Head's E-letter Vol XIII issue XIV
Friday, November 22, 2013
As we embark on the Thanksgiving break I wanted to send news from a Suffield. We had a successful fall term and Suffield is thriving in many ways.
I have been very pleased by the spirit of our students and faculty, which came across in full force last weekend. Last Saturday, more than 200 students and faculty joined many parents and alumni in watching Suffield's undefeated football team win a New England Championship game over Avon Old Farms. The game was memorable for many reasons including the large and enthusiastic crowd, Suffield's dynamic play, a courageous Avon second-half comeback, and a series of gutsy late plays leading to the 50-42 victory. This is Suffield's fifth New England title victory in Coach Drew Gamere's six years as our head coach, and Suffield completed the season as the top rated prep school team in New England. All of the students and faculty members involved with the team have made us proud. This victory concluded a wonderful fall athletic season—highlighted by consistently beautiful weather conditions. From a second-place New England championship finish in girls' cross country to a volleyball tournament berth to some record individual achievements, we saw grit, talent, and wonderful school spirit during the past three months.
We had another remarkable event on campus last Sunday. A talented group of seniors (led by Denny Smythe '14, Stevie Eagan '14, and Sam Feldman '14) organized and helped execute a "color course" charity run in support of Hearts of the Father Outreach. Students nominated charitable organizations to receive financial proceeds from this event (and future ones students will lead during the winter and spring terms). The ten students who visited Hearts of the Father last summer along with John '74 and Libby Moritz compelled their peers to make it this year's beneficiary. The "color course" was fantastic—well-organized and very fun—and the enthusiasm of our students and faculty helped make for a memorable and successful day.
Looking forward, the period on campus prior to winter vacation will be highlighted by Spamalot, our winter musical (on December 12, 13, and 14). On December 7 we will host one of the most competitive swim meets in school history, as our outstanding girls' and boys' teams compete against Phillips Andover and Peddie School. Several of the nation's top prep swimmers will take part. This period of the academic year will conclude with an all-school holiday dinner on December 17.
We had a successful Suffield reception in Manhattan on November 12. Hosted by Board President Daniel Tisch '69, P'02, the evening served as a reminder of Suffield's positive momentum and of the many alums, parents, and friends who care deeply about the school. My comments at the reception centered on our various campus projects but more on the values and attributes that make Suffield special and strong. These are, most importantly, our emphasis on mixing rigor with encouragement, and our commitment to helping each student excel and travel great distance. Embracing these fundamental goals—and ensuring they guide our decision-making and campus culture—has led to Suffield's strong cohesion, high level of admissions interest, and excellent fundraising results.
Along these lines, a new section on the school website outlines progress and plans related to our Campus Master Plan (www.suffieldacademy.org/masterplan). This plan was endorsed by the Board of Trustees in 2011 with two overarching goals. The first is to better connect our academic and residential areas by expanding Brewster Hall and converting Stiles Lane into a central pedestrian area. The second is renovating key facilities that at were constructed many years ago. Generous gifts to Suffield have propelled us forward, although a great deal lies ahead as we work through the plan. Completed projects include The Hoffman College Counseling Center in Fuller Hall, our new science building, and a new road on the northern perimeter of campus. We have broken ground on a Balance Barn project and are making significant progress with architectural planning and fundraising for Brewster Hall and the conversion of Stiles Lane. The Brewster endeavor is essential given the key roles that family-style dining and our student union play in supporting Suffield's mission and emphasis on community life. I am thrilled to note that two current families have made lead seven-figure gifts for the Brewster project, and several trustees, alums, and other parents have supported the initiative in significant ways. We are hopeful of breaking ground in the spring of 2014 and completing the new facility at the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year.
As you can tell, we have a great deal to celebrate as our fall term concludes, and several ambitious goals for Suffield's future. Thank you for your partnership in our work with your sons and daughters. Hillary and I hope everyone in our school community has a great Thanksgiving.