The Daycroft School Foundation continues the mission of the Daycroft School, a Christian Scientist nursery school founded by Sara Pyle Smart in 1928 in Darien, Connecticut. Over the years, the school grew, adding different grade levels until it offered a preschool through high school education. During this period, it also moved locations, first to Stamford and then to Greenwich, Connecticut. Although the school closed its doors in 1991, the Daycroft School Foundation continues to focus on its goal to “provide an educational environment which embraces the teachings of Christian Science, giving opportunity for individual unfoldment and community responsibility.” To accomplish this, the foundation focuses on four core areas: online learning, peer support, grants, and programs for Christian Scientist Educators.
In 2000, the Daycroft School Foundation established its Distinguished Daycrofter Award to recognize former students, faculty, and staff who have contributed to their communities in a way that exemplifies the Daycroft School’s motto of “Perceive Then Demonstrate.” Read on to learn more about what it takes to earn this prestigious recognition.
What are the criteria for receiving the Distinguished Daycrofter Award?
The Daycroft School Foundation instituted this award to recognize members of the Daycroft family who have positively affected other people’s lives. To earn this award, an individual must demonstrate his or her commitment to humanity, as well as an unwavering commitment to achievement by doing the following:
– Making some form of meaningful contribution to society
– Embodying the character traits that Daycroft promoted
– Displaying an appreciation for the school and the principles of Christian Science
Who has won the Distinguished Daycrofter Award?
Since it first instituted the award, the Daycrofter School Foundation has presented it only three times. The following individuals have earned this distinction:
Donald L. Koch—The foundation presented the award to Mr. Koch in 2007 for his charitable work in educating young people. A Daycroft student from elementary school through his junior year of high school, he has stated that he feels indebted to the school for teaching him about hard work and perseverance, as well as for showing him “how to think.”
Utilizing the tools he gained at Daycroft, Mr. Koch created the Donald L. Koch Foundation to help students become better citizens. To this end, it sponsors lectures on America’s founding documents and on how to reach one’s true potential. Some guest lecturers have included Dr. Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and David McCullough. The foundation also hands out copies of the Constitution to students at these events.
In addition to the efforts of his foundation, Mr. Koch gives back to his others by volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America, teaching Sunday School, and paying school tuition for young people in need.
Lynn A. London—A former Daycroft faculty member and assistant head, London received the award in 2000. As Daycroft President Trude Harper presented the award to London, he praised her ability to bring “light and warmth” to the school, as well as the broader community.
Over the course of nearly 30 years at Daycroft, Lynn London earned a reputation as being someone with whom students could share their troubles without fear of being judged. After providing students with a sympathetic ear, she would encourage them to do the “right” thing and offer to help, whether they required financial, emotional, or scholastic assistance. She was also a steadfast and patient presence in the lives of everyone she worked with.
Still giving to others today, she immediately steps in to help out as soon as she hears about someone in need. Among the many recipients of her caring heart are older people, her church, and the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Janet and Cobbey Crisler—Known as “two of Daycroft’s dearest friends,” this couple received the Distinguished Daycrofter Award in 2007. Cobbey Crisler, a 1950 graduate of Daycroft, returned to serve as the institution’s president from 1966 to 1976. During Mr. Crisler’s tenure at what he often referred to as “our God-blessed free school,” his wife Janet taught at the Daycroft nursery school program.
Passionate about the Bible, Mr. Crisler began to share his passion for Scripture with others, giving talks throughout the country and guiding others on expeditions to the Holy Land. After his departure from Daycroft, Mr. Crisler focused exclusively on his Bible investigations and lectures. He also co-authored two books: Fishers of Men: The Way of the Apostles and Come See The Place: The Holy Land Jesus Knew. Janet Crisler was a full partner in her husband’s work and even co-authored her own book: Loaves and Fishers: Foods of Bible Times. She also serves the American Schools of Oriental Research as an associate board trustee.
After Cobbey Crisler’s death in 1988, Janet Crisler became an active fundraiser for various initiatives. She also established a biblical research institute to carry on the work her husband started.