A Message from NCS

From Kathleen Jamieson, Head of School

Kathleen Jamieson, Head of School
Dear NCS Community,

As you may know, the Washington National Cathedral Choir is scheduled to sing this weekend at two events connected to the presidential inauguration. This has been the subject of some discussion and misunderstanding over the weekend, and I want to clarify how the choir came to these performances.
The choir is a function of the Cathedral, rather than of National Cathedral School or St. Albans School. It traditionally performs at a National Prayer Service for the new president in the Cathedral, which will be held this year on Jan. 21. This November, Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith received an invitation for the choir to perform also at the Jan. 20 inauguration, and he and Bishop Mariann Budde accepted it.
I urged the dean and the bishop to reconsider having our children participate in this particular transition of power, given that many in our community see it as in conflict with our school values of excellence, service, courage, and conscience. This was a rare occasion in my 14 years of working collaboratively with colleagues at the Cathedral where we did not agree.
I do appreciate that Dean Hollerith agreed to allow students to choose whether to participate in the inauguration. It is important that NCS women were empowered with that decision, in consultation with their parents. As I have told the choristers in person, we respect the judgments that resulted, and we support each of our students; there are many ways to light a candle for our country.
I am moved by the love and respect and support for NCS expressed by our alumnae. The messages to me and others on the Close are testaments to what this important school means to women. I hope that I will see many of you on Saturday, when we will open Woodley North to alumnae following the Women's March. Please join us at NCS from 3:30 to 5:00 pm.
Kathleen O'Neill Jamieson
Head of School
National Cathedral School

From Elise Rabekoff, Governing Board Chair

Elise Rabekoff, Governing Board Chair
Dear Friends,

Many of you have let us know of your passionate disagreement with the Cathedral’s decision to have its choristers participate in inaugural events. I have seen some of these letters, and I am both very pleased that NCS remains so important to you and awed by our shared determination that NCS live up to its values. With that in mind, I want you to have the facts about the school's role in the decisions that prompted these messages.
In November, the Cathedral Choristers, some of whom are NCS students, were invited to sing at the inauguration. The chorister program is run by the Cathedral, and only the Cathedral has the ability to accept or decline an invitation to perform. In fact, chorister families sign an agreement with the Cathedral—not with their school—concerning participation in the program. Nonetheless, Mrs. Jamieson urged the Cathedral dean and the bishop of Washington to reconsider their decision to accept the invitation. Despite Mrs. Jamieson's powerfully stated views, the dean and the bishop continued to believe that participating in the inauguration was necessary for reasons the dean has outlined on the Cathedral's website.
Mrs. Jamieson did encourage the Cathedral to make one change in the normal operations for the choristers: Contrary to the usual policy, chorister attendance at the inauguration would not be required. Some have suggested that student scholarships or program participation may be at risk for those who did not sing; that would never have been a risk. We are very grateful that Mrs. Jamieson's strong voice was respected and heard and that our families were able to make decisions that keep with their own views and values.
Like all Americans, the Governing Board is proud of the peaceful transition of administrations, and our chaplains will lead our NCS community in prayer for the future of our nation, as they have always done. Through it all, we know that the school will remain true to our shared commitment to equity, respect and tolerance, and our determination to resist bigotry and denigration of women, no matter where these may appear.
Elise Rabekoff
Governing Board Chair
National Cathedral School