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Caulley and Alex Deringer ’82 P’23 ’26

Caulley and Alex Deringer ’82 P’23 ’26

On paper, the Episcopal High School that Caulley Deringer ’82 knew as a student in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the Episcopal he and his wife Alex know now as parents are very different. Tennis courts stood on the part of campus where Callaway Chapel and Henderson Hall, housing Hummel and McGuire Dormitories, are now located; students attended fifteen seated meals per week, all in coat and tie; and the school is now coed. Yet when the Deringer boys, Caulley ’23 and Bowen ’26, became interested in boarding schools, Caulley knew that Episcopal remained an extraordinary place.

“The basic principles of Episcopal have always been there,” Caulley says of the core tenets of the School — from rigorous academics, developing leaders, teaching moral courage and of course living with the Honor Code. Their sons grew up hearing about the importance and meaning of the Honor Code from their dad, “so much so that they got tired of me talking about it,” jokes Caulley. The Deringers are proud to maintain a connection with a school that has served their family well, especially as the institution has progressed into the 21st century. “We appreciate how the school has also transformed to become more in touch with what society is today, which is a much more diverse and complex world, which is one more reason we thought it was a perfect fit for us,” Caulley notes.

As parents, Caulley and Alex have seen how the School helps students prosper not only academically but also athletically, artistically, and socially. Reflecting on the time that his eldest son spent at Episcopal, Caulley says, “He had wonderful mentors as advisors, coaches, and teachers that put him on the right path, and I think the school recognized the personal goals he was trying to accomplish and really helped make that happen for him.” The Deringers are equally excited to see how their younger son continues to build meaningful relationships with other students and faculty and fully hit his stride as an EHS student. Because of the experiences of their sons and themselves as community members, Alex says, “Our heart truly does belong to Episcopal.”

Caulley and Alex believe that giving back includes much more than monetary gifts. “Everybody in a community, in a school, in an organization has something to offer of value,” she says. The Deringers have done just that — they were senior parent Roll Call chairs in 2022-23, have hosted externships at their commercial real estate and interior design businesses, and held gatherings on behalf of Episcopal at their Alexandria home, among many other instances of volunteering for the School. They have also worked to instill this generous spirit of giving to Episcopal in their children.

“We push them each to give a little bit each year,” Caulley explains of instilling the spirit and action of philanthropy in their sons. “They say, ‘Why am I giving money to the school? I’m only fifteen!’ but it’s good to get into the motion and the routine of it. They recognize that the School doesn’t stand on its own just by tuition. The generosity of others in many capacities really makes the School flourish, and I want them to understand that. If you believe in that institution, what it’s done for you, then give something to preserve and enhance its future.”