It was a celebration as festive and fun as the weather was bright and sunny. Beginning with the leis and pompoms distributed as people arrived, to the joyful ribbon-cutting beneath a green-and-white arch of balloons, and through the animated March-In and Fox/Hound field hockey game, Saturday’s dedication of the new turf fields and induction of our newest Sport Hall of Fame member was simply a glorious event.
The official ribbon-cutting, by Head of School Cathy McGehee, Board Chair Anne Michele Lyons Kuhns ’87, and their supporting cast, drew a loud roar of appreciation from the many students, alumnae, faculty, family, and friends gathered — many of whom lingered long after the 30-minute program to watch the game, taste the exotic popsicles, courtesy of the Office of Student Life, and enjoy the lovely weather as they caught up with classmates and friends.
McGehee started off the program by declaring the day a historic one. “I do not mean that this day will go down in Foxcroft’s history as a turning point in our athletic program even though, certainly, our beautiful fields will help strengthen four of our teams — field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and softball — and allow us to offer a new sport, track and field,” she said. “I mean that athletics has been a part of Foxcroft’s history from the School’s inception.” Praising the foresight of Foxcroft founder Charlotte Haxall Noland for making exercise and competitive sports central to the educational experience in 1914, McGehee elaborated
on the recent research that proves the wisdom of that decision.
Athletic Director Michelle Woodruff as well as current and past Foxcroft athletes celebrated the new fields and what they mean to Foxcroft’s program. Maeve Couzens ’12, Caroline Fout ’13, and Charlotte MacDonald ’12 told tales of practicing on the tennis courts to prepare for state competitions on turf and making the adjustment to a similar surface when they played in college, and seniors Leah S. and Haley B, the Fox and Hound captains, respectively, and multisport varsity athletes, spoke about the impact the new fields, which opened for play in late November, have already had.
In addition, Foxcroft honors that tradition by celebrating individuals who have distinguished themselves in the athletic arena via its Sports Hall of Fame, established in 2014, so it was fitting that this year’s honoree, Sloane Coles ’07
, should be inducted at the field dedication. Fitting, too, that she should be an athlete who has distinguished herself on the field, as a standout scholastic and collegiate lacrosse player, as well as in the arena, as a Grand Prix show jumper and successful trainer of horses and riders — a sport Miss Charlotte made integral to the School from the get-go. “Seldom has an athlete achieved such high standards in two vastly different sports disciplines,” said McGehee as she presented Sloane with her gift.
McGehee also thanked the Board of Trustees, especially David MacDonald (father of Grace ’19, Lily ’14, and Charlotte ’12), Anne Harrison Armstrong ’75, Elizabeth Hazard ’82 and Hope Jones ’82 for their leadership and support (Hope and Elizabeth raised funds for their 35th reunion gift in memory of their classmates Abby Robinson Bowers and Carolyn Robinson.); Chief Operating Office Deborah Anderson, who oversaw the construction; Athletic Director Michelle Woodruff, who “pivoted when the weather delayed progress, moving practices and games, and keeping spirits of our students up,” and Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement Marion Couzens and her team for their fund-raising efforts.
“On these fields Foxcroft girls will work towards fulfilling the School motto, a healthy mind in a healthy body,” said Woodruff. “On these new fields, Foxcroft girls will learn the lessons of sportsmanship, dedication, hard work, perseverance, how to win and lose gracefully, leadership, and teamwork. On these fields Foxcroft girls will, through sport, learn to break down barriers and form lasting friendships and connections.”