Given how close we are to the end of the year, I felt it worthwhile to revisit one last time our theme for the year, Reaching Beyond. Since capturing the myriad ways this theme has played out all year would result in a post longer than most research papers, I’ll simply scratch the surface by highlighting how we’ve lived it in just the month of May alone.
Reaching beyond comfort zones…
In mid-May, our 7th grade enjoyed a fantastic Colorado trip, an annual adventure where students visit the iconic Sand Dunes and raft the Arkansas River. Opportunities abounded for students to reach beyond their comfort zone on this four-day trip, from persevering amidst false summits while hiking the sand dunes to navigating rapids while rafting for the first time. Our chaperones were also proud to see and hear so many students extend themselves to spend time with students whom they may not have before.
Reaching beyond ourselves…
Throughout the month of May, our 8th graders have reached beyond themselves to create fun experiences for their second grade buddies, exhibiting patience and exuding positive energy, both at their day at St. Anne’s in the Hills and for those who helped run a fun team trivia competition (including a very entertaining “match the current 8th grader with their second grade photo” activity) on the day of the musical. We had an epic field day as well with our 8th graders leading an assortment of games and water play. If you’ve never seen our 8th graders in action on Field Day, you’re missing out!
Reaching beyond our walls…
Last week, we had two groups of 6th graders go to Project Cure, an organization that received $2500 from St. Anne’s during our Penny Wars over Blue/Gold Week. Our students had the opportunity to reach beyond the walls of St. Anne’s to make an impact on those in countries around the world by giving time out of their day to help stuff medical supply bags that would go to hospitals and clinics that serve kids in Cambodia. This final outreach capped off a great year of service for all of our middle school students, which included serving the hungry at the soup kitchen, spending time with those at a memory care center, and helping volunteer at both the Charles Hay World School and the Joshua House to work with younger students and students with autism.
No description of last week though would be complete without mention of the Middle School musical, Girl Rising. To watch this musical was to feel inspired and hopeful for the future, given the way our students raised our awareness about the obstacles that girls around the world have to overcome to pursue their education. One of my favorite aspects of this musical was that Jason Lemire invited international organizations that aim to improve the educational experience of kids around the world to set up tables to engage with our community (and see the production). It is one thing to pull off a high school level musical in middle school but it is another thing completely to lift up and call our community to action in the process.
The St. Anne’s Way, reaching beyond the PS-8 years
In just a week, we will watch our fabulous Class of 2019 graduate from the gardens of 2701 S. York for new adventures in high school. Though they will leave the physical bricks and mortar of the St. Anne’s community, I have no doubt that St. Anne’s will continue to be with them and shape how they lead their lives moving forward.
How do I know this? Consider the multiple St. Anne’s alumni who have led walks and raised awareness at their local high schools around suicide prevention. Or how about the fact that very movie that inspired our musical was being produced by a St. Anne’s alum who is committed to improving the lives of young women around the world? For the past two weeks, we have had high school seniors from Kent Denver return to St. Anne’s to give back and help teachers. It’s an annual tradition which all of our faculty look forward to because it is a reminder of the amazing young people who graduate from our school. This year’s volunteers, Rory and Venus (Class of 2015) have been amazing in their one-on-one work with students to tackle challenging math problems or science concepts, or even run through drama scenes and discuss character motivation. One can only hope that these two will continue to find ways to be around kids as they having a huge impact on all of our students. When it comes to alumni, I will say that whenever I run into one, I leave more certain that, while you can take the students out of St. Anne’s, you can never take the St. Anne’s spirit out of a student. They make us proud in the ways they are making a difference in the world, whether it is with their friends or the way they serve their local communities or those across the globe. Though it will be bittersweet to bid adieu to the Class of 2019, we cannot wait to see how they will enrich their next communities.
Best wishes to all on a great summer with family and friends. We are grateful for a fabulous year, and we can’t wait to welcome the current 5th graders and Class of 2022 into our halls to join our returning middle schoolers!
Head of Middle School