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Eighteen talented SG artists received awards in this year’s Rhode Island Scholastic Art Competition — and half of those were coveted “gold keys.” Several students won top prizes for their self-portraits, including Jessica Chen ’19, Daly Cheng ’20, Gray Foster ’20, Simon Li ’20 and Dima Piskun ’20. 

Cheka Orr ’18 and Angel Wang ’18 won gold keys for their art portfolios — “a series of eight distinct works that communicate a single cohesive idea or visual investigation.” Cheka won for her series titled, “Handywork,” and Angel won two gold keys, for portfolios titled “Mechanic Nature” and “Washed Planet.”

The final gold key was awarded to Tony Wang, for a photograph titled “Dreamer.” Silver keys went to Maeve Corridan ’18, Abra Issa ’18, Rachel Lu ’19, Charles Parson ’19, Hope Seiler ’20, Lexi Sinskey ’18, Rachel Smithie ’18, Madison Tregenza ’18 and Hanna Younghans ’18.

Eight of the winners attended the Scholastic Art Awards Ceremony at Rhode Island College on Sunday, Jan. 14. (right)

Artists who received a gold key for their work advance to national judging in New York, where nationally renowned creative professionals review and select work for national recognition based on three criteria: originality, technical skill, and “emergence of a personal vision or voice.”

National Awards will be announced in March. 



A "wear all black" day Jan. 8 was organized by a head of the Women in Leadership Club

Campus Life

Dozens of members of the St. George’s community showed solidarity with the “Time’s Up” movement currently sweeping the nation by wearing all black on Jan. 8.
Time’s Up is a movement working to address gender inequality and injustice in the workplace.
Women and men in the entertainment industry recently showed their support for the movement by wearing all black at the 75th Golden Globes Awards ceremony on Jan. 7.
Rachel Smithie ’18 and the Women in Leadership Club organized the event for St. George’s students and faculty to call attention to the issue.
“The movement is important to me because we have come such a long way from the days where women were nothing but housewives. Today women are leaders, and [are] showing that anything is possible,” Smithie said in an email. “For that, women completely deserve equal pay, equal opportunity, and should not be scared to stand up to discrimination. I love Time’s Up because it addresses everything I believe in and can really make a change for so many women.”
Smithie said she was motivated to organize the event after she saw her favorite actresses and singers posting about the Time’s Up movement on social media.
“I first saw it on my Instagram page and over the past few days all of my favorite actresses and singers have been posting for Time’s Up, so I looked more into the movement and just love everything they are doing,” said Smithie. “And I love feeling like I have the ability to be part of something so much bigger than myself, even if it is a small thing that I can contribute. So I thought that spreading awareness about the movement and having our community come together and show support by wearing all black would be really awesome.”
“The amount of participation is amazing, and it has started a lot of positive conversation which makes me super happy,” Smithie said after the Jan. 8 event. “I love that guys did it as well and that people are proud to be wearing all black today.”
Women in Leadership Club members Alafair Cutler ’20 and Bridgit Jones ’20 both participated in the “wear all black” event.
"All of my friends are super supportive, so I'm really surrounded by this cause," said Cutler. "To me, I think it's a good stand to show the importance of making changes with the wage gap."
Jones said she didn’t really know what feminism was until her friends got her involved in the club and plans to continue going to its meetings now.
"I wasn't really into feminism. I didn't really know what it was. But then all my friends joined the Women in Leadership Club, so I went and I really liked it,” Jones said. “It made me feel really good about myself." 

Dima Piskun of Kharkov, Ukraine, finishes first

Campus Life

Fourth-former Dima Piskun of Kharkov, Ukraine, finished in 6:38 to capture a first-place finish in the 59th Annual Pie Race Sunday morning. “Piskun led from wire to wire, finishing nearly 30 seconds ahead of his closest followers, classmate JB Stewart of East Hampton, New York, and freshman William Wilson of Washington, D.C.,” wrote race organizer and mathematician extraordinaire Doug Lewis in his press release. Read Mr. Lewis’ full (tongue-in-cheek) report below and visit the event photo gallery on our Flickr site. 



Middletown, Rhode Island

December 3, 2017

6:35 p.m. EST 



Sophomore Dima Piskun of Kharkov, Ukraine, dashed across the finish line in a time of 6:38 to capture the 59th annual St. George’s School Pie Race in Middletown, R.I., on Sunday Dec. 3, 2017. Piskun led from wire to wire, finishing nearly 30 seconds ahead of his closest followers, classmate JB Stewart of East Hampton, N.Y., and freshman William Wilson of Washington, D.C. Running in his first Pie Race, and not completely sure that he had actually won the 1.1 mile race, Piksun commented, “What a country!” when told that, as the fastest finisher, he was the winner of a home-baked apple pie. Athletic Director Rachel Horn and her husband Chris were the first faculty finishers, in a time of 8:58, while a quartet of seniors, Haley Baldwin of Little Compton, R.I., Catherine Harrison of New York City, Irem Tural of Portsmouth, R.I., and Ainsley Weber of Newport, R.I., were the first female students to cross the finish line.

Dozens of students, teachers, staff members, faculty children, and a pair of sophomore girls who made a wrong turn on their way to the library participated in this year’s race. Former Presidential Press Secretary (and Portsmouth Abbey graduate) Sean Spicer said that the turnout consisted of what was “absolutely, positively the largest crowd to watch a Pie Race in history, period.” The Pie Race is the creation of the late Ted Hersey, who passed away in January 2016 after having been a part of 57 races. Hersey was the legendary physics teacher and track coach who devised the race back in 1959 as a way of boosting school spirit. Each year since, students have sprinted, jogged and cart-wheeled around the school’s stunning hilltop campus overlooking Second Beach in an effort to win home baked apple pies. Ted’s wife, Shirley Hersey, baked thousands of pies over the years, but the pies are now handled by the school’s crackerjack Sage Dining staff.  For its first few decades, the Pie Race was taken seriously by students and faculty alike, but over the years it has evolved into what multiple Grammy winner and Rhode Island resident Taylor Swift recently called “a combination of Mardi Gras, Halloween, and the MTV Video Music Awards.”

Ordinarily scheduled just before the start of trimester exams in late November, the Pie Race was delayed a few weeks due to bad weather. For years, the race has given hard working St. George’s students and teachers a chance to be silly and blow off a little steam. This year, senior Rachel Smithie of Roslyn, N.Y., donned a red nose to lead of sleigh driven by classmate Cheka Orr of Washington, DC and Spanish teacher Neile Golding, while Morgan Hill-Edgar of New York and Chance Bachochin of Las Vegas, Nevada, wore matching bathrobes. Art teacher Mike Hansel jogged the course wearing a beekeeper’s suit, and Latin 2 students Iza Leonardi of Naples, Fla., Nicola Rogers and Mimi Jessup of Rye, N.Y., and Louisa Fiertz of London, England, wore togas as they construed their way around the course. Varsity soccer coach Ed McGinnis was awarded a special “certificate of inspiration” by the AARP for completing the race without needed any artificial respiration. Approximately 20 pies will be awarded at a future school assembly.


She was officially installed during a special service in the SG Chapel on Jan. 18, 2018.


Following is the letter to the community sent by Head of School Alixe Callen and the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, announcing the Rev. Jackie Kirby would become the 19th chaplain of St. George's. Jackie was installed as chaplain on Jan. 18.

“It is with great pride and delight that the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, and I announce the appointment of Jackie Kirby as the Chaplain of St. George’s School, effective immediately,” Head of School Alixe Callen wrote to the St. George’s community on Nov. 9, 2017. The Rev. Kirby becomes the school’s first female chaplain and will be installed during a formal service on Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 9:45 a.m. in the St. George’s Chapel.

A graduate of Yale Divinity School with a Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale, the Rev. Kirby was named St. George’s Interim Chaplain last spring after serving for two years as the school’s Associate Chaplain. She teaches several courses in our Religious Studies Department and was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood at St. George’s in January 2015.

“Over the course of just a few months in the interim role, the Rev. Kirby has launched a number of chapel initiatives, all of which have been wonderfully received by students,” Ms. Callen said. Included among these is a course that prepares students to deliver chapel talks; “Chapel Group,” in which students meet twice a month to provide input into the religious and spiritual life of the school; and a student-led, interfaith chapel service, which takes place on Tuesday evenings after study hall. For faculty, the Rev. Kirby also leads a book group, out of which has grown additional programming for students in the area of community life. 

“I am honored and grateful and humbled,” the Rev. Jackie Kirby said upon the announcement she had been officially named Chaplain of St. George’s. “To be the spiritual leader of this amazing community is an incredible responsibility.” 

The Rev. Kirby brings a wealth of both faith work and teaching to the Hilltop. Early in her career, Jackie was a teacher, both abroad in Guatemala and Indonesia, and in the Boston area. While writing her dissertation, she was an adjunct professor at Bentley College and Boston University. She later became a full English professor in the writing program at B.U., and she was the lead founder of the Frederick Douglass Charter School in Boston.

The Rev. Kirby and her husband Ed and 9-year-old daughter Annie moved into Haffner House over the summer. “I really believe I have the best job on campus,” she said. “I am so fortunate to be able to talk to students and adults about the things that matter most in their lives. I get to teach what I find to be the most inspiring and important material possible. And I get to preach to the whole school about the values and beliefs that mean the most to me … Everything I do feels like God's work.”

Documenting the highlights of our 12th Head of School's first year at St. George's

Campus Life

In this space we will keep a running log of important and interesting moments in the tenure our 12th Head of School, Alixe Callen, as she navigates her first year at St. George’s. To read more of our coverage on Ms. Callen's arrival, view this article from our magazine and this Q&A on the Head of School's page on our website.



Nov. 20, 2017
Meet Alixe Callen in this video sent to our community. 

Nov. 1, 2017
Head of School Alixe Callen delivers this chapel talk: "Kindness Matters."

Oct. 24, 2017
Board Chair Leslie Heaney introduces Head of School Alixe Callen at the alumni reception in New York. Ms. Callen addresses those gathered. View the video here.

Oct. 10, 2017
Ms. Callen reflects on her first month of the academic year — and the positive and supportive community she's found here on the Hilltop — in this letter to the community.

Oct. 6-7, 2017
During Family Weekend, Ms. Callen makes this address as part of our community dinner event in the Dorrance Field House. Watch the video of her address on our YouTube channel.

Sept. 14, 2017
The annual Honor Chapel takes place, during which community members pledge to adhere to the school's Honor Code. Alixe makes this address.

In the evening, Alixe greets local parents and alumni at a reception at Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth, R.I. Watch a video of her remarks here. View photos of the event here.

Sept. 7, 2017
The community celebrates the opening of the academic year under the leadership of Head of School Alixe Callen during our Convocation service in the chapel on Thursday, Sept. 7. In her address, Ms. Callen tells students she hopes they will allow themselves to be less than perfect — and to be emboldened by the understanding and encouraging community around them. "I want emotion," she said. "I want you to ask questions, tell us your worries, be open to risks, and trust that this incredible community will support you." Watch the video of Ms. Callen's entire address on our Vimeo channel.

Sept. 5, 2017
Ms. Callen welcomes our 123 new families to the Hilltop and makes this address in the chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Aug. 4, 2017
On Aug. 4, 2017, Alixe meets members of the greater St. George’s community on Martha’s Vineyard. Photos are on our Flickr.com page.

July 11, 2017
Ms. Callen’s first letter to the community is sent on July 11, 2017.

Aug. 23, 2017
On Aug. 23, 2017, the Newport Daily News publishes this profile of Alixe, in which she outlines her core values and approach to leadership at a new school.

July 1, 2017
Ms. Callen arrives on campus and her tenure begins.

Dec. 9, 2016 
Ms. Alixe Callen is announced as the first female head of St. George’s on Dec. 9, 2016. Watch the video on our Vimeo channel.


For Afghanistan-born Zahra Arabzada '15, running isn't just an outlet for exercise; it's an outlet for activism


For Afghanistan-born Zahra Arabzada ’15, running isn’t just an outlet for exercise; it’s an outlet for activism.

As part of an effort to encourage other Muslim women to pursue a healthy lifestyle and to challenge misconceptions of Muslims by other groups, Zahra is spending her summer training for a 38-mile road race in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 16.

“One of the biggest realizations I have had in life was hearing and truly accepting that women are actually capable of running or having the same rights as men,” said Zahra, now a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Recently she joined the Afghanistan-based Free to Run (F2R) organization, whose mission is “to use running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure to empower and educate women and girls who have been affected by conflict.”

The idea to encourage other Hijabi women to exercise has been on Zahra’s mind ever since she started running as a sixth-former on the St. George’s cross-country team. A college fellowship is helping her realize her dream. This year Zahra was one of just two students to receive the Cohen Fellowship from the Centennial Leadership Center at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “The fellowship is basically a way for me to work on my own project, which I have been thinking about and designing since I started running at SG,” she said.

She has three objectives for the project: to maintain a blog about her training, to speak at various sports clubs and events, and to work with organizations within her hometown of Konduz in northern Afghanistan.

Zahra came to St. George’s after having attended the School of Leadership Afghanistan in Kabul, which was created to promote gender equality in the nation. Through the school she connected with Marian Smith ’76 and began to think about attending boarding school in the United States. Her early schooling was kept a secret from neighbors in her hometown – as well as many of her relatives because Afghan girls are discouraged from pursuing a formal education.

“Running is a means to address some of the topics that are hard to address — and will make the conversation easier,” she said.

Follow Zahra on her Facebook page, Instagram (@thehijabirunner) and blog.


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