Since 1923, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, a nonprofit organization, has partnered with Scholastic, Inc. to present the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The mission of this group, as stated on their website, is "to recognize the vision, ingenuity, and talent of the nation’s youth and provide opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated." For decades, Sanford students have earned numerous awards at the regional, and sometimes, at the national levels. 2020 is no exception, as Finley Anderson '24 earned a National Gold Key Award for her photograph "Lost in a Dream." Additionally, "Caught in the Mess," a photograph by Cecilia Gao '24, earned a National Silver Key Award.
It is not a surprise that 6'9" Nnanna Njoku '21, a power forward on Sanford's boys' basketball team, garnered lots of attention from college coaches. He has been on Delaware’s All-State 1st Team for the past two years and was the only junior to receive that honor this year. Additionally, Nnanna has been listed as one of the top 100 basketball players in the country, and he was invited to be on the USA Basketball Junior National team. Nnanna recently ended speculation about his college career when he gave Villanova University a verbal commitment to play Division 1 basketball for them in the Big East Conference.
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations is a competitive award that recognizes high school-age students who significantly engage and challenge their schools or communities to advance racial equity in order to promote respect and understanding among all people. Winning for Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia region was Sanford’s Savannah Shepherd '20, who was cited in the program for founding the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (DSJRC) and using that organization to assist her with her work to honor Mr. George White, the victim of a 1903 lynching in Wilmington, Delaware.
A number of Sanford students were selected to have their artwork on display at a variety of prestigious locations. While the events had to be canceled and the venues shuttered, the undeniable talent of the students remains newsworthy.
Teach for America (TFA) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to "enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence." Three recent Sanford graduates: Nate Reynolds '14, Frederick "Freddy" Ryle '16, and Alexandra Somerville '16 have all interacted with TFA in some capacity. Their stories and level of participation vary, but they share a common desire to share their talents and leadership skills to further educational opportunities for under-served populations.
On March 10th, Matthew Harris, PT, DPT, CSCSO, a physical therapist and supervisor at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, spoke to a small group of interested parents on the topic of "Maximizing Sports Performance for Young Athletes." The evening meeting, held in the Geipel Center's Rubin Family Auditorium, provided the audience with a brief presentation and the opportunity to ask questions.
Over the years, Upper School students have periodically had the opportunity to take an elective in philosophy, most recently taught by Science Instructor Heather Foucault-Camm. This year, under the initiative of Lucas Sun '23, a Philosophy Club was formed. In early March, the students and Foucault-Camm hosted and participated in a discussion of topical national and international issues and enduring philosophical questions with students from neighboring Wilmington Christian School.
In an ongoing effort to affect both individual and institutional awareness and growth regarding racial and equity literacy, all Sanford faculty and staff spent their February 14th professional development day with Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, a noted consultant in the field of racial-ethnic identity.
Since her freshman year at Sanford, Camille Decker '20 has participated in the annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) contest. This year, on February 25th, at the Smyrna Opera House in Smyrna, DE, Camille, as Sanford’s representative under the leadership of English Instructor and Department Chair Brianna Smale, was named the winner of the state competition. As such, Camille will take her talents to the POL National Finals, which will be held April 27-29 at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.
Not many musicians ever have the opportunity to play at New York City’s historic Carnegie Hall, but at age 10, Valentina Ramos '26 did just that. As the winner in both the piano and harp categories in the age 12 division of the adjudicated Elite International Music Composition held in December, Valentina earned the grand prize—the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall with other winners from around the country.
One of the newest clubs sponsored in the Upper School is the Black Student Union (BSU). In conjunction with Sanford’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and the celebration of Black History Month, they recently sponsored their first major fundraiser—a Soul Food Lunch.
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) partnered with nationally known speaker Cara Filler to present an assembly to the Upper School students on February 26th. In introducing Ms. Filler to the audience, Ally Colgan '20 noted that the Canadian-born woman now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and teenage son, but travels the country giving more than 200 talks each year on the topic of making safe choices, especially related to driving. Filler’s passion for educating and inspiring young people to make good choices sprang from seemingly insurmountable grief.
Almost a year ago, Upper School Head Abbi Smith and Guidance Counselor Sarah Satinsky shared an ironic moment. Both had read an article by Matt Kristoffersen that described a new approach to treating childhood anxiety. Sarah shared the piece with Abbi, only to learn that she had also just read it.
Sanford’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) takes many forms, from in-service training to attendance at conferences to school-wide assemblies. But sometimes, opportunities are more organic and actually come from the students themselves.
Amira Brownell '22 does not readily take NO for an answer. When Amira competed to be one of the students that Sanford sent to the HOBY Leadership Program at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware, she was not selected. Not to be deterred, Amira and her mom researched leadership programs at universities that more closely aligned with Amira’s interests and could possibly become places to consider as collegiate choices. Amira moved forward with the application process and, as a result, Amira will spend a good portion of her summer at the Wharton School on the University of Pennsylvania campus as a participant in the highly competitive three-week Wharton Sports Business Academy and the two-week Wharton Essentials of Finance Program.
When Middle School instructors Scott Swope and Max Schneider used the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) in their individual classrooms, they joined more than 250,000 educators of all grade levels and subject matters from over 150 countries in teaching their students how to learn by asking questions.
Anyone lucky enough to see the Broadway hit "Beautiful—The Carol King Musical" when the national touring company of the production recently performed in Wilmington, might have noticed a familiar name in the Playbill. Listed in the credits is Sanford’s own Ryan Touhey '05, who is the company’s associate conductor and keyboardist. Ryan is now embarking upon a 10-month North American national tour that will take him to 135 cities.
Recently, a local children’s book author, journalist, activist, and storyteller visited Sanford’s campus to share her mission of empowering and encouraging students, especially young girls of color, with students in both the lower and upper divisions. Ms. Bettinita Harris responded to a personal invitation from her friend, Sanford English Instructor and Assistant Director of College Counseling Katie Trachtenberg '06, to visit the campus and meet with some of the students.
In the fall, Sanford standout basketball player Jyare Davis '20 will be taking his talents to Rhode Island's Providence College. After being heavily recruited by schools such as DePaul, Rutgers, St. Joseph’s, Temple, and Villanova, to name just a few, Jyare recently gave Providence a verbal commitment because he felt he would continue to thrive there. Jyare will officially sign with the school in April.
Struthers Family Donates $1 Million for New Sports Center Sanford School Trustee Emeritus Sharon Struthers, her husband Ric, and their children—Ryan, Brice, and Corrie—have given Sanford School $1 million to support the renovation of the school’s Sports Center. The donation represents the largest individual gift in the school’s 90-year history.
Sanford’s school-wide theme IDENTITY has placed increased focus and awareness on the diverse ways in which people see themselves, as well as how they interact with others. Two faculty members, Science Instructor Jamy Haughey and Upper School Counselor Sarah Satinsky took the opportunity to explore this topic when they attended the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) held in Seattle, Washington, in December.
In preparation for Sanford’s 15th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of service, Science Instructor and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee member Jamy Haughey organized a school assembly for students in grades 5 through 12. The Key Arts Production, LLC, under the direction of Joseph Patterson, took to Sanford’s Geipel stage on January 7th in a production entitled “King’s Dream.”
Head of School Mark Anderson’s dedication to leadership extends into the classroom, with all Upper School students afforded the opportunity to participate in the elective The Art of Leadership and Public Speaking, which he routinely teaches. An integral part of the class involves inviting guest speakers to address the class, allowing them to learn from their various journeys and the wisdom and insights gained from them.
As founder of the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition, Savannah Shepherd '20 has been an active voice for discussions and actions focusing on race and justice. Her efforts did not go unnoticed by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
When Cameron Smith '20 joined the Youth Philanthropy Board (YPB) as a sophomore, she could not have envisioned how it would impact her life. Now in her third year, and as the only three-year member of the board, she feels like the “senior advisor.”
Brandon Dwyer '21 spent the first week of this year’s holiday break with his Warrior basketball teammates participating in the City of Palms Classic tournament in Fort Myers, Florida. One of the events held during the tournament was a Three-Point Shootout, a competition in which Brandon bested 24 other participants to bring home the trophy that declares him as the champion.