A Message from the Head of School

Dear Friends of Sewickley Academy,

What a year the 2013-2014 School year was! We graduated 76 outstanding young men and women, who have now begun their collegiate careers exceptionally well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. T.S. Eliot noted, in the “East Coker” section of his Four Quartets, that “In the end is my beginning” and “In the beginning is my end,” a framing that reminds us that how we begin our journey very often determines how we will conclude. Providing students a robust foundation for future growth and learning demands that, beginning in Prekindergarten, we remain ever mindful that the future is now, that every day, both in and out of our classrooms, we are establishing the dispositions and habits of mind for life-long learning that will allow our graduates, long after they have left us, to thrive no matter what changing circumstances they encounter.

In our own efforts to change to meet the needs of our students, construction began on the renovations of the Oliver Building last March, a project completed by the opening of school this fall. Beginning with our faculty’s wishes for “best-in-standard” teaching and learning spaces for the sciences in the 21st Century, our architect, alumnus Jonathan Glance ’93, was able to create a design that meets our current and future needs while also tying into the historical architecture of the school. This balance of tradition and innovation stands as a metaphor for much of our work at the school today. Literally and figuratively, we build on the successes of the past as we strive to ensure the best possible educational environment and opportunities for today’s and tomorrow’s students.

And all of what we have been able to accomplish is due to the tremendous generosity and support of our loyal community. Joining together, our benefactors have allowed us to reopen the Oliver Building without incurring any debt; our generous contributors have also supported our thoughtful steps towards harnessing the power of mobile technology for our faculty in their work with our students. A $50,000 grant from Home & School last year allowed us to put an iPad into the hands of every faculty member, and work has continued to anticipate a time when students in Grade 4 through 12 will be able to access the internet from their own mobile device.

The strength of the school today reflects the collective commitment on the part of our faculty and staff, 98% of who made a gift to the school last year, including 100% of our maintenance team, as well as on the part of our remarkably dedicated Board of Trustees, 100% of whom made a gift in support of our work. As you will note in the pages of this report, the Academy remains in solid financial shape, and this allows us to be bold in focusing on teaching and learning, for while balanced budgets, handsome buildings, and robust technology are all important to creating the essential Academy experience, the truth is that none of these things can ever replace the centrality of the student-teacher relationship that is at the heart of the Sewickley experience.

To those of you who chose to make a gift in support of the school this past year, I say thank you. To those of you who have benefitted from the generosity of those who have contributed both last year and in prior years, I say it is never too late to join us. If we can have “all hands on deck,” there is no telling what we will be able to accomplish. One thing we know for sure, however: we honor our students both for who they are and for who they will become, and we relish the journey along the way, through our philanthropic support of the school.

With appreciation for all you make possible,

Kolia O’Connor
Head of School