"We are happy to announce that you have finally earned your Foxcroft diploma," said Groves during the presentation, handing her the prized possession Mary Lou has presented to hundreds of girls. Like those girls, Leipheimer promptly checked that it was signed and held it up for all to see, beaming.
Groves went on to announce that the Board has established and endowed the Mary Louise Leipheimer Excellence in Teaching Award, which will be awarded annually to a teacher who best connects with and challenges Foxcroft students. Leipheimer, a fourth-generation educator, has always considered herself a teacher first, last, and always despite her many years in administration.
Groves also announced that the Board has also established a sustainability endowment in Leipheimer's honor. "The Board wants you to know that we share your goal of ensuring Foxcroft's future," she said.
"I am overwhelmed," said an emotional Leipheimer. "This is a very special, special place. Each of us who has been touched by Foxcroft has been changed forever. And we have a responsibility, and that is to make certain that other have an opportunity to be changed by it as well.
"It has been my privilege and my pleasure to have been touched by the fabric of this place; to have known you, to have loved you, and to have been a teacher. You have taught me more than I have ever taught anyone. I shall treasure you in my heart, and I am thrilled to be an alum!"
Another moment came Friday evening, at Mr. B's When Pigs Fly Barbecue held at McConnell Stables — where folks ate at tables set up in the aisles, danced where tons of hay is usually stored, and pinned cards with their favorite Foxcroft memories on ribbons adorning the barn. There, Leipheimer passed the baton — literally — to the incoming Head of School, Catherine Smylie McGehee.
"I have been waiting for this moment for a long time," said Leipheimer. "It has been my pleasure to serve, but it is time ... and what better time to make such a transition than as we celebrate the School's first 100 years and launch it into its second century.
"They asked me not to use one with flames, which I considered," she smiled as she handed a festively-decorated baton to McGehee. "I know you will twirl it well."
"When I first heard about the baton, I thought perhaps it was like the baton used in track relays — and that I should take it and run," joked McGehee, who introduced her family and spoke briefly about Mary Lou's great legacy and the honor of taking the reins at a school "where learning is deep and meaningful and thoughtful."
"I am ever so grateful that you have entrusted this school that you love to my care, and I look forward to working with you and for you in the coming months and years," said McGehee.
Other highlights of the weekend — and there were many — included:
— The moving gathering and celebration of Foxcroft's multicultural community called Foxcroft's First Diversi-Tea;
— Middleburg Mayor Betsy Allen Davis reading and presenting a proclamation passed by the Town Council earlier in April, declaring the weekend "Foxcroft Centennial Celebration Weekend" in the town of Middleburg Saturday before the Drill;
— A spectacular display by the Foxcroft Corps of alumnae, organized by Sheldon Gerry Withers '61, and the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps under the watchful eye of General Crosbie Saint and hundreds of spectators. (See separate story
— The traditional alumnae Fox/Hound field hockey game (Hounds won 3-0), with scores of alumnae joining the March In and taking their turns with the drums and tambourines they once possessed, as well as playing their hearts out;
— A STEM presentation that played to a standing-room-only crowd, and other intellectually challenging mini-classes;
— Insightful and articulate panel discussions by students and faculty, as well as a "State of the School" session with Mary Lou and her Administrative Team that filled FoxHound Auditorium;
— A student-made video called "Forever Foxcroft Girls" and variety of musical performances that drew raves reviews;
— A "virtual art show" that featured nearly 30 artists from around the country and the UK representing six decades of Foxcroft women;
And much, much more. Take a look at the Centennial Weekend page
of our website to relive — or experience for the first time — the weekend. You can watch the student video, view the Alumnae Art Show, see lots of photos (and link to even more!), read Reggie Groves' speech
and watch a video of several of the weekend's events.