We turn again to our mission, which affirms our belief that all creation is sacred, and our commitment to an educational community that reflects unity in diversity
It might seem strange that our News section begins with an event from 1950. That is the year in which Mother Ruth had a vision to bring together children and families of all backgrounds to learn from one another and about one another. That mission is at the heart of all we do, from highlighting student endeavors, to celebrating our recent grads, to catching up with alumni and seeing how they are living our mission every day.
Although the items here in our News section change frequently, the heart and soul behind remain constant.
Lucille Brewster '14 will be a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley's Women's History Institute this summer.
Bernardo Ruiz '91 unveiled his newest film The Infinite Race on ESPN last month.
“We have the space and equipment, and our staff has the creativity and experience, to create a truly engaging physical education experience despite the rigorous protocols in place,” says Director of P.E. and Athletics. “Our students have been incredibly resilient, and they show tremendous respect and appreciation for their teachers. It has been a joy to see.”
As part of the Science Department’s “Spotlight on Female Scientists” for Women’s History Month, students in Steven Schwartz’s seventh grade classes had a chance to listen to a presentation by the renowned molecular biologist Dr. Melanie Dobson.
Even with the tremendous changes in our lives, we are aware of the upcoming observance of Holy Week, the last week of Lent. That is, Palm Sunday March 28th, through to Easter, April 4th.
The 100th day of school is always a milestone for early childhood and lower division classes, but in this year full of masks and social distancing, the day was extra-special.
Yi-Ting Zhou’s Mandarin Students in grades 4-6 started a brand new virtual pen pal program this month. “I am so thrilled to be able to introduce this virtual pen pal program with my colleague Xue Laoshi from Golden Primary school," said Ms. Zhou.
The gift that Lent is, to be aware that one who loves us is bringing us into being, melting our hearts, freeing us to let go, to trust, to forgive.
“These relationships are meaningful. Every year, the eighth graders set a beautiful example as mentors for the younger students, and these friendships will certainly last past graduation.”
Music teachers Beth Soleimany and Jude Olney share their advice for inspiring children to joyfully make music. Incorporating music into your child’s life is easy and extremely beneficial to healthy child development.
As part of their exploration of journalism, eighth graders in Cambridge Lynch’s social studies class had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Ellis, Deputy Sports Editor at the New York Times and the paper’s former Senior Politics Editor.
At this age, personal hygiene moves from something parents and caregivers do for children to something children can do for themselves.
When Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime” came to town, news spread fast. His piano compositions were a hit in the saloons of the Midwest and he is considered to have put St. Louis on the musical map.
We're all tired of looking into screens, but you find the will to turn on the computer once again. We thought passing through COVID-19 would be a sprint, but it turned out to be a marathon.
“Our school's history is rooted in a dedication to inclusion; we must recommit to that vision every day and continue to extend this work.”
Among the highlights was “The Hill We Climb,” written and recited by Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Fifth graders wrote “found poems,” using words and sections from Ms. Gorman’s powerful piece and then creating and reciting their own poems.
The Episcopal Church is radically welcoming, rejects falsehood, aims to respond to prejudice, and to walk the path of peace, courage, and integrity. Knowing your values in this tumultuous time can make you more determined, hopeful, and resilient.
Today's events remind us of the vital work that we engage in every day in our classrooms and the culture of love and respect that are at the heart of our school.
The magi made a long journey to Bethlehem. In 2020 you too were forced to make a difficult traverse to reach Christmas. What is a hope you have for 2021? What longings are evoked for you for 2021?
Does Santa need some last-minute gift ideas? Math Specialist Libby Miles has prepared a list of math-inspired gifts from New York City’s Museum of Mathematics that are sure to delight while supporting an important local non-profit.
While COVID-19 has changed some aspects of school life, faculty have found some surprising benefits to the new routines. Senior Kindergarten Head Teacher Margaret Pennoyer writes about unexpected silver linings that these perceived “limitations” have inspired.
"Our school really builds from the Early Childhood program where we establish core values of sharing and helping one another, of being a committed part of a community. We keep developing that core foundation so that when students get to be in eighth grade, they know how they want to go out in the world.”
Keeping children active is especially important for both their physical and emotional well-being. One of St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s guiding principles is its commitment to nurturing the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. The Physical Education program provides students with a safe, happy, and fun-filled P.E. experience in school, and wants to provide the resources for families to do the same outside of school.
As a student at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, Dana Catharine ‘63 drew inspiration from her teachers.“Our teachers encouraged us to approach life as a banquet of possibility!” she reflected. After a rewarding career in language and service-learning education, Catharine now turns her attention full-time to illustrating and writing.
This week, alumna Dr. Anne C. Bailey ’82 led her final lecture for St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s faculty about the history of anti-Black racism in the United States. The five-part lecture series began with the history of the ancient civilizations of Africa and ended with a look towards memorialization, reparations, and the ongoing work of educators in anti-racism.
This November, students discovered geometry through a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Classes created their own Rangoli, designs drawn in front of homes or public buildings to welcome guests.
Our very own Bryson Brunson ‘17 won Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ competition this summer! During the 10-week comedy and improv competition, Bryson shared his love of performing with the world.
Faced with the unprecedented challenges of this year, sisters and St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s alumnae Juliet and Justine Masters have persevered and kept the doors open at their beloved restaurant, The Edge Harlem.
In a year that could have been defined by distance, the class of 2021 gathered on the playdeck to celebrate a St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s milestone. On a brisk fall day, there was warmth in the air as the eighth grade received the rugby shirts that mark their senior status in the student community. Acknowledging the unique circumstances of this fall, and the leadership and commitment shown by the eighth grade class, students received a special token of admiration, a pin depicting the school’s mascot.
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s whole-child approach has always meant a commitment to daily PE and recess for students. This year, while many schools have eliminated their PE program due to the challenges of COVID-19, students at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s have been able to attend PE twice a week.
“We are a democracy, and this year we are reminded that in our work as educators, modeling what it means to be citizens is continual,” said Cambridge Lynch, Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher.
“A story is a story, whether it is spoken, in print, or digital. Stories are what connect us," says Angela Perna, School Librarian.
Alumna Nicole Johnson describes what she loves about her new role as Lower Division Director, “It’s inspiring to be able to give back to a place that was always such a place of comfort and joy for me.” Working at SHSH feels like returning “home” for Nicole.
“We wanted to honor the need for all children to see themselves as heroes,” said Seventh and Eighth Grade English Teacher Anne Rabbino.
Most fulfilled when he is giving back to his community, Marcus Welch ‘09 found his passion working in the field of education. Last year, Marcus coached alongside some of the very same coaches who taught him at SHSH.
“History matters, and here at St. Hilda’s, you care about your history.”
When school moved online in response to Covid-19 this spring, a group of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s alumni acted quickly to support their alma mater. What took shape was a multi-month program of high school and college-aged alumni partnering with current SHSH students to guide them through online learning.
This year, the PA's focus is to continue to foster those strong connections despite the challenges that the health crisis has posed.
This March, medical students around the country were fast-tracked towards graduation and deployed to the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pietro Miozzo (‘06) jumped at the opportunity to help his community.
Last spring, we renewed our commitment to the cause of racial justice and our school's mission to recognize the sacred nature of everey member of our community. This letter outlines the work of the DEIL team to date, as well as some of the initiatives the school has planned for the coming year and beyond.
Our work, foundational in nature, shapes lives of meaning and raises children to become loving, caring, and thoughtful students and members of their community.
“I am determined to continue our work to educate children who will one day, as Mother Ruth said years ago, ‘tear down the walls and divisions that separate people of different cultures, creeds, and classes.’”
The St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's faculty connects with students and parents through a musical tribute.
In Chapel, Lower Division French Teacher Deb Jordan-Levy discussed the importance of learning about different Francophone countries while studying the language.
“It’s still school. Even though we’re in a different setting, we can still learn.”
“For us, Black History is not just about February; it is every day.”
We are approaching this situation thoughtfully and deliberately, recognizing that the risk to our families is very low. Advice and counsel are being provided by experts in the Mount Sinai Health System.
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Basketball Hawks captured the NYCAL regular season championships for 2019-2020.
“This event is titled a ‘Gospel Celebration,’” Minister Irventz Garçon said. “However, it is much deeper than that.”
This year St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s introduced an innovative photography course under the leadership of social studies teacher and accomplished photographer Duane Bailey-Castro.
On Valentine’s Day, early childhood students reconnected with their former eighth grade buddies, reminding the school’s newest alumni that they still have many friends at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.
“They Sold Human Beings Here” uncovers the mostly hidden and forgotten locations where enslaved people were bought and sold, accompanied by images of auction sites taken by photographer Dannielle Bowman.
Students and guest performers put on a spectacular Lunar New Year performance which included singing, dancing, and fireworks. View photos from this beloved all-school event here.
The popular GeoGames Trivia Board continues to engage grade 4-8 students with challenging geography questions.
As St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s marked the 70th anniversary of its opening day on February 2, 2020, it lost one of its founders. Sister Elise, one of the founding members of the Community of the Holy Spirit and one of the school’s first teachers, died on Sunday at the age of 98.
As teachers of young children ages 3 to 9, language teachers Deb Jordan-Levy (French), Elizabeth Ortega (Spanish), and Peng Zeng (Mandarin-Chinese) are unified in their mission to provide a contemporary, immersive, and age-appropriate learning environment for their students.
The Hawks continue a tradition of basketball excellence this winter. Playing in the NYCAL league, both the boys and girls 7-8 teams have begun the year with an unbeaten record, while a second 7-8 boys "silver team" and the two six grade teams are representing the school with pride.
A lawyer and criminal justice reformer, Janos Martin '96 began to explore his passion for activism in second grade at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's. Janos is still driven by the values his teachers imparted—morality, civics, and service to community.
As the second grade embarked upon their year-long study of the world, their technology class went along on the journey, with a stop-motion movie project to illustrate the movement of the continents, and a re-creation of the Q'eswachaka Rope Bridge in Peru.
Lower Division Learning Specialist Margaret Pennoyer began the new year by talking about different New Year's Eve traditions around the world.
“When children have immersive play experiences, early academic skills—such as literacy, numeracy, vocabulary, and language—all emerge naturally,” says Dr. Lisa Wright, director of the Hollingworth Center at Teachers College Columbia University.
“‘Always a Hawk’ means doing your best every day. It means that when it’s time to represent your school in uniform, you know how to be a supportive teammate, to be coachable, to work hard, to balance academics, and to represent us with pride.”
Senior Kindergarten teachers Ms. Clark and Ms. Washington share their knowledge and personal experience with Día de los Muertos during Chapel.
During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, fourth and fifth grade science teacher Katie Behrmann talked with the upper division in Chapel about the challenges faced by people with disabilities and how the laws and practices of New York City and the entire nation affect them.
Congratulations to the Cross Country Hawks! Several student-athletes achieved personal best performances as the team clinched the NYCAL Middle School championship in their final meet on Thursday, Oct. 25.
At the annual Admission Open House on Oct. 17, prospective parents “met” three somewhat obscure figures who loom large in the school’s past and present: Hilda of Whitby, Hugh of Lincoln, and Ruth Younger of Harlem, the 20th century nun who founded St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.
“We are providing the building blocks of what technology is and will be. Coding languages change, tools change, but the skills and ways of thinking remain the same. We don’t know what technology will look like in the future, but we will be ready.”
Lower school social studies, science, and greenhouse lessons teach about stewardship, sustainability, and the many ways of being a good neighbor.
A new leadership team has been charged with amplifying our founder’s revolutionary mission and the values of equity and inclusion that remain a crucial part of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s mission.
Nellie Peyton (‘06) covers human rights and development as the West Africa Correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her recent work brought her to mining towns in Sierra Leone and displacement camps in Burkina Faso.
“It was Head of School Virginia Connor’s vision to create a physical anchor for complex play that would elicit the type of creative scenarios that every child loves, and that build upon children’s innate inventiveness and playfulness,” said Lower Division Director Emily Holt.
In a school full of book lovers, Angela Perna is the “head reader.” As the school librarian, she presides over the C.V. Starr Library and Learning Center and its collection of nearly 24,000 volumes, a host of online resources, and lists of book recommendations for every occasion: summer reading, holidays/cultural celebrations, grief and hardship, and more.
After graduating from Drexel Medical School last spring, Sam Cook ‘06 was thrilled to see a congratulatory note addressed to “Dr. Sam Cook.” The senders? Two important figures from his elementary years: Upper School Science Teacher Steven Schwartz and Head of School Virginia Connor.
In September, third grade teacher and DEIL member Paula Lee spoke about the Korean harvest celebration Chuseok during lower division Chapel.
The head of school’s first Chapel address, which took place on the cusp of the school’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, highlighted the people and places of Washington Heights, a hub of Latinx culture overlooking the Hudson.
Faculty welcomed new and returning students and families to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year this Monday, Sept. 9.
Finding the right early childhood program is an experience that will include your entire family -- not just your child.
Every spring, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s division directors provide parents and students with resources to
help students prepare for the transition to the next grade. Summertime should be a time for relaxation and fun - but it should also be a time for exploration, growth and learning!
“The world is a better place with each of you in it, and we are all terribly proud of you, today, and every day.”
“The design of the installation was inspired by the spirit of play and exploration that permeates all aspects of the curriculum and educational philosophy of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s,” said Mr. Nester.
The students in St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s class of 2019 have made their final decisions about which secondary schools they will attend, while the class of 2015 will soon move on to an impressive array of colleges and universities.
“The runners represented us proudly with their skill but also with the strong bond they developed, supporting one another through highs and lows in the months they have been together,” said Patti Lesser, Director of P.E. and Athletics.
Alumna author Rabeah Ghaffari ’89 offered a reading from her recently published novel, To Keep The Sun Alive, in the C.V. Starr Library at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's on May 23.
St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s inaugural Geography Bee challenged students’ knowledge of U.S. and world geography, with two upper division teams facing off in an exciting quiz show-style format.
“While all of our delegates performed admirably, one eighth grader won a special distinction as our only student to earn a ‘Golden Gavel’ for his legislating skill in his committee,” said advisor Duane Bailey-Castro.
Financial journalist Ron Lieber spoke at the Parents’ Association's March meeting, addressing parents about developing financial intelligence and responsibility in children.
Some new friends stepped “out of the wardrobe” to greet students and parents of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s when they arrived for school last Friday.
“I'll tell you what ‘freedom’ is to me—no fear!” The words of legendary soul singer Nina Simone inspired the students, faculty, and parents assembled at this year's Gospel Celebration, titled “A Journey of Love, Rooted in the African-American Tradition.”
The Beginners had a chance to play alongside the first grade experts, who offered the 2- and 3-year-olds a lesson from the circus unit of their daily physical education class.
Students honored the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by exploring the power of his words and taking inspiration from his influential “I Have a Dream Speech,” delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
When Greenhouse Keeper Lauren Paull noticed that younger students were overwatering plants in the greenhouse, she turned to the senior kindergarten to impart this important lesson.
Beginning technology students in second grade used hands-on materials to learn the foundational principles of computing and lift the veil of technology, revealing the building blocks of how their iPads, computers, and other devices work.
Eighth grade Latin students had a special substitute this week, when Herbert Toler ’18 returned to teach a lesson on Roman culture. Eighth grade Latin teacher Joan Wentworth invited Herbert back after hearing about his current success with high school Latin.
Singers, dancers, and crew members at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's are preparing for this year's spring production, School of Rock, The Musical! The performances will take place Friday, May 3 at 4 p.m. and Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m.
Singing at a nursing home; baking for local firefighters; and making cards, decorations, and treats for a neighborhood soup kitchen were just some of the ways that students observed St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Day, an annual schoolwide day of service that honors the school’s patron saints, Hilda of Whitby and Hugh of Lincoln.
Members of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Board of Trustees and administration offered parents an in-depth examination of the school’s finances and how investments in independent school tuition and philanthropic giving directly impact students and faculty.
“We are an Episcopal school founded to bring together children and families of all racial, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds,” she said. “One of the crucial aspects of our program is helping children to become people of conscience and compassion. This is not a new endeavor for us—it has been part of our mission since our founding 70 years ago.”
“This is a dark moment that reminds us of the importance of choosing a path of peace. As a community, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s chooses the path of peace and life.”
In honor of Special Visitors Day on Friday, Ms. Soleimany learned about the St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's faculty's grandparents and shared their stories with Lower Division students during chapel.
When fifth graders talk about one of their favorite experiences at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, what tops the list is an immersive field trip 125 miles north, where they participate in The Mystic Seaport Ship to Shore Overnight Program.
The class of 2018 was welcomed into the alumni family by a 2007 graduate, Coral Peña. Peña, an actor who appeared this year in Steven Spielberg’s The Post with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, spoke at a dinner for St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s eighth graders and their parents. While she talked about her Hollywood mentors, Peña reserved her highest praise for her St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s classmates and teachers—many of whom are still on the faculty.
The class of 2018 continued a tradition of student philanthropy, launching a mini-campaign to make a class gift in honor of their graduation. The class raised $2,414 in one week and is being used to create a test-preparation scholarship for the benefit of a future eighth grade student.
Brass Band Director Sandy Coffin recently enlisted her students to kick off a social media campaign aimed at preserving and promoting free instrumental music tuition for all school children in Scotland. “Musical and cultural exchanges have always been important in promoting better understanding,” Coffin says.
An accomplished alumna returned to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s to share the fruits of her scholarship with students, faculty, parents, and alumni. Anne C. Bailey ‘82, a professor of history and African American studies at SUNY Binghamton, offered excerpts from The Weeping Time, which chronicles one of the largest slave auctions in American history.
Parents and faculty from St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's attended an April presentation and discussion facilitated by Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman (Director of Equity and Community at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School) on “Parenting in the Age of ‘Isms.’”
At a special upper school (grades 6-8) Chapel on March 14, 17 candles were lit for the 17 students and teachers who died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, in February. Rev. Arden Strasser presided, and six eighth graders shared own reflections aloud—through poetry, stories, and calls to action.
Two educators from Symphony Space brought the sounds, rhythms, and movements of African dance to school on Feb. 22, spending a morning with our early childhood and lower school students.
“Hard work truly paid off this year,” said Coach Sean Parker, congratulating the boys and girls 7-8 basketball Hawks for winning the NYCAL Championships this year.
Aspiring fourth and fifth grade authors assessed passages and learned about the writing process from Karina Yan Glaser, author of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, in the C.V. Starr Library and Learning Center at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.
Head of School Virginia Connor recognized the contributions of the community’s caregivers at the annual Caregivers Breakfast on Feb. 6. More than 50 caregivers were presented with certificates to acknowledge their dedicated service to the children and families of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.
February, students at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s embraced a challenge to support their neighbors at Broadway Community Food Pantry and Ford Hall: to collect 100 food items and kitchen supplies per grade by the 100th day of school. On the final day of the challenge, junior kindergarten and fifth grade students delivered bags and boxes of food and supplies and spent time in the Broadway Community pantry, learning about how their donations will be shared in the community.
Student musicians from grades 1-8, including the Brass Band, Chorus, and Instrumental Ensemble honored the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s annual Gospel Celebration.
The Parents’ Association welcomed Dr. Michael Sweeney, Director of the Metropolitan Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, who spoke with parents about managing anxiety, offering practical methods for self as well as for children.
Giving Tuesday, the global day of philanthropy, was a record-breaking day for St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's. Parents, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, faculty, and friends donated: $523,688.04, making this the single largest day of giving in the school's history.
“Every year, the Food Chain has brought St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s together,” said an eighth grader who spoke at the Food Chain Concert. “We want to thank you, Ms. Connor, for inspiring us to take action. You have taught more than 3,000 students what it means to serve.”
Thirty-six St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s students performed at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall on Saturday, Nov. 18. Led by Jonathan De Vries, who chairs the school's music department, the student singers joined the Canterbury Choral Society, a professional symphonic orchestra, and 300 youth singers from around the city to perform Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.
More than 200 parents pursuing independent schools for their children gathered at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s for the 15th annual education seminar of the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. Jack and Jill’s day-long seminar was designed to demystify the world of independent schools for families of color and to connect them with schools throughout the east coast.
A second grader stepped up to the lectern at Chapel to share the story of the Jain religion and the ways he and his family practice their faith at home, in school, and when visiting India. “I feel special to be a Jain at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s,” he said.
One of the nation’s greatest mountaineers—the first American to summit both Mount Everest and K2—visited Gordon Chapel to offer lessons in perseverance, resilience, and teamwork. Dr. Louis Reichardt, the grandfather of one of our second graders, told the story of his team’s historic climb up the east face of Everest in 1983.
The two fourth grade founders of our newly formed Earth Club shared their passion and concerns for global imbalance in Chapel today. Katie Behrmann, upper division science teacher and advisor to the Earth Club, highlighted ways the student body can help.
Hymns and organ music are staples of the Chapel experience at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's. But when Liam Webster, Director of Technology, offered a Chapel presentation about self-expression, students and faculty were delighted by a different sound: the wail of electric guitar.