Alum's Contribution Lends Support to a New Generation of Drama Students

The St. Michaels University School chapel is a significant place for alumnus Andrew Sabiston ’82. Inside the chapel hangs a tapestry made by his artist mother, Carole. That tapestry was part of a bargain Carole made with then-Headmaster John Schaffter when she was having trouble affording tuition. Throughout his Senior School years, Andrew would sit in chapel and look at the tapestry thinking “there’s my education.”

Andrew, who has gone on to become a writer and performer for stage, film and television – where credits run to over 700 episodes for producers ranging from LucasFilm to the BBC – gives SMUS a lot of credit for shaping his life, particularly his third-grade teacher Colin Skinner. “It was Colin who first pointed out that I was quasi-dyslexic,” Andrew remembers. “And the way that he explained that to me, that I had trouble reading because I didn’t see words like everyone else, actually made me feel special instead of like something was wrong with me.”

It was also Colin Skinner’s encouragement that led Andrew to get involved in drama and school productions starting in Grade 6. “The soft-spoken gentleman artist,” as Andrew describes him, who had “boundless energy and passion,” acted as both mentor and inspiration to Andrew. When Colin passed away in 2003, his former students and colleagues felt the loss keenly and an endowment fund in Colin’s name was established to help gifted drama students in financial need attend St. Michaels University School.

Andrew Sabiston has been a regular contributor to that fund since its inception. “I’m thrilled,” he says, “to be participating in something that preserves Colin’s memory and goes toward something he stood for and believed in.”

Starting the contributions took a leap of faith. At the time Andrew started giving, “I wasn’t exactly up on my luck – the London debut of Napoleon [the big-budget musical he co-wrote with former classmate Tim Williams ‘83] hadn’t done as well as we hoped.” He decided to make small monthly contributions deducted from his credit card, which he says he didn’t even notice until he got his tax receipts and saw how those small contributions add up over time.

Now married to Stephanie, with a young son, Oliver, and working on several new projects, Andrew is happy to be supporting his school. “The school supported me,” he explains, “the support I received from my teachers was endless and it was very empowering to feel that one’s choices in life would be supported and weren’t dismissed as flights of fancy.”

Lend your support to the next generation of SMUS students by giving now.


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