Our Gold Key and Silver Key Ambassadors look forward to welcoming families to our campuses and providing information and answering questions on individual tours. When you visit St. Anne's-Belfield School, you'll likely meet one of the many dedicated students below as a sample of our volunteers.
- Molly Morris '18
- Jayden Nixon '17
- Jeffery Perkins '18
- Yiejie "Jerry" Yao '18
- Isabel Sholz '17
- Mansi Tripathi '18
For Molly Morris '18, two key factors stand out as the highlights of her St. Anne's-Belfield Upper School experience: the daily schedule and the variety of experiences available.
"Having only three classes per day creates a lot of time to work on homework, get help from teachers, and visit with friends," she said of the rotating schedule now incorporating time for Community Forum, Opportunity Block, club meetings, and more.
Morris uses these blocks of time to maximize her involvement at the School, including giving tours to prospective students as a Gold Key Ambassador, becoming involved in a variety of clubs including the Outdoor Club, Habitat for Humanity, FCA, and the Big Buddies Club which allows her and other Upper School students to spend time at the Belfield Campus interacting with Pre-School students. After school she competes as part of the field hockey, diving, and Girls' Lacrosse teams.
With the opportunity to interact with some many people on a daily basis, Morris still finds her relationship with her teachers to be her favorite part of the School community.
"Every teacher I have had honestly cares about my life in and out of school, and makes an effort to get to know every student," she noted.
As an ambassador for the School, Morris is quick to tell prospective families about one of her favorite events: the Fine Arts Dinner, Concert, and Wearable Art Runway Show. In 2016 the evening featured not only the music of a cappella groups Elements of Sound and Treblemakers, but performances by the Philharmonic and Counterpoint string ensembles as well as a runway show of more than 40 garments created by art students – each assembled from materials other than traditional fabrics.
"I think it's such a fun tradition," she said. "I love seeing the artistic abilities of so many people."
In addition, the Upper School's holiday Madame Day, a secret gift exchange that takes place among female students and teachers, is another favorite tradition.
Yet when asked why families should consider the School, Morris does not often put forth her personal preferences. Instead, she points to the breadth of opportunities available.
"St. Anne's-Belfield can be a great school for anyone," she said confidently. "There are so many different clubs and opportunities to meet friends. And honestly, the people here are great!"
When Jayden Nixon '17 enrolled at St. Anne's-Belfield School for tenth grade, he knew that strong academics and athletics were important to his future but he didn't necessarily realize that the relationships he formed here would become so valuable to him.
"The best part of my experience at St. Anne's-Belfield School has been the social and cultural diversity. I get to experience new cultures by interacting with students from multiple countries, as well as the strong School-wide push towards inclusivity and social justice. In addition to cultural inclusivity, there is also social inclusivity. Although there are groups that tend to hang out together, everyone gets along in and outside of school. It's the best."
Nixon himself has transcended groups while at the School due to his many extracurricular interests and participation. In addition to being a standout member of the Boys' Varsity Basketball team, he is also involved in the FOCUS and Diversity clubs, offers tours to prospective students as a Gold Key Ambassador, and enjoys painting.
Beyond what the Upper School has to offer, Nixon sees the strength of a Pre-School through twelfth grade education within the same institution. Cross-divisional activities with younger students have been a highlight of his time here.
"My favorite School memory was of the Pre-School students coming to the Upper School to sing Christmas carols, because everyone thought the half-sung songs and corny jokes were hilarious and adorable."
Nixon shares anecdotes like these when he shows prospective students around campus, and makes himself available to answer parent questions.
"I want to show them a little sliver of the School community," he said.
"I tell them that the School helps all students grow and mature not only as students but as people. The relationships that you make, and the mature yet fun culture that the community brings, makes everyone feel extremely comfortable and able to flourish. There are ups and downs, as there are in every school, but the tight-knit family that the School has makes the fun parts more enjoyable and the hard parts easier to handle. I love St. Anne's-Belfield School."
St. Anne’s-Belfield School originally attracted Jeffery Perkins ’18 for its athletic opportunities on the lacrosse field, but that’s not why he and his family ultimately chose to come here.
“The profound academic standards the School upholds made me deeply consider the School,” Jeffrey said. “The small classroom size would give more attention to my academic needs, as well as giving me more voice in the classroom.”
While having just started at the School in 2015 as a sophomore, Jeffrey has quickly immersed himself in the campus community. He has and continues to participate in many activities, including Concert Choir, strings, lacrosse, as a Gold Key Ambassador, and in other clubs. Becoming so involved so quickly inspires Jeffrey to give back by helping prospective families when visiting the School.
“I love to show off the interactive classrooms and lively Student Commons. The pods of students throughout show our diversity and inclusiveness,” Jeffrey noted. “Whether your desire is studying in the quiet space, working in groups, or taking a break with your friends, the students bring liveliness to the campus.”
In addition to classrooms and the Commons, Jeffrey also enjoys introducing families to the campus as a whole, including many other facilities and opportunities for potential students.
“There’s the state-of-the-art Greenway Rise Auditorium that lets our artistic performers shine, the cafeteria where students converse over the wonderful food prepared by the dining staff, and the rest of School, properly equipped to let each student succeed,” said Jeffrey. “From when your child arrives at St. Anne’s-Belfield School to his or her graduation, there will be a profound difference in them. And not only your child will have the opportunity to play a role in this community, but you will too.”
Yijie “Jerry” Yao ’18 started at St. Anne’s-Belfield only a few years ago as a freshman, and has quickly become a major part of the School community.
A Gold Key Ambassador, member of the Upper School Student Advisory Committee, Greenway Symposium planning committee, former team co-captain for Boys’ JV Soccer, Boys’ Varsity Basketball manager, and Afterschool Enrichment Program Volunteer, Jerry has a broad range of interests that keeps him busy and engaged on both campuses.
“The faculty and students here are inclusive and encouraging. The community fosters a bond between individuals,” Jerry said of the School.
As an ambassador, he has an opportunity to introduce prospective families to the School, and help them with the beginning stages of joining our community.
“I have been through a similar process as an applicant to the School,” Jerry noted. “I know exactly what the international students and families want to know.”
As an applicant, Jerry and his family were first attracted to the School for its academic rigor, location in Charlottesville, and close proximity to the University of Virginia.
Now, almost three years later, Jerry finds himself loving the campus community and Charlottesville communities and getting to know his classmates and his teachers every day through activities, such as his personal favorite, Chapel, where he enjoys hearing everyone’s different perspectives.
“The School is unique because of the people here,” Jerry said. “Coming from overseas, the School, and most importantly, Charlottesville, opens my eyes, challenges me to think critically, and encourages me to get involved in the community.
“St. Anne’s-Belfield is a special place. The faculty truly care about each student and are dedicated to making high school special for everyone. I have learned so much in all my classes, but have also become more confident and comfortable speaking my opinions and being myself,” said Isabel Scholz ’17, current senior and Gold Key Ambassador for the Upper School.
Isabel, who was originally drawn to St. Anne’s-Belfield for its small class sizes, sports, and the friendliness of the students and faculty, also participates as a Peer Mentor, Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey and Soccer player, and StepUP club member. She uses these experiences and others to help prospective families get a glimpse at what life is like at St. Anne’s-Belfield.
“I am excited to tell prospective parents about our awesome schedule, intensives, and fun traditions, such as the Wearable Art Runway Show, Fall Family Picnic, and Field Day,” Isabel said. “I also like to talk about the unique sense of community and about the relationships between teachers and students.”
She also often uses her personal experiences at the School to tell its story.
“I have loved how close I am able to be to my teachers. I feel comfortable talking to each teacher I have had in my years at the Upper School,” Isabel said. “I enjoy meeting new people, finding out what they are interested in, and how they can explore their interests if they choose to attend St. Anne’s Belfield.”
Mansi Tripathi ’18 hasn’t always been a St. Anne’s-Belfield student.
Starting out at other schools in the Charlottesville area, Mansi joined the community in 2010 as a grade five student after her sister’s success here as a sophomore.
“Although I loved [my other school] and was really sad to leave the familiar environment and people, I found myself really enjoying St. Anne’s-Belfield,” Mansi said.
“My parents were attracted to the School mostly because of what they had seen and heard about the close relationships between the teachers and the students — they knew those relationships would be healthy and beneficial for my sister and me as we grew up.”
As a junior, Mansi now serves as a student leader in many capacities, including as a Gold Key Ambassador, former Girls’ JV Soccer co-captain, Girls’ Varsity Tennis captain, founder of multiple clubs, and senior editor for the School newspaper, Belfield Banter. She also enjoys participating in campus traditions such as Doug’s Trip, the annual freshman service trip.
“My favorite school tradition is Doug’s Trip… Not only did I love the volunteering part of the trip, but it also really reinforced the sense of community that the School is known for,” Mansi noted of her time as a freshman. “I felt like our grade really bonded and, because the groups were assigned randomly with both students and teachers, I felt like I got to know a lot of people who weren’t in my regular classes a lot better.”
That sense of community bond is one of the things Mansi loves most about the School, and inspires her to help other students and their families call St. Anne’s-Belfield home.
“I find it really valuable to be able to tell others about what makes our School so special, how everything works logistically, how the campus is laid out, and anything anyone wants to know about the School,” Mansi said of being an ambassador.
“If I could say anything to families considering joining the community, I would tell them to really encourage their child to take advantage of all the opportunities the School offers: get involved in clubs and extracurriculars, develop strong relationships with teachers, work hard, and really try to enjoy the time in a community as close as ours.”
- Leah Bartholomew '21
- Charles Billings '21
- Amrit Chapman '21
- Gresh Chapman '21
- Dawson Chitwood '21
- Seppi Kober '21
- Stewart Morris '21
- Katherine Perriello '21
- Ellie Powell '21
- Kimball Sheehan '21
- Sam Sidders '21
- Lucas Smith '21
Leah Bartholomew ’21 joined the St. Anne’s-Belfield School community as a “sandbox kid” in Pre-School. Today, she is actively involved each semester in sports and visual arts classes, and enjoys getting to know her teachers and peers in every grade.
“Every kid at the School comes ready to learn and be with their friends. I love it here,” she said.
For Charles Billings ’21, joining the School in the fifth grade meant joining a community that had made him feel welcomed and supported. His favorite aspects of daily life quickly became sports and science class, and he will forever have wonderful memories from his time on the Destination Imagination team and a trip to Costa Rica with his Spanish class.
“This is a very welcoming school and I fit right in when I moved here,” he said. “Everyone is very inclusive and nice. I volunteer (as a Silver Key Ambassador) to share my love for the School and I enjoy showing people what it is like to be a student here.”
When Amrit Chapman ’21 arrived in Charlottesville from Hong Kong, she was pleased to find the School similar to the international school she had attended. In particular she enjoys the size of the community, which allows her to know her grade well and have friends in higher and lower grades as well in addition to those who also participate on the swim team, field hockey team, and Ski Club.
“It is exciting to share my school with other people who are thinking of coming to St. Anne’s-Belfield,” said Amrit. “I remember being in their shoes. I like telling them about the math program – it’s my favorite subject! Most people are surprised to learn that the genders are separated in fifth and sixth grade and then split by level in seventh and eighth grade.”
As a Silver Key Ambassador, Grehman Chapman ‘21 enjoys sharing candid stories and student work with parents when they visit the School. Some of his favorite anecdotes and examples include student artwork hung in each wing of the Learning Village, and Battle Bots.
“When students are giving a tour or telling you about the School, we are not scripted, and from what I have seen, the tours are very genuine,” Gresh said. “I think St. Anne's Belfield is a great place, and I want the parents to get an inside look around campus before deciding to send their children here or not.”
Dawson Chitwood ’21 fits in time to volunteer as a Silver Key Ambassador around his football and lacrosse practices. On his tours, he is sure to mention the grades seven and eight student-led Quest program as one of his favorite parts of the Learning Village Grades 5 – 8, as well as the all-School annual tradition of Field Day.
“I volunteer because I like showing people what it is like at St. Anne’s-Belfield,” he said. “I tell them that for a middle school there is no where I personally would rather go.”
A St. Anne's-Belfield School student since Kindergarten, Seppi Kober ’21 now enjoys helping new families consider the School for their children. Active in football, golf, theatre, and as a Silver Key Ambassador, Seppi has experience in and appreciates every aspect of campus life.
“I enjoy the closeness between fellow classmates and even the closeness between kids in other grades,” he noted. “In Chapel Buddies, we become more involved with the really young kids and we get to remember when we were their age at School.”
A “sandbox kid” who began at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in PreSchool, Stewart Morris ’21 loves the inclusivity of the School community and enjoys welcoming new students at the start of each year. He tells them about the Quest program and how he and two friends are actually teaching their own course in the program, as well as his participation in activities like the plays and Ski Club.
“My favorite School tradition is definitely the Ski Club,” he said. “I think that I love the club so much because in fifth and sixth grade it made me feel very responsible and independent, and also I just love to ski with my friends.”
“Sandbox kid” Katherine Perriello ’21 has roots in the School that extend even deeper, as her father was a member of the Class of 1989.
“When I was three I didn’t have a huge say in the School I went to,” she noted. “But if I had to choose now I think the features I like are the small, inclusive community.”
As part of the community for many years, Katherine has had the chance to participate in many School traditions but finds that Chapel Buddies, in which older students are paired with younger students for the year, stand out as her favorite.
“I love getting to meet new people from different grades and it is a great experience,” she said.
In addition to playing on the lacrosse and field hockey teams, Katherine loves being a Silver Key Ambassador.
“I volunteer as a Silver Key Ambassador because I think I know a lot about the School and I would love to get new people to have the chance to go here. I love when people ask about what I like about the School because I get to tell them my story… My experience at the School has been wonderful and I think everyone who gets the chance should come too!”
When Ellie Powell ’21 arrived at the School in fifth grade, she was attracted by the strong academics and arts programs. In the years since she has enjoyed the support she receives from teachers and friends, as well as acting in plays and participating on volleyball and soccer teams, and even assisting with directing younger students in their theatre productions.
“I volunteer as a Silver Key Ambassador because I really love St. Anne's-Belfield School and I feel like I'm giving back by trying to show everyone else how amazing it is,” said Ellie. “I am most excited to talk about the sense of community everyone going to St. Anne's-Belfield School feels through our classes, friends, and teachers. I also love talking about our science program here at the School because every year we are taught about a new and exciting field of science.”
In her four years at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, Kimball Sheehan ’21 has become involved in many of the opportunities offered to Learning Village Grades 5 – 8 students. She is a member of field hockey and swim teams, she sings in the Saintly Voices choir, and she volunteers as a Silver Key Ambassador in order to help visitors get a better sense for how they might fit into the School community.
“I love telling visitors about our languages,” she said. “For instance, in Spanish, both of the teachers are native speakers. The best way to learn a language is from a native speaker. Also, Spanish is my favorite class!”
Samantha Sidders ’21 is like most St. Anne’s-Belfield students: she loves the School, her friends, and the close relationships with teachers in the small classroom environments. But what she really loves is all of the unique opportunities she has access to here.
“I do ski club, I take knitting as my Quest, I am president of our orchestra … I enjoy the African Festival a lot because we get food prepared by fifth graders,” Samantha said. “I enjoy the freedom of not having to choose to do what others do, and there are a lot of choices of things to do in and outside of school. Also, I feel like everyone can learn at their own pace.”
Lucas Smith ’21 arrived at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in the seventh grade, having previously been bored and disinterested in his classes. His family had heard about the School and it’s many options and opportunities, and immediately the community made him feel at home. He joined the football and swim teams, loves telling prospective families about the many ways in which the School creates well-rounded students on his tours as a Silver Key Ambassador.
“I loved partaking in a veteran’s project in my seventh grade history class,” he said. “My partners and I got the opportunity to interview my cousin, a veteran, and produce a documentary on his behalf.”
Having joined the School later in his middle school years, Lucas went on to note, “I think that the public school system is great, but coming to the School has made me a better, more well-rounded individual.”