Celebrating Excellence and Dedication

It truly was a celebration! With upbeat music playing over the loudspeaker, students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade processed into the MPR on Friday morning taking their seats on the floor, the first time the whole school had gathered as a community since the start of the pandemic. Lower School students began to clap in unison to the music with the beat getting faster and faster until the room was simply filled with applause in recognition of the special moment we were all experiencing together.

This was how our Celebration of Dedication and Excellence began on Friday, a ceremony created by the Roycemore Board of Trustees many years ago to recognize the talented and dedicated faculty and staff who provide the daily inspiration and guidance to Roycemore students.  

Before recognizing faculty and staff, two special awards were presented.  

First, the Patti Goldstein Memorial Volunteer of the Year, Dr. Anita Shah. Dr. Shah has dedicated countless hours to the school as a member and now chair of our Health & Safety Task Force.  Dr. Shah’s expertise has been instrumental to our ability to operate safely during the pandemic with zero COVID outbreaks!  Not only that, Dr. Shah also finds time to volunteer on other Board committees, such as our Committee on Trustees that helps identify new trustees to serve and more recently on the committee to plan our Annual Scholarship Fundraiser. She was even painting decor this past week! Dr. Shah zoomed into the gathering because she was at the hospital during the time of the assembly, but she gratefully accepted the recognition and flowers were given to her children to take home to her.  

Second, the Thomas J. Ellis Community Service Award Winner, Tomás Prendergast. The award was named in honor of Thomas J. Ellis, who served on Roycemore’s Board of Trustees as its Chair for 14 years. Tom’s devoted service, kindness, and compassion for our mission served as an inspiration to all. Upper School student, Tomás Prendergast, exemplifies the core values of the school. He is a quiet, yet strong leader in our Upper School who is respectful, compassionate and kind. He is a member of the National Honor Society, is on the yearbook staff, and volunteers at Open House events. Outside of Roycemore, he volunteers at food pantries and other non-profits in the community. This year for his January Short Term project, he chose to volunteer with an organization on the United States border to help migrants. One of his nominees wrote, “He sees a need and he wants to jump in to help others no matter what the cost is because he wants to make other’s lives better and the world a better place.” 

Following these two special awards, Roycemore’s Board Chair, Kathleen Scheidt shared her remarks of appreciation to our faculty on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Then a video was shown that featured images of every single member of the faculty and staff, with special recognition given for service anniversaries. As each image appeared, cheers and applause exploded from the students. It was both exciting and reaffirming to us all as we are here because we love children.  

We are delighted to extend special thanks and recognition to the following individuals for their service anniversaries:

  • 5 years
      • Darcy Aksamitowski
      • Katie Carson
      • Dr. Dori Franck
      • Sara Keely McGuire
      • Vicky Pickett
      • Tara Skinner
      • Adrianne Finley Odell
  • 20 years
    • Ruth Hecht 

Each individual received special recognition, however, Friday was the first time Ruth Hecht had been back to Roycemore since her fall last month landed her in the hospital. The applause for Ms. Hecht was thunderous, both for the sheer joy to have her back with us, and in recognition of her gifted teaching and inspiration as our Middle and Upper School Art Teacher. We look forward to her returning to work full-time in the near future.

It seems so appropriate that our first all-school assembly in two years was in recognition of our faculty and staff. Roycemore’s team has worked tirelessly to support students in immeasurable ways over the last two years. With deep gratitude we express our appreciation for their dedication and commitment to excellence.


In partnership for the education of your student,

Adrianne Finley Odell

Head of School