Faculty Say Farewell From Afar (King, Ames, Peckham, Romano, Land)

by Hadley Boston '21 and Delaney Moore '20

Life is a journey with many pit stops, and we are so glad you took one here at SSSAS. While we say goodbye to our seniors, we also bid farewell to our departing faculty members who have decided to take the next step in their lives and careers. This year we have four faculty members who are leaving our community, and we wish them the best of luck in their endeavours. Included below are Q&As with Mr. King, Mrs. Ames, Ms. Peckham, Mr. Romano, and Ms. Land. So long, farewell, and remember no matter where you end up, you’ll always be a Saint!

 

Mr. King - Math

 

How long have you been at SSSAS? 

19 years.  It is hard to believe I started teaching here before any of my current students were born!

 

Do you feel that social distancing has made it a better time or worse time to leave?

It is never a good time to leave a great community such as SSSAS!

 

What are you looking forward to next year?

A flexible schedule and more opportunities to go camping, hiking and rock climbing.

 

What is a going away celebration/tradition that you were looking forward to?

Graduation, as it is always special to see students reach such a milestone.

 

What is your favorite memory you’ve made at SSSAS?

Is there a special memory that you made here that you would be willing to share? 

What is one thing that you will miss the most?

There are so many memories, and most of them involve students getting me to act against my better judgement!  There was the time a class convinced me to have a waffle party, promising there would be no mess and they would behave the rest of the year.  Who knew this would involve six waffle irons, batter and syrup everywhere, cooking spray all over my desk, and several blown electrical fuses!  But the waffles were indeed delicious.

 

My students know I'm a big fan of math detours in class, though usually they are planned.  However, the best ones are things I've never thought of that students bring up.  One that still sticks with me is the time a class went on a tangent about the months of the year.  It turned out the majority of the students visualized the months by color, and many of them had elaborate systems for organizing them in their mind which some of them shared on the board.  What struck me was how different and creative they were, and it was an interesting example of how our minds work in such incredible ways.

 

Seeing returning students and catching up on their news is always heartwarming.  And of course it is great to hear from those students who complained about how hard my class was who then thank me after taking their first college math class!

 

Are there any traditions that you are going to adopt when you leave?

Is there any particular way that you want to say goodbye to the other faculty and your students?

One of the things I will take with me is that I will always consider myself a Saint, and it is a constant reminder to live up to that name.  One of my first memories of the school is my confusion when Doug Adams (the math department chair at the time) told me that he would be my saint for the year.  My initial thought was, well how can he be my saint if he isn't dead!  Then I thought, does this mean he is going to be my own personal mascot?  Turns out, he just meant he would be my go-to person during the first year whenever I had any questions or concerns.  My definition of a saint since then has definitely evolved, and I no longer think of a saint as a mascot or a super holy dead person, but rather someone who cares about the community they live in and is always seeking to make it a better place.  So a big thanks to all the SAINTS who have been a part of my life for the past 19 years, and I look forward to hearing from your next year!

 

Mrs. Ames - Library 

 

What is your favorite memory you’ve made at SSSAS?

I have SO many incredible memories...how can I single out any one? Highway cleanups with new 9th grade advisories on registration day, working with students on a puzzle or crossword puzzle in the library, seniors sharing joyful college acceptances, traveling to an American Library Association meeting with a group of student reader/reviewers, working with students on their research papers (yes, I really do enjoy that!), and seeing our faculty and families at Monday Night dinners

 

How long have you been at SSSAS? 

I started part-time in 2003 and have been at SSSAS ever since. Seventeen years is a long time!  I think that speaks to what a wonderful community SSSAS is.

 

Are there any traditions that you are going to adopt when you leave?

My daily routine has already changed now that we are in our distance learning plan, and I’m sure it will change again! More yoga, more running, and more reading! 

 

What is one thing that you will miss the most?

There are two traditions that I have always loved at SSSAS~Lessons and Carols, and Baccalaureate.  Our Lessons and Carols service was such a festive way to kick off our winter break, especially when we used to have it just before we were dismissed for the break.  Baccalaureate is a beautiful, candle-lit tribute to our graduating seniors--I loved how the faculty would gather  at the top back right rows and look down on the seniors as they processed in. It was always followed by one of Sage’s lovely receptions (in the library!).

 

What is a going away celebration/tradition that you were looking forward to?

SSSAS has the tradition of holding a retirement party in May for all of the faculty and staff who will retire that year.  Family members and past faculty  and alumni are invited.  Obviously, that won’t happen this year, at least not in May.  It’s also no secret that we have an annual going away tradition at SSSAS at the end of the academic year...BINGO for all the faculty and staff and an amazing luncheon!  It is so much fun, whether or not you win (for the record, I never got a BINGO in all the years I’ve been at SSSAS).

 

Do you feel that social distancing has made it a better time or worse time to leave?

Social distancing has definitely put a damper on my departure, both in terms of completing tasks in the library that I had planned to do and being apart from my fellow faculty members and, of course, my beloved students!

 

What are you looking forward to next year?

Without a doubt, our daughter’s wedding in June 2021 will most surely be a highlight (moved from May of 2020). I also look forward to having the freedom to travel, although our plans for a river cruise this fall might morph into something domestic.  We have a farm home in the mountains of western Virginia which I know will beckon us often to its peaceful surroundings. My husband and I also plan to bike and camp (maybe a combination of the two!). There are several nature-related avenues that I plan to pursue and I am carefully evaluating where to put my volunteer energy. 

 

Is there a special memory that you made here that you would be willing to share?

One of the surprises of my life happened here last year when the yearbook was dedicated to me.  I was absolutely clueless, even as the dedication was being presented to me.  For me, that  dedication was the pinnacle of my career because it recognized  what counts most for me in my job here, which is the relationships I have with my students and my fellow faculty members.

 

Is there any particular way that you want to say goodbye to the other faculty and your students? 

Well, one thing for sure, NOT via ZOOM!! I will look forward to our in-person commencement whenever that happens as a way to hopefully be together as a school.  Instead of saying goodbye, I look forward to the times we will gather as a community such as Homecoming, our performing arts productions, and sporting events--those will be welcome opportunities to reconnect with everyone.

 

 

Ms. Peckham - History 

 

What is your favorite memory you’ve made at SSSAS?

My favorite memories of SSSAS are working with students. I love struggling through a passage with a student and seeing her suddenly understand the main idea. I love helping a student translate his ideas into clear sentences. I love seeing a class engage with a new idea or get creative with a simulation. It has been amazing seeing students grow up and become more responsible, more thoughtful, and more confident. There are too many great memories to count. 

 

How long have you been at SSSAS? 

5 years. Time flies! 

 

Are there any traditions that you are going to adopt when you leave?

Not particularly, but I will try to maintain my friendships with teachers and graduated students! 

 

What is one thing that you will miss the most?

My wonderful colleagues and students, of course!

 

What is a going away celebration/tradition that you were looking forward to?

Graduation is a wonderful event I'll be sorry to miss. Then again, it may be scheduled later on, so hopefully I'll be able to attend even if I'm working elsewhere. 

 

Do you feel that social distancing has made it a better time or worse time to leave?

In some ways it makes it easier to adjust to the reality of being away from SSSAS. On the other hand, I missed many opportunities to say goodbye, and it is disappointing that I don't get to enjoy the feeling of being in person with my classes during the second half of this semester.

 

What are you looking forward to next year?

I have a new job working with children separated from their families because of neglect and abuse. This is a particularly difficult time for vulnerable children, and I am looking forward to being involved in the important work of keeping all kids safe. 

 

Is there a special memory that you made here that you would be willing to share?

see #1 

 

Is there any particular way that you want to say goodbye to the other faculty and your students?

I plan to send some rather sentimental emails to my students at the end of the year! 

 

Mr. Romano - Science

 

What is your favorite memory you’ve made at SSSAS?

I can easily recall so many great memories at SSSAS that it’s not possible to choose a single one that’s my favorite! Within my advisory (#TheNinjaTurtles), I fondly look back on the fun weekly discussions we would have and the one time we drew self-portraits of each other on the white boards left out from one of my Physics classes. I also love to reminisce about the Van de Graaff demonstrations we did each year in Physics. It was so fulfilling to see students become “electrified” about the material and enjoy the thrill of being shocked! Among my colleagues, I will miss the great lunchtime conversations we would have. It has been an honor to work alongside so many inspiring teachers and administrators who continuously make such impactful contributions to our school.

 

How long have you been at SSSAS? 

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at SSSAS for three years! It feels like I just arrived yesterday, however, because time flies when you’re having fun!

 

Are there any traditions that you are going to adopt when you leave?

I hope I can continue to wear a Halloween costume to work each year! (I’m not sure how feasible this will be though...) Pretending to be Waldo or Dark Matter among so many other great costumes from the student body and different teachers was so much fun! I loved seeing the spirit and creativity of our school community.

 

What is one thing that you will miss the most?

Without a doubt, I will miss the chapel talks given by students and faculty. This tradition is so unique and special to SSSAS. It has been an honor to hear about the formative experiences that have shaped the lives within our community. These chapel talks bind us together as a community and I hope I can return to hear some of the chapel talks delivered by the class of 2021!  

 

What is a going away celebration/tradition that you were looking forward to?

I had looked forward to hosting an end-of-year party for all of my science classes, but with distance learning, this won’t be feasible. Nonetheless, I look forward to celebrating a great school year with the graduating class of 2020 at their upcoming commencement ceremony.

 

Do you feel that social distancing has made it a better time or worse time to leave?

Social distancing has made it so much more difficult to leave. Never would I have imagined that my last day with students in-person would be in the middle of the school year! There were still so many exciting events planned and memories to be made. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to see my students during synchronous classes (via Zoom) and I look forward to visiting next year when it is safe to return to campus.

 

What are you looking forward to next year?

Although I have had a blast teaching, I am looking forward to rejoining the group I previously worked with at NASA. I will be supporting space weather forecasting operations for analyzing solar events as the U.S. embarks on another trip to the Moon and then eventually to Mars. I am also excited to spend more time with my son, Leo, who is growing up faster than I ever could have imagined.

 

Is there a special memory that you made here that you would be willing to share?

While I have had so many wonderful students and classes over the past few years, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the memory of receiving a quote book during my first year at SSSAS from “Mr. R’s Physics C (the best and favorite class).” It was such a wonderful gift from the class of 2021 and I cherish all of the memories we made. Learning physics seamlessly evolved into playful banter and I couldn’t be more grateful for having a job that was both fulfilling and fun!

 

Is there any particular way that you want to say goodbye to the other faculty and your students? 

Saying goodbye and accepting changes in our lives is always difficult. I am sad that I will not have the opportunity to say goodbye to each of my colleagues and students face-to-face as I transition to the newest chapter of my life. Nonetheless, I find comfort in the words of my son’s favorite author, Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” My time at SSSAS has brought me so much joy and has been invaluable for my growth as an educator, father, and Christian. I depart SSSAS with immense gratitude for having the opportunity to be a part of a special community that always looks out for each other in the best of times and the worst of times. I look forward to staying connected with colleagues and students in the years to come and even from a distance, you will always hear me cheering, “Go Saints!”

 

Ms. Land - English

What is your favorite memory you’ve made at SSSAS?

My favorite memor(ies) are all the times I’ve seen my students’ faces light up with comprehension or with a new idea, especially when they started out not being confident that they could produce one. 

 

What is one thing that you will miss the most?

I will miss the students and my colleagues the most. Collaboration is the soul of education and it’s the best thing about this school.

 

Do you feel that social distancing has made it a better time or worse time to leave?

I hate that we’re all apart this semester. It grieves me deeply. I regret not being able to have in-person classes with my students, I regret all of our distraction/stress, and I regret all of the end-of-school year rituals that have been hamstrung by our circumstances. I am nevertheless proud to have been part of such an exemplary response from our community. 

 

Is there any particular way that you want to say goodbye to the other faculty and your students? 

I always wanted to do a chapel talk, and though it’s not in the cards for this semester, I would have loved to say goodbye to the community that way. I prefer therefore to remind myself that without a real goodbye, there always remains the possibility that it’s only a “see you later.” I’ve already come back once.