BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — St. Edmond’s Academy did not let the coronavirus pandemic get in the way of an annual tradition. The all-boys school honored its mothers by distributing flowers to them on May 10, which was Mothers Day.
Nearly 100 mothers, some accompanied by their sons or other family members, drove through the school’s driveway to get their flower. It was part of a day that began with a recorded prayer service, along with another tradition in which the fourth-graders read letters to their moms.
“It’s captures the spirit of St. Ed’s. We’re so excited. It’s the highlight of my day to come here,” said Shannon Burke, whose son, Brendan, is in eighth grade. “I burst out in tears when I drove up. It’s my first time back, and this school means so much to me.”
The Burke family is wrapping up nine years at St. Edmond’s, but for Barbara Merritt, this is her first. Her son, Luke, is in seventh grade. She called the flower giveaway and food collection “a wonderful experience.”
“I think it’s a great outreach, especially in this time, that they can use as a positive,” she said.
Erin Solda, St. Edmond’s director of development, said the school wanted to continue its tradition “in the craziness.” She was joined at the school by, among others, headmaster Brian Ray, principals Steve Skolfield and Juliana McClellan, and director of alumni relations Bill D’Amato. They greeted each of the cars as they drove up.
“We’re really excited. It’s so nice to see some of the boys coming to school. We miss them,” Solda said.
The Mothers Day prayer service was recorded earlier in the week in the school chapel. Father Rich Jasper, associate pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in Wilmington and part-time chaplain at the school, was the celebrant. In his homily, he told the story of a high school football player who was severely injured during a high school football practice and was not expected to live. The player’s mother took him home and cared for him until he died 35 years later.
Toward the end of his life, the son, John McClamrock, apologized for being such a burden to his mom.
“And his mom said, ‘Johnny, you’re wrong. It has been my supreme privilege to love you in all of this,’” Father Jasper said. “Johnny died the next day. His mom died a week later. But, beautifully, the last words that his mom spoke to him were, Johnny, it’s been a privilege.’ And I think it ties in so beautifully to what our Blessed Mother said as her final recorded words: ‘Do whatever Jesus tells you.’ I think that’s the message.”
That’s what mothers do, Father Jasper continued. They lead us closer to Jesus.
“So when moms drive us crazy — and they sometimes do — never forget that they love us. And anything they do is because of that love.”
Several fourth-graders recorded themselves reading their letters to their mothers. Those are also posted online.
Meg Connell, who has two young sons at St. Edmond’s and another who will attend, stopped by the school with the boys — Logan, Brody and Finn — and her husband, Ryan, who graduated in 1995. She was thrilled with what the school prepared.
“It’s great. The boys love it, and they miss school so much,” she said.
Everyone wants to get the students back in the building, Merritt and others said.
“But if not, St. Edmond’s has done a wonderful job on virtual learning. We’re very pleased with where we are. We feel we’re still getting a great education. It’s not perfect, but they’re definitely making the best of it, all the teachers and faculty have been wonderful,” Merritt said.
Burke called the last two months “surreal,” but she praised St. Edmond’s for keeping the community engaged and the brotherhood alive for the students.
“The little things they’ve done for the boys have helped us get through it.”
Many of the families also brought food that will be given to the Claymont Community Center.