This article, written by Ms. Laura Tayman, first appeared in the Kent County News on October 25th. A copy of the publication can be found here.
CHESTERTOWN — The decorations were hung, the music started, and the celebration began at the Radcliffe Creek School’s annual Fall Soirée last week, and it was an entire school community effort.
“The Soirée is largely meant as a party for parents, supporters, alumni, and staff as well,” said Nick Singleton, director of communications. “They all pitch in to help set up for the event — some may bartend, some may help clean up, but all in all, they, too, are a part of the community which we aim to thank.”
Historically, funds that were raised from the Soirée were used for the school’s scholarship fund. Last year, the school made a conscious effort to pivot away from that kind of event structure after COVID-19.
“Now it’s more of a friend-raiser,” said Singleton who coordinated the event. “We treat it as our way of embracing the people in our community and welcoming potential new friends to our school.”
During the event, tours of the campus were offered to those wanting more information about school programs and to returning alumni interested in what updates have been made to the school.
Radcliffe Creek School offers specialized, hands-on multi-sensory lessons for a diverse group of learners ages five to 14 who struggle in a classic school setting, including students with dyslexia, autism, anxiety, and ADHD. The school welcomes students from nine counties — all with varying degrees of socioeconomic status. Roughly 65% to 75% of the school’s students receive some form of financial aid.
“Some of our other fundraising initiatives, like Giving Tuesday, are goal-driven fundraisers,” said Singleton. “Last year, we raised funds for an Outdoor Classroom.”
The event was also a way to celebrate leadership news. The Board of Directors just announced that Interim Head of School Peter Thayer will continue to lead the school through the 24-25 school year.
Thayer was appointed to an interim position in July of 2022 with experience in independent school leadership. He served as Head of School at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, DE, for eleven years and as Head of the middle school at Lancaster Country Day School in PA for nineteen years before that.
Robert Ditmars Jr., president of the School’s Board of Trustees, said Thayer has already made such a difference in the school community. “He fosters a vibrant community of parents, students, teachers, and administrators working together in support of the school.”
Thayer had another leadership announcement just last week. Washington College graduate Carolyn Thompson has been hired as Director of Advancement for the school starting on Nov. 2.
“She brings a remarkable skill set as a community connector, organizer, planner, strategist, photographer, and writer,” said Thayer. “As an RCS parent for the past eight years (Finn, Class of 2027), it is easy for her to be passionate about Radcliffe.”
Singleton hoped the event was fun, especially for the entire staff, “They work so hard. It is a really fun way to let them unwind and meet with other people in our community.”