Evelyn Perfall ‘19
Four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Five Days Later: an SSSAS Lifer
By Andrew Kiama '19
June 2019 Profile Issue
Take a second to pause what you’re doing and imagine spending 13 years of your life surrounded by the same people in the same institution, when you’ve only been alive for 18 or 19 years. That’s Evelyn Perfall for ya. Evelyn came to St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes as a kindergartener, slowly but surely made her way through the ranks, and is now looking forward to graduating after the last three remaining weeks of her 13-year SSSAS career.
Evelyn and I took a trip down to the lower school so I could document her many stories about her lower school days, meet with one of her former teachers, and allow her to see the many changes that have graced the lower school campus since her time there.
Walking through the kindergarten building, I witnessed a teacher seeing her former student with a genuine smile and a face that instantly lit up. The moment Ms. Donna Ryan saw Evelyn, they hugged each other and Evelyn was taken right back to her kindergarten memories.
“You need to go in here and look at the letters of respect,” said Ms. Ryan enthusiastically.
“Oh I’d love too,” responded Evelyn.
“We are going to invite some seniors in. They just happen to be visiting.”
“12th graders coming through!!” yells one of the kids in the room.
“This is Evelyn and Evelyn was 13 years ago in KR and so I said to her I bet she knows what this is about.”
“I do, I remember getting this one, when I was in kindergarden. It was a big deal, we had an ice cream party,” recalls Evelyn
“What, an ice cream party! WHAAAAAAAAT!!” yells another kid in the room.
For some context, Evelyn is referring to a set of letters that are hung on the wall. As a class, when they do things really well or when they have good behaviour, then they earn blocks, and the blocks go from the basket into the bin. When the bin is full, they get a letter of r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Once they get the whole set, spelling out the word respect, then they get a prize.
Evelyn then went on to reminisce about her time in this classroom, saying, “Ms Ryan’s classroom was by far the best classroom. We had our own bathroom. The other kids had to walk all the way down the hall past the very scary 1st graders and 2nd graders to get to the bathroom, so, we were very special in that respect.”
Looking out the beautiful arched window in Ms. Ryan’s room, Evelyn recalls a fun story about a regular-looking set of stairs: “there's a set of wooden stairs out there that go all the way down into the woods and they supposedly have 100 steps, but when you’re that little you can't count that well so I’d get like plus or minus two every time, so it’d be like they added a stair!”
On our way out of the room, I spot a cute little iPad charging station on the floor and point it out, and Evelyn is basically like blown away, excalming, “They have iPads? We didn't have iPads! Look, now there's an iPad helper job. Jeez. I remember there being like line leader and door holder and that was about it.” Even the lower school technology lab seems like a whole new world to her, as when she looked through the window, it was pretty evident she was just a bit jealous: “this was the computer lab when I was here but it was MUCH less nice. They have iMacs. I had like giant clunky desk computers and we played low quality computer games.”
Bringing it back to how much Evelyn was proud of the classroom she was a part of, she recalls a certain rivalry she had with a few of her fellow friends: “This was Ms. William’s classroom and they were our rival. Not like rival, but like you’ll still hear us fight about it in 12th grade about who had a better kindergarten class.”
We walked out of the kindergarten building and passed by one of the playgrounds, and Evelyn pointed out a house in the vicinity, explaining, “we had a story that an evil witch who ate children lived in a house somewhere over there. It was actually one of the maintenance people, but you know, kids make up stories.”
Through speaking with Evelyn and walking around the lower school with her, it is pretty clear how much this place and its community means to her; it’s obvious how much reflection she’s done about her time at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes.
Looking back on her transitions between the lower and middle school and the middle and upper school, she pointed out an intenteresting note that those “are the years where all of a sudden you get a guzelian new people. It’s kinda jarring especially going from 5th to 6th because in 5th grade, I knew everyone in my grade, then all of a sudden in 6th, there's 30 new kids, and that was the first time in a long time that I didn't know everybody I was going to school with. Those years, you have to figure out how to meet new people and how to adjust and it's just not like it used to be, but it's nice to meet new people because it shakes things up a little bit.”
However, the reality is that both Evelyn and I will be graduating from this place really soon, and that has kind of hit home for her. “It’s nice being a senior and having people that you’ve known for so long. I’ve grown up with a lot of the people in our grade, known them since we were all five. So it's crazy to think of how much of my life I’ve spent here. It's a really good community, people care about each other.” Adding onto this sentiment, she says, “part of the thing about going to college that’s gonna be really weird is not seeing certain people. Everybody who’s a lifer is like, ok, I’ve grown up with them. But it’s like, woah, all of a sudden I’m not gonna see them every day, which is kind of weird to think about.”
If you want a summary of the Class of 2019 according to Evelyn, here it is: “[The class] has relaxed a little bit as we’ve gotten older. In lower school, I feel like it was slightly cliquey, and then middle school is middle school, it just sucks for everybody, like everyone's going through puberty trying to figure out their life. But now that we’re in high school, I really like our grade. It's pretty relaxed and everybody is nice to each other.”
I think every senior can relate to this sentiment, regardless of whether they’ve been at SSSAS their whole schooling life or not. “My 13 years here have been super fast. Someone’s in kindergarten and before they know it they're gonna be a senior.”