The fall season wrapped up on Nov. 9, and football, boys golf, swimming, and boys cross country all advanced deep into the postseason. The football Falcons (9-2) fell one step short of returning to the independent state championship game for the fifth straight year, losing to Orlando’s The Master’s Academy in the semifinals. The loss to TMA snapped a 25-game home winning streak dating all the way back to the opener of the 2016 season. Since that game, the Falcons are an amazing 41-4. Boys cross country was sixth at regionals, qualifying them for the state meet in Tallahassee where they finished 14th out of 32 teams. It was the highest finish ever for SSES and the first time finishing in the top half of the state draw. Girls swimming was district runner-up, the first time a Falcons team has brought home a post-season trophy, and five swimmers ultimately reached the FHSAA championship meet in Stuart. The girls 200-free relay and freestyler Nick Mattheys swam all the way to the final round at state. Freshman golfer Ben Long capped off his season by qualifying for the FHSAA championship tournament at Howey-in-the-Hills. Long was the individual district medalist and the runner-up at regional to advance to represent Saint Stephen’s at state.
We are proud to announce that we have six winners and three honorable mentions in the Manatee County Section of the 2019 Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport Art Show contest. All the student artwork will be framed and on display in the ticketing wing of the SRQ Airport for one year, starting in December. Congratulations to Parthi Patel (1st, K-2), Hailey Cruz (1st, 3-5), Cayden Smith (1st, 6-8), Alejandro Bick (3rd, K-2), Marli Engel (3rd, 3-5), Katie Burgess (3rd, 6-8); Honorable Mention: Morgan Davis, Emma Schwartz, Makaila Hertzler. First-place winners also received a $100 cash prize. Third-place finishers received $25.
“I pay tuition, so why am I being asked to give?” We hear you. It’s a fairly common question that’s asked at independent schools everywhere. The truth is, philanthropy plays an extremely important role in helping schools such as Saint Stephen’s maintain and reach for even greater levels of excellence. Without that support, we wouldn’t be the world-class school that your child experiences every day. The generosity of our donors allows us to offer many of the programs that set us apart and, perhaps, were the reason that you chose Saint Stephen’s over other options in the first place. As we prepare for our annual Giving Week (Nov. 11-15), we invite you to join us to learn more about the school’s current fund-raising programs in an info session on Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 8-9 a.m. in the Upper School Board Room. When you leave, we hope that you’ll be able to answer that pesky question for yourself and others! Refreshments will be served. Everyone in attendance will receive a special discount code for 25% off merchandise in the online Falcon Gear Store. We’ll also draw for a pair of tickets to the Suncoast Food & Wine Fest in Lakewood Ranch on Nov. 9!
Our sincere thanks go out to the entire Saint Stephen’s community for showing its amazing support over the past few weeks for the relief efforts in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Collection bins in each of our four academic divisions overflowed with useful donations for the victims of the storm. Special recognition is due to seniors Bolly Turner and Will Bernet, who were instrumental in coordinating pickup of the vast array of donated items. Saint Stephen’s is aligned with Yellowfin Yachts, Agape Airlines, and the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure these items are delivered to those in need. In addition to all of the goods collected, more than $7,000 in cash was donated and has been sent to Episcopal Relief & Development in support of their outreach efforts to the Bahamas.
For the fifth year in a row, Saint Stephen’s Latin students returned from the National Junior Classical League’s annual convention with national championship recognition. Sophomores Tyler Kadivar and Michael Thomas were part of the Florida team that won the title at the Intermediate Level of Certamen – a Jeopardy-style quiz. The convention in late July brought together more than 1,200 students from around the nation in Fargo, N.D. for academic testing, creative arts projects (including oral and written competitions) and athletics. As usual, Saint Stephen’s students shone brightly in all three parts of the competition, with 19 students collecting at least one top-10 finish. Kadivar and Thomas added their names to the list of consecutive Saint Stephen’s national champions that already includes: Joseph Class, Ethan Leuchter, and Maryann Placheril (Advanced 2015); Kassandra Haakman (Novice 2016), Matthew Thomas (Advanced 2017), and Sophia Berry (Novice 2018).
Thanks to the many generous donations from parents at the end of the 2018-19 school year and the inventory that remained following the closing of the Community Thrift Shop, we have dozens of used – but still very good quality – Saint Stephen’s logo uniform shirts, pants, pullovers, and more available for new and returning Lower and Intermediate School families. If you are interested in these items, please plan to stop by on Thursday, Aug. 1 in the Campus Center Library starting at 9 a.m. The clothing will be available at no cost for as long as it lasts.
The 71 members of the Class of 2019 proudly received their diplomas on May 25 at Neel Auditorium on the campus of State College of Florida. The class was highlighted by four National Merit Scholar finalists and a National Hispanic Scholar. As always, every member of the class was accepted to a college or university. Of the graduates who identified a first-choice college, 92-percent were accepted to that college. Two graduates were awarded their university’s top academic scholarship, paying full tuition plus research and/or study abroad grants. Nine graduates were offered Honors College/Leadership program enrollment at their chosen college/university. Five graduates were recruited to play intercollegiate sports: football, golf, soccer, and swimming. In all, the class earned more than $6-million in merit aid and $1.1-million in Bright Futures awards.
Falcons head baseball coach Mike Verrill has been selected for induction into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Mike coached high school baseball for 20 years in the state and also led the program at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The induction ceremony is set for July 28 in Portland and he will also be recognized on July 27 at a Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox AA minor league affiliate) game at Hadlock Field. The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 to honor players, coaches, umpires, organizers and benefactors who have achieved prominence in, or made valuable contributions to, baseball in Maine. Verrill has coached baseball, softball and girls basketball at Saint Stephen’s.
The Falcons boys and girls tennis teams dominated the 1A-District 9 tennis tournament (April 15-16) at the Payne Park Tennis Center in Sarasota, winning all four doubles titles and nine of 10 singles to advance to regional play. The boys (Kevin Jiang, Max Damm, Gleb Ibragimov, Max Bonte and Max Petrov) registered a complete sweep to capture their first district championship since 2017. The girls (Paradise Traub, Laura Perazzolo, Maria Petrova, Autumn Sun and Ella Dalzell) won every match but No. 5 singles to defend their crown. St. Petersburg Shorecrest (boys) and Cardinal Mooney (girls) finished a distant second in the tournament to also advance. The Falcons will host regionals next Tuesday and Thursday (April 23 and 25).
For the first time in school history, Upper School Latin students took first place in Senior Division Academics at the Florida Junior Classical League state forum in Orlando, April 3-6. Competing against 47 other Florida schools, Saint Stephen’s took home the trophy for academics and finished third overall – also a school record. The Middle School team placed third in Academics and third in the overall sweepstakes of the Junior Division. All 42 Falcons in attendance placed in the top 15 in their chosen contests and three students (Tyler Kadivar, Matthew Thomas and Michael Thomas) took first place in both of their contests. The four SSES certamen teams also had impressive results that included a third-place finish in the Advanced Division, and second place in the Intermediate Division. The four seniors on the team (Carter Beckstein, Graham Beckstein, Colton Melnick and Matthew Thomas) were members of the team that captured first place in Academics five years ago in the Junior Division. It was fitting that they went out achieving the same accolade in the Senior Division. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, sophomore Annie Class was elected to the office of parliamentarian for the FJCL. This marks the eighth consecutive year that a Saint Stephen’s student has served as a state officer.