The SSES girls basketball team’s historic season came to a close in the Class 3A State Final Four on Wednesday night (Feb. 26) with a 67-30 loss to Carrollwood Day School at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. The Falcons finished their record-setting campaign at 26-5 and smashed nearly every single-season mark in the school’s record book. Their 26 wins bested the previous high of 16 set by the 1983-84 and 1984-85 teams. The Falcons won their first district championship in 36 years (vs. Cardinal Mooney) and their first regional title ever (vs. North Port Imagine) to advance to the Final Four. A slew of team and individual records also fell during Head Coach David Gaulman’s first year on the sideline. Sophomore guard Jamie Springstead established a best for points in a season with 493 (a team-leading 15.9 per game). The Falcons also scored at a clip of 51.8 per game. No Saint Stephen’s team had previously recorded a scoring average better than 43.5 ppg. Records for points in a game (84), points in a season (1,609), winning percentage (84%), and margin of victory (22.2 ppg.) also fell. The team returns all but one starter next season.
Brittany Skoda, a 2005 Saint Stephen’s graduate, has been named Managing Director and Global Co-Head of Software Banking at Morgan Stanley in New York City. Following SSES, Brittany attended Georgetown University, where she competed on the golf team for one year and was named a Big East Conference Academic All Star. Brittany graduated Magna Cum Laude from the McDonough School of Business. She worked for Goldman Sachs for nearly a decade and, most recently, at Workday, Inc. in San Francisco. As a Saint Stephen’s student, Brittany was a member of the 2005 Harvard Model Congress, a 2004 Sarasota Model United Nations delegate, and participated in the 2004 National Youth Leadership Forum on Law. She was selected to the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and was named “Most Likely to Succeed.” Brittany most recently returned to Saint Stephen’s in 2018 to share her experiences with students. She’s pictured in the classroom with economics/history teacher Bernie Yanelli and former New York Stock Exchange President Bill Johnston, a frequent guest presenter at SSES.
Ryan Roslansky, a 1996 Saint Stephen’s graduate, has been named the CEO of LinkedIn. The business-networking company owned by Microsoft has been led by Jeff Weiner for the past 11 years, but Weiner will hand the reins to Roslansky on June 1. Since 2009, Roslansky has served as LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Products and User Experience. In accepting the position, Roslansky wrote on his LinkedIn profile: “I’m taking on this new role of CEO because I believe deeply in what we are doing, how we are manifesting our vision, and where this company can go. And the best part about it is that I truly believe we’re just getting started.” Roslansky was Weiner’s first hire when he joined LinkedIn in December 2008. The company was purchased by Microsoft in 2016 and has grown to include 675-million members. LinkedIn currently generates $7.5-billion in revenue, six-percent of Microsoft’s total.
With their victory on Tuesday night (Jan. 21), the 2019-20 SSES girls basketball team is now in the record book as the winningest team in school history. The Falcons routed local rival Bradenton Christian, 60-31, at the Panthers’ gym to record their 17th victory of the season, eclipsing the 1983-84 and 1984-85 teams, which each won 16 games. With at least five games remaining, the Falcons are poised to set an incredible new standard for Saint Stephen’s girls basketball under first-year Head Coach David Gaulman. After finishing as district runner-up in each of the past three seasons, the Falcons (17-3) have their sights set on winning their first district championship since 1984 and advancing deep into the postseason. Last year’s team captured the school’s first-ever regional playoff victory, upsetting Naples First Baptist Academy before falling in the regional final.
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.