December 2018
Volume 20, Number 4

38th annual Lighting O’ the Grove set for December 9

Saint Mary’s School’s invites alumnae, families, students, faculty, staff, and our local friends and neighbors to the 38th annual holiday Lighting O’ the Grove, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at 7:15 p.m., in front of Smedes Hall in the historic oak grove on the school’s front campus at 900 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The event, one of the school's beloved traditions, is free and open to all as the school’s gift to the Raleigh community.

Note: The inclement weather plan will be to reschedule to Sunday, Dec. 16, same time, same place. Please check the Saint Mary's website this weekend for confirmation if the weather is not conducive for the occasion.

Everyone is encouraged to bring at least one canned good/non-perishable food item for collection under the tree to be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

The Lighting O’ the Grove features caroling, special Christmas music by the Chorale and Ladies in Blue, the lighting of the Christmas tree, refreshments, and more. More than 600 luminaries will illuminate the historic front campus, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Memorial candles will be lit for honored alumnae, trustees, and faculty. Read the list of honorees here.

Lessons and Carols in the Saint Mary's Chapel precedes the Lighting O' the Grove at 6:30 p.m.

First WRAL Winter Wonderland held at Saint Mary’s
Saint Mary’s opened our campus, Saturday, Nov. 17, to the public for the first WRAL Winter Wonderland following the Raleigh Christmas Parade. On-air personalities from the WRAL news, sports, and weather team were on hand, including Saint Mary’s own Elizabeth Gardner ’87, meteorologist. The Winter Wonderland featured man-made snow, sledding, food trucks, the chance to meet and get a photo or autograph from the WRAL celebrities, and, of course, visits with Santa!

Saint Mary’s welcomes new board members
Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh has announced new trustees and officers for the 2018-2019 academic year. The new trustees began their service at the recent fall trustee meeting. Pictured are new board members: Brooks Bell, founder and CEO of Brooks Bell, Inc., in Raleigh; Martin W. Borden, senior vice president of Paragon Bank in Raleigh; Janie Swain Molster '78HS, president of Janie Molster Designs in Richmond. Va.; D. Ward Russell, president of Legacy Custom Homes, Inc., in Raleigh; and Maura Moylan Sullivan '87HS, director of development of Communities in Schools of Durham. The entire Board of Trustees and officers are listed here. Welcome, new trustees, and thank you, for your service and leadership!

Granddaughters Club inducts new members
The Granddaughters Club held its annual induction of new members in a ceremony in Saint Mary’s Chapel, Nov. 7, 2018. The entire club for 2018-2019 is pictured. The Granddaughters Club consists of students who are direct descendants of Saint Mary’s alumnae. Founded in 1909 by Kate McKimmon - an alumna, faculty member, and officer in the Alumnae Association - the Granddaughters Club is the oldest organization on campus. Welcome, new members!

Juniors receive rings at annual Ring Banquet
Saint Mary's juniors, the Class of 2020, received their Saint Mary's rings Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, at the annual Junior Ring Banquet in the dining hall in Chan-Poyner Hall. The Ring Banquet tradition dates back to 2002. Rings were presented this year by Head of School Brendan O'Shea and Alumnae Association co-president Merritt Atkins '99, who also delivered the keynote address. The black onyx and gold, or white gold, Saint Mary's school ring, bearing the school crest and the student's class year, is the most recognizable symbol of a Saint Mary's girl. Many Saint Mary's alumnae wear the ring for years to come, and many pass their rings down to their Saint Mary's daughters and granddaughters. While a girl is a student, she wears the ring with the seal pointing inwards toward herself. During commencement, each graduate is directed to turn the ring so that the seal is pointed out towards the world she is about to enter.

Girls, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, and friends are invited to a Christmas Tea, Sunday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m., prior to the evening’s Christmas festivities. Please join us for tea, an introduction to Saint Mary's summer camps, a lesson in the art of high English tea, and a visit from a certain jolly fellow! $15 for adults; $8 for children under 12. Register here

Sign up today for a Saint Mary’s North Carolina license plate
Our deadline of December 15 is just around the corner, and we still need 80 signatures to reach the required 500 to allow us to apply to the North Carolina DMV for a Saint Mary’s vanity plate for alumnae, parents, and friends! If you already signed up, consider signing up for a second vehicle! Have a new driver in the house? Sign-up for them! Be sure to share with your classmates and friends! Register online

Auction 2019 news
Saint Mary's Auction 2019 is in the works! We are grateful to those who have already sent in their sponsorships, and we are hopeful that, if you are not already a sponsor,  you will consider becoming one to support this exciting evening of fellowship and fundraising. Deadline for inclusion on the printed invitation is just around the corner. Click here for more information, and click here to complete a sponsorship form.  The auction invitation print deadline is coming soon, so be sure to get your form to us as soon as possible to be included on that invitation.

Individual ticket sales open in January, and we expect a sold-out event. Now is a good time to start planning with your Saint Mary’s friends to share a table! Also, we are still procuring items for our Live Auction if you have one to offer.

Proceeds from Auction 2019 will provide a new sound system for Pittman Auditorium, built in 1907 and a building at the heart of life on campus. Sound system upgrades will address an immediate need for the school and support the update of the building as part of the school's master plan. Questions? Email Liza Williams at

Is Saint Mary’s on your Christmas gift list this year?
Christmas is quickly approaching, with December 30 fast on its heels! As you celebrate this season of giving, please renew or increase your gift this year to Saint Mary’s Annual Fund. Alumnae gifts have an immediate, positive impact on the lives of girls and the legacy of our school. Your gifts support every aspect of the Saint Mary’s experience by providing the resources for:

  • recruiting and enrolling deserving students regardless of financial need 
  • more than 25 visual and performing arts events annually and 11 sports teams competing in more than 200 games/matches a year
  • library resources, faculty and staff salaries, and more than 30 student clubs and organizations
  • a one-to-one technology program and provide campus-wide technology upgrades 
  • a comprehensive and immersive learning experience in and out of the classroom, including leadership, educational, and service-related activities beyond Saint Mary’s gates; and more. Your gifts also help us maintain this beautiful, historic campus comprised of 27 buildings on 23 acres. 

Make your gift before Dec. 30, 2018, at and you’ll immediately receive a tax-receipt for this calendar year in your email. 

Click on these links for important information and alumnae resources.
Reunion Weekend, May 3-4, 2019, for classes ending in four and nine 
Alumnae Bazaar, May 4, 2018, (vendor information and registration form) 
Alumnae Milestones Online (obituaries, marriages, engagements, births)
Update My Information (Update your address, phone, email, birthday - to receive a special greeting each year; or share your life news.)
Make a Gift Online – Support Saint Mary’s Annual Fund with a gift to the school!
Alumnae web page – Visit the Alumnae web page for links to all things Saint Mary’s - request a transcript, wedding/event rentals, order a Heritage Walk brick, school store, photo galleries, and more.

Saint Mary's 2018-2019 schedule of regional and campus events is in full swing. Be on the lookout for invitations - electronic and/or hard copy. If you do not live in one of these cities but will be in the area and would like to attend, you are welcome to attend. Event details are posted on the website and you may respond electronically or by mailing in your RSVP card.

38th annual Lighting O’ the Grove (7:15 p.m.) and Lessons and Carols in the Chapel (6:30 p.m.) – December 9, 2018 (Inclement weather plan - rescheduled to December 16, 2018)
Christmas Tea for girls, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, friends – December 9, 4:00 p.m.
Pensacola, Fla. – January 10, 2019
Jacksonville, Fla. – January 16, 2019
Ocean Reef, Fla. – January 17, 2019
Palm Beach, Fla. – January 18, 2019
Philadelphia – January 28, 2019
Alumnae Council Winter meeting – February 7-8, 2019
Durham, N.C. – February 12, 2019
Saint Mary’s School Auction – February 22, 2019, Angus Barn Pavilions
Long Beach, Calif. – February 28, 2019
Los Angeles – February 29, 2019
Reunion Weekend for classes ending in four and nine - Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, 2019: 
Sunday, May 19: Commencement for the 177th session

Click on the photo to view photos from Saint Mary's recent alumnae events, such as the one pictured here in Washington, D.C., in November.

Saint Mary's School is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory, boarding and day school dedicated to academic excellence and personal achievement for girls in grades 9-12.

Saint Mary's School
900 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27603


To unsubscribe from Around the Grove, please click here.