Inaugural Philanthropy Kick-off Celebrated in New Marie T. and Joseph H. Matarese Commons

Inaugural Philanthropy Kick-off Celebrated in New Marie T. and Joseph H. Matarese Commons

By Elaine Loft

Derryfield held an inaugural Fall Philanthropy Kick-Off event on Tuesday, October 10 in the soon-to-be-opened Matarese Commons. Current parents, faculty, and staff were welcomed by Head of School Andy Chappell and heard remarks from faculty member Mimi Coombes and senior Sebastian Parra. Joe Matarese then gave a speech centered on giving, and also honored his parents, Marie T. and Joseph H. Matarese, to whom the building is dedicated. 

The new dining commons was filled with food and friends as the community came together to see firsthand what is made possible by philanthropy. After partaking of the charcuterie and antipasto station created by newly installed Chef, Michael Clancy, the guests heard first from Mimi Coombes, who has taught math at Derryfield for thirty-one years, about her love for the school.

“To say that Derryfield has had a powerful impact on me is an enormous understatement. This community—this inspiring place of growth and self-discovery, has come to be at the very core of who I am. It is so very fitting that the core value we are lifting up this year is the value of Family. Derryfield truly is and always will be, part of my family. 

Sebastian Parra ’24 reflected on his experience, to date, at Derryfield.

“During the past six years, I’ve been able to see both the school and my classmates change and grow; however, the spirit I felt from my first day shadowing here has remained unchanged. People here are expected and encouraged to pursue their passions. They’re not only allowed that freedom but are actively supported by their teachers, advisors, counselors, and classmates to do so. In this way, I was able to accumulate experiences that I’ll cherish and will influence me far outside of my high school years, all before I’ve even become an adult. Right now, I’m seriously thankful for this school, and I know I’ll continue to be for the rest of my life.”

Head of School Andy Chappell gave an overview of Derryfield, past and present.

“At this event tonight, we celebrate how far the school has come in its 60 years since being incorporated, while also staying focused on the good work ahead of us. It’s an ideal time to honor the vision of our founders…who knew from the very start that it was always going to take more than tuition to maintain and sustain an independent school of this caliber.

I am happy to report that Derryfield is healthy and thriving when you look at just about every metric: faculty, academic program, enrollment, extracurriculars, and, most importantly for this evening, philanthropy. 

Chappell then introduced Joe Matarese, P’20, P’24, who centered his remarks on the power of giving.

“Let us take a moment to reflect on the profound impact that giving within our families can have, not only on our immediate loved ones but also on society as a whole. When we give from the heart, we create a bond of love and trust that transcends any material possessions. 

It is within the interplay of family, giving, and gratitude that we find the true essence of human connection. By fostering an environment of giving within our families, we teach our children the value of compassion and empathy. We empower them to be agents of positive change, to look beyond themselves, and to see the needs of others. Through the power of giving and gratitude, we can shape future generations that are not only successful but also compassionate, kind-hearted, and committed to making the world a better place.”

Chappell thanked the Matarese family, who had given the largest gift in the history of Derryfield—a gift which made possible the construction of The Matarese Commons.

“They understood that The Commons would be the heart of our campus, a place to spend time together over a shared meal, a place that would transform the daily experience for our students, faculty, and staff. To them, this was bigger than the here and now, it was about the impact this building will have on generations of students.”

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