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Head of School's Award highlights Alumni Weekend

Lili Krech Neale '69 volunteered to help organize her 50-year reunion, stepping up as she so often has since departing the Everglades School for Girls in 1969. Her passion and participation have been fueled by a long and proud connection to RE. She grew up under an educator father who worked at the Ransom School and Everglades School for Girls. She married an alum, sent her son to RE and has been an active alumna since she graduated.

Alumni Weekend Photo Galleries 

Eager to recognize Neale's deep ties and decades of devotion, Head of School Penny Townsend named her the 2019 recipient of the Head of School's Award, an announcement that highlighted a resoundingly successful 2019 Alumni Weekend. More than 300 alumni gathered April 12-13 to reconnect, dine together and enjoy RE's campus, pool, athletics field and gymnasium.
During the Class of 1969 50-year reunion luncheon on April 12, Townsend thanked Neale for her leadership and service to Ransom Everglades.

"Lili is a kind and unassuming person who delights in elevating others," Townsend said. "She brings good cheer, enthusiasm and great competence to every undertaking. It is truly a privilege to recognize her for her years of joyful dedication to Ransom Everglades."

The Head of School's Award is given annually to an alumnus whose commitment and service to the school serve as an inspiration, and who has lived out the Ransom Everglades mission, fostering a sense of “community, personal integrity and values." Neale, now retired, served as a critical care nurse at Mercy Hospital after earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from the University of Miami. She studied pre-nursing at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She married Andy Neale '69, son of Ransom School board member David Neale, and they sent son Grady Neale '98 to RE. Her late father, M. Chapin "Hafey" Krech, served as an administrator and math teacher at both schools. Her two sisters, Cherry Krech Fulcher '76 and Carol Krech '74 also attended.

"I am so very honored and grateful to receive the Head of School Award for 2019 and to have celebrated the 50-Year Reunion with the Everglades Class of 1969," she said. "I am very grateful to Penny Townsend, the Head of School, and the Everglades Class of 1969 for your support and for the fabulous turnout. It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of the Ransom Everglades community since first attending Everglades School for Girls as a seventh grader in 1963."

Members of the RE community traveled from as far as Switzerland and Australia for Alumni Weekend, enjoying a slate of offerings that for the first time included a Service of Remembrance for departed alumni, faculty and trustees, as well as members of the 20-, 25-, 30-, 40- and 50-year reunion classes. That reflective service in the Pagoda drew many members of the RE community and Thomas Bowden, the grandnephew of Dan Leslie Bowden. Thomas Bowden traveled from his home in Georgia and read the poem "Ride a Wild Horse" by Hannah Kahn, a favorite poem of his uncle, who died last September after 63 years at Ransom Everglades.

The service preceded the Alumni Spring Reception and Dinner in the Quad, an event that drew more than 200.

Alumni returned to campus in the morning of April 13 for the annual Alumni Regatta – this year won by Mark Ingraham '91 and daughter Lucy Ingraham – as well as the alumni water polo and soccer games, which drew the customary crowd of diehard Raiders. Families enjoyed time at the Broad REACH Pool, where their children played on inflatable toys and boats, and also feasted on a barbecue lunch on the senior deck.

Some alumni gathered in the Pagoda for a lively discussion with Townsend, who entertained questions about the curriculum, students' health, national education trends and the future of Ransom Everglades. Maurice Ferre '79, the 2016 recipient of the Ransom Everglades Alumni Founders' Award for Distinguished Service, and Elana Oberstein Harris '93, the 2017 Head of School's Award winner, participated in that event.

RE students also gave tours of the Upper School, and 30-year faculty member Jose Rodriguez offered his annual art history master class. The reunion classes of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1994 and 1999 celebrated milestone reunions and enjoyed special dinners on April 13.

Alumni Weekend Photo Galleries
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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.