After spending their entire academic careers under the pines, 11 seniors will be “shirted” during the annual Lifers’ Shirting Ceremony.
Class of 2019 Lifers are Emily Clarke, Karis Curtis, Hannah Flamm, Vasilios “Billy” Gioulos, Lily Lange, John Carlo Letizia, Maria Mack, Dylan McNamara, Joseph Sansone, Aya Wazaz, and Maxwell Wolpert.
The yearly tradition has been a staple at Hamden Hall since 1982 when then-PreKindergarten teacher Kathie Harris created the event to help publicize the annual Valentine Cookie Sale. By shirting the Lifers, Mrs. Harris established walking advertisements for the bake sale, which has also been a heartfelt tradition since 1942!
This year, the Early Childhood Valentine Bake Sale is scheduled for Thursday, February 14, from 8 - 11:30 a.m., in the Kindergarten classroom. In addition to scoping out the treats for sale, students, families, and visitors will be entertained by the PreSchool, PreKindergarten, and Kindergarten students performing short songs. The proceeds of the sale are used to fund new equipment and materials to enhance our Early Childhood Program, and a portion of this year's funds will support The ALS Association in honor of former Lower School Director, Andrew Niblock, who is battling the disease.
The T-shirts for the ceremony have also been created by the youngsters in the Early Childhood Program. This year, the students drew themselves as “heart” people, according to Early Childhood Director Catelin Fee.
The red shirts will be placed over the heads of the Lifers as well as Student Body President Shaw Mettler, Class of 2019. In addition, this year former faculty member Barbara Beitch will be “shirted” in honor of her commitment to the Lower School. Barbara established the Deborah Beitch Jenness 1982 Memorial Fund (in memory of her daughter), which supports a Lower School initiative each year. A former math and science teacher, Barbara retired from Hamden Hall in 2004 after 33 years under the pines.
As for this year’s Lifers, all are so involved in the life of the school.
“Being a part of a community like Hamden Hall has been such a massive part of my life. For over a dozen years, I have been able to go to the same place, daily, yet have so many unique experiences,” said John Carlo Letizia, who began his tenure in Kindergarten.