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As I write this final message from my desk this year, I want to congratulate our students and faculty on a fantastic year. This year came with many glorious moments, and we were so grateful as a community for the many collective highs. The year also presented a unique set of challenges, and as always, our community rose to these challenges. I am proud of our students and their growth mindset, perseverance, and grit. I commend our faculty and staff for their hard work, commitment, and dedication. I am grateful for our families and their thoughtfulness, patience, and support. Congratulations to our SMA Community for finishing strong as we look forward to a happy summer and look ahead at next year with optimism and hope. I hope all of you take some time this summer to take very good care of yourself. 

At SMA, this summer will be especially busy with construction projects that will enhance our campus safety, community health, and STEAM program. One particular crane has already swung into action for work at the Bishop Evans Sports Center. Take a sneak peek at the transformations you’ll see at Back-to-School 2023.

Lower School Update. A new main entrance vestibule with two-point badge scanning access will add another measure of security to the Lower School. There will also be new doors on the University Boulevard side of the building providing no-vision security enhancements. In addition, students and staff will enjoy an airy main hallway with stunning graphics, lighting, and new carpeting, and two classrooms will be completely renovated. 

Middle School Makerspace. On the heels of the High School STEAM Wing that premiered last fall, the Middle School will cut the ribbon on the first phase of its Makerspace. The space will be conducive for collaboration, design-thinking, and problem-solving with new STEAM-based electives along with integrated projects across core subjects.

Middle School Commons Upgrade. We’re introducing new technology to the MS Commons as well, with a large-scale video screens, built-in microphone system, and speaker system, upgrading the quality and effectiveness of internal and external presentations and events.

A/C in BESC. Air conditioning is being installed in our main gym over the next the next four weeks, promising an ultra cool experience for summer camp and Athletics training and tryouts. This increases the comfort and safety of our student-athletes and spectators year-round, not to mention the everyday PE classes.

Athletic Fields Turfing, New Scoreboard. Our great green campus is getting even greener. Imagine three new acres of eco-friendly turf for those hard-running feet of our student-athletes and recess enthusiasts! We’re rolling out Greenfields Allsport XP/Ultra Athletic Turf this summer on the West Soccer Field and Baseball Field over a Schmitz Foam Pro Play undersurface pad. The new playing surfaces will include entirely organic infill properties, including Amorim cork to improve durability and structural integrity. The level playing fields will increase player safety. The turf allows for easy snow removal, clearing the way for PE, recess, and game days. We’ll save 250,000 gallons of water annually, too, in keeping with our Loretto commitment to the environment. These improvements bring all our playing fields up to the caliber of our showcase Pam Bent Turf Field. 

At the same time, the Pam Bent Field will have a new topline digital Daktronics Scoreboard and sound system installed in time for all of our fall Athletics events and expanded use for other community events.

Community Gardens Are Growing. We couldn’t wait for summer to start our community gardens project. You may have noticed the many raised plant beds that have sprung up on campus. Even our youngest students are stepping through the gardening process through new STEAM curriculum opportunities.

Many of these projects are made possible through your support of our 2023 Gala Paddle Raise for our Wellness Outside the Classroom Initiative that raised $310,000. I’d also like to give a special thanks to Roger Brown, vice president of operations, for his incredible leadership and expertise this year that launched the many enhancements underway at SMA. He is clearly devoted to the health, wellbeing, and safety of our community. I’d also like to thank our SMA Board of Trustees for embracing these early projects as part of our long-range campus master plan. 

Thank you to all the visionaries working on behalf of St. Mary’s Academy to bring about positive change, in and out of the classroom. If you haven’t already, please participate in the SMA Vision Survey to share your experiences and aspirations, as your ideas will play a crucial role in shaping the future of SMA. 

Here’s to more groundbreaking adventures together. Happy Summer!