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HOMECOMING 2017: a ($3 million!) success

Hundreds of graduates, family members, and friends joined our students and faculty for an extraordinary Family/Homecoming Weekend this October.  Attendees participated in a remarkable series of speaker sessions, connected with old friends and new, and heard good news about SEGL’s future.

The weekend began with two gatherings on Friday night (for younger graduates and for older graduates, family members, and friends).  Then we awoke early on Saturday morning for a model English class taught by English teacher (and new Academic Dean) Christian Starling.  Parents and friends worked through the SEGL-famous “Tennis Balls Speech” from Shakespeare’s Henry V, mixing journal reflections, discussion, textual analysis, and performance in an hour of reflective fun.  (Meanwhile, graduates joined a representative from our architectural team for a mini- charrette: a feedback session to inform future plans.)

We then heard from Richard Painter, who is most well known for serving as President George W. Bush’s chief ethics attorney.  Painter kicked off our Family/Homecoming Weekend theme: “Ethics and the Trump Administration.”  As Vice Chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Painter is participating a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, claiming Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.  Painter is also a frequent commentator on cable news and a professor at the University of Minnesota Law.  He gave a powerful (and occasionally humorous) presentation, then allowed students, graduates, parents, and friends to ask questions about the Constitution, ethics, and the current Administration.

Then it was time for lunch–perhaps the best meal in the history of SEGL!  Our chef, Susana Heureaux, led a team of expert chefs in preparing a meal of smoked ribs, chicken, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, bread pudding, and more.  Thanks to current parent Angela Gonzalez, founder of Dial-a-Dessert, for sharing some of her wonderful cookies!

After lunch we welcomed Col. Adrian T. Bogart for our traditional Homecoming Fishbowl.  A highly-decorated U.S. Army Special Forces officer, he is currently assigned to [redacted for privacy reasons].  Bogart led our community through a treacherous real-life scenario, listening to groups of graduates and friends (and, of course, the current class, which went last!) wrestle with its ethical dilemmas before sharing his own answer and reflecting on the meaning of service in today’s fraught global environment.

Our program finished with a compelling and memorable panel discussion that focused on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which has grabbed countless headlines in the last few years (and last few weeks!).  Our panelists included Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration Policy Michael Dougherty, President of Trinity Washington University Pat McGuire, noted Fox News reporter Liz Llorente, and SEGL graduate and current Dartmouth College student Brenda Batista.  The panel was off-the-record, so we can’t share details here, but the discussion was intense, civil, penetrating, and meaningful: everything we hope a guest expert session at SEGL will be.

Later that night, the entire community came together for our Annual Gala atop the George Washington University’s Elliott School.  With sweeping views of DC’s monuments from a wraparound rooftop deck, we cam together to share updates, connect with new faces, and hear SEGL’s Founder and Head of School Noah Bopp share good news: our $2 million capital campaign has raised over $3 million!  Many bought bricks to re-pave the walkway in front of the Residence (you can, too, by clicking here and typing in what you’d like the brick to say!).

The next morning Bopp and SEGL Board Vice Chair Paige Cottingham-Streater led the 2017 State of the School conversation, which shared our successes, upcoming challenges, and plans for the future.  And then, with a few tears, it was time to leave.

We’ll see you next year–our tenth anniversary–for a particularly special celebration.  Don’t miss it–mark your calendars for October 12-14, 2018!

Oct 20, 2017

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