January 22, 2019

Dear Stanwich Friends and Families,

During Friday morning's Lower School assembly, the children heard the inspiring words of Dr. King when he dreamed of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character. The same perception encouraged Pat Young to found Stanwich.  

In the words of Dr. King, "Life's most urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

Pat's seminal motivation was not only to create a school with accelerated academics, but to instill a strong sense of character among the students that would guide them to make good decisions throughout their lifetime. It is fitting in January at Stanwich, we celebrate the value of Wisdom-among our Stanwich 7 Values-which we define as, "knowledge of things that matter."

January is also Charter Day month, with this year's celebration of Stanwich's 21st birthday starting at 9:00am on Friday the 25th, which coincidentally is the date by which GCDS re-enrollments are due. This year's Charter Day also celebrates the 10th anniversary of Project Blessing's educational commitment to the Rwandan village of Cyabatanzi. Originally funded by Stanwich's Board of Trustees, the Humanitarian Grant is dedicated to making "God's world a better place". Mr. Fletcher has been taking groups of Stanwich students, faculty, and alumni each summer since then, constructing the school buildings and soccer field on the remote rural hillside outside Kigali.

Later in the evening of the 25th, we welcome Stanwich families and friends to attend the "Fashion for Change" Project Blessing fashion show by our students as well as a reception hosted by the Project Blessing Board; the proceeds of which help underwrite the Rwandan construction effort and this year's July trip.

In the same spirit, on the evening of February 7, the Parent Association's Chili Cook-off-a free of cost opportunity with adult refreshments to sample some great chili recipes, catch up with friends, and meet new ones-will include a giving tree opportunity. We hope appreciative families will take the final opportunity to support the Pat Young Heart of Stanwich Endowment Fund and perpetuate its tradition into the future under the GCDS aegis. We welcome you to attend both events. With all our activity, winter always passes quickly. Please check the Stanwich calendar for further details.

Although we can only just discern it on our horizon, graduation planning is well underway. This year with the support of college counselor Andy Ramirez-building upon the prior efforts of Matthew and Howard Greene-the Stanwich graduating class of 2019 had done extremely well in the ever more competitive admission process. Since a few of seniors are still waiting to make their choices, I will share the impressive list of their autumn destinations in March.  

This year's graduation speaker is a particularly appropriate choice. We are excited to host Sasha Chanoff at our May 31st ceremony.   In addition to being the Founder and Executive Director of RefugePoint, a humanitarian organization that finds lasting solutions for refugees, Mr. Chanoff has received the Charles Bronfman Prize for humanitarian work and the Harvard Center for Public Leadership Gleitsman International Activist Award. In 2016 Mr. Chanoff co-authored From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions, a book inspired by his mission to evacuate refugees from the violence-torn Congo.   Additionally, Mr. Chanoff's work has been featured on 60 Minutes, in The New York Times, and on National Public Radio.

This winter our setting and soundtrack has been the exciting construction underway for the Upper School commons and science classroom wing going up to the west and the new turf playing field and water treatment plant under construction to the east.   To allow renovations to begin on the west side of the existing Upper School building, classes currently in west facing classrooms and Spartan Hall activities will be relocated over spring break. These shifts will  make greater use of the classrooms to the east and underutilized space in the Lower School building. My office and the business functions will shift back to the Cottage on the corner of Stanwich and Cat Rock Roads. Drop off, pick up, and parent parking will not be affected.

Please remember to return re-enrollment contracts with the necessary deposit by this Friday and stay tuned in the next couple of months for all the exciting updates on plans and programs for the 2019-2020 academic year.

With all best wishes -

Charles Sachs
Head of School