Upper School instructors Jamy Haughey, Elizabeth Capone, and Anna Littlefield are members of Sanford’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) task force. On October 18th, they led the Upper School faculty in a one-hour workshop and discussion on the topic of White Privilege. Later in the day, Haughey joined fellow task force member and Middle School World Language Instructor Ellen Grise to share a similar presentation with the Middle School faculty.
Jack Valentine '20 has no memory of life without the sport of baseball. He recalls being three years old and having catches with his dad in their back yard, transitioning to the local recreational league as soon as he was old enough to enroll. As an elementary student in the Washington, D.C. area, Valentine was a member of a local travel baseball team. When his family relocated to Hockessin, Delaware, he shared his talents with his Sanford and local Babe Ruth teams, in addition to playing for his D.C. travel team in the summers. Valentine has proudly been a contributing member of Sanford’s varsity team, primarily as a pitcher and a catcher, for the past four years.
Sanford’s Home and School (H&S) Association’s first meeting of the year took place on Thursday, October 17th, in Quigley Hall. Approximately 25 parents took time out of their morning to attend the meeting, which was open to all families in the Sanford community. Because the 2019–2020 school-wide theme is IDENTITY and because honoring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a guiding star of the current Strategic Direction of the Board of Trustees, H&S invited Upper School instructors Jamy Haughey and Elizabeth Capone, members of Sanford’s DEI task force, to provide a brief presentation on the topic.
The sport of Acro & Tumbling (A&T) is relatively new, especially at the collegiate level, but once Zöe Collins '20 discovered it, she knew it was just what she had been searching for. As a gymnast since the age of three, Zöe grew up loving the sport. However, a couple of years ago, she began to feel that she had given gymnastics all she had to offer. After being injured and away for the sport for a while, she came back to compete one last year as an artistic gymnast and finished up her gymnastics career at Regionals as a Level 8. A new twist on the sport presented itself at just the right time for Zöe, who had long been associated with First State Gymnastics.
Since 2012, the Delaware Youth Leadership Network (DYLN) has been a catalyst for student growth, especially in the areas of leadership, networking, and public speaking, through the experiences it offers to high school students. Only rising juniors from a Delaware high school with at least a 3.0 GPA can apply to this prestigious and competitive program. The application process is rigorous, requiring written essays, an interview with a panel of teachers and administrators at the candidates’ respective high schools, and an afternoon of one-on-one interviews with DYLN leadership.
On October 11th, 21 Sanford faculty, administrators, and board member Lisa Lloyd-Washington attended the annual Multicultural Resource Center@Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (MCRC@ADVIS) conference, which was hosted by Tower Hill School in Wilmington. Sanford’s representatives joined more than 800 attendees from the mid-Atlantic region to focus on educational strategies and classroom practices for building and supporting a welcoming and inclusive school community.
Taryn-Marie Jenkins '19 has enjoyed 13 years as a Girl Scout. As she moved through the various ranks of the organization, Jenkins realized that scouting offered her opportunities for personal growth, chances to try new things, and experiences to share with other girls. She also recognized that her participation in Girl Scouts provided her with an added layer of support to help her accomplish her dreams.
Since May 2018, World Language Instructor Danielle Wolanski has served as the vice-president of the Delaware Classical Association. When longtime state chair of the American Classical League (ACL) and National Junior Classical League (NJCL), Father Michael Connolly of Salesianum School retired, Wolanski was asked to consider applying for that leadership position. As one of three finalists, Wolanski was recently appointed to the position of state chair of the ACL/NJCL.
Sanford eighth-grader Scarlett Helmecki '24 was invited to be a featured speaker at the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award given by the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Award recipient Chip Rossi, Delaware Market President for Bank of America, specifically requested that a pioneering young woman from an area Scout troop address the several hundred people gathered at the Chase Center on Tuesday, October 15th, about her experience in Scouting.
Savannah Shepherd ’20 worked with the Delaware legislature and county government for nearly two years to secure a historical marker honoring the memory of Mr. George White, the only documented African-American victim of a lynching in Delaware. Shepherd’s efforts culminated with the installation of the marker on June 23, 2019, at Greenbank Park in Wilmington, near Prices Corner.
Sanford’s annual Homecoming is always an action-packed, fun-filled weekend with a variety of activities organized to ensure that alums who return to campus are welcomed and have numerous opportunities to see students, faculty, and the campus in action. This year’s events included the dedication of a new Bermuda grass field, which was officially named the Eph Humphreys Field in honor of Sanford’s longtime educator, administrator, and coach.
Mayor Mike Purzycki proclaimed September as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Month in Wilmington. Events to promote awareness among local students and their families about the importance of HBCUs took place, including a college fair, which was held at the 76ers Fieldhouse in New Castle, Delaware on Friday, September 20, 2019.
As the youngest of three, and the only girl, Annie Leo ’21 grew up playing sports with her brothers in her backyard. She started playing lacrosse as a second-grader, where she was, ironically, coached by Sanford dad Jonathan Nurry. From there, Leo started playing for the Kennett/Unionville travel team until they merged with Ultimate Lacrosse. It was through this team, coached by Michelle “DJ” DeJulius that Leo forged some of her best friendships, including with Sanford’s Katie Zabel. Leo stated: “I appreciate the high standards Coach DJ set for us, the skills she taught us, and the loyalty our teammates share.”
As a state and conference champion swimmer, Bella Warner '20 has been courted by many colleges and universities. It was not until she met with the coaches and swimmers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) did Warner feel at home. “I absolutely loved the people,” explained Warner. “The team was very welcoming, and the coaches are so passionate. There is an excellent dynamic between the coaches and the team. It felt natural to be there.”
It is not an easy task to compile a yearbook that accurately and creatively captures student life on a busy preschool–12 campus, but since the school’s inception, Sanford’s Chrysalis has done just that. The 2019 edition was recently awarded a prestigious First Place award by the American Scholastic Press Association. Additionally, yearbooks are judged in five distinct categories, and Chrysalis earned an incredible perfect score for Content Presentation.
Brianna Kung ’20 first started playing lacrosse as a middle school student because she wanted to try a new sport and many of her friends were joining the lacrosse team. It turned out to be an excellent decision, from both a social and an athletic standpoint.
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.