Close

Message From the Head of School

Charley Stillwell

Message From the Head of School

2019-20 has been an unprecedented time in Episcopal’s 181-year history. As one of the few 100% boarding schools in the country, we always have prided ourselves on the strength of our community, and this past year reminded us in powerful and challenging ways just how critically important community is to our success here on campus. The Covid-19 pandemic, the emotion and reckoning of the call across the country for racial justice, and the move to a distance-learning model led us to examine our understanding of what a truly healthy community should mean on The Holy Hill, and I watched in awe as our students, parents, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni faced the numerous challenges around us with resilience, courage, and a renewed determination to live our mission in the most effective and meaningful ways possible. 

While we adjusted to distance learning, we discovered new ways to support each other and come together from across the world. Juniors designed clever and heartfelt virtual tributes to honor the seniors as friends and mentors. Alumni and parents in China donated 15,000 masks to protect those on campus. Families gifted their tuition reimbursements to the Roll Call. Teachers gave up their spring breaks to chaperone and care for students who could not return home due to travel restrictions and remained on campus. Our dedicated dining hall staff stayed on to feed our community in a time of great duress. Board members rallied around the School in incredible ways to help us reach our financial goals. And our alumni continued to give generously throughout a time of financial uncertainty.

As we honor the community members who contributed to EHS in a myriad of ways, we also look to the School’s future with the steady progress of the 2018 Strategic Plan. By adding two new dorms and maintaining enrollment size, we will reduce the number of students on each dorm, creating a more intimate atmosphere where the students and faculty living together can build stronger relationships. The new Health Center will be fully equipped to help protect the health and safety of our community — something we are particularly focused on during the pandemic. We developed our new Board-level Task Force on Racism, Understanding, and Belonging and committed ourselves to becoming more intentionally antiracist as a school community and to implementing the goals in our Strategic Plan to build a more inclusive and welcoming campus. The McCain-Ravenel Center for Intellectual and Moral Courage enhanced experiential learning in Washington, expanded both the junior and senior externship programs, and built a pivotal partnership with the McCain Institute. The School added nearly $900,000 to the annual financial aid budget and established five new scholarship funds, two of which are fully funded.

In times like these, it is inspiring to look at the people who define a community. To every person who helped ensure the School’s future, thank you. Because of your generosity and dedication, we have exceeded our goals for the fiscal year, and we remain indebted to every participant for believing in and investing in the good of the School.

Stillwell

Charles M. Stillwell P’18
Head of School