Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Community Service Trip

With pictures and stories, the thirteen girls who participated in this past summer's service trip to the Gulf Coast told the Middle and Upper School students all about their adventure. Working with Habitat for Humanity and Americorps volunteers, the students helped with the construction of two houses near Mobile, Alabama. From their telling, it seems that lessons about laminate flooring and grout went hand-in-hand with lessons about sweat equity and the gift of time to a greater cause.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Not To Wear

The St. Mary's Chapel Committee brought "Stacey" and "Clinton" of TLC's What Not To Wear fame to take a look at what some might consider wearing to chapel, and the verdict was a very clear thumbs down. No phones for texting, no headphones under a hoodie, no snacks, no study notes, no blankets, no purses ...
Special thanks to all the faculty who so fashionably modeled these DON'TS on the chapel runway.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Middle School Chapel: A Word to the Wise

Mrs. Snodgrass (US Religion teacher and Assistant Chaplain) shared a "word" with the Middle School girls. After reminding them that she had been a new girl at St. Mary's as a fifth grader and also a former MS teacher, she told them how much she LOVED Wordly Wise! This weekly workbook is a foundational teaching tool for the development of a strong vocabulary, but in Mrs. Snodgrass' view, it became a vehicle for conversation about the difference between smart words and wise words.
Not surprisingly, the girls immediately recognized that wise words came from "thinking before speaking," and that wise words are kind, complimentary, and healing. May these wise words be on our lips throughout the year.

If you're wondering where the Upper School girls were today, rest assured that their experience of "Henrietta Lacks Day: Conversations about Immortality" was a profound, eye-opening, and occasionally mind-blowing event. You're sure to see more about it on the school website and in upcoming articles.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Early Childhood Chapel "Whoever You Are"

From Mem Fox's Whoever You Are:

Little one,
when you are older and when you are grown,
you may be different,

and they may be different,
wherever you are,
wherever they are,
in this big, wide world.

But remember this:

Joys are the same,
and love is the same.

Pain is the same,
and blood is the same.

Smiles are the same,
and hearts are just the same -

wherever they are,
wherever you are,
wherever we are,



Spanning Disney history from black and white Mickey Mouse to Nemo to Hannah Montana, the Junior Class enthusiastically encouraged the St. Mary's community to sell wrapping paper and to support this important (think Prom) fundraiser. A lively and laughter-filled series of songs certainly made their point boisterously clear!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Senior Speeches

Stay tuned as we bring you links to hear the talks given by each graduating senior. These wonderful talks offer each girl an opportunity to reflect, laugh, share poignant moments and hard-learned wisdom. What a gift!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's an Honor Thing

The Upper School student representatives who make up the Honor Council took the floor today. Instead of reading dictionary definitions of honor, though, they demonstrated for the SMES community just how the process works. With the help of a "cheater" and a "concerned student" (wonderfully willing faculty sponsors - Latin and Spanish teachers by day), the girls unpacked the journey from bad choice to resolution. This peek behind the veil gave everyone a chance to understand that the Honor Code isn't just words on a plaque, but a way of living together in trust.

It's an honor thing ... and now you understand.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Do-Overs (a.k.a. Be gentle)

My first week of school didn't go perfectly. It was wonderful ... just not "perfect." I made a few mistakes; well, okay, a bunch. Fortunately, we are part of a community of grace and forgiveness, and I know that I shouldn't just give up on the whole year at this point. We seek excellence around here, but we do so as imperfect creatures.

A few words from Always We Begin Again, which happens to have been written by John McQuiston, my father.

"When we rise from sleep let us rise for the joy
of the true Work that we will be about on this day,
and considerately cheer one another on.

Life will always provide matters for concern.
Each day, however, brings with it reasons for joy.

Every day carries the potential
to bring the experience of heaven;
have the courage to expect good from it.

Be gentle with this life,
and use the light of life
to live fully in your time."

Friday, August 20, 2010


St. Mary's enjoys a wonderful relationship with Church of the Holy Communion, sharing not only space, but also a commitment to honoring the role of the sacred in our lives. Regularly, we hear from the clergy and staff of CHC, and the Rev. Ollie Rencher, Asssociate Rector for Pastoral Care and Social Ministries, offered the following words from Henri Nouwen as part of his talk:

"Compassion erases the mistakes of life, just as the rubber end of a pencil removes the smudges on the paper."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Early Childhood Chapel Begins

The ECC began a new year of chapels with a wonderful celebration of the first days of school. Click the link to catch the joy!

Lions and Tigers and ... Golden Tickets

With a chorus of Ooompa Lumpas, the Middle School Student Council and Pep Club members warmly welcomed new students and faculty to the MS Family. From where I was sitting those "golden tickets" looked suspiciously like candy bars ... lucky girls!

Then the zoo animals broke loose all over the Chapel, and the Upper School Student Council leadership welcomed all of us to the St. Mary's Zoo. They called on all the new girls and teachers to come forward and receive a cup full of treats.

Lively and filled with laughter, we come together in chapel to celebrate those new people who will make our school new, and we move into an exciting new year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Night Prayer

it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.

from The New Zealand Book of Common Prayer

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feast of St. Mary

Greek Lesson for the day:
Theotokos = God-bearer

Mary was a God-bearer which tells us something of her strength and courage.
Likewise, we are bearers of God ... We demonstrate our own strength and courage when we carry God with us and when we see that God is carried within everyone we meet.

Sculpture by Margaret Adams Parker

Monday, August 16, 2010

Opening Chapel

Here are a few words from Mrs. Shaw's opening address ...

This morning, you are sitting in a sacred place. As you sit in the Church of the Holy Communion during St. Mary’s opening chapel service, you begin your school year with all the opportunities a sacred place can provide. If you are to gain from those opportunities that are waiting for you here, you have to come to chapel—respectful, reverent, and willing to be open to the experience. And what an experience it can be—to sing and worship together, to hear from priests and rabbis, and to hear seniors share their senior chapel talks and learn more about them. Chapel can be a time of quiet reflection and meditation during a hectic school day. Chapel can be a time of joy and laughter.

At St. Mary’s, we have chapel everyday for good reason. We have chapel everyday because we value faith and reason for all, whatever our individual faith might be. Chapel is a time for personal reflection and for shared moments when we can celebrate our differences and learn from them. Our chapel calls for reflection, reverence, and respect. This chapel reflects the St. Mary’s community. In fact, it is the St. Mary’s community.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Faculty Chapel

"To Be of Use"

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Marge Piercy