MAESA Matters May 2019
Easter Cross


Greetings from MAESA! As we enter the final
weeks of the 2018-2019 school year we hope you are able to enjoy the rites and traditions that come with this time of year. As we continue in this Easter season MAESA wishes you and your school community a joyous conclusion to the academic year.

We hope that you will mark your calendars now to join us at the MAESA Annual Members Meeting on September 27, 2019 at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. MAESA is delighted to welcome Caroline Blackwell, Vice President for Equity & Justice at NAIS, as our keynote speaker. All of your administrators and key faculty are encouraged to attend our annual meeting and luncheon. An email invitation with a request for RSVPs will be sent in the next few months, so please share this opportunity with your schools!
2019 Scholars Fair Highlights
On April 26, 2019 more than 220 students from ten MAESA member schools in 4th-8th grades gathered at National Cathedral School with dozens of faculty and parent chaperones present to compete in the MAESA Scholars Fair.

More than fifty students received medals in various categories! Dozens more NCS faculty and visiting schools' teachers volunteered as event coordinators and judges. Special thanks to NCS for serving as the host school and for the thoughtful preparation they undertook to make the Scholars Fair so successful. The day offered academic enrichment and fellowship for students in Episcopal schools throughout our region. Join us next year on April 17th at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School for the 2020 Scholars Fair.

Pictured: Geography Bee contestants; St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal School science fair competitor.
Featured News from MAESA Schools:

In this edition of MAESA Matters we hear from a student, Shannon Ayres of National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., as she responds to the question "Why I Attend an Episcopal school?" This month i n "Spread The Word" Christ Episcopal Schoo l in Rockville, MD shares their students' dedication to raising funds for a well in South Sudan. We'd love to feature one of your faculty member's or student's reflection or a school activity in MAESA Matters. Contact us to be included.
2019-2020 MAESA Event Dates
Next Up:
MAESA 2019-2020 membership renewal begins in June. You may renew your annual membership in MAESA by paying your dues through our website or by mail before the deadline of August 31, 2019. Our annual membership renewal letter will be mailed and emailed to schools in June. Thank you for your continued commitment to MAESA through your support in annual dues as well as participation in our events listed below!

Upcoming MAESA Event Dates:

MAESA 2019 Members Meeting : Friday, September 27, 2019 at 10a.m. at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. MAESA is pleased to welcome Caroline Blackwell, Vice President for Equity and Justice at the
National Association of Independent Schools, as our keynote speaker in September. Please invite your schools' leadership team and directors to join MAESA for our annual meeting and luncheon.

MAESA 2019 Episcopal Schools Day Service in Washington, D.C. : Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at Washington National Cathedral hosted in partnership with Beauvoir The National Cathedral Elementary School .

MAESA 2019 Episcopal Schools Day Service in Richmond, VA : Wednesday October 16, 2019 at All Saints Church, Richmond, VA hosted in partnership with St. Catherine's School .

MAESA 2019 Early Childhood Conference: Friday, October 25, 2019 at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA.

MAESA 2020 Choral Evensong : Sunday, February 9, 2020 at Washington National Cathedral in partnership with St. Albans School and National Cathedral School.

MAESA 2020 Scholars Fair: Friday, April 17, 2020 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C.
"Why I Attend an Episcopal School"
May's reflection is offered by a graduating senior at
 National Cathedral School

By Shannon Ayres
National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C.

When I was in 8th grade and applying to attend the National Cathedral School in 8th grade, I cannot say that NCS being an Episcopal school had much sway in my decision making. I was much more drawn to the idea of attending an all-girls school and the reputation that NCS has for its academics. The Cathedral was always a beautiful aspect of the school, and the idea that I could get married there as an alumnus was very enticing, but it was more a beautiful afterthought than what drew me to the school. Having said that, the one real enticement of NCS and the Cathedral was the idea that I could apply to be an acolyte, a role I filled at my home parish of St. Paul’s in Alexandria for many years.

I applied to be a Cathedral acolyte at the end of my freshman year at NCS and was accepted. This job would go on to define the rest of my high school experience. As a Cathedral acolyte I serve on a five-week rotation, with four weekends serving and then one weekend off. This schedule has had a defining impact on my life in high school through the extensive time commitment and has occasionally caused some stress and lots of tiredness. However, I would not give up my time as an acolyte; I have been honored to be a part of many historical events and have made incredible friends through the different teams I have been a part of. Every weekend going to the Cathedral is a time for me to reset my week and take time to be peaceful and calm. It is the one time during the week when I don’t have to be running around doing as many things as I can at once. When I’m serving as an acolyte, I know when I need to do my job and it is the same ritual almost every weekend.

The Cathedral also plays a role in my life as a student as well. Though we are technically an Episcopal school, the school works to celebrate and honor all religious practices. Therefore, our weekly Cathedral services pull from different traditions and practices. This application of the Cathedral space is one of my favorites because it really solidifies the idea that the Cathedral is a house of worship for all people, and that we are accepting of all religions. Nothing is more beautiful than hearing a litany of musical offerings bouncing off the stone walls, and every type of music immediately becomes grander in the stone hall. So, though we don’t focus solely on the Christian practices at NCS,
I think having the Cathedral on the grounds of school deepens a level spirituality and awe for the setting we live in and the beauties of the world. Almost every day walking through campus you’ll hear someone remark on the beauty and grandeur of the building and how much they love it. The Cathedral stands as a unifier in our community, you can’t help but love the building and its beauty even if you don’t feel as directly a part of the community it represents.

The values of the Episcopal religion incorporating religious diversity and acceptance play into the NCS curriculum as well. Our only required religion class is Living Religions of the World where we explore the traditions behind five of the major world religions; Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. None of the courses in the high school curriculum focus solely on Christianity, instead they work to broaden our knowledge and comfort with many different traditions and practices. We question and analyze our understanding of what religions are and how they came to be. This commitment to the broad practices of religions creates a space where we are able to understand the world better and the people around us.

The "why" behind why I attend an Episcopal school has less to do with the affiliated religion than the community that is created and evolves around the religion. I can see the influence of such an open mindset about the people of the world and acceptance reflected in the values of my school and the Cathedral. My position as an acolyte offers me a unique position to observe a deep and broad application of Episcopal values, and that experience has greatly shaped my time at National Cathedral School.

"Spread The Word" News From Our Schools

Christ Episcopal School
Class of 2020 raises $15,000 to build a well in South Sudan

After reading the novel,  A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park in the winter of 2018, the sixth grade class at Christ Episcopal School was inspired to have a positive, lasting impact in the world. The novel portrayed the true story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese lost boy, who faced extreme challenges as he fled civil conflict in his South Sudanese village.  The novel also told of the difficulty Sudanese families have in gaining access to clean water. 

Galvanized by compassion for these suffering families, the CES 6th graders decided that they wanted to help get clean water to more families in South Sudan.  This began a three-month campaign to raise money for Water for South Sudan, a non-profit created by Salva Dut.  Their hope was to have the ability to co-sponsor a well in South Sudan. In order to realize their dream, the students needed to raise $5000—a lofty goal.  The class was highly motivated and leveraged social media, as well as a marketing campaign they developed and used throughout the school and church community.  As part of the marketing, the students pooled their own money to design and sell bracelets that said “Water for South Sudan” and included the web address for the on-line, crowdsourcing web site that they created to collect donations.

The project soon exceeded expectations. By April, 2018, the students had raised over $15,000 from both the CES community and their extended network. This meant that rather than co-sponsoring a well with other schools, CES would sponsor one additional well in its entirety. In February, 2019, Christ Episcopal School received word that the well had been built! CES received pictures of the well surrounded by people in the Adot village waving their thanks and holding a sign recognizing Christ Episcopal School’s and Church’s sponsorship. 

Our students are truly overwhelmed with what they have achieved. They have thrown their hearts into this project, feeling a strong connection with the plight of the Sudanese people. The generosity of the CES community has left a lasting legacy for the families in the Adot village and the students at CES.  It is a legacy that is bound to create positive change in the minds, hearts and spirits of all those who have been touched by this project. The entire CES community is proud of these students who on their own embraced the spirit of the Christ Episcopal School motto, “Minds to Learn, Hearts to Love, and Hands to Serve”.

Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director