learn from performative, community opportunities like this one. The joy associated with the day alone is visceral, and there is nothing like the hum of energy when parents-teachers-students-alum-admin gather around that green field.

I think that May Day, for me, holds space for all that May is: from the silly (OH that “Dancing Queen tambourine dance move Kevin alluded to in his email), to the sentimental (hello fourth grader rite of passage), all the way to the celebration of wow look how much we’ve grown” (let’s choreograph moves for humans that just got potty trained like yesterday!)

Here’s to more of the silly, sentimental, celebration in the coming weeks. If you keep your eyes open, you will see it all around you.

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