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Students attended a silent vigil in the Little Chapel to remember the victims of the Marjory Stoneham Douglas School shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida.
“I want the school shootings to stop,” Natalie Lee ’20 said after the vigil. “There should be stricter laws.”
“I think there’s been a lot of conversations about what happened, but not a lot of reflection on what we can do to make things better,” said Tilly Peck ’18. “This was an opportunity to reflect.”
The Feb. 23 vigil was organized by the Rev. Jackie Kirby and invited students and faculty to write prayers and leave them in a bowl on the altar at the vigil.
“I think it's helpful in a time like this to have a place where people can take a break from the craziness of their days to acknowledge the tragedy in the company of others,” the Rev. Kirby said. “It's important to have an outlet to express grief or anger or fear or whatever else you may be feeling, and specifically to express those feelings to God.”
Seventeen candles were lit on the altar and the chapel bell rang 17 times at the start of the vigil in honor of the 17 victims.
“A vigil is an apolitical context for grieving together,” added the Rev. Kirby. “I think that prayer works wonders that way – by reminding us that we are all equal and all hurting, no matter our differences of opinion. I also believe that prayer gives us the strength and courage to get through difficult times and to find a way forward.”
The St. George’s girls’ varsity squash team emerged victorious for the second year in a row at the 2018 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships in Philadelphia on Feb. 2-4. Meanwhile, the boys’ team placed fourth in the Division IV tournament.
The girls’ squash tournament featured 78 teams spread over five divisions with the Dragons entering the weekend as the No. 1 seed in Division II.
The team included Ainsley Weber '18, Amelia Schofield '18, Rachel Smithie '18, Georgina Green '18, Julia Schofield '19, Maya Bardorf '20, Diya Moolani '20, and Darcy Weber '21.
The girls team swept Shipley School 7-0 in its first matchup on Feb. 2.
The Dragons then faced two teams on Feb. 3 – Conastoga High School and Rye High School. In the afternoon, the team beat Conastoga High School 5-2 and then later played Rye High School, emerging with a 4-3 victory.
During the finals on Feb. 3, the girls’ squash team went up against Agnes Irwin's JV squad and won 4-3.
“Nerves were high in this one, and the early matches were a back-and-forth affair and after the first five matches, St. George's held a tenuous 3-2 lead, helped in large part by co-captain Rachel Smithie '18’s five-game win at the No. 6 spot,” Coach Sarah Mongan said. “With the No. 3 and 4 matches last on court, heads turned back and forth with every point. Maya Bardorf '20 capped off an undefeated weekend with a 3-0 victory and clinched the championship match for the Dragons.”
“This was a tremendous weekend of competitive squash up and down the ladder with every member of the team earning at least one victory,” added Mongan.
The boys’ squash tournament featured seven divisions of 16 teams with the Dragons entering the weekend as the No. 8 seed in Division IV.
“We were seeded eighth in the division and finished fourth, so we ‘beat our seeding,’" Boys Squash Head Coach Colin Mort said. “We were able to do that primarily due to a handful of players winning very close matches at key moments.”
The St. George’s boys’ squash team includes: Ismail Atef '20, Eric Molina '18, George Shepherd '18, Hayden Bertsch '20, William Wilson '21, Ted Tilden '18, and Patrick Fearons '18.
In tournament action, the team defeated Rye High School and then SquashSmarts 4-3 in its first two matches of the tournament.
In the match that would decide it all against SquashSmarts, Hayden Bertsch ’20 battled back from a deficit to tie it up and then clinch the team’s victory.
“In the end, Bertsch pulled away on the last few rallies to take the win both for himself and the team,” Mort said.
However, the boys’ squash team was defeated by Berkshire 1-6 and then defeated by Episcopal Academy 1-6, earning the team a fourth-place finish overall in Division IV, the equivalent of 52nd overall.Full match results are available on the U.S. Squash website.
Guest speaker Heather Dionne talked about her experiences as an engineer with The Boeing Co. at St. George’s recent Brown Bag Lunch event on Jan. 19.
Approximately 30 students and faculty members attended the event, which was sponsored by the Science Department and held in the Academic Center, where Dionne talked about her high school interest in math and science and how it helped her get to where she is today.
“In high school, [I was] heavily interested in math and science. It was just interesting to me. I found it to fit my natural talents and so I made sure I that I took advanced math and advanced science classes,” Dionne said to students. “I know you guys have that opportunity here. I encourage you to take advantage of that. What that did for me was it allowed me to go into more advanced math classes in college.
Dionne highlighted how important the skills students pick up in high school are such as time management and studying and also encouraged students to pursue internships early on to explore their desired career paths.
Dionne holds two degrees in mechanical engineering – a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree from Duke University. She has worked with Boeing for over 30 years as a structural or systems engineer on multiple programs at the company’s Huntsville, Alabama, location, primarily in the space exploration and missile defense business sectors.
Her assignments at Boeing have taken her to Japan to review space payloads, Maui to identify improvements for an Air Force observatory operation, New Mexico for development of laser energy systems, and Texas for mission operations on Space Shuttle missions.
Dionne is currently on the technical staff of one of Boeing’s chief engineers and said she does a lot of teaching and coaching with other employees to work on details in problem areas.
“I end up where there are problems, helping figure out what those solutions are, or helping the team that needs to go solve them figure that out and put the plan together on how they’re going to actually close those open items,” said Dionne.
The Brown Bag Lunch was organized with the help of St. George’s Assistant Athletic Trainer and Assistant Director of Music Wendy Drysdale, who’s Dionne’s sister, to give students a chance to talk to a woman in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field.
More women are going into careers in STEM as younger generations enter the workforce and the population changes over time, according to Dionne.“Definitely within government as well as aerospace, [there’s] an emphasis on trying to get a better demographic or diverse workforce,” said Dionne. “An appreciation of, not just women, but diversity comes in many shapes and colors. Bringing different ideas to the table, different modes of how we work, how we communicate, how we solve the problems. There are many different correct answers to a lot of problems and so there typically isn’t one right answer, one right way to get there.”
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.
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."
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.
Feb. 15, 2018
Ms. Callen sent a letter to the community to give an update on school culture and community engagement initiatives.
Feb. 6, 2018
Ms. Callen delivered a chapel speech marking the start of Black History Month. The speech can be read here.
Dec. 6, 2017
Ms. Callen sent a letter to the community to give an update on her first year of headship and what she has learned so far.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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