In addressing the source of the spring that feeds his Sabine farm, Horace waxes poetic about his fountain Bandusia, describing it as the bringer of gifts, like crystal or glass it is both translucent and reflective:
You too will become one of the famous fountains,
as I sing of an old oak tree planted on carved-out
rocks, from which your speaking
waters leap down
Julie Sykes is one of those famous sources of inspiration. In her we see the best of ourselves. She reminds us of our familiar patterns–the things important–honesty, compassion, kindness, humor; Julie’s is a sharp-witted sense of humor, one tempered only by her innate respect for the appropriate. Her uncanny ability to be comfortable with everybody, to put all whom she meets at ease, whether 4, 40 or 140, alum, parent, past parent or prospective parent, colleague, nursery school director or Saint David’s headmaster (and she’s known them all) is unparalleled.
There is nobody quite like Julie. She is direct, forthright, and worthy of our highest trust. Her colleagues and peers respect her intelligence and patience; for people new to the school, it’s her willingness to give them as much of her time as they need. Prospective parents leave feeling Julie loved their child even if they were not admitted.
To a generation of Saint David’s boys, Julie is synonymous with Admissions and baseball cards. Lying in a basket in her office, the cards were her secret weapon, connecting her to the boys. For those of us a little older, she’s the keeper of the gate. We know her for her deep commitment to the values that she holds; values completely synonymous with those of Saint David’s. Her sensitivity and humility, her groundedness, professionalism, common sense and clear thinking have served the school with unblemished distinction for 19 years.
Even though Julie will soon be leaving us for a much deserved retirement, like Horace’s Bandusian waters, his loquaces lymphae, Julie will continue to speak. The depth of her influence, the quality of her work, will continue to define admissions at Saint David’s School well beyond her departure.