Amidst a sea of blue and red, tradition and friendly competition took center stage during the School’s annual Founder’s Day celebrating Eliza Bailey Masters this fall.
An opportunity for the entire community to come together, Founder’s Day honors the history and traditions of The Masters School. Students, faculty and staff wear their team colors: Delta (blue) and Phi (red). When red and blue come together as one, they produce purple, the school color.
“It’s a special time to commemorate the School’s founding in 1877 and celebrate its evolution from an all-girls high school into the diverse grade 5 through 12 school it is today,” Head of Middle School Tasha Elsbach said.
The festivities began in the afternoon with an all-school meeting on Graduation Terrace. Head of School Laura Danforth noted that The Masters School “celebrates active participation, deep understanding and meaningful connection” and emphasized the mission of being “a power for good in the world.” She shared what she and the School’s founder have in common: “a fierce commitment in guaranteeing that this community is ethical, kind, accepting, and treats each other, the Earth, and the world, as a whole, well.”
In acknowledging the School’s dedicated and hardworking faculty, Danforth announced six faculty award recipients.
Two awards were presented to middle school faculty members. Visual arts teacher Bruce Robbins received the 1977 Centennial Fund Award, created in honor of the School’s 100th anniversary and in recognition of an outstanding faculty member whose love of teaching and excellence in the classroom rises above the norm.
Eighth Grade Dean and science teacher Morghan Lewis was given the Margaret Coulter Fund for Science Award for excellence in the field of science. The award is in honor of Margaret Coulter who attended the School from 1900 to 1903 and served as a class representative until her death in 1967.
Upper school Spanish teacher Roberto Mercedes was presented with the Illinois Fund for Languages Award for outstanding teaching of language. Initiated in 1961, the Illinois Fund was spearheaded by former trustee William Collins of Chicago. The name of the fund is derived from the 10 Chicago-area donors who established the fund over several years.
Upper school history teacher Eric Shapiro received the Lightner Fund for History Award for outstanding teaching of history. The Lightner/Meads family’s legacy began with Helen Dean Lightner ’01 and was most recently represented by the first boy in the line, Griffin Meads ’11, a 110 year span. The genesis of this fund was the Lightner/Meads family’s love of Masters and the teaching and learning of history.
Upper school math teacher Anna Cabral Drew was presented with the Parvin Fund for Mathematics Award for outstanding teaching of mathematics. Named for W. Rodman Parvin, a trustee and treasurer of the Board from 1942-1957, the fund had 44 original donors and was initiated by John P. Stevens, Jr. upon Parvin’s death in 1962.
Upper school English teacher Lisa Green received the Maureen Fonseca Faculty Chair for Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes a distinguished faculty member who displays a deep commitment to student-centered teaching and learning, demonstrates a mastery of participatory learning, and embodies the belief that our students can be a power for good in the world.
Class representatives also addressed the crowd. Eighth grade class presidents Alex Pinnock ’26 and Sarelle Ruby ’26 spoke about the School’s founding while senior class presidents Kira Ratan ’22 and Denis Sadrijaj ’22 shared humorous historical tidbits. Dobbs Athletic Association (DAA) presidents Kyle Benson ’22, Aidan Lothian ’22 and Kwynne Schlossman ’22 got the two teams revved up for the activities to follow.
Later, on Reunion Field, both teams competed in the traditional Delta vs. Phi tug-of-war and enjoyed red and blue ice pops after the contest. “Founder’s Day is a great way to bring the entire school community together to participate in fun and healthy competition,” Schlossman said.