Dear VES Parents,
It’s been a fabulous start to this school year and we, as parents, have done a lot to help VES and our students. Below is a summary of some of our activities. If you see areas where you’d like to help, please let me know or contact the committee chairs directly. Whether you are a day or boarding parent, we have lots of volunteer opportunities. You may have already signed up for a committee and been involved…but if not, it’s not too late. Special kudos to the chairs of these committees who are on top of it all and keep the Council running! I apologize for the length of this letter and hope you will take time to read it in its entirety. We have lots of good news to share!
I wish you have a relaxing and special Thanksgiving with families, friends and those you love. I’m thankful to be a part of the VES community and am glad you’re in it, too! VES has exceptional parents, faculty & staff, and students…creating a supportive and engaging community that is truly unique.
Sally Wooten, firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents Council President
Admissions: Margaret Keller (day) & Elizabeth Smith (boarding)
VES held a well-attended day student Open House on October 9. Parent volunteers helped by welcoming prospective families and answering questions. On October 29-30, VES hosted our first of two Overnight Open Houses—with our largest overnight attendance to date with 31 fantastic families. Again, parent volunteers were on hand to welcome and answer questions from prospective parents. In late September/early October, committee members called new families to see how the students are adjusting to VES and answer any questions the parents had.
Ways you can help: Send the VES Admissions office names of potential students in grades 7 and 8! Volunteer to help at the admission events and/or host an admission event in your hometown.
Arts: Laurel Feinman
VES Fine Arts have been busy this fall! We’ve had vocal and instrumental ensemble performances, an art show opening and a terrific fall play. The King/Garmey center has been put to great use!
The Taylor 2 Modern Dance Company will host master classes and perform on campus this week. Details and ticket info can be found on the VES website at www.ves.org/taylor2. Students will be treated to a performance during assembly prior to departing for the Thanksgiving break and the Friday evening performance is open to the public.
Still to come in 2017: Lessons & Carols is on Saturday evening, December 9. This is one of the most special nights of the school year for students and their families, faculty and alumni! See the weekly VES news for details RSVP at www.ves.org/Carols and purchase poinsettias that grace the chapel in honor or memory of a special person. Lessons & Carols is held in the chapel and seating is limited. An adults-focused reception is held at the Headmaster’s Residence at 6:30—between the 5 and 8 p.m. chapel services.
The winter musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” has been cast and rehearsals have already begun! Mark your calendar for performances during the weekend of February 22-24, 2018.
Our committee has supported our student artists, musicians and actors by providing refreshments during rehearsals. As is our tradition, we hosted a cast party for the fall play, where we presented gifts to the directors/faculty members who poured so much time and energy into the show. Our committee will do this again in support of the winter musical.
Ways you can help: Our committee has the pleasure of working closely with the Hospitality Committee and Catherine Varner’s Marketing and Communications office, which includes Margaret Lyle Jones, director of special events, when it comes to supporting all these fine arts events. If you’re interested in working on a committee that always has something new/different to do, we’d love to welcome you aboard! We conduct most of our work via email and SignUp Genius, with some light errand running here and there. Truly though: the very best way to support the fine arts at VES is by "talking it up" and "showing up!" Sharing events that pop up on the VES Facebook/Instagram page is free and easy—please consider doing a “Like and a Share” to your social media network the next time you see event details on your newsfeed. It’s always more fun to play to a full house.
Auction: Gina Basnight & Kari Kelly
Greetings VES family from your Auction Co-chairs! The Fall Family Weekend Auction was a fun-filled and successful evening, raising more than $40,000 in just one evening! Money raised through the Auction provides the bulk of the Parents Council operating budget. We thank our generous donors, VES faculty and staff and the generous buyers! In addition, a special shout out of thanks goes to the Auction committee as a whole—all the volunteers that helped with set-up, clean up and closing out the auction process; it could not have happened without you! Each and everyone made this evening a huge success.
We had one of the largest crowds ever and it was a wonderful evening for our VES community. Thank you to everyone for your dedication and participation. The Parents Council looks forward to appropriating these funds to enhance the VES experience for our students, faculty and staff.
Ways you can help: Start thinking about Auction 2018 and whether or not you’d like to be on the committee or donate items to the Auction!
Athletics: Alice Jones & Carla Workman
We had a great fall season for most of our sports! Teams that wanted Teams Parents had them for fall, and we will be setting up Team Parents for winter teams. Athletics at VES continue to be an integral piece for many students on their “Toward Full Stature” journey, whether they intend to pursue athletics after high school or not. It presents a great opportunity for parents to build community as they get to know each other on the sidelines, cheering on the Bishops in a variety of athletic endeavors.
Many thanks to the Fall Team Parents:
Cross Country Boys and Girls - Nancy O'Brien
Field Hockey - Carla Workman
JV Tennis - Mary Driskill
Varsity Tennis - Betsy Brogan
Volleyball - Great group effort and a special thanks to those
parents that helped with snacks, drinks and the "Pink Out Night"
Ways you can help: Serve as team parents and support the teams by attending games/matches/meets!
Development: Lucy & Robert Cook and Sally & Louis Wooten
Ways you can help: Please be on the lookout for a packet from the school on The Fund for Virginia Episcopal School (formerly the “annual fund”) and The VES Endowment & Trust. As you may know, nearly 20% of VES’ operating budget comes from private philanthropy. Your gifts help deliver the programs that distinguish VES from its peers, provide compensation and professional development opportunities to the faculty who teach and look after our children, and extend scholarships to students of all backgrounds. For our small school to be successful, all families who are able need to participate. We hope you will review these materials and consider making a gift to the area of school life that aligns with your interests.
Faculty Appreciation: Sarah Sorenson
The faculty appreciation committee is working on setting up several events. We will host a happy hour at Water Dog for the faculty on Saturday, November 18. This will be right after all the kids leave for Thanksgiving break, so we’re hoping that the teachers can relax!
We also are working with Margaret Lyle on hosting a faculty/staff cocktail party/dinner on May 4 for faculty that would coincide with the board meeting and include trustees. This will be at Ted and Sallie Craddock's house on Langhorne Road.
In between we hope to have a couple of surprise Starbucks coffee pop-ups with goodies in the faculty lounge during the cold months.
Garden Brigade: Tiffany Tompkins
Hello from the Garden Brigade: Ellen DeLuca, Virginia Rockwell, Allison Ebert, Reid Ebert and Suzanne Eaton.
Our committee has been busy sprucing up, pruning away the dead and replanting with fall/winter flowers. Shout out to Ellen DeLuca for her help planting and to Virginia Rockwell for expertise guidance! We replaced boxwood in front of King, weeded Poe white gravel, pruned back Shasta daisies, replaced summer tropical with winter pansies, planted gardenias in Poe Garden, mulched with wood chips, have been watering and spraying flowers with deer off :)!
Ways you can help: Let us know you want to join us—we have tons of fun and you can learn a lot about gardening. No green thumb necessary!
Hospitality: Merrill Watts
The hospitality committee provided snacks and greeters for the new students on move in day. We helped with preparations and registration for Founders Day and Homecoming as well as Fall Family Weekend. We will decorate the chapel for Lessons and Carols.
Ways you can help: Sign up to help at the various events.
International Students: Sarah Camden
International students and their host families were introduced at a meeting in chapel at the beginning of the school year and, since then, the families have hosted the students for dinners and weekends. Parents have helped with getting them to haircuts and other appointments and have regularly touched base with the students to make sure all is well. Students and families are looking forward to a Christmas gathering with games, hot chocolate and holiday foods. The students also will share Christmas traditions from their countries.
Ways you can help: Consider being a host family next year and let Sarah know your interest. Host families are established during the summer, as we need them in place before school starts. This is a rewarding, one-year commitment from in town families; however, a bond usually forms and the families continue to see their student for the remaining years at VES and afterwards, too!
Spiritual Life: Diane and Todd Vie
This year we have met with Chaplain Adam White and the vestry; we have officiated at two of the chapel services; and the vestry is planning to come to St. Paul's Church on November 14 for a tour of the sacristy. We plan to continue with our worship experience together at VES and working with Adam on ideas for the vestry at VES.
Student Life: Linda Duerson & Kristen Cook
This year student life has helped with the Back to School Carnival by supplying food and volunteers to face paint. We also helped with the Halloween dance by supplying Chick- Fil-A platters. Esther Johnson keeps us updated on a monthly basis as to what she needs us to help with!