When I ask St. Markers, students and adults alike, to tell me the first word that comes to mind about our School, the answer—again and again and again—is community. Surely, a major reason the sense of community is so strong at St. Mark's is because so much of the life of our School takes place within the walls of this Main Building, within the very thoughtfully designed 190,000+ square feet that exist under one (big) roof.
I am convinced, too, that the Main Building contributes to the vibrancy of the School's educational program. Because we see each other so much in the Main Building, both formally and informally, we develop a depth of relationship which fosters many virtues, including student self-confidence. Frequent affirming interactions with peers, and with faculty and staff, including House Heads, classroom teachers, advisors, administrators, and support staff, provide many benefits, like the encouragement to take positive growth inducing risks. Both implicitly and explicitly, you are encouraged to apply to be a peer discussion leader, apply to be a Monitor, seek a STEM Fellowship or a History Fellowship, apply to the trip to Namibia or Segovia, or the Australia or Chile Exchange, or try wrestling or crew even though you have never done it before.
St. Mark's needs students to be willing to put themselves out there in these ways in order for such a diversity of programs to thrive. So, our Main Building, an integral part of our intentionally small school, creates the conditions for you to think big.
I am convinced, too, that the fact so much of our lives takes place under one roof encourages the development of positive character and leadership qualities. When you spend so much of your life together, you can either become very frustrated with another — and I know that happens sometimes — or you can be motivated all the more to be your best self, exhibiting kindness, consideration, the desire to understand the perspective of someone different from yourself, the desire to work collaboratively and bring out the best in others. I am so pleased by the number of instances of these positive qualities that I see and I hear about every day.