Anna Steel began volunteering for Shipley almost the moment she stepped on campus. During her first few months of 5th grade at Shipley, Ms. Steel planned a 5th grade dance, with the hope that it would be a chance for her public school friends to meet her new Shipley friends. In her senior year at Shipley, Ms. Steel was voted “most organized” and served as Senior Class President. Since then, her passion for bringing people together in support of Shipley has been unwavering.
Only five years after graduation, Ms. Steel came back to Shipley as an alumna volunteer, and just 10 years after graduating, she was asked to join the Alumni Board. Ms. Steel remained a member of the Alumni Board for over 10 years, eventually serving as its President. As Alumni Council President and a member of Shipley’s Board of Trustees, Ms. Steel was a connector of people and a champion of Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing. She has said that she considers her time as an alumna Trustee her most important work in serving Shipley.
The role Ms. Steel views as the most fun, however, is her position as reunion class party host. Since their days at Shipley, to their first reunion, and even to this weekend as they celebrate their 30th reunion, the Class of 1987 enjoys gathering at the Steel family home. Decorating with innumerable photos from their school days at Shipley and many relics of proms gone by, Anna Steel knows how to make nostalgia come alive. The fulfillment Anna experienced as a Shipley volunteer has extended into her larger community, as she also enjoys serving institutions such Colgate University and organizations like the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society.
It is for her stalwart dedication to Shipley and spirit of volunteerism that Shipley recognizes Anna Steel with the Alumni Association Service Award.Acceptance Speech:
Before I get started, I just want to give a huge shout-out to my classmate Ray, for traveling over 14,000 miles to be with us today! What an effort!
And speaking of effort, thanks mom and dad for coming out in this weather to honor us today!
Wow! This is such a great morning! I am here with my dear classmates: Ray – winning awards together, very fun! My reunion co-chair – Erika, and all of the great class of 1987! Thanks for everything!
And I am here with all of you, in an All School Assembly. Very Cool! Thank you for this special award! And for that wonderful citation!
Before I acknowledge my service to Shipley, I just want to take a moment to point out something really important to me. I come to this reunion, my 30th, celebrating the life of two really special people who are no longer with us; my dear teacher, Mr. Barrott, and our beloved classmate, Kelly Wagner. They made my Shipley special. Take a minute to think about what makes your Shipley special. And then realize that it may not always be with you. Cherish it every day. I miss my teacher, I miss my friend. They were part of my Shipley experience.
Who makes your Shipley? What makes your Shipley? And after that, think about what can you do for your Shipley?
My service to Shipley started by opening a trash can. I was in 5th grade and my good friend, Louise Zimmerman, and I got a student detention for acting out in class. Back then, detentions were served during lunch period and you could choose your punishment. Louise lived behind the Lower School campus and on her daily walks to school, she noticed trash on campus! So, it was decided we would pick-up trash as our punishment.
We gathered trash for an entire lunch period and even though we were in trouble and serving detention, it felt like we were doing something good for the School. With our trash bags full and out detentions served, we headed off to the cafeteria dumpsters behind what was then “Middle House”. And with that Louise said, “Anna, open the trash!” In went the trash, and my service to Shipley began! It didn’t stop with opening the trash can.
I opened the front door to potential families when I was a Student Admissions Ambassador. As President of the Alumni Association and Alumni Trustee, I opened my eyes. I’ve opened my ears. I’ve opened by checkbook. As reunion chair, I’ve opened my laptop in hopes to Google lost classmates and get them back to campus to meet all of you! I’ve opened my mind when I didn’t always agree! I’ve opened my mouth when it was necessary. I’ve opened my heart! The best part is, and I hope you’ll find this as you journey through Shipley, all of this came as easily as opening the trash, nearly 40 years ago.
So think about it and start today. As a 3rd grader, as a 7th grader, or as a senior heading off to new adventures, what can you open to start giving back to your Shipley?
I opened a trash can.