Ransom Everglades brought the newest members of its school community to its campuses in early April, welcoming students newly enrolled for 2022-23 with greetings from enthusiastic faculty, administration and current students. The school also shared RE swag bags, “Class of” t-shirts and informative presentations.
At a trio of new-student events that were part-celebration and part-orientation, the incoming Raiders mingled with future classmates and teachers, and explored the grounds that will soon feel like home.
More than 170 new middle school students and their parents assembled at Swenson Hall on April 6 and heard from Head of School Penny Townsend, incoming Interim Head of the Middle School Eric Boberg, Dean of the Sixth Grade Cameron Ferguson and Director of Admission and Enrollment Management Amy Sayfie Zichella ’93, who offered congratulations and encouragement.
"Students and parents," Sayfie Zichella said, "you are truly about to embark on an incredible journey.”
As students proceeded to various classrooms and an activities fair, other RE administrators – including Director of Arts Shawn Costantino, Director of Athletics and Physical Education Corey Goff and Chief Technology Officer Linda Lawrence – met with parents.
Upper school “Shadow Days” April 8 and 11 offered an opening session in the historic Pagoda and paired each member of a smaller group of new upper schoolers with a current student. Head of the Upper School Patricia C.A. Sasser urged students to get out of their comfort zones and try new things during their time at RE, and Associate Head of School John A. King, Jr., reminded that RE offers a constellation of adults to assist and encourage students at RE.
“You are [now] a member of a remarkable community of educators, students and alumni,” RE's head of school said. “We have something amazing here ... There are so many wonderful things we do as a community, and this is a rigorous academic environment where we are here to help you.”
The school’s newest students hail from around the city, nation and even world. The 161 rising sixth graders arrive to RE from 50 elementary schools and nine states. The 29 new upper school students, including 21 freshmen, come from 22 schools in Miami, Key Largo, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Peru, Shanghai and Singapore.
Before heading off to class with their partner students, the new upper schoolers received advice from a trio of current students who also arrived to RE as high schoolers: Mark Mateo ’22, Jessica Weinstein ’22 and Ana Cecilia Gonzalez ’23.
Weinstein, who shared that her first experience at RE was trying out for volleyball and getting cut from the team, encouraged the new students to try many things. She is now president of Rock 4 RElief and active in speech and debate and several varsity sports. "It's just so much fun to be busy," she said. "I've been very fortunate that RE has given me the opportunity to do so many things I loved."
Gonzalez shared her memories of her initial days at RE as a new ninth grader.
“From the moment I walked on to campus, I felt so welcomed,” she said. “I felt like I really belonged. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.”
Said Mateo: "I felt like this was a place I could make great connections with teachers ... That's been a highlight of my career."
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 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.