Sidwell Holds First Founder’s Day Since 2019


Students attended a school-wide Meeting for Worship to celebrate Founder’s Day. Photo: Anya Vedantambe ’24.

On April 18, Sidwell held its annual Founder’s Day for the first time since 2019, celebrating the school community. 

Starting with the “Let Your Life Speak” event, students attended three smaller presentations from Sidwell alumni and a keynote address from the founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Jerusalem Youth Chorus, Micah Hendler ’07. According to Assistant Principal for Student Life Michael Woods, the presentations showed students the variety of career paths to choose from, explaining how “there are all sorts of walks in life.”

Following the “Let Your Life Speak” presentations, students from the Lower and Middle Schools joined the Upper School in the courtyard for a Meeting for Worship and choral performances.

Giving eighth-graders the chance to interact with Lower School students was a fantastic way to bring the community together.

— Tommy Levy '27

“Seeing the youngest file in to sit with their teacher is one of my favorite parts of Founder’s Day,” Woods said, adding that the return to normalcy was “like getting back into a comfortable chair.” 

Freshman Ella Song, a member of the full chorus, said she “really enjoyed singing with [her] classmates” and that the Lower School students’ performance was a highlight of the day.

Once the performances ended, students explored the campus, participated in several activities –– which included an inflatable obstacle course and several booths run by clubs — and attended a cookout. 

Sophomore Tanner Breslin said the activities gave students a break from schoolwork and were a “great experience for everyone regardless of their age.” 

Center for Ethical Leadership Coordinator Alexandra McCoy added that the day gave students, especially those in the Upper School, a much-needed break from schoolwork since “everyone has been working so hard over these last few weeks.”

Eighth-grader Tommy Levy especially enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the buddy program, which saw every eighth-grade student accompany Lower Schoolers during Founder’s Day.

“I really enjoyed the day with my two first-grade buddies,” Levy said. “Giving eighth-graders the chance to interact with Lower School students was a fantastic way to bring the community together,” he added.

McCoy said the buddy system did an amazing job of providing an intentional leadership opportunity and making “all students feel like a part of the community.”

Once the activities and food service concluded, Upper School students attended an Arts Guild, a monthly performance that spotlights the creative talents of students.

According to Woods, the all-school Arts Guild is a highlight of Founder’s Day and “an invigorating experience” for the faculty and Upper Schoolers.

Freshman Isaac Jain was impressed with the performances in the Arts Guild and said it was “cool to see the creative side and talents of the Sidwell community.” 

Following the Arts Guild, Upper School students watched and participated in the inaugural spring pep rally, which featured several performances from varsity teams. 

Jain thought the skits from the sports teams did a fantastic job of promoting school spirit. “All the school spirit motivated me to do my best athletically and academically,” he said.

Freshman Maina Vaidya believed the pep rally “was a great way of bringing the Upper School community together by giving the seniors an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy before graduating.”

Although junior George Bankoff enjoyed the school spirit, he thought the Student Government could have shortened the pep rally so that students were not sitting around for such a long time.

McCoy reflected that Founder’s Day is “so unique to people outside of Sidwell” and that the ability to meet together as a whole community is a “truly incredible experience.” 

Woods added that by uniting as a large community, students were able to meet new people and “see what the campus will look like in the next 5-10 years.”