Perceptions. Tolerance. Diversity. Inclusion. Acceptance. These words and the meaning behind them were not new to Katie Zabel '21. She has learned about them and discussed them at home and at school, but it was not until Zabel attended a special three-day event, the National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) sponsored by the National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS), that she actually lived them, thus elevating her understanding and awareness of their power to change lives.
When Savannah Shepherd ‘20 traveled with her family to Montgomery, Alabama, in April 2018, she was a fifteen-year-old Sanford Upper School sophomore excited about attending the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum. This dedication ceremony was intended to acknowledge, recognize, and memorialize the more than 4,000 people of color who were burned, brutalized, and lynched during the post-slavery years, primarily from 1877–1950.
Simon Eye Associates recently sponsored its first-ever art contest to bring attention to May’s designation as Healthy Vision Month. Using a clever play on words, the local provider of comprehensive adult and pediatric eye care asked artists of all ages to create their own vision for a better world. “I am very selective about the contests I encourage my students to enter,” shared visual arts instructor Nina Silverman-Weeks, “but I liked the concept, and I found the play on words intriguing. My fifth and sixth-grade students entered their work for consideration, along with a few seventh and eighth graders.”
Sanford’s Boys’ Lacrosse coach, Tim Lucky, was recognized as Delaware’s Boys’ Lacrosse Coach of the Year on Tuesday, June 10 at the annual All-State/All-Star Senior dinner, which was held at Dover High School. Lucky was selected for this honor by the Delaware Interscholastic Boys’ Lacrosse Coaches Association (DIBLCA).
On May 1st, Sanford formally reopened and rededicated one of its most treasured buildings, the Kenneth D. Jones Memorial Chapel. Mark Anderson explained: “For nearly 80 years, Sanford’s Chapel has been the heart of our campus and home to cherished campus traditions.” Time had taken its toll on the building, which has always provided a meaningful background for weddings, funerals, and quiet contemplation, as well as the annual bell ringing at Commencement to honor each graduate. “This chapel represents all that is exceptional and unique to Sanford, and we needed to give it the attention it deserves,” continued Anderson.
Molly Handloff ’24 was recently selected by Artsonia as its 7th–9th grade Artist of the Week for her piece entitled “Individual.” During the contest, Handloff received an astounding 728 online votes. As a result, Handloff will be awarded a special plaque and a $50 prize. Her teacher, Nina Silverman-Weeks will receive a $100 gift certificate for classroom supplies and materials.
On Thursday, April 25 students in grades nine, ten, and eleven, along with their teachers, attended a live presentation of “Hamlet,” which was performed by six actors and actresses from The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. This marks the third time that Upper School English Instructor Michael Madron has brought the group to the Geipel stage. “We study Shakespeare’s Hamlet using a variety of text and video productions. It is important for students to have the opportunity to see plays as they were meant to be enjoyed, which is through performance. I also like to encourage my students to look for differences in the interpretations, observe the nuances of character development, and discover which plot elements have to be omitted due to time constraints, and consider why those adjustments might have been specifically chosen.”
While spring sports are in full swing at Sanford, it is important to take a few moments to reflect on the many successes enjoyed by the student-athletes and their coaches during the winter season. Athletic Director Joan Samonisky, when asked about the winter teams, responded by stating: "I was thrilled to witness the success of our winter teams and student-athletes. Along with our state championship basketball teams, we also had many individual successes in swimming and wrestling. All told, Sanford School was represented by fourteen student-athletes on winter sports all-state teams! The excitement, energy, and success of the winter season has carried over to our spring season successes, as well. My "Warrior Pride" is bursting at the seams!”
USA TODAY High School Sports took notice of Sanford’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams and their coaches. Both Stan Waterman and Marcus Thompson were named as Delaware’s Boys’ and Girls’ State Coaches of the Year by USA TODAY.
For past 22 years, elite high school senior boys basketball players from across the country have been assembled to participate in the Nike Hoops Summit game, where they face a similar international team comprised of talented young men aged nineteen and under. On April 12, Sanford Coach Stan Waterman helped lead the United States to victory over the international players in this year’s contest, which was held at the Moda Arena in Portland, Oregon.
The HAC School of Dance competed in the Diva Dance Competition, held in Wilmington, during the second weekend in April. Lower School students Summer Millard, a fourth grader, and Addison Manley, a third grader, are members of the HAC team. Millard‘s small group number, “Hovering over Indiana,” won the top overall champion award on Saturday, April 13, the first day of the competition, earning the highest score of any dance in any age category for the day. Additionally, the Coral dance team, which included Millard and Manley, received the overall high score in small group petites for the tap number “Dancin’ Fool.”
There is no doubt about Sanford’s commitment to providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities for its students. The campus is home to a state-of-the-art STEM lab, a woodworking shop, classrooms that boast access to the latest in technology, and lessons purposefully designed to afford students of all grade levels with exciting explorations with STEM curriculum.
Sanford’s current athletic director, Joan Samonisky, and former men’s athletic director, Chip Mayo, earned special recognition on April 10 at the state meeting of the Delaware Association of Athletic Directors (DAAD).
Director of College Counseling Casey Zimmer found himself in a unique and special place at a recent Upper School morning meeting. As a Delaware Association of Independent Schools (DAIS) official, Zimmer presented Taryn Jenkins '19 with a check for $1000.00 to use towards her expenses when she matriculates to Hampton University in the fall.
The face and name of the Boy Scouts of America have seen some dramatic changes recently, and Sanford students, faculty, and parents are playing a role in implementing them in the state of Delaware. With the rebranding of its iconic program’s name to Scouts BSA, the organization opened its membership to include single-gender troops for both boys and girls.
In a TED Talk last year, Nia Naylor '20 shared her thoughts on the value of getting young people, especially those of color, more invested in their personal education. Working with Upper School science instructor Heather Foucault-Camm, Naylor helped to establish the Bridge Club with the specific intention of having Upper School students help younger students bridge educational gaps and better prepare for their middle and upper school experiences.
The Gatorade Company today announced that Sanford School junior Jyare Davis is the 2018–19 Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Davis is the fourth Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Sanford School.
Upper School senior class officers have a long tradition of conducting the morning meeting held before the start of class each day. The months of February and March also saw two clubs, the Feminist Club and the Diversity Alliance Club assume leadership roles in those morning meetings.
In the fall when Upper School Head Abbi Smith sent out a survey to gather ideas for upcoming professional development for the faculty, she was not surprised to see the topics of microaggression and implicit bias emerge at the top of the list. Nor was she at a loss as to how to try and address those issues, as she knows a former colleague who focuses her time and talents to work on diversity, inclusion, and acceptance issues.
Upper and Middle School educators Jim Barnaby, Heather Foucault-Camm, and Beth Whipple were presenters at the recent LLI ATLANTIC Conference, held on February 15 and 16 in at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. The topic of their talk, Making Effective Arguments with the CER Framework, instructed teachers on the implementation of the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) Framework in their science classrooms.
In mid-November Smyrna High School and Smyrna Middle School hosted the All-State Chorus auditions. Each student was required to learn an audition song and perform it before a panel of judges, competing against “the best of the best” chorus students from the entire state. This year, Sanford Upper School seniors Katie Bruxelles, Chris Keiser, and Willilam Zimmer earned medals which designate them as All-State honorees.
Asia Blackwell ’20 continues to dance her way to recognition. Her performances in November, 2018 at a dance convention held in Tysons Corner, VA earned her a $20,000 scholarship to the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts.
Last year a group of organizers, including Sanford alum and current parent Nai-te Watson '89, University of Delaware alum Tyrone Perry, Rob Turner, and Rob Moore, established an organization called Delaware Middle School Basketball Explosion. They run an annual basketball event in February that brings the best Delaware middle school basketball players together for a one-day, three-game tournament. It is a time to showcase the upcoming talent and give a preview of what is on the horizon for high school basketball in the state.
When Grace Johnston '19 decided last year to dedicate her time and talents towards fundraising efforts for Delaware’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), she did so for all the right reasons. She was not interested in accruing service hours to boost her college applications; she acted because she is deeply concerned about the lives of so many, including young people, who are affected by blood disorders.
Dr. Ray Blackwell, Sanford parent, former Sanford trustee, and the chief of cardiac surgery and surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware, recently added another honor to his long list of accomplishments. As a two-time graduate of Dartmouth College, ’80 and MED ’87, Dr. Blackwell was recognized on January 31 at a campus ceremony, where he was presented with a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater for his tireless work as a leader and mentor in his field.
On Thursday, January 17, students in grades 7–12 attended a special screening of the movie, Angst, an IndieFlix Original documentary that was created to help break the stigma around anxiety and open up discussion about mental health.
Tanya Graham, Sanford’s assistant director of admission, was among a group of faculty/staff from seven local schools who planned and implemented the first LEAD conference, which was hosted by Tower Hill School on November 9, 2018.