A few years ago, Stephanie Smith SG-GH ‘89 stated, “My years at SG-GH played a crucial role in preparing me for the future. Even today, I am constantly reminded of the many impressions the school made on me, … but what I [especially] treasure is how St. Genevieve exposed me to sports.”
Stephanie emphasized that, “sports, particularly field hockey and basketball, at St. Genevieve taught me how to believe in myself and believe in others… I learned quickly that belief and hard work really do make a difference, and I still try to take that philosophy into other aspects of my life.” Crediting her teacher and coach Peggy Partin with teaching the teams how to work together and how to recover from loss, Stephanie continued, “How you deal with both winning and losing defines what type of person you are… your character. Peggy taught us character and grace. Of course, we didn’t know we were learning life’s lessons at the time; we were just playing field hockey.”
Those lessons in teamwork, character, and grace have proven invaluable as Stephanie’s hard work, enthusiastic pursuit of challenges, and faith in herself and others have helped her create a successful company that guides clients in the business development, strategic planning, and creative aspects of marketing. Her company’s official brochure proclaims, “We believe in collaboration not only within our agency, but with our clients as well.” This statement professes Stephanie’s personal mantra in her role as principle and business development director. Following her SG-GH graduation from ninth grade in 1986 and her high school career, Stephanie studied journalism and public relations at California State University in Chico; then this “Asheville girl turned California girl turned Asheville girl” returned to her hometown, where she worked in public relations with Equivest Finance and Peppertree Resorts until 2001.
At that point, Stephanie co-founded the Brite Agency, a full-service communications firm, and became a vital member of the Asheville community. In the years since, she shared her essential talents for success with numerous local civic organizations with which she has been associated. On the alumni board of Carolina Day for more than three years, Stephanie represented the SG-GH legacy and served on the Historian Committee. She also served on the boards of Pack Place and Asheville Downtown Association, as a volunteer with Asheville Arts Council and Helpmate, and as a supporter of Mountain Housing Opportunities and Asheville Downtown Association.
Of extraordinary significance to alumni of St. Genevieve of the Pines, Gibbons Hall, and St. Genevieve/ Gibbons Hall, Stephanie was the creative director of the stgenevievememories.org website. Stephanie devoted extraordinary skill, personal time, creativity, energy, staff work hours, and financial generosity to bring the site to fruition.
Her “we can do it” passion and tenacity generated confidence and drew faith from all associated on the project.
Much of Stephanie’s inspiration and impact originated in her effervescent joie de vivre and remarkable energy. She cheered tirelessly for the NC State Wolfpack basketballers, “obsessed” [her word] over pop culture, world travel, and tennis—notably Russian tennis great-turned politician Marat Safin. She combined these fascinations when possible, as she did when attending Wimbledon during a visit to London and Paris (TWICE, including earlier this month, and in June, when she flew to Miami for a U2 concert). A peripatetic adventuress!
Stephanie’s life and legacy represent the hopes that Carolina Day and its predecessor schools hold for their alumni, as they leave the nurturing environs of academic classrooms, athletic venues, and arts studios and stages to become productive, open-hearted, enriching members of their communities through their careers and their community commitments. When Stephanie “graduated” from St. Genevieve/ Gibbons Hall, she was one of the first students to win the Michael Wellisch Athletic Cup, an award still presented to CDS middle schoolers. She had earned that award through her development of skills, support of teammates, and drive to succeed.
It is our honor to present, posthumously, the Distinguished Alumni Award to Stephanie Smith. Her sharing of skills, support of others, and steadfastness as a professional and community member serve as an example to us all.
The Class of 1967 will be celebrating their 50th reunion on the weekend of October 20th, 2017.
There will be more details soon.
The jubilation of a family reunion filled the CDS Lower School gym on October 11, 2014, as about 75 individuals of multiple generations – alumni and their children, parents of alumni, and former faculty - joined together to celebrate the launching of stgenevievememories.org. This site honors the past and ensures that the legacy of St. Genevieve continues.
For two years, committee members and loyal supporters have worked to create a virtual home to commemorate the seven schools of St. Genevieve. The Launch Party marked the completion of the first stage of the site.
CDS Head of School Kirk Duncan welcomed the St. Genevieve revelers, emphasizing that all of the predecessor schools of CDS are vital members of this school community.
Former Headmaster of Gibbons Hall, St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines, and St. Genevieve-Gibbon Hall Joe Lalley reminded those attending the festivities that the school each alumnus holds dear was built on the legacy of the classes that preceded him or her.
“The heritage that earlier classes gave to the classes that followed were their gift to every member of your class. The lessons you learned, your achievements, your Field Day, your dramatic productions, your teachers, your classmates - these you still rightly cherish. These are your legacy to the classes that followed you. Your class made a good school a better school.” (VIEW PHOTOS OF THE EVENT HERE)
A few members of SG/GH class of '78 enjoyed an impromptu gathering at Jo Salley Chandler's home in Asheville in June. Dan Wellisch was visiting in town from Chicago, and Mary Martin, who lives near Venice, was spending a few weeks in Asheville. Local folks were joined by former faculty Tish Anderson and Pam Reid.
Front row: Marc Mankins, Dan Wellisch, Mary Martin, Tripp Owen, Pam Reid.
Back row: Tish Anderson, Bryant Anderson, Jo Salley Chandler, Leslie McCullough Casse, Pete Baumgarten.
Much of the information on this site came from the many yearbooks you have so graciously donated. You will notice that some years are missing. If you have a yearbook or school newspaper you would like to donate to the St. Genevieve archives, you can help preserve the legacy. Contact Zanne Garland, firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-210-9149.
“Several folks from St. Genevieve have a dream and we hope you will join us. We want to create a comprehensive history/memoir that recalls the tremendous impact of the St. Genevieve schools on the Asheville population. We want to tell the story of St. Genevieve and Gibbons Hall through the memories of alumni, parents, and faculty and to collect the record of the evolution of the schools from newspaper records, photographs and other published sources. We hope you will help us fulfill our dream,” Stephanie Smith read in a letter dated December 3, 2012.
The letter continued, “We agree that you, Stephanie, are our choice for the position of Steering Committee chair. In addition to your years as a student at St. Genevieve, you have developed expertise as a professional in twenty-first century marketing and public relations. We can think of no one else who can possibly offer the talents and characteristics that you have.”
“A-B Tech Builds for the Future While Preserving the Past.” A-B Tech News. January 6, 2012.
Batchelder, Maydean. “Voice of the Pine.” May 1951.
Dunnigan, Helen D. “St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines.” High School Journal, Chapel Hill, NC. May-October 1924. JSTOR.
“Gibbons Hall” brochure published to establish Pinto Memorial.
Hanes, Matthew. Diocese of Charlotte Archives. Charlotte, NC. January 2014.
Potts, Mother Margaret, RCE. St. Genevieve’s Remembered, 1908 – 1968: A Historical Memoir.
1991, Carolina Day School, Asheville, NC.