A new year mandates reflection on the past and anticipation for the future. As another year is set in stone, we’re thrilled to review the traditions practiced and created in 2018. One of our school’s greatest traditions is paradoxical in nature – a tradition of change. More aptly, a tradition of legacy creation.
The foundation for this tradition of change was laid at our inception. We’ve always relied upon diverse community input to create new traditions. While faculty and staff have left undeniable marks on our school’s many practices, our students have bravely spoken up and shared ambitious ideas that, once enacted, have had an enormous impact on our school community and the community at large. This behavior, now modeled over decades, has created in our students a unique sense of cultural ownership that is evident as you walk the halls. Our students want to leave a legacy at St. George’s, and, as a result, many of our school’s most fundamental traditions began as student-developed initiatives.
Ideas born after years of active participation in our school’s culture will come to fruition in 2019. Some of these traditions will be internal. A few years ago, our students developed an honor code from which they operate. Our student body has fully embraced this code of ethics, especially at the Upper School. As our students reflected upon this honor code, a few noted that they’d like for the signing of St. George’s honor code to be a reverential, meaningful experience. So, on January 15, our ninth grade students participated in St. George’s first honor-code signing ceremony.
Similarly, our students felt that our school is especially good at preparing them to enter the adult and professional world, but that there was room to grow in how we welcome new students. Therefore, this year we will place a renewed emphasis on internal transitional milestones for our students. As children prepare to transition from lower to middle and middle to upper schools, we will have new processes in place to ease the transition and prepare students for this shift.
Other new traditions will be externally visible. A prime example is GryphGiving – a week-long embodiment of our school’s mission. During this week in late January, Upper School students will spend an entire class day studying a single subject, engaging deeply in projects and lessons in a way that would otherwise be impossible due to time constraints. As students rotate through their schedules, they’ll spend one of the five days at the Bunkhouse, where they’ll complete a service project for a local veterans organization while collaboratively learning about leadership. Incidentally, this program was only made possible by two past student initiatives – our adjusted class schedule and the creation of the Bunkhouse.
In 2019, we are challenging all of our students to consider their legacies at St. George’s. What will they leave behind that makes St. George’s a better place to learn, commune and grow? How will they enact these changes?
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