School hosts memorial service for Ted Walch


Chloe Park/Chronicle

Reverend Anne Gardner reads from Christian scriptures Walch selected.

Chloe Park and Hannah Shahidi

Community members gathered for a memorial service to honor former Performing Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies Teacher Ted Walch in Saint Savior’s Chapel Sept. 9.

Reverend Anne Gardner opened the memorial by honoring Walch’s life and career. Head of Upper School Beth Slattery and Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo then read from two selected readings. After Gardner read more prayers, President Rick Commons concluded the ceremony by ringing a bell once for every year that Walch taught at the school.

Gardner said many of the readings and prayers were chosen by Walch, a practicing Episcopalian.

“The second reading had been selected by Mr. Walch himself, from the Christian scriptures,” Gardner said. “The first reading was my selection, a poem by fellow Episcopalian Mary Oliver. It felt like a good liturgical pairing, emphasizing that being a person of faith did not require one to live a flawless life, as Mr. Walch often professed. Similarly, the choice of hymns were some of Mr. Walch’s favorites.”

English Teacher Stephen Thompson said he thought the service was appropriate given Walch’s involvement in chapel.

“Mr. Walch was always [at the weekly chapel service] and would usually assist the priest in administering the Eucharist,” Thompson said. “His warmth and joy really shone on those early mornings of quiet prayer, and his friendliness reverberated whenever I would see him around campus throughout the day. Having mostly known Mr. Walch in the context of that chapel, I feel like that service was perfect, reverent and full of joy and hope.”

Thompson said his experience with Walch’s students allowed him to understand Walch’s true impact on the student body.

“Of Mr. Walch’s teaching style, what I knew came by way of reputation,” Thompson said. “Many of the students I taught in AP Lang also took Cinema Studies and I was always struck by the sophistication with which they approached visual media, and by the clear love they had of Mr. Walch and his class. The man was a legend.”

Head Prefect Yoshimi Kimura ’23 said she thought the service was moving and she appreciates Walch’s lasting influence on the school.

“Seeing everyone regardless of whether or not they were close to Mr. Walch come together was really touching,” Kimura said. “While I personally never had Mr. Walch as a teacher, his impact on the school continues to be ever present in its teaching philosophies, arts programs and standards for simply being a good human being.”