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Barron Trump headed to Episcopal day school in Maryland

Barron Trump headed to Episcopal day school in Maryland
The First Son to attend St. Andrew's Day School

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
May 15, 2017

The word is out. The First Couple -- Donald and Melania Trump -- have chosen to send their son to St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School while he is living in the White House.

Eleven-year-old Barron Trump is expected to enter the sixth grade at St. Andrew's and be enrolled as a member of the Class of 2024. St. Andrew's is located in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. The coeducational college preparatory independent school is about 20 miles from the White House.

The First Family had hoped to keep the news of Barron's school choice under wraps until he completes his current school year in New York City. However, rumors were swirling and the news leaked out, so a premature announcement had to be made.

"On Friday (May 12), a report began to circulate online that Barron Trump will attend St. Andrew's next year," St. Andrew's Headmaster Robert Kosasky wrote to school parents. "With consent from the [First] family, we write to confirm that Barron will be a member of the Class of 2024." The school letter was jointly penned with Rodney Glasgow the Head of St. Andrew's Middle School and he is also the school's Chief Diversity Officer.

They also cautioned that if they or their child were approached by news media seeking information about the school or Barron Trump, they were point the press to the school's communication department.

"We are very excited for our son to attend St. Andrew's Episcopal School. It is known for its diverse community and commitment to academic excellence," the First Lady said in a released statement. "The mission of St. Andrew's is 'to know and inspire each child in an inclusive community dedicated to exceptional teaching, learning, and service,' all of which appealed to our family. We look forward to the coming school years at St. Andrew's."

Currently, young Trump is a fifth grader at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. His parents did not want to interrupt his school year after his father took the Oath of Office as President of the United States and moved to the White House in Washington, DC.

Columbia Prep was founded in 1764, making it is one of the oldest nonsectarian private schools in the United States. It was initially established as a boys' preparatory school for Columbia University. Columbia's Middle School tuition is currently at $46,690.

Attending St. Andrew's will be a natural fit for young Trump, a baptized Episcopalian. He was born March 20, 2006, and baptized at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, the same church where his parents -- Donald and Melania Trump -- were married in on Jan. 22, 2005. This is Donald Trump's third marriage and Melania's first. Barron is the only child of that union, but Donald's fifth and youngest child and third son. Young Barron is his mother's only child.

St. Andrew's Statement of Philosophy states: "St. Andrew's provides a challenging coeducational college preparatory program for preschool through twelfth grade in an inclusive environment that embodies the faith and perspective of the Episcopal Church."

"As a school, we are clear about our mission and values, and about who we are as an inclusive Episcopal community." the school headmaster said in his letter to parents about Barron Trump's becoming a St. Andrew's student. "Our inclusive culture and values are at the heart of why our faculty and staff, alumni, and current families love and take pride in St. Andrew's." The head master said that young Trump would be a "great addition" to the school.

Potomac, Maryland's Episcopal school, strives to provide its Middle School children opportunities for self-discovery and learning from the diversity of identities and experiences around them; to increase independence and responsibility; to explore and take risks; to celebrate everyone's successes; and to work together to overcome challenges. The school's website boasts that 100 percent of graduating seniors go on to college.

As an early middle school student, Barron will be taking core classes in English, science, math, history and foreign language. He can choose between Spanish, French and Latin. His core courses will also be augmented by visual & performing arts, humanities, music, religion, and interscholastic sports.

In Religion class, sixth graders study "The Hebrew Bible and the Nature of God." They focus on "the key figures and events during the emergence of Judaism and the belief in one God who acts in the lives of people."

The Episcopal day school also states its mission as: "The mission of St. Andrew's Episcopal School is to know and inspire each child in an inclusive community dedicated to exceptional teaching, learning, and service. That ambitious mission is the catalyst for our ongoing growth."

St. Andrew's, which is located within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, was founded in 1978, so it is a bit younger than the 250-year-old institution that Barron will be transferring from. The price tag for attending the Episcopal day school is also substantially less. Next year, Barron's school tuition will drop to $38,590, an $8,100 savings over Columbia Prep's fees.

The Episcopal school states: " From its early days [circa 1978], the school cultivated challenging programs in a joyful and supportive atmosphere, celebrating its students' diversity of interests, backgrounds and abilities and developing each child's potential in the 'four pillars' of academics, arts, athletics, and spiritual life."

In keeping with The Episcopal School's focus on diversity, St. Andrew prides itself as having "a steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion among its students, families, employees, and trustees. This imperative is rooted in the school's Episcopal identity and its mission to know and inspire each child. A broadly diverse community fosters empathy, strengthens teaching and learning, and promotes academic excellence."

St. Andrew's diversity is shown in the makeup of its student body. Wikipedia reports that the student body is comprised of a rainbow of ethnicities including African Americans (5%); Asian Americans (6%); Caucasians (76%); International Students (3%); Latinos & Hispanics (2%); Middle Easterners (2%); the Multiracial ( 3%); and Native Americans (1%).

When Barron joins St. Andrew's, he will find only 16% of the 580-member student body are fellow Episcopalians. The largest religious group on campus are non-Episcopalian Protestants (23%); followed by the Nones at 21%. Roman Catholics make up 18% of the student body, with Jews coming in at 10%. Other faiths are adhered to by 8% of the pupils, with a final 3% of the student body professing various multi-faiths.

"We are an inclusive, generous, and hospitable community that encourages questions and doubts every bit as much as faith," St. Andrew's explains. "We provide a safe space in which students can find meaning, claim their own spiritual identities, and explore their beliefs with humility and openness."

The school has two chaplains, who are both ordained Episcopal women priests -- Patricia Phaneuf Alexander and Sally Slater -- who "provide spiritual and emotional support to students and families of all faith traditions, in times of both joy and sorrow."

There is one weekly chapel service where students can "set aside time in the midst of a full and busy schedule to pause, pray, center ourselves, and contemplate what it means to be beloved children of God."

However, since Barron Trump is the son of a sitting president, he will be coming to school with his Secret Service detail.

Even before President Trump was inaugurated, the Secret Service has snarled traffic and caused other disruptions in New York (Trump Tower) and at Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Florida) in fulfilling their duties to protect the president and his family from harm.

"School leaders are working directly with the Secret Service to ensure that Postoak Campus logistics and security will continue to work smoothly and discreetly next year for all of our students and families," Headmaster Kosasky explained.

Since St. Andrew's is such a young school, it does not have a long list of luminaries who were one-time students. One day, Barron Trump, as the son of a sitting president, can add his name to the short list of noted alumni, which includes: e-Bay founder, Pierre Omidyar; 1992 Olympic gold medalist, Joe Jacobi; television actress, Whitney Cummings; published book author, Steven Levenson; and Oculus co-founder, Mate Mitchell

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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