Category Archives: Admission Office

#SayYesToGS — A Parent’s Perspective


Ava Navarro ’18 signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to join Duke University’s fencing team. Her parents, grandparents, friends, and coaches joined in the celebration.

by Al Navarro
Parent of Ava Navarro (Class of 2018)

With the deadline for matriculation decisions approaching, I am guessing there may be some parents out there who may be new to the concept of boarding school and find themselves in the middle of considering whether or not to send their children to George School (or another private school) instead of their local public school.

I wanted to share a perspective of a parent who is fairly well-versed in the boarding school world. Our older daughter graduated from a boarding school, and our younger daughter (who is in the George School Class of 2018) attended another boarding school for her first two years of high school. Additionally, my wife was a boarding student at the private high school we both attended years ago. So I have researched, toured, and re-visited many of the “usual suspects” in the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas.

In the context of this experience, we have been VERY happy with George School’s approach to just about everything. I would probably single out their college counseling process as especially good in comparison to our experiences with the other schools. To me, it just struck the right balance in terms of timing and communication. George School has been a great place for our daughter to finish her high school experience.

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Culture Shock, Vietnam and Plastic Bottles: Lessons Learned (thus far) at GS

226-William Street

by Will Street ’18

When I was first driving through what I would later call Newtown, my first thought was, “Wow, this place is super white.” Now, I would ask that you excuse me for that, as I come from a city that is quite literally the blackest municipality in the country with an 82% African-American or Black population. I also ask that you remain conscious that I had always been around people who looked differently than me, but an entire city? Never that.

When I hit George School’s campus, though, I released a long, loud sigh of relief when I saw a group of people of color walking across campus, and a smile went across my face when I saw that the group was not monolithic. There was an Asian student, a black student, a white student, and a Hispanic student all laughing and enjoying each other’s company. What I did not know that day is that, that friend group would mirror mine in the coming years. I would make an Asian friend who lives in the bustling city of Seoul, I would make friends who look like me but their origins span from the Bronx to Somalia and I would make white friends from small, rural towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is proof that George School is not just a melting pot, but it is a massive cauldron of cultures, races, and identities. All that said, there were still growing pains in me reaching this conclusion.

Walking into my room on August 31, 2014 would be the event that would change my perspective on culture and would challenge my patience and my desire to keep an open mind. I stopped in front of the door, and the name read “Truong Son Nguyen Viet” and I felt my face scrunch up and my parents prodded me to open the door. They were seemingly as nervous and unsure as I was. I opened the door and I saw a tall, lanky, large headed (Son, forgive me for that) figure standing and putting away his clothes. He turned around  and there was a brief pause. He broke the silence by saying, “Hi, my name is Son” and held out his hand for me to shake. Admittedly, he was harder to understand, but we’ll address that later.

The first couple of months were bad. We argued about the room being cleaned (I was the dirty one), my volume of showers a day and how loud my friends were when they came inside of the room. A couple of years later, he would later admit that he wanted to make a roommate switch, but luckily he didn’t. After our rough patch, we made a deal that if I taught him to speak English more proficiently, he would teach me Vietnamese curse words. As a freshman, this was a sweet quid pro quo. There were many nights where we would talk and whenever he mispronounced a word, I would kindly tell him the correct pronunciation. In return, he would spend 10 minutes helping me properly pronounce how to tell someone off in his language. We would have extensive conversations, albeit at times uncomfortable, about foreign policy namely the Vietnamese war and how the way we’re taught about it differs. These conversations changed how I viewed the world and encouraged me to be a more understanding, open minded global citizen and he admitted that I changed his perspective on race and how he viewed people of color. We remained roommates up until our senior year, and it was not by choice that we were separated. We were given prefect in different dorms.

Now, at this point you may be wondering what plastic bottles has to do with one of my important lessons. 9th grade, I had been elected to student council as a class representative, and my motives were not pure. In fact, I had this Machiavellian-esque plan to take over the council that ultimately failed, so I would go on to fight every battle that came before us as a council and was debateable. There was one moment that would teach me a lesson that would be important to my development as a GS man. One day, a proposal came before us to discuss the use of plastic water bottles. I thought to myself: “this is my chance!” I tirelessly researched plastic bottle usage and how it would hurt the American worker. I said my points before the meeting, and people looked at me confused and some were chuckling. Later that year, Tom Hoopes would give me the wisdom I needed all along and that was to pick your battles carefully. That made me realize that every hill is not worth dying on and there are more noble and pure causes to have discourse over. This skill is going to help me in my life as a public servant and global citizen and it will always remind me to make sure my motivations are pure and that something is a fight worth fighting.

There it is. I tied together Culture Shock, Vietnam and Plastic Bottles. I reckon Kim McGlyn is to be given credit for that!

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My Life in IB Theater

211-Andreas Makris

by Andreas Makris ’18

I have never been the most outgoing kid. So, the art of theater, in which actors must cast aside any self-consciousness and put their bodies and personalities in the hands of a separate character, might seem like a strange choice of hobby for an introvert such as myself. I would be lying if I said that disregarding other people’s perceptions of me is not a challenging task. However, as I am now half-way through my second year of Mo West’s IB Theater Arts Class, this is a challenge that I have learned to manage and grown to love.

One of my biggest fears when I started acting was abandoning my own identity. Luckily, Mo has helped me work towards overcoming that. She emphasizes Sanford Meisner’s acting techniques, in which the actor does not lose his/her individuality, but rather uses it as a guide to embody a particular role. This preservation of my element is a source of comfort for me. It offers me assurance as I venture into the spirit of another person. Once I can do that, I am free to explore the exciting world of acting.

The last time I was in an after-school production was sophomore year, when I did not yet have the knowledge I have today about theater. Now that I have more experience as an actor, I am looking forward to demonstrating what I have learned in The Laramie Project. Although acting is not an ability that came naturally to me right from the start, this art has become both fun and relieving for me, as it has helped me build confidence to express myself in my everyday life as well.

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What to Pack for Boarding School

340-Amber Salazar

by Amber Salazar ’19

I have been a boarding school student for 2 years now and it seems like each year I somehow manage to forget to pack something important. I’ve always wished that there was a list of things that I should and shouldn’t pack, but I can never seem to find one that is as handy as I would like it to be, so I am going to make a list of my own. Here are the essentials of packing for boarding school.

  • Pack lots of clothes! While you are packing it may seem like you are bringing way too much, but trust me, you’ll need it. Lately the weather has been unpredictable, so make sure to bring clothes for both warm and cold temperatures.
  • Pack different types of shoes. Sometimes you will need sneakers, if it’s cold out you may want to wear boots, or when it’s hot you might want to wear sandals. It is very convenient to have a variety.
  • Bring decorations! The majority of dorm rooms are very bland, so that you can customize it to your liking. Lots of people hang up lights, posters, pictures; really anything that makes it feel more like home.
  • Remember to bring school supplies. You are going to a boarding SCHOOL, after all. Pencils, pens, notebooks, binders, etc.
  • Toiletries! This is probably the most easily forgotten thing to pack. Since you will be living at school, you will need a toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, etc.
  • Bring food. You will be hungry sometimes! If you want a late-night snack or something small to eat in the middle of the day, it is nice to have something to eat in your room.

Overall, the boarding school experience is AMAZING. When you pack the necessary items, the experience just becomes even better.

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Dealing With Roommate Issues

269-Sidney Walters

by Sidney Walters ’19

Boarding school can open your eyes to new ideas, new religions, new cultures etc!  It’s also a great way to get accustomed to living with another person, as you will most likely have to do in college. Roommates can be someone who you can depend on for almost everything. I know that I depend on my roommate for almost everything! But, a roommate is not perfect, which is ok, but it can lead to conflict between the both of you, no matter who the person is. You might be wondering, what do I do in that situation?? Not to worry, I have the answer here for you! But first I will give you a scenario so that you can understand.

Scenario:

Say your roommate is playing music out loud during study hall. (In my room it happens all the time!) Which is totally fine, but tonight you have to take notes in your science book for a really important test tomorrow. You need to have complete quiet in order to do the assignment right. But, you don’t want to come off rude or mean towards your roommate if you ask them to get rid of the music.

What should you do???

You should politely ask them to either turn off their music or use headphones. In my experience, this usually works and we continue with our studies while respecting each other. I am sure if you ask politely and give your roommate alternatives they are sure to respect the space that both of you share.

That is just one example of a roommate issue that can easily be solved without any intervention of an authority figure. But, if by chance you can’t solve the issue yourself, you have prefects and dorm parents to help as well!

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The George School Community

121-Lea Jensen

by Lea Jenson ’19

One of the reasons I decided to attend George School is because of how supportive and accepting the community is. George School is an environment where I am free to express my opinions and passions. I have a passion for sports teams. I participate in three varsity sports year-round. I not only love the team bonding and friendships that are formed but I also enjoy the intensity. At the beginning of each year, the fall sports season starts off early in the year with preseason. This is a time where George School athletes get extra practice in for their fall sports and are able to bond with their teammates two weeks prior to the school year. One of my favorite times at George school is preseason. I get to spend time with my teammates on and off the field. After long days of tiring practices, I was given the opportunity to board over the duration of preseason in the dorms. I boarded with a roommate whom I have grown to be very close with. I am grateful for the chance I was given to get to know many of the people on my team, that I would probably not know very well if I did not play a sport with them.

George School is a unique environment that enables everyone to be friendly and create a caring community!

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Pursing Interests at George School

by Fiona Keith ’19

How at George School have you been able to pursue something you’re interested in?

When I arrived at George School as a freshman, I had many interests that I always thought about pursuing, but was too nervous to step out of my comfort zone and try. For example, ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a drummer. However, throughout my middle school years, I was scared to try getting into this for fear of being judged, or being seen as “weird” for being a girl drummer.

Quickly after arriving at GS, it did not take me long to realize that if there was something that I was interested in, no one was going to view me negatively for wanting to get into it. Even better, I saw that I could receive tremendous support from the community firsthand. At the beginning of sophomore year, I purchased my own drum set and began teaching myself how to play. At school, I found opportunities to get my playing out of the basement and onto live stages, which was an extremely inspiring and enriching experience for me. I played solo and in a band with others in our Live Music Weekend in Marshall Center, and felt so confident afterwards.

Then, a few weeks later, I also performed in our Art for Relief charity event drumming solo on the big stage in Walton, which I can say to this day is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Even this year, I have been approached by several people to drum with them again, which makes me feel so flattered and encouraged to keep on playing. I am so grateful to say that I am part of a place where I have had the space to be who I truly am, do the things that I love unconditionally, and improve at those things along the way.

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One Day at George School

by Connor Stoklosa ’19

My name is Connor Stoklosa and I am a Junior day student at George school. I live roughly twenty minutes away, on the other side of Newtown. This video is what a day of my George School life looks like through my eyes. Join me on my adventure and gain a greater understanding of our community.

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Easing Anxiety at GS

251-Khy Zungu

by Khy Zungu ’18

Senior year is stressful for anyone, no matter what school. At George School, academics are extremely important, but so is mental health. As a senior boarder and a prefect, there are certainly many things on my plate, but academics is a priority. When preparing for exams, the campus changes. The air is filled with mystery, anxiety, and confidence. Students walk a little faster from class to class and everyone’s backpacks are slightly heavier. Exams at George School are no joke, however, George School students are known to “over-prepare”.

My freshman year, I was terrified for exams. It was my first year in high school and my first year ever taking so many exams at once. I had seven classes and the way the schedule worked out, I was going to have my hardest exams on the same days. My prefects knew that everyone in the dorm was stressed. They kept their doors open so that anyone could come in and talk if they wanted to. The weekend before exams would be dedicated to studying, having certain quiet hours during which students would be expected to be studying. My dorm parents and prefects came around every hour to check on me and make sure I was okay. I was asked if I needed help more times than I can count, and my dorm parent had an extravagant snack time consisting of monkey bread, chips, and pizza, during the study break.

As a senior, I can say how much effort George School puts into making me feel prepared for not only my exams, but also college, makes me feel extremely comfortable.

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Student Leadership at George School

There is never a moment when you are not around a student leader. In the dining hall, on the athletic fields, in the classrooms, and even in your dorm. Our student leaders are all around us and sometimes without us knowing that one is in our presence. From being a curious freshman to needing help with my Pre-Calculus homework, I have always taken advantage of the student leaders around me. They always make me feel like I belong at George School and they are a big part of the many reasons why being here means so much to me. Since I had such a positive experience with the student leaders I interact with, I wanted the opportunity to spread this warmth I felt to others.

I applied for my first leadership position at the end of my sophomore year. I knew that by then I had the necessary tools to handle any situation that was presented to me. I basically had two years of being a student at George School under my belt, which let me familiarize myself with the rules, the adult support, and some connections that have helped me make the most out of my experience here. The position was called a Junior Peer Group Leader; the purpose of peer group is to integrate the newest members of our George School family properly onto our campus. My favorite part of peer group as a freshman was watching Disney movies with pizza, cookies, and soda before my next class. It was such a good break from my chaotic day and I made a lifelong friend because of peer group.

I knew that I would be a good match for the position, but I constantly had concerns about the people not liking me or not planning fun activities or even if they would ever speak to me again after our short time we spent together. All of these feelings quickly vanished when I first met the people I would be spending about an hour a week with. The group was so friendly, outgoing, and always had funny stories to tell the group. We spent most of our time just talking about our George School experiences and what we hope for in the future. We also played silent Hide-and-Go-Seek in the library after eating a bag of clementines. These sessions were the highlight of my week and a breath of fresh air during some stressful times. Being a peer group leader allowed me to form close relationships with different people who I would have never imagined being close to.

Although Junior Peer Group was the first of my leadership positions, it was certainly not my last. I am a Varsity Cheerleading Captain, Lead Tour Guide, and Prefect in Central Main. These positions are all special to me in their own way and when I reflect on why I chose to apply, it all boils down to one reason: George School gave me the confidence to interact with those who you might not initially be close with, but will have the ability to form a genuine connection with these individuals. I am appreciative of the leadership positons I have held/currently hold, and I hope that I have inspired others to follow in my footsteps.

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