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Passing the Quaran-time A collection of art, photos, and writing excerpts from our students, faculty, and staff during the spring of 2020.

"Through times of great difficulty everyone looks to someone or something for a sense of comfort. For me this place of comfort is a white wooden bench on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. While a bench seems like an odd source of comfort, it is a place to think and reflect on everything that is going on in one’s life. This place absorbs all the stresses in my life and makes them nonexistent even if for the moment. Almost every time I go to Rehoboth I head to the boardwalk to sit on one of the benches and look at the road into Rehoboth. It is as if I can see the whole town from this little bench on the boardwalk. I honestly cannot remember a time when benches just like this one weren’t there welcoming visitors with open arms." — Gabriella Novello '21
"Our family relationships have intensified. No longer are we ships passing in the night with weekends together. Now, we are together all of the time and I love it. My mother lives with me along with my husband and twin 8 year olds. Seeing my mom and girls spend months of quality time together is an irreplaceable gift that wouldn't have come without COVID. We are eternally grateful for that." — Ms. Mary Foard, Middle School Counseling

Artwork submitted by Elizabeth Biran '22

Submitted by Cooper Morton '26 (letter), Ms. Mary Carrington, Teel Campus Library (print), and Kyla Towa '26 (drawing)

birdsong

barren sky blue flight

path gone; robin sings longing

reunion absent.

Poem and artwork submitted by Mr. Eric Witzel, Upper School Science

Destination Isolation

In this time of social distancing and isolation from friends, I take a moment to realize how one of my favorite places is actually one of welcomed isolation in more normal times. It’s a simple place at our house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My favorite time to go to my favorite spot is at night, especially after a crystal-clear, cloudless sky like today. It’s almost like a routine for me.

I remove my bike from under the house, and I hear the bugs buzzing like they are all singing with excitement. As my feet turn the pedals around in endless circles, I can feel the cool, welcome breeze through my hair after a hot humid summer day. The trees sway in the wind amidst the muted laughs of people in the distance. As I approach the dark sidewalk leading to the beach, I hop off my lime green bike, letting go of the sticky handlebars.

I walk on the sidewalk under the dark tunnel of trees, with the surrounding leaves laughing in the wind. I start to smell the crisp warm air of the water being pushed towards the sand. As I inhale, I can almost taste the saltiness of the ocean through my nose to my tongue. I continue to walk, up five stairs to the top of the path. I just stop and look. Straight ahead the subtle horizon separates the blue-black ocean from the dark night sky, with the moon beams kissing the waves. To the right is the spattering of boats and buildings along the endless canvas of the beach. Along the sand the lights of the lanterns and flashlights dance in the quest for “ghost crabs”. I sit down on the wood bench to my left and take a long breath of the summer air. The sound of children is unmistakable, with their laughing and screaming in both excitement and fear of the elusive little white sand crabs sprinting away from them....

As I sit I wonder about something I hadn’t thought about before this time of social distancing and quarantine. Will there will ever be a time where I can share this spot with my friends? I just hope and listen to the sound of the silence, my favorite sound.

Submitted by Caroline DiPaola '23

"As we enter into summer, we have no idea what the fall holds when it comes to school. Will it be full in session in the classrooms, back to learning and teaching remotely from home, or some hybrid combination? Time will tell. We all have resilience and will do the best with the situation, but it certainly makes you appreciate things in a new way. As teachers, we have grown in our flexibility, our creativity, and our ability to learn to teach in new ways. As a result, we are stronger and better off for it...but we are tired! Summer will feel so good in order to have time to step away, decompress, reflect, and then rebound." — Ms. Vicki Dabrowka, Lower School Technology

Artwork submitted by Flora Damon '20

The Floor Is Wet Again

The floor is wet again with tears. A small puddle tucked away, hidden, in the far corner of the house.

They’re probably just one of the kid’s—upset from the cruelty of another sibling. Or maybe, possibly more likely, the short fuse of a parent.

Or maybe they’re mine. Unhealthy habits. Gas tank on empty — trying to parent, and work, and be an adequate spouse. Fighting to find the balance of Zoom meetings—laundry — meals — elementary homeschooling — breaking up sibling fights...

Where will I choose to fall short today?

Submitted by anonymous

"Some classes remained the same, while some changed drastically, both good and bad. That is the best way, to sum up, the experience of online school; a mix of good times and bad times. Above all, the safety of all students was ensured and we continued to learn at a productive rate. This is also one thing I will always be grateful for, the devotion to the students and the desire to finish the school year strong. Instead of lazily finishing the year, we all finished with strength. This shows a lot about the character of the teachers and students. Even though I do not know how next year will start, I have no doubt that Severn's decision will be thought out and for the best of the Severn community." — Thomas Castleberry '22
Submitted by Stephen Brown '26
Submitted by Mayo Mabifa '26
"I have found positive things about this situation because I am an introvert. I am kind of enjoying not having to interact face to face with people all of the time. Additionally, I have more time to do art, play outside, and be with my family." — Lydia Saunders '26
Submitted by Tyler Monaldo '26

To Be Still

Meandering through the garden, I hear a bluebird sing. It brings a slow smile.

I watch as a bumblebee lands on a fragrant bloom. It does not notice me.

The sun's rays are warm against my cheek. It makes me feel safe.

Nature is stirring amongst the trees. It's a symphony for me.

I realize that I am part of the orchestra. It is a calming sound.

I am surrounded by nature's beauty. It is always with me.

Through the darkest hours. I am not alone.

I have learned to be still.

Poem submitted by Ms. Barb Moran, Lower School Business Office

Photo submitted by Mack Howell '27 for Earth Day Spirit Day

Submitted by Tenley Mann '26
Snapshots from remote Middle School Talent Show

Expectations

I will teach you in a room. I will teach you now on Zoom.

I will teach you in your house. I will teach you with a mouse.

I will teach you here and there. I will teach you because I care.

So just do your very best. And do not worry about the rest.

Submitted by Ms. Cathy Carper, Middle School Geography (inspired by Dr. Seuss)

The Consolations of Philosophy and Literature During Pandemic

One of the reasons I became a teacher is that I feel a great responsibility to arm my students with what only an education can provide: the ability to contextualize their experience in light of 'the best that has been thought and said' so they can deal with the difficult circumstances that they will inevitably face during their lives.

Today, the news can be frightening. Screens offer to distract us, yet they rob us of what’s most valuable to us, our “one wild and precious life,” while making us ever more anxious. There is a better way, and philosophy and literature can show us that way.

In my own life, I've been working to cultivate two virtues in particular: the Stoic virtue of ataraxia and the Greek virtue of sophrosyne. Ataraxia is the acknowledgement that we can only control — and thus, should only worry about — our own conduct and attitudes; we should be serene about everything else, all those externals we cannot control. As the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus asserts, “You may chain my leg, but not even Zeus himself can overpower my will.” Sophrosyne, meanwhile, might be thought of as a balance of ideas, efforts, motivations, and intentions. For Aristotle, human happiness or flourishing, eudaimonia, is built upon the wisdom such balance brings.

My education in philosophy and literature provides me context about my current circumstances: such things have happened before, and will happen again. My education also provides me consolation: our sufferings are brief and can be endured with hope, good humor, connection, and a commitment to one another’s best interests. So, rather than obsessing over the latest news, I've sought context and consolation for my experience in philosophy and literature.

Submitted by Mr. Jason Salinas, Upper School English

"Things will never be the same for my family, the world around us, as well as simply how we operate. School will not be the same, neither will restaurants, movie theaters, sports games, everything will have to change due to a disease that could have been slowed with proper measures. The majority of what I've been feeling was the loss of contact with the seniors whom I will not be able to hug before they leave, I won't be able to say to their faces 'thank you for being a great role model and a great friend to me.' I won't be able to sing 'Omnia Sol' to them during their graduation." — Maddie Clarke '22
Submitted by Olivia Cochran '26
"Before the quarantine, the little moments were often the things first forgotten in my days. I am so used to a constant go-go-go culture that I rarely had the energy to sit and listen. I quickly realized that I needed to learn how to listen and be still if I wanted to stop gliding through my days. I am falling back in love with my small joys, but I am more conscious about why I enjoy them. The little moments are not a distraction from the monotony, but rather my greatest defense against the endless cycle of days. I use each one to view my progress, to remember my goal." — Baillie McNitt '20