What would bring two alumna back to All Saints’ as faculty? Ms. Barajas and Mrs. Lemaster had the desire to return to the familiar. Mrs. Lemaster, Associate Director of College Advising, and Ms. Barajas, Upper School Spanish, were best friends in fourth grade, chose different paths for college and found their way back home to All Saints’ because it proved to be somewhere they knew as students but also had values they wanted for their careers. According to them, All Saints’ is still a community that feels like home and challenges you like family, thanks in large part to traditions, academic rigor, and spiritual growth.
Certain traditions have remained the same such as the Howdy Dance, Homecoming and Blessing of the Pets. The Howdy Dance has always been a fun tradition to start the year and to help students acclimate back into the school culture. Homecoming customs have remained similar and remind Upper School students that we are all on the same side, fighting for the same team. Mrs. Lemaster was a cheerleader when she was a student at All Saints’ and she said, “It is fascinating to me that many of the cheers, the fight song dance, and even the sideline routines are the same.” Another annual tradition at All Saints’ is Blessing of the Pets where students bring their beloved furballs to campus to be blessed by a Chaplain.
A tradition that has recently resurfaced is the SIS program, where senior girls mentor incoming freshmen to make them feel part of the Upper School. Ms. Barajas explained, “SIS was a good part of my freshman year and I am happy that All Saints’ brought it back.” These are only a few examples that highlight how All Saints’ traditions reflect the welcoming culture.
As a college preparatory school, All Saints’ focuses on academic growth and also on preparation for independent learning. Mrs. Lemaster and Ms. Barajas agreed that All Saints’ taught them strong study habits and time management which helped both to be successful in college.
“All Saints’ prepared me tremendously,” Mrs. Lemaster said. “I learned how to take great notes in Dr. Pointer’s AP History class and felt comfortable going to my professors for assistance because the teachers at All Saints’ were always willing to help.” She felt comfortable speaking in front of people in college because of the many presentations required at All Saints’. Both acknowledged that study hall was helpful in their high school career because they learned how to manage their spare time, a skill that they continue to find useful.
Spiritual growth is an important foundation and has been since the school opened in 1951. Mrs. Lemaster mentioned that Chapel is still a focal point and its placement in the middle of the day provides a short “brain break” or refocuses attention on God, depending on the student. Religion classes are another example of the School’s development of spiritual growth, helping students gain a better understanding of Christianity as well as insight into other religions, promoting tolerance and inclusion.
Mrs. Lemaster and Ms. Barajas came back to All Saints’ because the most important and foundational qualities and characteristics of the School have remain unchanged. All Saints’ is a welcoming place, rich in tradition, with a focus on individual academic development and spiritual growth. Community members feel connected to each other and the identity of the School. For so many, All Saints’ is a second “home.”