mySevern is the online hub of Severn School. It is designed to make teaching, learning, and communicating easier by connecting all of our digital tools and resources into one interactive platform — everything from academic classes and advisory groups to clubs and counseling services. For families, it is also a central location to submit forms, access grades, manage accounts, and stay up-to-date on school news and events. And this past spring, when our campuses closed due to COVID-19, mySevern enabled us to hit the ground running during remote learning.
The end of the year is always a busy time at Severn. As students finalize projects, take exams, give presentations and get ready for the next big step, our faculty and staff plan celebrations to mark important milestones in our students’ lives. Each ceremony gives our community a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished this year and in years past. Although unable to gather physically due to the COVID-19 shutdown, we recreated these occasions on Zoom with every resource possible, including student performances and speeches, heartfelt messages from faculty, and even an in-person (properly distanced!) diploma ceremony for our seniors. Things looked a little different, true. But the unfaltering love for and from our community couldn’t have shined any brighter.
Through the Van Eney ‘09 Fellows Program, select seniors take on a year-long project with the potential to reach beyond our community and into the future. Outside of the normal curriculum, these projects reflect our students' growth, maturity, and thirst for learning. Last week, program director Ms. Mary Ellen Carsley hosted a Zoom for our 2020 fellows to share their experiences with families, teachers, and peers. As we watched each student take the screen, speaking eloquently and with true passion, we were impressed by the incredible work our students are capable of when given the time, freedom and support to dream big.
Being part of an athletic team at Severn is about much more than playing a sport. It's about learning how to keep going in the face of adversity with the support of your teammates to pull you through. Last week, Severn’s athletic department hosted our Senior Athlete Recognition Assembly on Zoom. With opening remarks from Athletic Director Mr. Julian Domenech '84, the presentation included touching speeches from every coach, highlighting team perseverance and camaraderie — that Admiral spirit we see on and off the field. Although the 2020 spring season was cut much too short, we are grateful to all of our student-athletes for their contributions to Severn’s programs over the past four years.
It has fast become a tradition for our kindergarten and first-grade students to visit Teel Campus and deliver homemade letters of advice for seniors during their last few weeks of school. It is a beloved event for our community — a bookend to the year that begins with those same students paired together for Convocation. And although we are in remote learning mode, the tradition carries on thanks to our dedicated faculty and students. This past Thursday on Zoom, we watched the kids’ faces light up as over 160 Severn Admirals joined our virtual celebration — we are grateful to each and every one.
The visual and performing arts at Severn are more than outlets for creative expression. They provide a lens through which to view our world with both self-awareness and empathy for others. The ability to express oneself in unique and creative ways is a skill our students need perhaps more now than ever. Held this past Friday through Zoom, our annual Fine Arts Assembly was a chance to celebrate the achievements of our student-artists, together.
Fitness is a big part of daily life at Severn School. From PE classes and recess to sports teams and clubs, being active and outdoors is something we greatly value in every grade. In addition to the proven physical and mental health benefits of exercise, fitness teaches lessons in character, teamwork, perseverance, safe risk-taking, self-confidence, and more. And although we are not physically on campus together, our values haven’t changed. Severn teachers, coaches, and athletic trainers are keeping us healthy and active during remote learning, raising our collective spirits with creativity, commitment, and love for the kids.
Sophomore year is a sweet spot for upper schoolers. They’ve moved past the nerves of freshman life. They have yet to reach the peak of academic rigor typically associated with junior year and college application deadlines haven’t quite come into view. That makes it a great time to think more purposefully about college. To help our students and their families make the most of this time, our college counseling department introduced a new seminar program for all 10th graders this year. The goal is to empower our students with the information they need to make the best choice when the time is right.
Is there any problem or crisis that wouldn’t benefit from simply slowing down and taking a breath...or five? Increasingly, we point to mindfulness as a powerful tool to help students manage stress and reduce anxiety — whether nerves about an upcoming test, an issue with friends, or adjusting to changes in the world around us. But how does it work? Before spring break, our Upper School biology classes conducted some interesting and strikingly relevant research by putting mindfulness and meditation to the test.
The past several weeks have been a storm of uncertainty, presenting challenges that many of us have never faced before. But like a beacon of light through the fog, we find direction and strength in our community. Starting with meetings in early March and through spring break, our faculty and staff worked tirelessly to ensure that we deliver our promise of excellence to families and students while our physical buildings are closed. Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 marked the first official day of comprehensive remote learning for our Lower, Middle and Upper School students. As we navigate through this together, we grow stronger in every way.
Written by Carolyn Campion for the Alchemy issue of The Bridge (abridged version)
For many, the word alchemy conjures up images of wizards, potions and magic. It is the medieval forerunner of chemistry whose practitioners once aimed to convert base metals into gold. But by another definition, alchemy can be viewed as any process through which change or evolution occurs in a seemingly magical and impressive way. Throughout our 105-year history, education at Severn School has continually and intentionally evolved to keep pace in an ever-changing society. What are the elements, the alchemical ingredients, that have helped transform education at Severn into gold?
The Water Street Players have done it again! From mastering the operatic songs of Pirates of Penzance and acrobatic choreography of Chaplin! to capturing the renaissance spirit with Once Upon a Mattress and The Tempest, our Upper School theater troupe sets the bar higher with every performance. Last weekend's Sunday in the Park With George proved to be no exception. When the audience spied the strobe lights and fog warning upon entering Price Auditorium, we knew we were in for an avant-garde treat.