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A community where all members have the essential tools to be their best selves

Wellness at St. Mark's helps create a community where all members have the essential tools to be their best selves, so that they can be physically, emotionally and socially prepared to make healthy lifestyle choices. To have a Wellness program that educates and empowers everyone at St. Mark’s to be self-advocates as they journey towards leading lives of leadership and service.

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X-Block Program

X-block represents an opportunity for our students to destress and spend time gathering with friends, sharing a conversation with a faculty member or getting ahead on homework. In this time period, the Wellness Department wants to introduce some areas of practice that would help our community have the physical, mental, and emotional skills to enjoy their best experience in a demanding prep school environment.
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V Form Wellness Speaker Series

St. Mark’s Wellness curriculum for the V Formers represents an opportunity for our students to develop lifelong skills that will help them within our community but also as they transition beyond our walls and lead lives of leadership and service. V Form programming will be focused on mental health awareness, physical health, the power of gratitude, and sleep and nutrition’s role in their academic performance.

A Focus on Wellness

The first ever Wellness Day at St. Mark's took place on Saturday, December 4. All morning, students participated in a variety of workshops and activities designed to promote physical, mental, and emotional well being. Led by faculty, health professionals, and even students, the workshops provided St. Markers with opportunities for reflection and helpful information about the importance of health and wellness.

The morning began with a choice between two keynote presentations: Anxiety in Athletics with Director of Wellness Carl Corazzini and Building a Better Body Image Culture from the Inside Out: How Values-Aligned Health and Wellness Goals Can Help You and Your Community with Amy Gardner from Metrowest Nutrition.

In the Anxiety in Athletics keynote, students participated in two activities that pushed them to look at their identities and what was at the core of their nerves. They were given post-it notes where they examined what they carried around in their lives each day that made them uneasy. Then they crafted an athletic timeline to see if any themes arose to help answer and name what gave them anxiety. "Although the focus of this workshop was athletics," notes Corazzini, "performance anxiety exists in all facets of our students' lives."

In the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of '45 Hall, Gardner's keynote elevated student awareness of the body positivity movement and shared healthy ways to think about eating and one's self-concept. Gardner discussed wellness anchored in values and how to make healthy choices that would bring students closer to their values. "St. Markers asked thoughtful questions about the ways that various populations of students internalize messages about body image, and can be supported in the body positivity movement," observed Dean of Academics Nat Waters. "In particular, they wondered about the experiences of LGBTQIA students, and how to look out for friends who may be struggling. They were curious, active, and engaged."

In small group sessions, students explored options ranging from yoga, meditation, mandala art, and gratitude drawing to high intensity interval training and a conversation on human sexuality. In Real Talk About Sexual Health, Community Wellness Educator Lauren Martin '85 and Biology teacher Lindsey Lohwater co-led a student-centered conversation around reproductive and sexual health; it featured questions students anonymously submitted in advance and generated good conversation around understandings and misunderstandings.

Yoga Flow, One Love, Gratitude Drawing, and the Body Positive Workshop were all led by St. Mark's students, includingI VI Formers Lowell Fenstermacher, Laurie Wang, Hannah Macleod, Carmen Tosi, Perry Schmitz, Suha Choi, and Karina Skinner. Interim Assistant Director of Athletics Luke Chiasson '15 took students on a nature walk, Dean of Students David Vachris taught St. Markers how to apologize, and mathematics teacher Scott Dolesh offered an opportunity to connect with Special Olympic athletes.

"We wanted students to actively engage in self-reflection in each of the sessions that they participated in, and hopefully come away with one tool that could help them become the best version of themselves and lead a healthy lifestyle," said Corazzini. "There is the aspiration that this day will serve as a foundation for many more events that will look after the health and well-being of our community."

Photograph by Adam Richins Photography

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Cross-Cultural Wellness: SM Working with Mass General

2020-2021 marks the beginning of St. Mark's third year working in partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness (CCCSEW), as part of the School's commitment to Global Citizenship and the well-being of its Asian international students.

Founded in 2014, this MGH program recognizes a tremendous need to support the emotional health of students from Asia and of Asian descent. Practicing mental health clinicians at MGH noticed increasing referrals of Asian and Asian-American students for problems like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. As bicultural individuals themselves, with perspectives informed by a wide range of experiences including clinical work with adolescents from a variety of backgrounds, public health training, and parenthood, these doctors agreed that the solution to these problems lay not in increased mental health treatment, but rather in early recognition, education, and primary prevention.

Click here to learn about the MGH program.

Shortly after the MGH CCCSEW s was established, Adria Pavletic, director of health services at St. Mark's, read an article by the program's co-founder, Dr. Justin Chen, and reached out to him. As a result, St. Mark's became one of the original consortium members collaborating with the MGH Center. MGH professionals have been to St. Mark's, offering both professional development workshops for faculty and presentations to international families on Family Weekend.

Several members of the St. Mark's adult community are active in the consortium. Ms Pavletic (director of health services), Dr. Laura Appell-Warren (director of global citizenship), John Daves (director of community and equity affairs), Starry Zhu (assistant director of community and equity affairs), Jennifer Taylor (director of counseling services), and school counselor Veronica Barila participate in monthly Consortium meetings. Each meeting includes a presentation by a member of the faculty from the CCCSEW as well as discussions with representatives from other member schools. The topics for the meetings this year include: racial bias among international students; Stigma and xenophobia in the setting of COVID-19; traditional East Asian understanding of health and wellness; promoting cultural competency; and cross-cultural manifestations of stress, anxiety and depression.

Dr. Warren finds the program extremely helpful. "Their presentations are all based on both their own lived experience as practitioners, as well as on the data they have collected for their own research," she says.

The stresses faced by students at competitive secondary schools, colleges, and universities can be enormous, and can be magnified among individuals whose cultural backgrounds make it difficult to integrate easily into U.S. educational and social systems, who struggle to establish social networks with their non-Asian boarding school peers, and who bring different cultural values and practices to campus. Meanwhile, educational institutions can struggle with the challenge of providing timely, sufficient, and culturally responsive support to these students. The CCCSEW has partnered itself with local and regional stakeholders to tackle these complex challenges and improve the lives of diverse student populations.

"It has been wonderful to partner with the clinicians and educators at MGH," says Ms. Taylor. "They remind us how critical it is to look at mental health issues through the cultural lens of the Asian and Asian American student experience. Their consultation, workshops and time on campus with our faculty has been invaluable as we continue to engage with our international students and families."

Recently, the MGH Center shared some relevant work regarding ant-Asian racism and COVID as well as other mental health issues. The COVID-19 Pandemic has uncovered racist and xenophobic views towards Asians and Asian-Americans, resulting in a dramatic increase in verbal harassment and physical assaults against these groups. The pandemic has caused massive disruptions for nearly everyone in the world, including negative health and economic effects, and a lot of anxiety and uncertainty about the future. How to address both the racism and its impact on students and families has been central to the most recent consortium discussions, and health services, community/equity, and global citizenship will be sharing this material with the School community.

See below for some of this material. Translations are available in Chinese, Japanese. Korean and Vietnamese.

"I have been impressed with how relevant the topics are to what we as schools are experiencing," says Dr Warren, "and how readily the CCCSEW faculty respond to issues that we are seeing at our schools."

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Health and Safety Prioritized as Students Return to Campus

This week, St, Mark's is welcoming back boarders and day students who wish to return to campus, while other students will still be taking classes remotely. In a recent letter to the St. Mark's community, Head of School John C. Warren '74 spelled out the preparations undertaken and the changes made in order to prioritize the safety and health of everyone involved:

After almost two weeks of exclusively remote learning, we look forward to the start of classes on campus for some of our students on Monday, September 28. This day comes after many months of planning by our faculty and staff to ensure a return that prioritizes the health and safety of our entire community.

While we are excited to mark this milestone in the 2020-2021 academic year for the students who will be able to join us in person, we are also deeply committed to our students who will remain remote for the coming months. I am confident that those students who have chosen—or for reasons beyond their control, were required to make the choice—to learn remotely will have an experience that will meet the St. Mark's standard of excellence.

For those students returning to campus next week, life will be different than it was when they last attended classes in person in March. Students will wear a mask almost all the time. They will participate in a daily health check, and they will not be able to travel throughout campus as freely as usual. At this point, we are all used to some restrictions and a certain "new normal" that COVID-19 has forced upon us. It is my belief and my hope that returning to in-person life at St. Mark's, with all of its compromises, will provide those students who are able to be here with an incredibly positive experience, both academically and outside the classroom.

St. Mark's recently retained Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) to assess readiness for managing operational impacts associated with COVID-19 while reopening and resuming operations. A representative from EH&E recently conducted a walkthrough of the School and a review of documents, as well as interviews with faculty and staff members.

The collected information was compared to best practices for reopening provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

EH&E reported that "St. Mark's has developed a robust and mature plan for reentry in accordance with best practices. In EH&E's experience, St. Mark's planning is in line with or more advanced than similar independent boarding schools. Additionally, St. Mark's has the infrastructure in place to respond to changes in their population, the community, and in guidance in a timely and thorough manner."

Following are some of the health and safety measures St. Mark's is taking this fall:

  • Students, faculty, and staff will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis until the end of October, at which time the frequency of testing will be evaluated.
  • St. Mark's has implemented an attestation form which requires students, faculty, and staff members to make a daily declaration confirming they are free of COVID-19 symptoms. This form is to be completed daily to minimize exposure from any potential cases.
  • The School has arranged its curriculum and schedule to space all students at least six feet or more during classroom instruction. In addition, installation of maximum occupancy signs will be completed this week.
  • St. Mark's has augmented cleaning and disinfection practices. The School is using EPA-listed products and procedures to ensure effective cleaning and disinfection. Non-porous surfaces will be cleaned multiple times per day, with a focus on high-touch surfaces. These plans are aligned with CDC guidance. Hand-sanitizing stations are located throughout the buildings and in every classroom.
  • The School has installed HEPA-filtered air cleaning units for some of its spaces to supplement mechanical or natural ventilation. Classrooms now have an air turnover rate of six ACH (air changes per hour), meaning all air in the room turns over every 10 minutes. (see A below) Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) upgrades are in progress in the kitchen and serving area.
  • We will increase ventilation naturally by keeping windows open if weather permits, or mechanically, by running HVAC systems, bathroom exhaust fans, etc. in residential areas with mechanical equipment. In addition, the School will incorporate the use of portable HEPA-filtered air cleaners in shared and common spaces.
  • Touchless faucets have been installed in all restrooms, including in dormitories. (see B below)
  • The School has installed physical barriers, including sneeze guards and partitions, in serving and dining areas. We will offer additional mealtimes for each daily meal in an expanded time window to decrease the number of students in the dining areas and dining lines at a time. (see C below)
  • If an adult or student is found to exhibit new symptoms of illness while at School and cannot leave immediately, St. Mark's has a newly renovated Health Services Annex building for community members to temporarily quarantine or isolate.
  • The School has installed large outdoor tents to provide more functional outdoor space to support classes, meetings, and campus activities. Any furniture in these spaces will be arranged to allow for social distancing. (see D below)
  • The School is providing single occupancy dorm accommodations for a vast majority of boarding students. The limited number of double occupancy rooms have been configured to maximize distance between beds, will incorporate the use of physical barriers, and will be equipped with portable HEPA-filtered air cleaners.

These are just some of the many measures the School has taken in the interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff members as we return to campus. Thank you for your support and partnership as we prepare for this important step in our 2020-2021 academic year.


John C. Warren '74, EdD

Head of School

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The Past is Prologue: We've Been Here Before

Spring sports cancelled. No Groton games. No more in-person spring classes. No VI Form Dance. No Prize Day on campus.

Sound familiar?

Well, that was St. Mark's some 84 years ago, in the spring of 1936. You see, we've been here before.

In fact, at least half-dozen times in its history, St. Mark's has been forced to deal with an epidemic or pandemic affecting the life of the institution. Only two—in 1936 and 2020—have impacted the School so profoundly, but each of them brought their own challenges to the St. Mark's family.

[SM campus in 1877]

The first occurred in 1877. An epidemic of scarlet fever, a bacterial contagion, and on February 6, just a month after returning from Christmas break, the School was shut down. The headmaster, Dr. James Ivers Trecothick Coolidge [pictured at right], in his fourth year at the helm, remained on campus with a handful of faculty. But he sent all students home, and likewise his own family was transported from Southborough to Boston. After three weeks, St. Mark's reopened, so there was another month of classes before the traditional week-long Easter break. A second scarlet fever outbreak happened in late March of 1891. As in 2020, students were already home for vacation (Easter fell on March 29 that year), so headmaster William E. Peck simply extended the break for an additional couple of weeks. School was, however, back in session by mid-April.

Twenty years later, the disease was infantile paralysis, commonly known as polio, and the viral infection hit Southborough in the autumn of 1911. William Greenough Thayer [pictured at left], entering his 13th year as St. Mark's headmaster, offered the School's infirmary (then on the third floor, near where Gaccon House is today) as a quarantine space for local residents. It was ultimately a mild outbreak, but the town voted its thanks to Dr. Thayer for his help and support.

The 1918 worldwide influenza pandemic saw the School face the greatest challenge of its first half-century-plus. January of that year saw the United States' first major outbreak of the virus in both New York and Kansas, probably brought back from Europe by American soldiers wounded or incapacitated during the First World War (this strain of the flu had first appeared on that war-torn continent during the previous year). By early summer, the flu had struck Southborough. Sprawling across a large field next to Fayville Village Hall, less than two miles from St. Mark's along the Worcester Turnpike, was a large tent hospital. Over 100 cots were filled with those from Southborough who had been struck down by the epidemic. Many would live, many others would die—most of the latter from resulting pneumonia. The town physician, Dr. Lowell Bacon, warned Dr. Thayer to keep his St. Markers as isolated as possible during the summer months. Advisory letters were sent out to parents, and the strict regimen of the remote summer farming camp—a service program where young St. Markers volunteered to assist local farmers who had lost their farm hands to the wartime draft—helped keep its rotating population of 30-plus boys out of harm's way.

That good fortune did not last with the arrival of more than 150 boys ages twelve to eighteen for the opening of school. On September 21, just three days after settling in, three St. Markers came down with influenza. Two V Formers, Daniel Holder and Walden Pell, and one II Former, Henry Somers Sterling, were quarantined in the infirmary on Dr. Bacon's orders (Lowell Bacon-- pictured at right-- was also the physician on-call for St. Mark's during the academic year). Four days later, the total number of flu cases in the St. Mark's infirmary rose to fourteen, including two Monitors and representing every Form. Dr. Bacon kept meticulous daily records, as he had since arriving in Southborough in the early part of the century.

By September 28, a full 30 boys were placed in isolation. Interestingly, more than half of those with the flu received a vaccination against the disease. It is clear from these statistics that attempts to limit the epidemic were rarely successful. In addition to these 30, a dozen St. Markers who first presented flu symptoms—including the original three—were permitted to return to their dormitories for rest. The number housed in the infirmary, in beds and on cots, remained between 20 and 30 for the remainder of the month and into October. For about 10 days, St. Mark's was closed due to the influenza outbreak, and the only inhabitants of the school building were those in the infirmary. Responsibility for the medical supervision of the quarantine fell to Ruth B. Kilbourne, the school nurse, and she met the challenge efficiently and effectively.

That autumn, there were only eight VI Formers enrolled at St. Mark's. With so few seniors and the challenges posed by the flu epidemic, there was no football season that year. As football was the only fall varsity sport at the School in those days, there were no games with outside opponents at all in 1918, a first for St. Mark's since the advent of interscholastic competition in the early 1870s.

After the School reopened in November, the disease seemed to be on the wane. "The publication of the October number of the Vindex has been unavoidably delayed, owing to the influenza epidemic, which necessitated the temporary closing of the School," announced the editors. There was soon a rash of new cases, spiking just before the Thanksgiving recess. More than half of the boys came down with the flu during that time. Although no one on campus died, several alumni succumbed to the epidemic. But it appeared as though the danger had passed. A final wave of influenza hit Boston in mid-January, forcing a postponement of the annual VI Form dance extravaganza (in those days a winter tradition at St. Mark's). However, the seniors would not be daunted, and on January 30 "about 12 girls were invited...and a small dance was held in the Common Room," hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Thayer.

St. Mark's would face an even greater challenge in 1936. That crisis actually began late in September 1935, when Southborough experienced another polio outbreak. As the disease had initially impacted only local residents, St. Mark's opened as usual, but headmaster Francis Parkman (St. Mark's Class of 1915) confined his students to campus, allowing no downtown excursions. Within two weeks, the threat seemed to diminish, and both the School and the town returned to their normal routines. At St. Mark's, the fall and winter terms and their respective sports seasons were successfully completed. After Easter break, the spring term got underway, with classes proceeding busily and exciting athletic moments in baseball, tennis, and crew. Things were certainly looking up, with Prize Day only a month away. [pictured at top of story: St. Mark's campus in 1936]

Then it all came to a sudden halt. The rest of the season was cancelled. There would be no baseball game with Groton in 1936. Instead, Dr. Parkman [pictured at left] and the St. Mark's community would face a more than month-long challenge that would test the School like nothing had ever before. Despite the concerns of the previous autumn, the St. Mark's community was taken by surprise—by an epidemic—and for Francis Parkman it would be perhaps the defining moment of his tenure as headmaster.

Shortly after chapel on Sunday, May 16, seven boys reported to the third-floor infirmary. They were feverish and suffering from headaches and painful stiffness. Dr. Lee Kendall, fairly new to the role of Southborough town physician, was called in, and after examining his young patients he diagnosed infantile paralysis. Polio had come once again to St. Mark's, this time in a more virulent strain. The sick students were immediately quarantined, and Kendall reported to the headmaster. Francis Parkman acted quickly, notifying local health authorities and the families of every boarder. More students came forward over the next few hours, complaining of sore throats, vomiting, and muscle pain. On Monday, the headmaster met with his faculty to update them on the situation. By Tuesday, the infirmary area and the adjacent dormitory were completely quarantined, with school nurses Elizabeth Seuss and Marion Hood in charge of caring for the infected boys under Dr. Kendall's supervision. On Wednesday, May 19, the announcement of an epidemic on campus was official, and all games were cancelled. Dr. Parkman sent word that all parents who wished to pick up their sons could do so, with the understanding that the boys would be able to take their final examinations at home. Through all this, he informed the faculty, the school routine—including classes—would continue as best it could. "A frantic exodus commenced," the Lion recorded, "lasting a week."

Over that time, wrote Ned Hall '37, "the student body went about its business, hearing rumors, watching friends sicken or be sent for by anxious parents, and keeping their heads." Hall was one of those who stayed. His friend, Charlie Cook '36, was one of those who fell ill. Others infected included III Formers Benjamin Bradlee and Frederick Hubbell. They were both sent to Boston: Bradlee to his home and Hubbell, in much more serious condition, to Massachusetts General Hospital. Years later, the son of the former Harvard football great could still recall the drive east from Southborough, alongside Hubbell, who was ablaze with fever and in great pain. Bradlee was lifted from the car and helped into his Beacon Street home. In the doorway, he turned to wave goodbye as Hubbell was driven off in the direction of Mass General. It was the last time Bradlee would ever see his friend and classmate.

Back at St. Mark's, according to the Vindex, "a bare two-score souls remained, braving the plague." Ten out of the 40 were VI Formers, the largest single representation from any class. The headmaster, noted Ned Hall, "rose brilliantly to the occasion." Francis Parkman seemed to be everywhere: visiting the sick, encouraging the healthy boys—now isolated from the outside world—in their studies, and organizing activities for all. He wrote personal letters to the more than 150 boys now living away from campus, some ill but many simply frightened of becoming sick. Each day, Dr. Parkman would meet with local public health officials to make certain that he and the School were responding appropriately and effectively to the crisis. He contacted Dr. W. Lloyd Aycock, a member of the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission and assistant professor of preventive medicine and hygiene at Harvard Medical School, requesting an investigation into the possible causes of the epidemic, along with a studied evaluation of any future risks and the steps necessary to control or eliminate those risks.

For the first time, St. Markers felt truly close to their headmaster. Always a little distant and aloof, Dr. Parkman managed to reach across this gulf during the month-long polio scare, most notably with the support and assistance of his wife. Eleanor Parkman was "a comforting person, whose interest in boys, faculty, faculty families, and employees was both obvious and sincere." Her warmth, humor, and gentle compassion balanced her husband's tendency to gruffness, but from mid-May through June of 1936, he took his cue from her. Every afternoon there were pickup softball games on Belmont Field, with both students and faculty mixing on teams. The headmaster would take up his old position at first base and livened each contest with a constant string of chatter, surprising both boys and masters who were much more used to his contemplative silences. Decades later, when remembering the Parkman years, former students would recall how he "rose brilliantly to the occasion" during that difficult time, and in the echo of those remembrances could always be heard the word "inspiration."

On May 23, there was a baseball game: the faculty versus the members of the varsity and junior varsity teams still on campus, and Dr. Parkman notched a pair of doubles while playing first base. The next day was Sunday, and Mrs. Parkman invited everyone to tea in the parlor after Chapel. The following Wednesday, she served scrambled eggs to about 16 boys—the few remaining members of the top two Forms. By then, a total of 18 St. Markers had been diagnosed with "major poliomyelitis," while another dozen or more were suspected of having contracted "minor poliomyelitis" or "abortive polio." On the evening of Friday, May 29, Dr. Parkman took a call from the Phillips House patient care home at Massachusetts General Hospital. Fred Hubbell '39 had died earlier that day. He was just 14.

Francis Parkman was particularly devastated by the news. Young Hubbell had come from Des Moines, Iowa, and had been enrolled at St. Mark's primarily because Dr. Parkman was its head. The elder Mr. Hubbell had been a clubmate of Parkman's at Harvard, and it was the St. Mark's headmaster's solemn duty to inform his old friend of the boy's passing.

It was a sad, somber June at St. Mark's, although no other deaths were reported among the remaining 17 boys seriously stricken. There would be no Prize Day that spring, and as soon as the local health officials gave the all clear, one by one, youngest to oldest, St. Markers headed home. "Thus" said the Lion, "in deserted halls the Class of 1936 made farewell to St. Mark's."

On Founder's Day, November 11, with the School flag flying at half-mast to commemorate the armistice, the Class of 1936 was invited back to Southborough for their own special Prize Day recognition. That morning, seven were formally graduated with distinction, while a number of awards were also handed out. Of course, the Class of '36 was already in college: 19 at Harvard, nine at Yale, two at Princeton, and one at Trinity. Just before Thanksgiving break, prizes were distributed to the returning students. Both of these ceremonies weighed heavily on the Headmaster, as the ordeal of the polio crisis had affected him deeply. He was committed to seeing that the students who had suffered throughout the challenges of 1936 got their just and proper due as St. Markers.

Over the next 30 years there would be more epidemics impacting St. Mark's. There was a polio scare in December of 1947, and headmaster William Brewster authorized an early start to Christmas break. But everything was back to normal in January. The summer of 1952 saw another outbreak of poliomyelitis and an alumnus died. But the school year was not affected. In late 1954, an epidemic of Type B influenza erupted along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The first widespread outbreak was diagnosed at a school in upstate New York. Schools, particularly boarding schools, were extremely susceptible, and St. Mark's was no exception. By January 1955, there were more than 100 flu patients at St. Mark's. While in no way as severe as the great pandemic of 1918, the situation was serious enough to essentially quarantine the St. Mark's campus and cancel the traditional VI Form Dance. Dr. Theodore H. Ingalls, as both the St. Mark's school director of health and the principal Southborough physician, was the only individual permitted to move back and forth between the two worlds, as there were scattered flu cases throughout the town as well. Local residents requiring isolation during their recovery were welcomed into the St. Mark's infirmary and diligently cared for alongside the infected schoolboys. Within a month the crisis had run its course, and the long-awaited dance was finally held in April. The following summer, several polio diagnoses in Boston saw that City's public health officials asking that Brantwood Camp remain open to keep its young charges safe in their New Hampshire isolation for an extra two weeks. None of these, even the 1954 outbreak, were anywhere near as challenging as the School's 1936 experience.

Until 2020.

We've been here before. And St. Mark's and St. Markers have weathered every episode, always persevering and preserving the spirit and mission of St. Mark's through each challenging period. Reading assignments, mailed-in essays, and examination relief have been replaced by online remote classes, Zoom gatherings, and all the efficacy of up-to-date technology. It is that technology which will allow St. Mark's to avoid the empty ending of 1936 by making a virtual Prize Day possible. Like all the times before, we will rise.

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Members of the St. Mark's Community Making a Difference

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.

"I was just sitting around at home, with nothing to do," said Ames Scott '23, when her mother called her attention to the Emerson Hospital website. "They said they were running out of masks and were asking for help," Ames explained.

"I took sewing lessons in middle school," she continued. "I was in the sixth grade. I had gone to a friend's house and she was wearing this really nice dress. I complimented it and she said she had sewn it herself. I thought that was pretty cool. She told me who had taught her, a woman named Martha, and so my Mom arranged for Martha to come to our house and teach me." Now, three years later, here was an opportunity to put those skills to productive use. "The Emerson website had a tutorial on how to make the masks," she said. So she got to work.

Ames had plenty of fabric left over from her sixth- and seventh-grade sewing experience. She set a goal of making 100 masks. She soon ran out of the quarter-inch elastic needed to hold the masks in place. When she discovered that there was no more quarter-inch elastic to be found anywhere, she bought one-inch elastic and carefully cut each strip into fourths. "That took time," she said, "but pinning the fabric to make each mask was the most time-consuming part of the process." By March 25 she had completed 50 masks: halfway to her goal.

The intrepid III Former from Concord, Mass., is the daughter of St. Markers—Alys Reynders Scott '85 and George Scott '84—and with the example of her thoughtful and general response to a national crisis she is carrying on their legacy and the St. Mark's tradition of leadership and service.

Melissa Anderson, associate director of advancement services at St. Mark's, is also making masks. A member of the St. Mark's staff since 2010, Ms. Anderson is also staying at home, in Worcester. "I needed to feel that I was doing something," she said. "Something to give me purpose in the middle of all of this." She had seen posts on social media from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and a friend, a nurse at the Lahey Clinic, told her about the shortage of face masks for healthcare workers and sick patients.

"I started looking for local places," explained Anderson. She reached out to the Mutual Aid Worcester Facebook group, and she saw Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey's plea for folks to make 1000 facemasks for St. Vincent's Hospital. So she got to work.

She began on March 19, collecting material for 50 masks. She, too, ran into the elastic shortage difficulty, and like Ames she began cutting larger elastics into narrower strips. Anderson describes the experience as "more than just a welcome distraction" from solitude and isolation. "It gives me a sense of community, despite the isolation," she declares. "It's so important that we be a part of something that can make a difference."

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WINTER BLUES? Many students find Window 3 to be the longest and hardest window of the year. Combined with the lack of sunshine and warmth, increased stress can lead to negative mental health consequences. Sometimes this causes what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, a fitting acronym), or Seasonal Depression.

This stall talk was made by Lina Zhang and Bethany Batista. Feel free to continue the conversation with them!

What is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression usually begins during late fall or early winter, and disappears during sunnier parts of spring and summer. However, some have the reverse, feeling SAD during the summer.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling depressed for most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Being unable to concentrate in class or in sports.
  • Experiencing challenges with sleep.
  • Having frequent thoughts about death and suicide.

Feeling hopeless, guilty, and worthless.[1]

What Causes SAD?[3]

No definite cause of SAD has been identified, but many speculate that lack of light exposure is a key part of SAD's trigger. Other causes may be higher melatonin levels, a hormone that regulates sleep, and lower serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that controls mood and energy levels.

When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary."

——Fred Rogers

While you may not be clinically diagnosed with SAD, you may still experience "winter blues" or feel less energized during winter. However, there are many ways to stay healthy at St. Mark's.

  • Outdoors exercise is crucial because of sunlight. Many studies have also linked exercise to decreasing depression symptoms.
  • Spend time with friends, loved ones, and trusted adults.
  • Prioritize sleep before homework, and ask for help and extensions on homework assignments if you need them.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Sugar may sound like a good idea, but it isn't.
  • Be patient with yourself, and accept your sadness and lack of energy. It will pass, and you will be okay.
  • Support your friends and peers. Getting better is a community effort.

Statistics On SAD[2]

In the US, approximately ten million people live with SAD, while 10 to 20 percent of the population have a milder form of it.

Teenagers are more likely to experience SAD than older adults.

Similar to other forms of depression, women are four times more likely to be affected by SAD than men.

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Annual Puppy Pet Event Highlights Assessment Week

On Wednesday, December 18, the St. Mark's Wellness program sponsored the 4th annual Puppy Pet. Dogs belonging to faculty, staff, families, and other members of the St. Mark's community gathered on the Athletic Quad, where they were greeted by students taking a break during Assessment Week.

The purpose of the Puppy Pet event, along with the Exam Bake and other events, is to help alleviate and relieve student stress during the weeklong assessment period. "Our students truly love it," said St. Mark's Director of Wellness Carl Corazzini about the Puppy Pet experience. "It has been a great success in past years. And this year we're joined by a Massachusetts State Police comfort dog." Luna, now a year-old black labrador, joined the Massachusetts State Police this past April as that organization's first-ever comfort and therapy dog. She works with first responders to help with post-traumatic stress and healing. On Wednesday, she was at St. Mark's as part of the Puppy Pet event.

The mission of the St. Mark's Wellness program is to help "create a community where all members have the essential tools to be their best selves, so that they can be physically, emotionally and socially prepared to make healthy lifestyle choices." The intent is for the School "to have a Wellness Program that educates and empowers everyone at St. Mark's to be self-advocates as they journey towards leading lives of leadership and service."

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Psychologist Dr. David Gleason to Speak at Family Weekend

Dr. David Gleason, longtime consulting psychologist at Concord Academy and the author of At What Cost: Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools, will speak at St. Mark's on Friday, October 11, at 3:00 p.m. in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall. The event, part of Family Weekend, is free and open to the public. Dr. Gleason will also meet with student, faculty, and administrative groups during the weekend. On Saturday evening, he will participate in the St. Mark's College Counseling program.

The founder of Developmental Empathy, LLC, Dr. Gleason has over 25 years of experience in professional clinical psychology. He provides counseling and consulting services as well as neuropsychological assessments for students in public, independent, and international schools.

Dr. Gleason was drawn to this work while in graduate school. "I was living at the boarding school where my wife was teaching," he recalls. "I was actually quite surprised to realize the brevity of the orientation provided to students transitioning into a residential community at such a young age." For Gleason, who remembered a full week of orientation as a freshman at Boston College—"By the time school started, there was a real sense of 'we' and I felt grounded"—he felt that the boarding school model—"a day or two of new games, a meeting with their advisor, and then right into classes—was inadequate. "These are kids!"

This experience inspired his doctoral dissertation, entitled "Learned Helplessness and the Adjustment to Boarding School." For his research, he found three boarding schools willing to participate in a longitudinal study, and with parental permission he followed 105 students for six months, from July through January.

"In July," he said, "prospective students were at their most optimistic: looking forward to a new beginning at a new school. Then they arrive and whammo—they lose connections with family and friends, they get lost and overwhelmed in a completely new environment." Some thrived, he noted, but it was quite statistically significant that many felt more and more out of control, lost and overwhelmed over the course of those first six months, resulting in what he described as "learned helplessness."

Because of his research for his doctoral dissertation, Gleason realized that he wanted to work in competitive boarding schools. In 1994, he was recruited by St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.

"I was so eager to jump right into that world," says Gleason. "I wanted to help kids who were struggling, and to also help faculty working with struggling students." He soon began to see that there were even more serious issues than simply student orientation. Consequently, he directed his attention to working with St. Paul's to be more proactive in how they welcomed their newest students: providing leadership training and workshops for seniors, setting positive expectations and standards of healthy behavior. "St. Paul's was very receptive," he notes. "The school took this very seriously, was highly responsive, and things got much better."

The need to examine the deeper roots of student helplessness, depression, and anxiety and to help students deal with all of that has continued to underlie Dr. Gleason's subsequent work with other competitive boarding schools—particularly Concord Academy—over the ensuing decades. "I know that schools are eager to address these issues," he says. Things have improved across the board.

Still, he notes, "the biggest difference that I've observed over almost 30 years of working at these schools is that they've become more competitive. It is all part of a larger system with economic and cultural factors driving schools to compete with each other," both in admission enrollment and in college placement. "Adults—parents—are in this frenzy, anxious about their children's futures," putting increasing pressure on students. "Colleges do play a role in this," he observes, "but it is not essentially their fault. Still, because of the pressures of competitive schools, they are admitting kids already anxious, depressed, exhausted, spent" even as they enter yet another ultra-competitive environment.

"There are plenty of strengths inherent in a residential boarding school," asserts Gleason. "Students are all in one place, surrounded and supported by a vocationally dedicated group of adults—teaching, coaching, advising, mentoring, caring—fashioning a genuine community. This is particularly helpful for kids whose families or home situations are not like that. There is also the healthy exposure to people from different cultures and backgrounds, with different life experiences. Being exposed to such differences is enriching, much like college but earlier. Having said that, I worry a lot about kids for whom this is a culture shock, struggling mightily in an unfamiliar world."

Dr. Gleason will address all of this during his visit to St. Mark's. His goal, and the mission of Developmental Empathy LLC, is to promote developmentally empathic policies and practices in schools that foster competitive excellence among their adolescent students.

"We are so excited that Dr. Gleason will be joining us for our Family Weekend," said St. Mark's Director of College Counseling Eric Monheim. "It is important for this community that we have conversations about these issues."

Dr. Gleason earned a B.A. in Psychology (1982) and an M.A. in Counseling Children & Adolescents (1987)—both from Boston College, and then a Psy.D. from William James College (1993). After several years as a psychologist at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, Dr. Gleason opened his own practice in Concord, Massachusetts, and also joined Concord Academy as that school's consulting psychologist. In addition, Dr. Gleason serves as senior neuropsychologist at Wediko Children's Services in Boston, where he supervises pre and post-doctoral psychology interns and co-teaches an ongoing professional development seminar. Dr. Gleason has taught psychology at the secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels, and he presents workshops and seminars at schools and at national and international conferences. Most recently, Dr. Gleason has become a certified Critical Friends Group coach for National School Reform Faculty (NSRF).

Friday, October 11, 3:00 p.m., in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall at St. Mark's School, 25 Marlboro Road, Southborough, Massachusetts. Free and open to the public.

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There have been over 450 mysterious vaping related illnesses in 33 different states recently. I thought this would be a good time for a reminder of what these devices are and what to look for as far as signs and symptoms of someone suffering from these illnesses.

There have been over 450 mysterious vaping related illnesses in 33 different states recently. I thought this would be a good time for a reminder of what these devices are and what to look for as far as signs and symptoms of someone suffering from these illnesses.


Initially electronic cigarettes were constructed to be a smoking cessation device. The first successful commercially sold electronic cigarette was designed in China by Hon Lik, after his father died of lung cancer, thinking there must be a safer way to stop smoking.

Every vaping product have the same components regardless of the company. Each has a battery, a wick, a coil, and some sort of e-liquid. The e-liquid is drawn onto the coil by the wick. The battery pushes electricity through the coil, heating the e-liquid until it vaporizes. In most pods, there are a few key ingredients, propylene glycol, glycerine, benzoic acid, nicotine, and flavor. The products have not been around long enough to know the lasting effects of the chemicals found in the pods, but what is well known is that nicotine is highly addictive.

Juul is the most popular cigarette. Their product is the easiest to conceal because it looks so much like a flash drive. But beyond that, because the e-liquid heats up at lower temperature in Juul that means it creates a smaller plume of smoke, which means students can take a puff in a classroom or dorm room and go unnoticed. Juul was also the first to use salt-based nicotine which is not as harsh on a first time user, it has a smoother feel that makes it more comfortable for new users. Juul used to have a lot of flavors, but they have stopped selling flavored pods in stores and you need social security access online to buy flavored pods.

In any given Juul pod, there is more nicotine than in one pack of cigarettes. For competitors Phix and Suorin they have the equivalent nicotine of two and three packs of cigarettes, respectively. In the Juul pods, there are roughly 200 puffs. This is just anecdotal to speaking with students here, but a student may finish a pod in a day or a week. If the students are smoking at the least one pod a week, during that time period they are smoking the equivalent of over a hundred cigarettes.

Recent Mysterious Illnesses:

Recently six people have died as a result of vaping related illnesses. All that died used e-cigarettes and most used a pod containing THC. In New York, each person that showed signs of vaping related illnesses had the chemical Vitamin E Acetate in it.

The signs and symptoms of these illnesses are shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or chest pain. Some patients have reported fever, cough, and vomiting. If you recognize any of these sign in one of our students they should seek out a health care professional right away.

Thank you to our faculty for their continued vigilance and your help in addressing this problem. Thank you for all that our faculty do in keeping our students safe.

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Sleep Seminar for Vth Form

In a demanding boarding school environment, homework is completed at all hours of the day and night. Not much thought is given to the necessary amount of sleep that help fuels academic performance. Dr. Connors helped our students realize the importance that sleep provides for their attentiveness in class and their overall achievement.

April 12, Dr. Lori Connors spoke to our Vth formers about the effect sleep has on their academic performance. This is how Dr. Connors described her presentation to our community, " I will go over the sleep cycle to teach the students about what happens when you fall asleep and how much sleep is needed by teenagers and young adults. Additionally, I will discuss the effects of too little sleep on the brain and body and common reasons for too little sleep. Students will learn how lack of sleep influences performance in a negative way, including how the brain needs sleep to consolidate new learning. I will also teach the students how to improve sleep and how to nap for maximum performance, ie the "power nap" vs "catching up on sleep." We will problem solve around common sleep issues and I will leave room for questions."

In a demanding boarding school environment, homework is completed at all hours of the day and night. Not much thought is given to the necessary amount of sleep that help fuels academic performance. Dr. Connors helped our students realize the importance that sleep provides for their attentiveness in class and their overall achievement.
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St. Mark's Honors Day of Silence for LGBTQ+ Community

Now in its 24th year, GLSEN's Day of Silence, is a student-led national event where folks take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ+ people at school. Participating members of the St. Mark's community could choose to be silent for the entire day, for just the academic day, or only during lunch. Others could choose to support the Day of Silence by wearing a rainbow ribbon.

Many St. Markers took part in the 2019 Day of Silence.

"The Day of Silence is a great way for the SM community to support other members and participate in a challenge," said III Former Jocelyn Cote., a border from Bolton, Massachusetts.

"I never took part in this day until I came to the U.S.," said Ilia Rebechar, a V Former from the Ukraine. "After learning about the challenges of the LGBTQ+ culture, this day provides a way for me to tell the world about our experience. It means a lot to me, and I hope people are open-minded enough to be willing to show care, love, and support."

"I was not that involved with the LGBTQ+ community until I came to St. Mark's," relates Sierra Petties, a V Former from Fayetteville, Georgia. "I didn't feel I needed to be involved in it. But once I came here, I noticed how truly involved my life is. Almost half of my family and friends are part of the LGBTQ+ community. . . I am not completely silent for this year's Day of Silence just because of a prior commitment, but I have been the past two years. I try to stick up for all bullied people as much as I can, so no one has to go through the pain of not being accepted for who they truly are."

Co-Head Monitor Tom Paugh '19 is in a similar situation, and he agrees. "This Day of Silence I am unable to be silent due to logistics. However, as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I have a duty to support others who are observing this important day, by acknowledging the bullying and discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people that occurs in school environments. We must work to think about this and remain aware of it every day."

"Solidarity is a valid form of support that is both educative and effective," declares Truman Chamberlin, a V Former from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. "To see from another's perspective is the only way to come close to understanding their struggle. Having the Day of Silence symbolizes the hiding of identity that members of the LGBTQ+ community are often forced to do. The day is a form of solidarity that cannot and does not equate with the true LGBTQ+ struggle, but it allows the participants to begin the first steps toward resolution."

Tommy Flathers, a IV Form day student from Southborough, concurs. "I'm doing this because I'm trying to spread awareness of how people feel when they feel that they cannot express themselves," he says. "This is nothing compared to their struggles."

Another IV Former, Charly Gil from Madrid, Spain, declared that St. Markers should "support the LGTB+ community!"

Some found it hard to maintain their pledged silence, but others took strength from it. One VI Form girl said that she "didn't find it hard to keep quiet, since I often have to hold my tongue. The Day of Silence is a great way to spread awareness, and I'm glad I participated."

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This academic year, The Wellness Department pursues to integrate healthy ideals into our

St. Mark's community. X-block represents an opportunity for our students to destress and spend time gathering with friends, sharing a conversation with a faculty member or getting ahead on homework. In this time period, the Wellness Department wants to introduce some areas of practice that would help our community have the physical, mental, and emotional skills

to enjoy their best experience in a demanding prep school environment.

Wellness Newsletter

This academic year, The Wellness Department pursues to integrate healthy ideals into our

St. Mark's community. X-block represents an opportunity for our students to destress and spend time gathering with friends, sharing a conversation with a faculty member or getting ahead on homework. In this time period, the Wellness Department wants to introduce some areas of practice that would help our community have the physical, mental, and emotional skills

to enjoy their best experience in a demanding prep school environment.

Movement Monday: The thought behind moving for a twenty-minute period separates our students from being sedentary for too long. Physical activity can improve the function of your brain. In studies movement raises our attention and mood after a single period of exercise. In addition to our amazing athletic offerings, in the X-block period, specific workout plans are offered in the Coolidge Center, suggestions to go for a twenty minute walk outside, or take the stairs to history wing get posted to the smwellness Instagram page for our community to participate in. Resources to help navigate a conversation can be found below.

Gratitude Tuesday: My first experience with gratitude journaling stemmed from helping teach Third Form Core with Jennifer Taylor. The exercise asked participants to think about the most influential people in their lives. Then you wrote in your journal about why they influenced your life. There was one more part of the exercise, call that person. What an impactful activity.

Gratitude journaling improves physical and mental health. This can help you sleep better, reduce aggression and increase empathy. With all these benefits, the Wellness Department wanted to let the St. Mark's student's journal as much as they could. With the help of the Dean's Office, journals for every student got purchased. Tuesday during x-block, a prompt is posted to smwellness and each student can choose to participate in journaling in their own comfortable space.

Thursday-Friday Mindful Moment: During x-block on both Thursday and Friday, a group of students gathered together in the artful practice of mindfulness. Nine students just completed a seven-day course learning how to meditate using the App Insight Timer. The App was introduced to the students so that they would always have the ability for guided practice, whether they gather together in the crypt or alone in the solace of their rooms.

Mindfulness has a lot of tremendous benefits, chief among them the ability to regulate your own emotions. In any boarding school environment academics, arts, athletics, and social relationship can cause stress. The Wellness Department would like to offer a space where our students could consistently and actively practice mindfulness.

Friday Healthy Plate Challenge: The role nutrition plays in the life of our students should be in their consciousness all the time. While the healthy plate challenge is just on Friday, this presents an avenue to tell our students that food can affect their brain function, their mood and their ability to sleep. Having learned from last years failed attempt at social media, an individual will take a picture of the healthiest plate they consumed during the week and Ashley Maddock will pick the most balanced meal and the winning photo is posted to smwellness and they receive a gift certificate. The TedTalk shared with you recently can be seen here:


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15-40 Connection

15-40 Connection joined our community Friday, January 25th. 15-40 connection talks about the importance of early detection and what warning signs of cancer might look like. They speak about the importance of what your great feels like and how small things that are out of the ordinary for a two weeks period of time might be just what you need to seek out the advice of your primary care physician. When you speak with your doctor you must be honest. This presentation is part of the New Fifth Form Wellness Forum, but because of the importance of the message, 1 out of 2 males and 1 out of 3 females will be diagnosed with cancer.

Here is a description of 15-40 Connection from Education and Community Outreach Director, Helene Winn. "About twelve years ago, our founder read a white page paper that highlighted the fact that cancer survival rates in the 15-40 year old age group hadn't improved in almost 40-years.

Other age groups were seeing improvement in survival rates (i.e. pediatric cancer, older adults w/ cancer) but survival rates for that group were stagnant. There was a wide range of reasons why this seemed to be the case, but it really came down to late detection. Individuals in that group don't tend to go to the doctor as frequently and/or don't necessarily think "cancer" as a potential diagnosis, which tends to lead to later detection and, consequently, unimproved survival rates.

Our founder, after reading this, felt strongly that people needed to know about the impact early detection can make on both survival rates and treatment options and that there are things we can all do as individuals to give us a better chance of detecting things early if something does start to go wrong with our health and, as a result, founded 15-40 Connection.

While the statistic about that age group was a motivating factor behind starting this organization, we now run programs for people of all ages and the health strategies we discuss are applicable whether you're in that 15-40 age group or not."

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SMLeads Guest Speaker – "Minding Your Mind"

On Friday evening, December 7, the SMLeads program welcomed Andrew Onimus from "Minding Your Mind" as a guest speaker.

Launched this fall by the St. Mark's Dean of Students Office, SMLeads offers a series of developmental opportunities open to students from all Forms. Stacey Lee, associate dean of students and director of residential life, is heading up the program.

"Minding Your Mind" is a nationally renowned program begun in 2007. Its mission is to provide mental health education to students and schools and its goal is to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health issues.

On Friday evening, Andrew Onimus (pictured at right) shared his personal story with the St. Mark's audience, including his journey through recovery. Eighty students and several faculty and staff were in attendance.

"It is important that we give our student leaders the tools to recognize, address and help others and themselves get the support they need," said Jennifer Taylor, director of counseling services at St. Mark's, who helped facilitate the presentation.

Andrew did an amazing job connecting with our students about the challenges of living with mental illness," continued Taylor. "He encouraged our students to look for warning signs in themselves and friends and to have the courage to ask for help and talk to someone about how they are feeling. Andrew reminded our students that there is always someone who cares about them- teachers, counselors, advisors, parents and coaches- no matter how dark things feel, there is always someone who cares."

In addition to mental health, SMLeads focuses on a variety of other issues, including sexual harassment, the health impact of vaping, citizenship, and the building of public speaking and facilitation skills in all students, not just student leaders.

"This series is open to all because we must intentionally ensure we are doing things to develop SM students for lives of leadership and service," says Stacey Lee, "regardless of whether they ever serve as an elected or selected student leader. "This is a foundational part of what I see for our bridge to focusing on residential life as we build off the initiatives of [strategic plan] SM2020."

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You've been away at boarding school and it's time for break. You might feel really excited and can't wait to get home, or you might be glad to be getting a break from schoolwork, Chapel and your roommate, but not so happy about leaving behind your friends and independence. After you have been managing your own life at school, it can feel strange to get back to family rules and expectations. Life at home can feel different when you've been away. Maybe your younger siblings are not only taller than when you left, but have taken over part of your room or are wearing your clothes that you left behind!

While at school, you've been in charge of your social life and free time and it can be hard to all of a sudden feel like your parents have planned your time for you, especially if you want to just decompress and do nothing!

You've been away at boarding school and it's time for break. You might feel really excited and can't wait to get home, or you might be glad to be getting a break from schoolwork, Chapel and your roommate, but not so happy about leaving behind your friends and independence. After you have been managing your own life at school, it can feel strange to get back to family rules and expectations. Life at home can feel different when you've been away. Maybe your younger siblings are not only taller than when you left, but have taken over part of your room or are wearing your clothes that you left behind!

While at school, you've been in charge of your social life and free time and it can be hard to all of a sudden feel like your parents have planned your time for you, especially if you want to just decompress and do nothing!

Try to remember that it's an adjustment for everyone when one family member leaves and then returns. Be sensitive to the fact that your family has missed you, and wants to spend time with you. Also know that it's normal to feel out of synch with your friends from home when you return. Remember that life in your old group has gone on without you, and it can take some time to feel reconnected. Here are some ideas to help the process of re-entry:

Your vacation time may happen when your friends are still in school, so it does take some advance planning to be sure you'll be able to spend time together. If you want to visit your old school to see former teachers, be sure you e-mail/call them in advance so you know when they'll be free and follow the school guidelines for visitors

Not everyone has the opportunity to go on vacation during break. There are lots of things you can do for fun that are free or inexpensive. Challenge yourself to get out of the house and rediscover the resources in your neighborhood – the library, shops, museums, etc. Be tourist in your own town!

Volunteer opportunities can help you to discover a new interest, boost your resume, meet new people and be fun.

Pitching in around the house will be truly welcome. Let your family know that you are so glad to be home and have the chance to just vegetate. It's normal to want to sleep in and maybe want to collapse in front of the TV at first.

Vacation Sleep Tips

Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature

Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom

Avoid large meals and caffeine before bedtime

Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

- Thanks Adria Pavletic for all the information

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Stress Management Through Yoga

Yoga — a mind-body practice — is considered one of many types of complementary and integrative health approaches. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

Yoga — a mind-body practice — is considered one of many types of complementary and integrative health approaches. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Hatha yoga, in particular, may be a good choice for stress management. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga, and beginners may like its slower pace and easier movements. But most people can benefit from any style of yoga — it's all about your personal preferences. The core components of hatha yoga and most general yoga classes are:

Poses. Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you stretching your physical limits.

Breathing. Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.

Meditation or relaxation. In yoga, you may incorporate meditation or relaxation. Meditation may help you learn to be more mindful and aware of the present moment

September is

National Yoga Month

Benefits for Teenage Students @SMS

  • 1.Improves physical fitness and Health
  • 2.Through breath and practice can reduce stress and anxiety
  • 3.Improves optimism in a time where teens are looking toward the future
  • 4.Improve self-esteem and body image
  • 5.Encourages creativity
  • 6.Improves focus and school performance.

Six Ways Yoga can

Reduce Stress

1. Relax The Body. Yoga practiced in the right way can be as soothing as a hug or a massage when it comes to reducing tension and relaxing the physical body.

2. Relax the Mind. Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for relaxing and slowing down the mind as is any kind of breath awareness.

3. Breathe More Effectively. Stress and tension can cause us to breathe in a rapid, shallow way, which can lead to more anxiety. Yoga gives you the opportunity to breathe more effectively, using the diaphragm and utilizing the whole lung capacity.

4. Develop Connection between the Mind and Body

5. Understand How your Mind Works. Yoga can help us develop awareness of how our own unique mind works and that awareness can help us live in a more conscious way.

6. Release Emotional Energy. We actually release emotional energy really effectively throughout our yoga practice, even if you're not aware of it.

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SM Chaplain Publishes on "Episcopal Identity"

The Rev. Barbara Talcott, Head Chaplain at St. Mark's since 2009, recently published an essay as a blog post for the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) website. Entitled "Explaining Episcopal Identity," it emphasizes three valued areas as exemplifying St. Mark's as an Episcopal School.

St. Mark's, she says, values

  • time for spiritual reflection and the intentional teaching of wisdom, compassion, and humility;
  • life in common, believing it is strengthened by honest and respectful dialogue across lines of disagreement and difference; and
  • human reason used critically in the pursuit of knowledge.

Click here to read the full essay.

Rev. Talcott is beginning her tenth year at St. Mark's, serving as Head Chaplain and religion department chair. Before coming to St. Mark's, she worked at another Episcopal school for six years, but her first career was in health care administration. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Princeton University, an MBA from Stanford, and a Master's in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She currently serves on the Brantwood Camp Board of Trustees, and she is canonically resident in New Hampshire.

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