generous donors, many of whom have become close personal friends. “The Annual Fund’s success has been thanks to collaboration between the Office of Institutional Advancement, Annual Fund chairs, grade captains, and many wonderful, generous constituents. We have all worked hard to put new life into the Annual Fund,” Neely continues. “Hands down, what I will miss the most about St. Andrew’s is the people – my colleagues, the students, and all of the wonderful families who are part of the St. Andrew’s community. You would be hard pressed to find a better environment to work in anywhere. I’ve loved developing relationships with so many people I would not have otherwise known. Over the past 15 years, I can honestly say there has not been one single day that I have not looked forward to coming to work.”
dents some things that are worth knowing. “Without a doubt, what I’ll miss the most is the people – my Latin-teaching colleagues Debbie Good and Philip Cortese, with whom I have shared the daily excitement of making a dead language live, and my adult friends, with whom I have shared a love of good books and teaching young people. And most of all, I’ll miss my students, who have made every day of my work worthwhile.”
LIBBY WALDEN Director of Seventh and Eighth Grade and Upper School Choral Music Libby Walden has spent the last 11 years helping St. Andrew’s Middle School and Upper School students experience the joy of music. Walden has dedicated her professional life to teaching choral music to young people; she joined the St. Andrew’s faculty after spending 29 years with the Jackson Public Schools as a junior and senior high school choral director. “As far as my career at St. Andrew’s, I’ve had the privilege of continuing to build the school’s already great choral department,” Walden says. “What I’ll miss most is the awesome care and support of the St. Andrew’s family. The only thing I won’t miss? Fire drills!” Highlights of Walden’s St. Andrew’s career include a 2008 trip to Carnegie Hall, where a group of her St. Andrew’s students performed with the Mississippi College Singers and the Mississippi Girlchoir; continuing the longstanding St. Andrew’s tradition of earning superior ratings in sight reading and performance at district and state choral festivals; and working on musical productions with her good friend Ray McFarland, chair of the St. Andrew’s Performing Arts Department. “Concert openers and finales are always highlights for me because all my choir students are on stage and singing together,” Walden says. “One of the great joys of teaching all ages is to watch them grow up right before my eyes.” Walden has received dozens of notes and letters from former students, including one written by a St. Andrew’s 2011 graduate, who studied choral music under her as a fifth grader. “You feel a little bit like my mom. Why is this the case? Maybe it has something to do with how long you’ve been my teacher, or how long you’ve been the director of songs I’ve sung and been my leader by example. Maybe it’s because you seem like a motherly person to me, the way you care about your students in matters of both success and wellbeing.” “I guess that’s why many of my students over the past 40 years call me ‘Mama’ Walden,” Walden says. “I am more than happy to answer to that name.”
PATSY RICKS Classical Languages Department Chair As chair of the Classical Languages Department and an Upper School Latin teacher, Patsy Ricks has spent 15 years bringing a “dead” language to life for St. Andrew’s students. “During my years at St. Andrew’s, Latin has become an essential part of the school culture thanks to the people with whom I teach,” Ricks says. “For the past five years, we’ve celebrated Rome’s birthday with an all-day event in which we dress in togas, parade, present handson Latin activities, and build Rome in a day. This year, we created a Pompeii museum with artifacts housed in the gallery of a Roman house in the midst of an exploding Mt. Vesuvius. It’s been exciting to see others, especially the students, get excited about something I’m passionate about.” Ricks led 14 St. Andrew’s trips to Italy, introducing some 300 students to the wonders of Italian culture. She also arranged and led two St. Andrew’s Classical Schools in Italy over the summer, sharing her in-depth knowledge with 28 students. When asked to describe her single most favorite memory from her time at St. Andrew’s, Ricks can’t choose just one. “The entirety of my years at St. Andrew’s has been my greatest memory,” Ricks says. “I spent 13 years at two other schools, and while they were pleasant enough places to work, they could not match my St. Andrew’s experience. What I’ve found here is a wonderful, caring, intelligent, and forward-thinking faculty and administration. I’ve learned so much from the many adults here who are genuinely interested in sharing with one another. I’ve also found that at St. Andrew’s, students and teachers have very close and meaningful relationships. I can only hope that I’ve taught these stu39
Published on May 22, 2014
Published on May 22, 2014
Archways is the flagship publication from St. Andrew's Episcopal School, an independent, coeducational, preparatory day school serving stude...