Our annual St. Andrew’s Day celebration is a great way to begin the holiday season - we gather as a K-12 community to celebrate the blessing of servant leaders in our community, and unite to help others in need. Our annual tradition supporting El Buen Samaritano continued this year - our students at the Middle and Upper Schools collected and loaded enough Thanksgiving trimmings to feed thousands of hungry Austinites this holiday (Click here to see a clip of the Upper Schoolers
). At the Lower School, students wrote thank you cards to faculty/staff, and took time to learn about Kiva entrepreneurs in need.
The morning chapel service is the first time our talented vocalists and musicians gather to perform for the entire school body, and their repertoire this year did not disappoint. Our youngest singers, the kindergarten class, sang “I Am a Promise” by Gloria and Bill Gaither before the older students took the stage. Students in choir and band/orchestra joined forces to fill the gymnasium with beautiful harmonies. Click here to see a highlight reel of the St. Andrew’s Day performances.
“Be true to who you are” implored our guest preacher, The Very Reverend J. Pittman McGehee, to his audience of over one-thousand St. Andrew’s students, faculty, and parents. It was an important reminder to hold fast to our individual principles, and those that unite us as a community. Head of School Sean Murphy had the honor of presenting Pittman McGehee with The Charles Alan Wright Award. Sean remarked, “Reverend McGehee, thank you for your influence. For your faith that you’ve amplified in so many ways and to thousands of people, for your poetry that inspires, for your wise counsel to us and so many others, and for devoting your career to helping people find meaning and connection in this world. It is without a doubt that you give and share more than you ever receive. And we can all learn from you.”
St. Andrew’s parent volunteer and board of trustees member Edie Rogat was awarded The John & Jeannine Miller Volunteer Award. Sean said, “Edie is the best kind of volunteer because she easily sees the big picture and all the details, and is the first to be in the trenches doing exactly what needs to be done. Edie, thank you for your service to us and to so many others in our community. Like the Millers before you, you have given of yourself wholeheartedly and we are so grateful. St. Andrew’s is a better, more organized and connected place because of the time and effort you have so diligently devoted to our community.”
Lower and Middle School Chaplain Ashley Brandon was awarded the Lucy Collins Nazro Faculty Service Award. “The work of a chaplain is a sacred trust and a deeply valued position that is also unlike any other on campus,” said Sean. “We are so blessed to have a strong chaplaincy program at our school, and Ashley can be credited for helping it flourish. She is so good at her job that she can almost anticipate a need before the need actually arises. Ever thoughtful, passionate, and full of ideas, she carefully listens to her co-workers and students and is always willing to offer her time and counsel. Wise beyond her years, she is a gifted preacher and leaves many of us captivated by her homilies.”
Third grade teacher Nancy Dolan and Upper School chemistry teacher Cindy Albach were each awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award. Nancy, “Finds so much joy in her students, and they love her wit, her creativity, boundless energy, and devotion. She is a positive influence among her peers and inspires the same in her students. Her passion for growing her teaching is self-evident and she is an exemplar for her colleagues. She inspires the best in all of us and she models what it means to be a caring, authentic, kind and compassionate person.” With Cindy, “The sense of inquiry is palpable. Kids love her classes. They are challenging and engaging and relevant. Recently she embarked on a new inquiry-based approach to her pedagogy and on mentoring two bright, new, young chemistry teachers. She bridges the old and the new and gives real meaning to the concept of a growth mindset.”
One of our 31st Street Facilities staff members, Iris Guerrero, was honored for her 15 years of dedicated service, and Lower School P.E. teacher Maria Brummer was honored for her 25 years of dedicated service.
The Outstanding Alumni Award went to Jenna Bush Hager '96 and Barbara Bush '96
, daughters of former president and first lady George and Laura Bush. The twin sisters graduated from our Middle School in 1996 - before our Upper School was built - and went on to do some pretty incredible work around the world. See the Bush twins acceptance speech here
Our post-chapel luncheon featured delicious food provided by SAGE Dining Services - we are so thankful to SAGE and our parent volunteers for coordinating and feeding over one-thousand attendees! A special thank you to our St. Andrew’s Day Co-Chairs, parents Nicky Brennig and Jennifer Roossien, and their volunteer committee; to our Altar Guild, Alison Dalton, Kelly Barnhill, Marion Trapolino, and Laurel Simmons; and to our guest preacher The Very Reverend J. Pittman McGehee, Jenna Bush Hager '96 and Barbara Bush '96 for their encouraging messages.