- A Bond of Brotherhood
- A Great Leader Cares
- SAA Parents Believe in our Mission
- Oratory Titans in the Making
- Manners Still Matter at SAA
- Reflecting on the Future
A Bond of BrotherhoodWhen watching and listening to graduates at Alumni Council meetings, Alumni Day, and most recently, the Fall Family Fair, it is easy to see San Antonio Academy is truly a bond of brothers. Seeing the smiling faces, hearty handshakes, and laughter as they told stories from past days at The Academy made me proud to be a part of a school that is so special to so many men. Some say brotherhood is a term that is difficult to accurately define. I would argue that all you have to do is spend some time around San Antonio Academy students and alumni and you will see what brotherhood looks like in action.
The brotherhood at SAA is a based on a bond of boys and men from various backgrounds, beliefs, locations, and ages all committed to a specific set of life principles: “Be honest. Be kind. Be the best you can be.” Being around such camaraderie is infectious. I know that I want to be a part of that connection, and I’m doing my best to build relationships with our students as quickly as possible. Small group lunches, classroom visits, gummy worms, recess, sporting events, and an alumni guest speaker in chapel are some of the opportunities that have allowed me to experience the brotherhood that exists at SAA.
I will take as many opportunities as possible to spend time with our boys and alumni, getting to know them, and letting them get to know me. It is important to me that they know I am 100% invested in their success and well-being. This endeavor will take time. Nevertheless, I am committed to building these friendships and will do my best to become a part of the culture of "connectedness" that makes San Antonio Academy a place that changes boys’ lives and inspires men to return decades later to experience that brotherhood once more.
A Great Leader Cares
As part of my chapel talks, you may remember hearing that “a person who cares for others can make a positive difference in the world.” And, “A great leader is one who seeks out opportunities to help others in need.” Whether it is showing kindness in the classroom, compassion on the playground, or pitching in to help those in need in our community and beyond, San Antonio Academy strives to lend our time and talents to show we care by helping others.
This year SAA boys and families have given their time to volunteer for many worthy causes around San Antonio including collecting and delivering relief supplies to areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey, packed 12,120 lbs of food at the SA Food Bank (and later planted and harvested cabbages at its Urban Farm) assembled toiletry packages for Haven for Hope and Christian Assistance Ministry, and planted mudball seeds for spring flowers at the Phil Hardberger Park -- and that’s all before our Holiday Service Projects begin!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What we are speaks louder than what we say.” I believe this to be true and that is why we continue to provide opportunities for our boys to give back to the community in meaningful, hands-on ways. In all that we do, let’s teach our boys how to live fulfilling lives of leadership, accomplishment and contribution. Teaching our boys to give of their time, talent and treasure in the service of others will help equip them to become future leaders on a pathway to success, happiness, and fulfillment.
SAA Parents Believe in our Mission
Did you know that our parents are rock stars in disguise? That’s what I’ve witnessed in just the short time I’ve spent here at SAA as head of school. On any given day you can find a parent supporting The Academy in so many different ways.
Whether it’s giving of their time and talents volunteering as class representatives; manning snack and ice cream sales to feed our hungry boys; decorating and chaperoning a dance; or serving on one of countless committees, such as the Parent Education Committee, which brings amazing speakers to our community, our parents are behind it all.
I’m also told that parents come together to make sure our cadets are well-hydrated during the Alamo guard shift during the Battle of the Flowers Parade in April – I can’t wait to attend my first BOF Parade! Let’s not forget the generous faculty & staff appreciation days, when the teacher workroom is filled with delicious treats including breakfast tacos. And if you’ve attended any of my chapels, well then you know how passionate I am about breakfast tacos!
Parents show up during the freezing weather in January to lead tours for Admissions Open House so they can share their personal experiences as being a part of the Academy culture. The 8th grade parents, in part, spend their final year at SAA raising money for the 8th Grade Class gift to ensure that, along with making memories, the boys leave a meaningful, lasting legacy as a tribute to the time they spent at San Antonio Academy of Texas.
While SAA parents work tirelessly for our school, they also show their support for our mission through giving to the Annual Fund. Over the past nine years, they have shown their confidence for our school with 100% participation, a truly chart topping statistic that is impressive for any school (only 3% of schools in the nation achieve this level of participation). Parents are an integral part of the SAA team. We are GRATEFUL for your continued dedication. YOU rock!
Oratory Titans in the MakingGreat public speaking is a skill I think we all wish to possess. The ability to present a well-organized, persuasive or entertaining speech is an exhilarating experience, and it is an integral part of the curriculum at San Antonio Academy. Public oration dates back to the ancient Greeks. Men like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Demosthenes developed an extraordinary ability to use public speaking as a way to educate, persuade and lead people. Although these men have been known throughout history as Titans of oration, they did not magically become great communicators overnight. They had to practice, and even fail at times, before they developed the skills to inspire and educate.
At San Antonio Academy, we provide our young men with many opportunities to hone their oratory skills so they are equipped to be future leaders who have confidence and proficiency in the art of public speaking. In just the last two months alone, SAA boys have showcased their speaking talents in many diverse ways. Whether it’s performing Shakespeare in the original Elizabethan language in front of their peers and parents, describing a scientific method to an esteemed judge during the Science Fair, or testing their Spanish-speaking abilities through citywide poetry competitions, our students are gaining invaluable experience in effective public speaking.
Lastly, let’s not forget our youngest guys, who, at the very beginning of their Academy career, are introduced to public speaking through the Pre-K plays. Their recent March production is a true testament that even four and five year-olds, given the right instruction, can memorize words and deliver those lines with great (adorable) affect.
Manners Still Matter at SAA
Once visitors arrive to our campus, they quickly notice the politeness on display from Academy boys. Holding doors open for others and saying thank you and please, are all a part of daily occurrences at SAA. Our boys are known throughout the city for their respectful behavior and good manners. Good manners demonstrate a kind heart and reflect a person’s character -- a trait that The Academy has strived to instill in our young men for many generations. I am so pleased that our school community continues to embrace the belief that the golden rule never goes out of style, and manners still matter.
As our boys grow up in a challenging world, it is essential that we continue to teach the value of respect for others and for one’s self. Boys are reminded of these qualities throughout the entire school day -- in chapel and in the classroom, on the playground and at P.E. Earlier this school year, I noticed one Academy boy in particular who had the most impeccable manners and the kindest disposition. I asked him, “Christopher, who on Earth taught you to be so polite? You have the most incredible manners my boy!” He smiled and without hesitation replied, “Well sir, my mother is polite, my father is polite, and, well sir, I guess, I caught it from them.”
There are few things more contagious than good manners. Manners are a valuable asset that cost nothing, but have value beyond measure. And thanks to you, parents, you are reinforcing those assets at home. Together, we can work as a team to help guide our boys to become men of character who will lead others with kindness, honesty and use good manners to be the best they can be.
Reflecting on the Future
As the school year winds down, some say it’s customary to write about reflections of the year gone past. And oh what a year it has been! The boys had an outstanding time; truly worthy of praise and appreciation. Our entire SAA family -- students, parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends of The Academy -- have all demonstrated the honesty, kindness and commitment to excellence that we talk about and reinforce in Chapel each day. The faculty, staff and administration have worked tirelessly to make our first year together a success, and the bond of brotherhood is certainly alive and well at San Antonio Academy. And even though it may be customary to finish the year with a letter about the past, I want to take this opportunity to talk about the future.
I am already looking forward to seeing our boys’ return in August, excited about their new school year and ready to take on the new challenges that await them. From our Wildcat sports and Robotics competitions, to the 1st Grade Bike Race and Homecoming Weekend, where the Fall Family Fair and Alumni Day will bring us together again to celebrate our school’s culture and history. Let’s not forget the grandparents’ grade-level lunches, which are always a highlight of the year for our students, and now, for me. I see the possibility of future Chapels with new, engaging guest speakers who will motivate and inspire our boys. SAA parent volunteers are also already working hard to plan and prepare for next year. Their enthusiasm, dedication and creativity help make the ‘magic’ happen here at SAA, and I cannot wait to see what they come up with next year.
In our future, I see even greater learning opportunities for our boys, preparing them for success in today’s world. Leadership and character education will remain the cornerstones of our school’s foundation. We will continue to develop a curriculum committed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), language arts, writing, oration and debate, while promoting the fine arts, athletics and extracurricular activities. These educational experiences will mold our little guys into modern-day Renaissance men.
So while it is easy to look back with fond memories of this year, I am equally enthusiastic about looking to the future of SAA with all the possibilities that lie ahead. Although I hope everyone is as thrilled as I am about next fall, I also hope you to take a break, enjoy the outdoors, and spend some quality time with family and friends. Unplug, look for opportunities to help others, and don’t forget your summer reading. We have made memories this year that will last a lifetime, and I am grateful to be a part of our historic school.