In mid-August, faculty and staff were treated to a special presentation during Lamplighter’s “Back-to-School” week. Following a tradition established in recent years, the School invited young alumni to join employees for a kick-off luncheon to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. Faculty and staff members welcomed three young alumni who are now high schoolers, Dulany Bloom ’13, Spence Gilker ’13, and Sophia Yung ’14, to reflect on their Lamplighter experience and visit with former teachers and administrators.
Dulany Bloom ’13, a junior at Greenhill School, kicked off the event by noting that she spent eight years at Lamplighter… half of her life! “Being back on campus makes me nostalgic,” said Bloom who further noted that “Lamplighter allowed me to be a kid.” Bloom shared her memories of Lamplighter working in groups in the shared spaces, classroom wells, and circular tables, intentionally designed to foster collaborative skills among students. She further remarked that she felt well prepared going into fifth grade at her new school following her Lamplighter experience, and was “even more prepared than my peers,” citing her learned organizational skills and math preparedness established at her first alma mater. Bloom’s further reflections referenced the unique community that “extends well beyond the School,” and indicated that “the Lamplighter experience is one that cannot be matched by any other.”
Bloom’s Lamplighter classmate, Spence Gilker ’13, now a junior at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, also shared special memories of Lamplighter during his eight years as a student. Gilker started by mentioning that “a lot of my positive memories of Lamplighter come from the playground.” He went on to explain that these special moments on the playground and soccer field instilled his “ever-burning love for soccer,” which is now a significant part of his life. Beyond the soccer field, Gilker also remembered how Lamplighter taught him to go outside of his comfort zone, recalling the Senior Opera and All School Program, two signature programs run by the fine arts faculty. Furthermore, Gilker reflected on his academic experience noting, “all the teachers really care about developing young minds for reading and math.” He concluded his presentation by expressing his love for Lamplighter and noted that he “spent a lot of time here and it was a critical time,” guiding him into the person he has become today.
The third presenter during this annual gathering of all Lamplighter employees was Sophia Yung ’14, a sophomore at The Hockaday School. Yung began her remarks by stating that “Lamplighter is an environment of warmth and love,” and one that “strikes the perfect balance between developing academics and character.” Lamplighter was a place for Yung that helped her develop her passions, including robotics, inspired by classes with Science Teacher, Mr. Bill Burton. She further reflected that the Lamplighter Layers program, a chicken-raising and egg-selling business run by the School’s Seniors, was one of her favorite aspects of the unique Lamplighter experience, further emphasizing that the tactile approach to learning encourages a natural curiosity among students. Yung concluded by thanking the faculty and staff for their dedication to the School’s mission and remarking that “the values of the School are embodied by the teachers.”