On Saturday, July 18, the fourth annual Do Do's Garden Callender Avenue Mini Faux Folk Festival (DDGCAmFFF) was held. Over four-plus hours via Zoom, some 22 acts (28 individual artists) shared 46 songs. A number of the performers had St. Mark's connections.
Around the Quad
In October of 2011, the St. Mark's Board of Trustees presented a Strategic Plan for the future. It focused on three major goals—increasing STEM opportunities, advancing global education, and creating a Center for innovation in teaching and learning—resolving to achieve these goals within a decade. The plan was called St. Mark's 2020.
When its 156th academic year gets underway this autumn, St. Mark's will welcome 11 new faculty members to the school community. Five will be teaching STEM subjects, four will be joining the Modern Languages Department, one will become part of the admission team, while another will be assuming the administrative responsibilities of directing the School's Community and Equity program.
The challenges of the virtual era have not impacted the production or the quality of student publications at St. Mark's. Earlier this month, the final editions of the Vindex, the St. Marker, and LEO appeared.
Former faculty member Mervyn Stewart Menzies Weedon, known as "Rob" to everyone, died peacefully at his home in Cary, North Carolina, on May 31, 2020. He was 95. Mr. Weedon taught English at St. Mark's for 32 years (1961-1993).
St. Mark's School's 155th Prize Day graduation ceremony took place on the morning of Saturday, July 6, via an online platform. Eighty-three VI Formers officially graduated from the School. An in-person ceremony will take place on campus next June.
On the morning of Friday, June 6, the traditional St. Mark's Baccalaureate Service was delivered non-traditionally to the St. Mark's community. Loris Adams, outgoing director of Community & Equity Affairs at the School delivered the Baccalaureate address.
On Thursday evening, June 4, the first part of the traditional St. Mark's Prize Day celebration—the presentation of individual prizes—took place via Zoom.
On the morning of Wednesday, June 3, 2020, the St. Mark's chapter of the Cum Laude Society held a virtual induction ceremony. Fifteen VI Formers were installed as St. Mark's newest Cum Laude honorees.
At the Prize Day ceremonies later this week, eight St. Markers will receive the first-ever Global Diplomas awarded by the School.
On Monday morning, June 1, 2020, the St. Mark's community celebrated the academic achievements of its students and bid farewell to departing faculty and staff.
St. Mark's History and Social Sciences Department Chair Adam Jewell has announced that Catie Summers '21 is the winner of the annual Shen Public Speaking Competition, held on Wednesday, May 27.
The first St. Mark's graduation ceremony, really a formal Baccalaureate service in Southborough's St. Mark's Episcopal Church where seven young men received diplomas (and none of them would go on to college), was held on Saturday, June 9, 1866. One month before, more than 300 miles to the west and north, in the small town of Waterloo, New York, a community-wide event took place, with businesses closing and the residents decorating the graves of their Civil War dead with flowers and flags. It was the first celebration of what would come to be called Memorial Day.
Head of School John C. Warren '74 has announced the schedule for Prize Day Week 2020. A series of traditional end-of-year events will be held remotely, from June 1 through June 6.
Alexandria "Ally" Bauer, a VI Form boarder from Natick, Mass., placed second at the 2020 Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair, held virtually this year.
It has been a very different experience for most of the 70-plus St. Markers playing intercollegiate sports this year. Not only were spring seasons abbreviated or cancelled outright, but many winter campaigns were cut short in the midst of tournaments or championship runs.
This spring, St. Mark's has kept its community vibrant and engaged in all areas of school life by staying connected through virtual platforms.
The St. Mark's Admission Office reports great success as it looks ahead to the 2020-2021 academic year. This coming fall, St. Mark's will welcome 105 new students, and 24 states and 15 countries will be represented in next year's student body.
Throughout the week of April 20, St. Mark's students, alumni, faculty, and staff participated in Poetry Week, creating, presenting, and sharing poems with the School community.
Engaging in hands-on work remotely creates obstacles for science students, but one creative band of St. Mark's engineers is taking a proactive approach to their subject, using the video game Minecraft.
Next year, 20 members of the St. Mark's Class of 2020 will be committed to participating in college and university athletic programs. Five will be in Division I, one will be playing Division II, and 14 will be suiting up for Division III programs. This week, these talented St. Mark's athletes are being recognized by the School.
During this time of remote learning, the visual arts remain an integral part of the St. Mark's curriculum. Veteran art teachers Barbara Putnam and Aggie Belt have been assigning art projects to their students and have been receiving the results of St. Markers' creative and resourceful efforts.
Theater arts has been part of the St. Mark's academic curriculum for 46 years now, and recent events have not stopped its momentum, but rather simply refocused its direction somewhat.
You might think that, given the limits of technology, group music classes, like team athletics, would be suffering the most during these demanding times. Yet James Wallace, director of music and art department head at St. Mark's, has kept the School's music program going by looking ahead.
Spring sports cancelled. No Groton games. No more in-person spring classes. No VI Form Dance. No Prize Day on campus.
Well, that was St. Mark's some 84 years ago, in the spring of 1936. You see, we've been here before.
At a creative remote all-school meeting hosted by the current Monitors, the new Monitors for 2020-2021 were announced.
For two weeks now, St. Mark's has been meeting the challenges of COVID-19 with a full schedule of remote classes, taught by St. Mark's faculty and attended by St. Mark's students, all online. Academically, the spring term has been fully underway. While sports, concerts, dances, and other traditional on-campus activities have not been taking place, regular Chapel services and all-school meetings are happening remotely, and they have included music, readings, and presentations from both students and adults.
Head of School John C. Warren '74 has announced that John Daves will join St. Mark's on July 1, 2020, as director of community and equity affairs. Dr. Daves is currently upper school principal at Carolina Day School in Asheville, North Carolina, and has previously served as dean of faculty at the Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey; director of diversity and inclusion and English teacher at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Indiana; and English teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, Montgomery Blair High School, and Friends Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, April 7, St. Mark's hosted its first-ever virtual Revisit Day for prospective students and their families.
On Wednesday, April 1, at the first-ever remote all-school meeting, Dean of Students David Vachris announced Team Phoenix as the winner of the 2020 Quad Games. This year's Quad Games took place in early March, during the week before spring break. This is Phoenix's third Quad Games championship in the seven-year history of the annual intramural competition.
St. Mark's alumnus Sean Bellefeuille '15 is a talented entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and chief executive officer of M3Dimensions, an innovative 3D-modeling company supporting veterinary surgeons. But the current concerns of these challenging times inspired a shift. Bellefeuille and M3Dimensions will now be creating lightweight, protective face shields for health care workers.
After an extended spring break, St. Mark's is back, albeit from a distance. Beginning today, classes resume through remote learning. The re-opening of learning at St. Mark's was launched by a morning chapel service on the Zoom platform, attended remotely by more than 250 members of the St. Mark's community.
Jack Griffin, a VI Former from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, has been selected as a delegate to the Society for Science and the Public's 2020 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for his project on polymer science.
While remaining at home like so many others during these challenging weeks, some members of the St. Mark's community are using their time to help make a difference. Two from St. Mark's—a student and a staff member—are among those making face masks to help address the shortage of those essential items, supporting the needs of health care workers and medical facilities.
With an overall record of 22-14-0 so far in 2020, the St. Mark's robotics team is ranked second in New England with 86 total points in the region's FIRST Robotics standings.
On Thursday, March 5, the Winter Athletic Awards ceremony took place in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall. In addition to team awards, 28 St. Markers earned All-Independent School League (ISL) honors, highlighting a strong season for several St. Mark's teams.
Wednesday, March 4, was Tuition Freedom Day at St. Mark's, representing the day income from tuition is expended and philanthropic resources from the Annual Fund and the endowment kick-in to cover the School's operating costs for the rest of the year. Again this year, on Tuition Freedom Day students visited tables outside the dining hall to write more than 285 thank-you notes to donors.
On Monday, March 2, the St. Mark's School Orchestra, conducted by director Nathaniel Meyer, performed a concert for the entire School community in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall.
From February 27 through February 29, the St. Mark's Robotics Team— #3566 Gone Fishin'—made a strong impression in its 2020 competitive debut at the annual Granite State New England District FIRST Robotics event in Salem, New Hampshire.
Eight individuals—seven athletes and a coach—along with two historic St. Mark's teams will be inducted into the School's Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 9, during Reunion Weekend 2020. The inductees include one of the most successful boys' varsity tennis coaches in St. Mark's history, a pioneering Southborough School grad who has seen national and international success as a racing sailor and triathlete, and athletes who played football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, softball, and field hockey; who wrestled; and who rowed crew. They achieved athletic success in both school and college, and they represent the best of independent school athletics. They will join the 41 athletes, nine coaches, one manager, and two teams already enshrined in St. Mark's Athletic Hall of Fame, which was first established in 2001.
The 2020 St. Mark's Quad Games kicked off on Monday, March 2, with an all-school lunch. Students and faculty were seated by teams, as teams Large, Phoenix, and Thayer get ready to attempt to topple defending champion Fearing. Lunch was followed by an official opening in the Putnam Family Art Center's Class of 1945 Hall. following a performance by the St. Mark's Orchestral. Head of School John C. Warren '74 declared the 2020 Quad Games underway, and the very first event-- the paper airplane competition-- was won by Team Phoenix.
After a two-year hiatus, St. Mark's hosted the 38th Peabo Gardner Alumni Hockey game on the evening of Saturday, February 29.
On Saturday morning, February 29, 60 VI Formers gave presentations on their research arising from their winter term St. Mark's Saturday class: Lives of Consequence.
After a successful winter Groton weekend, with three of four varsity teams winning over their longtime rivals, both St. Mark's varsity hockey teams are in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) playoffs.
This year's winter play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis, tells an intriguing story wrapped around ideas. The St. Mark's production, which will be performed this coming Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, February 27, 28, and 29, in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Black Box Theater, is a beautifully acted experience well worth seeing.
On Sunday evening, February 23, the St. Mark's choir traveled to Groton School, to join the Groton choir in presenting a traditional service of Festival Evensong in Groton's historic St. John's Chapel.
February has been an outstanding month for St. Mark's athletics.
For five days in February, St. Mark's alumnus Nicholas Braun '06 visited the School, meeting with students and faculty and working with students in Theater Arts classes and the upcoming winter play.
Ross Gay, a leading American poet, author, editor, and advocate, was the visiting speaker for the ongoing Gray Colloquium Series at St. Mark's on February 20. The theme of this year's Gray Colloquium is Civil Discourse.
The winter play this year will be The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Performances will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, February 27, 28, and 29, in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Black Box Theater. Each nIght the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.