A little rain could not dampen the spirits of the Fort Worth Country Day community as they celebrated the School’s 55th birthday on Monday, March 6. Since 2006, FWCD has celebrated Founders’ Day, which revels in all that is great about the School—its students, its faculty and staf, and its history. The event also pays homage to the School’s 16 visionary Founding Trustees who, 55 years ago, dreamed of creating “a school of real academic excellence” in Fort Worth.
The program for the day was short, yet sweet, and full of gratitude for those who make up the FWCD family. Conner Williams ’17, Student Council President, called Founders’ Day 2017 to order and invited the Boy Scouts to present the flags. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lower School Choir sang God Bless America.
“It’s so awesome to be back in this great big hug,” said Head of School Eric Lombardi as he looked around the room at the 16 Falcon Houses. He also shared a School memo from December 14, 1962, about the School’s groundbreaking.
Lombardi imparted that the day was more than a birthday party – it was a day for thanks-giving. “We gather as family and friends for a program and meal to give thanks for our school,” he said. “Instead of turkey and all the fixings, we will enjoy some pizza together as we celebrate.”
A tradition of Founders’ Day is to honor FWCD faculty and staff for their years of service. Those with five, 10 and 15 years of service were asked to stand and will be honored at the School’s end-of-the-year luncheon on May 26. Those with 20, 30 and 40 years came on stage with Lombardi into the center of the “hug” for special recognition in a video
created by Mark Philpot
, Theater Manager, and Austin Walton
, Middle School History Teacher. Congratulations for FWCD service honorees Lidia Arenas
, Plant Operations; Joan Massey
, Fourth Grade Teacher; Steve Stackhouse
, Acting Head of Upper School; and Anne-Lise Knecht Woods ’85
, Middle School Teacher, who joined Club Viginti for their 20 years of service to the School. Ed Chisholm
, Associate Athletic Director and Head Athletic Trainer, and Christine Derber
, Thomas M. Ryan Distinguished Teaching Chair in Lower School, were honored for 30 years of service, and Jon Shipley
, Upper School Teacher (English, Computer and Music), was celebrated for his 40-year commitment.
Evelyn Siegel H’99 was FWCD’s seventh inductee into FWCD’s Wall of Honor, a prestigious accolade bestowed upon special members of the FWCD community for their extraordinary commitment to the School. Siegel brought her artist’s vision to FWCD in 1968. Hired by Founding Headmaster Peter Schwartz to shape an Art Department, she taught grades 1-6 visual arts, and then expanded the program to all students, K-12. Bringing a passion for visual arts and a commitment to students as people and as learners, Evelyn’s legacy is both the continued joy students find in the School’s ceramics studio today and alumni who appreciate art in profound ways for the rest of their lives.
Committed to putting the fun in Founders’ Day, Lombardi, with the help of the Advancement Office, ignited the spirit of healthy competition, among the Falcon Houses and then their respective quads. Activities included an FWCD trivia battle, complete with the Latin Certament buzzer system run by Middle School Latin Teacher Clint Hagen. The “W” quad (Bass, Garrett, Garvey and Meeker Houses) came away with a commanding win, scoring nine points by correctly answering a variety of trivia questions. The rest of the day, those four Houses proudly wore the red and blue beads they earned from the win!