Volunteer Spotlight: Annual Fund Parent Grade Representatives Celeste Sant’Angelo & Stephen Koval P ’18
From the moment Celeste Sant’Angelo and Stephen Koval stepped on campus with son Luca to visit, they were enthralled. “Our tour’s Student Ambassador was brimming with enthusiasm; she delighted in telling Luca all about one of s main passions, the robotics program.” remarked Celeste. We had already visited a number of schools, but HM stood out, and not just for the spacious and gorgeous campus, but for the wide array of courses and activities,” she continued. “Everyone we encountered was immediately friendly and welcoming, including Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly who greeted us as a prospective family,” added Stephen.
The family values much about the Horace Mann School community. Coming to HM from the Buckley School, Luca and his parents are thrilled to be a part of a larger, coeducational construct with a socio-economically and racially diverse student body hailing from across the Tristate area. As broad as the school population is, “the community truly tightly knit and supportive. When I had some health issues last and part of this year, Luca’s teachers, advisors and friends made a concerted effort to check in with him, and, for at, we’re grateful,” Celeste shared.
The couple’s appreciative sentiment about the community extends to the full HM educational experience as well. “The School’s thoughtful faculty and staff foster an environment where not only the whole student is nurtured but also where he/she is challenged to step out one’s comfort zone.” Steve continued to sum up what he believes every parent wishes for her/ his young adult, “to begin to figure out who you are, follow your passions, forge new friendships, and be prepared navigate life’s triumphs and adversities. It’s all we could have hoped for Luca from the outset, and he’s experienced all of this at HM.” As Luca prepares to graduate this year and matriculate into Cornell University’s College of Engineering, his proud parents enumerate on all of the opportunities he’s been inspired by and will miss including robotics, the Concert Glee Club, Service Learning, Math and Science Olympiads, and the Independent Study program, to name a few. “It’s been wonderful that Luca has been able to try a number of different elective courses and activities during his time in the Upper Division, while being able to dive deeper into his favorites,” Celeste recapped
Horace Mann School’s faculty and staff, its traditional academic rigor, and emerging areas of curriculum have inspired Celeste and Stephen to serve as Parent Grade Representative volunteers for the Annual Fund throughout Luca’s four years at the School. The couple has dedicated their time, talent and financial support because, according to Stephen, “we feel a deep collective responsibility to give back to the community and, having had experience in fundraising for other organizations we care about, it’s something we felt we could do to help make a difference. Once you get past the discomfort of asking others for money, you get to the heart of the matter in that you’re not asking for yourself but in support of a shared important cause.”
(Article appeared in the spring 2018 Donor Newsletter)