Four of the eight 10-minute plays selected for production from 46 entries in Theatre Odyssey’s eighth annual student competition were written by SSES students. Chosen were works by senior Kassandra Haakman (The Jeffrey Effect), sophomore Mia Mariano (Past Life), freshman Sarah MacPhail (A Whole Lot of Nothing), and sophomore Maxine Mandt (The Clock). Performances will be held on Jan. 25 and 26 at the Jane B. Cook Theatre in the Asolo/FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Author of the best play receives a $1,000 cash scholarship; runner-up receives $500; authors of other finalist plays receive $100. Works authored by Saint Stephen’s students have taken the top prize in five of the previous seven years of the competition.
For the sixth year in a row, the Falcons are the Manatee County Academic Challenge team champions. Saint Stephen’s clinched the title on Dec. 10 at home in the final meet of the season. Two Falcons – senior Kassandra Haakman and junior Adriana Vidal – also qualified to represent the county on the six-member team headed for state competition in the spring. The annual Academic Challenge pits teams of four students each from public and private schools in Manatee County in competition against each other in a series of evening meets. The teams score points by accurately answering questions on a wide variety of topics – math, science, literature, art, history, pop culture and more. SSES has dominated area competition in recent years and sent multiple representatives to the state level. The Manatee County team – featuring five Saint Stephen’s students and one from Lakewood Ranch High – last won the state championship in 2016.
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.