With Saturday's commencement ceremony for the Class of 2019, we reached the end of another successful year at St. Paul's School. The 73 members of the Class of 2019 will head to 48 different schools next year, but they carry with them the shared values, deep knowledge, and lasting relationships they gained during their time together at St. Paul's. Participating in the closing ceremonies across campus reminds me that the ultimate goal of our work, in and out of the classroom, is to help our students develop into people who live by faith, compassion, and integrity. It is a humbling responsibility.
Looking back on the 2018-19 school year, we have much to celebrate. School spirit was higher than ever over the last nine months, particularly during Spirit Week when all divisions came together to participate in a rally for the varsity lacrosse team before their final conference game against Boys' Latin. An impressive 26 seniors have committed to playing interscholastic athletics next year, making it an exciting year to be a Crusader fan. Special events like Friday Night Lights, the chili cook-off, and more created an enhanced sense of unity and school pride.
We continue to grow our international travel programing, pursuing our commitment to global mindedness. This year, our Upper School Model UN team traveled to South Africa. Next year we will add to our Middle School service-learning trips with another trip to Costa Rica and a new environmental science trip to Iceland. We have also developed a new exchange partnership with the Cargilfield School in Edinburgh Scotland for Middle School boys and girls. We are in ongoing talks with Glasgow Academy to participate in a global teacher pedagogy study. These trips get us closer to the goal of having all our students experience foreign travel before graduation.
In addition, I am proud of the steps we are taking to expand our students' exposure to hands-on, problem-based learning. In the last few weeks, we had our sixth-grade book launch where each student spoke about the process of writing his own book. We also hosted the inaugural Crusader Con event—a 21st-century update to the classic eighth-grade speech—which included podcasts and PowerPoint presentations on topics relevant to adolescent boys. The fourth grade had their Tour de Fourth—a capstone project featuring bikes designed and built from scratch in The Hub, our Lower School science and innovation lab. The Upper School added higher-level computer science to the curriculum this year. These endeavors all celebrate 21st-century skills and make learning relevant and engaging.
Of course, the excitement continues around construction of the new 60,000-square-foot Upper School building, which will provide our students and teachers with a modern facility that optimizes and inspires learning. When you return in the fall, campus undoubtedly will look different, including a new loop road that opened this week. By rerouting the campus roadway behind the new building, we are establishing a continuous, vehicle-free quad for our students to enjoy. Thank you for your continued support and flexibility around this project.
Fundraising continues to be critical to our efforts to provide the rich curricular and co-curricular experience our students and faculty expect. I am grateful to the faculty, staff, parents, alumni, grandparents and friends who have contributed more than $3 million this year. And I congratulate the Alumni and Parents' Associations for the great success of this year's Brooklandwood Bash, and for the many other ways they support the school.
In closing, I extend my thanks to our many volunteers, led by Parents' Association President Jennie Ray and Alumni Association President Josh Scheinker '92. I appreciate all the hard work of the Board of Trustees, who led us through our first year as a unified campus and continue to help us maximize the resources and opportunities available to all students of The St. Paul's Schools. Finally, I want to publicly thank Penny Evins in her final days as Head of School at SPSG for being an outstanding partner over the last six years.
Thanks for all you have done to make this year such a success. I wish you and your family a wonderful summer.
David C. Faus