Foxcroft School, an independent girls' boarding and day school in Middleburg, Virginia, hosted Middleburg Hunt on campus the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This traditional meet, followed by a hunt breakfast for alumnae, parents, faculty, students and neighbors, celebrates the connections between the school and Middleburg Hunt. Foxcroft founder, Miss Charlotte Haxall Noland, was a master for many years, and hounds still meet at Covert, the head of school's home.
The morning began with a stirrup cup, hot cider and ham biscuits, and Head of School Catherine S. McGehee welcomed participants. Jeff Blue, MFH, spoke about the long relationship between Middleburg Hunt and Foxcroft, and then introduced the students who were invited to ride with staff, including huntsman Hugh Robards, whippers-in, and the field masters. Assistant Directors of Riding, Allie Truitt and Kendall Bear, and other girls rode in the field.
Foxcroft student, Ellia Giuliani, rode with Huntsman Hugh Robards. Bethany Stotler/Foxcroft School photo.
Riding has always been a part of Foxcroft, and many hunting terms are a part of the Foxcroft lexicon: The yearbook is "Tally-Ho!" Class notes in the alumnae magazine are called "Gone Away," and junior leaders in the dorms are called Whippers-In. One of the school's oldest and most beloved traditions is the Fox and Hound rivalry. Upon arrival at school, all faculty and students are chosen either to be Foxes or Hounds, and these teams compete in friendly extracurricular events throughout the year.
Junior Annabelle Coppersmith of Middleburg and senior Siobhan O'Connor of Leesburg, who rode with Master Tim Harmon. Bethany Stotler/Foxcroft School photo.
In the early 20th century, the all-important Fox-Hound basketball game was also played outside on Thanksgiving. Miss Charlotte was generally dressed in riding habit during these games, having participated in the Thanksgiving meet. Over the years, the basketball game moved inside and to the winter months, and field hockey took its place on the fall calendar. As an all-girls school, this game and surrounding social events play the role of Homecoming at a typical high school. Many alumnae and families come back to enjoy a variety of events, particularly the Middleburg meet and breakfast on campus.
Jeff Blue spoke about the Middleburg Hunt-Foxcroft School connection to Foxcroft Head of School Catherine S. McGehee as Joint Masters Tim Harmon and Penny Denegre look on. Bethany Stotler/Foxcroft School photo.
The current Masters of Middleburg Hunt all have Foxcroft connections. Penny Denegre is the parent of an alumna and serves on the School's Board of Trustees. Tim Harmon has two daughters: One graduated last May; the other is a sophomore. Jeff Blue's two stepdaughters attended Foxcroft. By virtue of their daughters, then, they too are all Foxes or Hounds and have fun with their teams. Often, as was the case this year, Hugh Robards paraded his pack on the field hockey field shortly before the game.
For more information about Foxcroft School, visit their website here.