The CA Houses initiative is part of the Centennial Campaign for Concord Academy, a continuum of investments that will ready the school to enter its second century with strength and powerful momentum.
Generous contributions to the Centennial Campaign for Concord Academy have enabled transformative renovations to CA’s boarding houses. The recently dedicated Sylvia M. Mendenhall Common Room in Bradford House and Stone Soup Common Room in Phelps House are just two of the new common spaces that are building community on campus.
“These improvements are vital to the health of this school in the long term. We are immeasurably grateful for the overwhelming support from this community that made them possible,” says Head of School Rick Hardy. “Together, we have ensured that CA can house its students and the adults who guide and mentor them, in a way that will elevate the experience of our entire community.”
The Sylvia M. Mendenhall Common Room in Bradford House gives students a place to gather and relax.
The Sylvia M. Mendenhall Common Room
Honoring an extraordinary teacher
The dedication of the new Sylvia M. Mendenhall Common Room in Bradford House on October 4 was, in a way, the passing of a baton. Those who knew Mendenhall during her more than 30 years of service to Concord Academy felt her influence strongly, and she continued her mentorship long after her official retirement in 1992. Before she passed away in 2016, she joined other longtime teachers in including CA in her estate plans, making a bequest of her private home in Chelmsford, Mass., the sale of which provided funds to make the common room possible. This extraordinary teacher’s living legacy continues to animate the CA community. Now her name will inhabit the very structure of the school.
The Stone Soup Common Room
Named by and for the community
The Stone Soup Common Room was named, at the request of the donors who enabled its renovation in Phelps House, by the students on the Boarding Council. The name refers to the “stone soup” folk tale — a pot with water and a stone becomes a rich soup, thanks to the contributions of many — to emphasize the values of inclusivity, community, resourcefulness, and many contributions coming together to make a better whole.
Boarding students gather in the Stone Soup Common Room in Phelps House for evening snacks and sushi-making.
Celebrating CA Houses
In October, members of the CA community gathered to celebrate the remarkable momentum of the Centennial Campaign for Concord Academy, which enabled the transformative renovations and expansions to houses and common rooms and the beginning of a major investment in Haines-Hobson Commons. Dedication ceremonies for the Sylvia M. Mendenhall Common Room and the Stone Soup Common Room were followed by a Gathering in Gratitude celebration that gave thanks — thanks to donors for their vital support and enduring belief in CA’s promise for the future, thanks for CA’s mission, and thanks for the remarkable energy the school is experiencing with this campaign.
They describe their summer pilgrimages as a counterbalance to the demands of daily life — a restructuring of their spiritual practice that helps them feel peaceful and spacious. “As much as it is about moving through the world,” Morehead says, “pilgrimage is about the internal landscape.”
As for the CA Spanish students who are soon to depart for Galicia, they recently completed a mini-pilgrimage in Concord — a two-hour walk to Reflection Circle in the Emerson Amble — in anticipation of their journey. “It was a nice taste of things to come,” Bailey says.