Tag 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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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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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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10 Reasons Red Square is the Best Hangout Spot on Campus

171-JoceLynn Labossiere

by JoceLynn Labossiere ’19

  1. You can play Foursquare with your friends after school and on the weekends to relieve some of the stress of the day.
  2. You can play fun music and have room to dance to it since it is such a large outdoor space.
  3. The C has a cool echoing sound that comes from it so it’s fun to talk to finds and hear the change in your voices.
  4. It is a great place to have outdoor concerts.
  5. It’s a great place to watch the stars at night since the area is so open and the sky is so clear.
  6. It creates the proper front for George School’s annual water balloon fight as it is such a wide area and allows for a lot of vantage points.
  7. It is the perfect place to eat lunch while basking in the sun.
  8. It is the ultimate stage for seeing those who are dressed up for prom as it has two large porches that are amazing for viewing people’s dresses and suits.
  9. The bushes provide shade for the benches around them so you can watch people play Forsquare and be protected from the heat.
  10. You can always find faculty dogs to pet as their owners often cross this area while walking them.

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A Passion I found at George School

246-Annie Borovskiy

by Annie Borovskiy ’20

A passion I found at George School is managing for the varsity girls’ basketball team. I played basketball my freshman year of high school, but this year I chose to manage due to an injury. In middle school, I managed the boys’ basketball team and I enjoyed doing the book and watching the games. I chose to manage because I still wanted to be a part of the team and help out as much as I can even if it is off of the court. As a manager, I fill up water before the games and I report stats on the iPad. I have found a new passion of being behind the scenes during games and practices because I still feel a part of the team. The fitness and athletics center is my favorite place on campus so being there after school is what I enjoy most. I also announce the starting line ups at home games and I enjoy doing that because everyone in the stands gets really excited. Overall making the decision to become a manager this year is something I have grown to love doing every day and I am very excited to pursue this passion for my following years at GS!

            

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Top 10 Ways You Know You’re a George School Student

by Alice Ke ’19

1. You call teachers by their first name!

Hey Kevin! Hey Faith! Relationships with teachers are casual and friendly. You might see them as a teacher or a mentor in the classroom, but they are also there for you as a friend.

2. You’ve sprinted up the hill from the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library to McFeely.

We all dread that long walk from one end of campus to the complete opposite, hopefully your teacher will understand why you are late.

3. You get excited for the games against rival Westtown!

Support our sports teams! Moose Points! Moose Cup! Everyone gets hyped to come out and cheer on our Friends Schools League rival Westtown. The energy is amazing for both the team and the crowd of Cougar crazy fans.

4. You may technically be a day student, but let’s be real, you’re pretty much a boarder since you spend so much time on campus.

Dinner and study hall during the weekdays are staples for most day students. Activities on Fridays and over the weekend are the best of times—ranging from fairs to movies, and Student Council Weekend.

5. You’ve heard everyone talk about the IB program and how it’s so rigorous.

In truth, it’s hard. International Baccalaureate is one of George School’s most renowned programs, and those who choose to do the classes or diploma know that they’re getting into an academically challenging curriculum. Between internal assessments and the IB exams, it is a lot of work, but the recognition and diploma in the end are the ultimate feeling of satisfaction.

6. You’ve witnessed a dance battle happen on Red Square due to a Four Square disagreement.

Four Square gets intense. An iconic George School tradition enjoyed by everyone on campus. Sometimes disagreements break out on who is to blame for the ball going out, or if the ball even did go out. The only way to settle such a brawl is simple: a dance battle.

7. You’ve heard conversations in at least three different languages across campus.

With a wide diversity of international students on campus, you’re bound to hear a foreign language you’ve never heard before and could not fathom understanding. Chances are you can probably pick up phrases from some of these languages from an international friend and feel accomplished!

8. You’ve spent an afternoon relaxing (and possibly napping) on South Lawn.

After a long day, if it’s nice outside, South Lawn is the ultimate spot to unwind and destress on a nice day.

9. STICKY BUNS!

An iconic George School dessert. Sticky buns. The most gooey, delicious treats you’ll find in the dining hall. Bless the days that you see sticky buns waiting for you on the dessert platter.

10. You’ve found a family here.

The sense of community is by far the strongest of the Quaker values (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Equality, Community, Stewardship) that George School embodies. Ranging from students, to faculty, to staff, to pets, and many others, the George School community is one that simply cannot be replicated. It is what makes George School feel like home.

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What is it like to be a Day Student at a Boarding School?

by Andrew Arth ’19

In a word: exceptional. Truly, it is the best of both worlds. As a freshman coming into George School I was worried about the mixing of day students and boarding students, the potential divisions between us, and the differences between our experiences. My first practice of varsity soccer my freshman year, all of these apprehensions went away; immediately, I was greeted by two senior boarders, one from Seoul and one from Los Angeles. It was difficult to be the only freshman on a team composed of mainly upperclassmen, but I soon found comfort in the comradery and brotherhood of the group. We ate meals together, worked out together, did homework together, and just spoke about how our weeks were. This is just one example of my relationships with boarders.

In a much broader sense, being a day student at GS allows for all of the positives of a boarding atmosphere to combine with the comforts of home. GS has a very even balance between boarding and day population (53% boarding, 47% day to be exact) and this creates a very homogenous community in which separations due to race, gender, ethnicity, or where students sleep simply do not exist. I find myself staying on campus for study hall, attending games on the weekends, or participating in various weekend activities that are mainly directed towards boarders. I do not feel out of place; many of my best friends are boarders.

The best part of being a day student is that if I need the comfort of my own bed, a home cooked meal, or just time with my dog, my house is only ten minutes down the road.

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Tips for Newly Accepted International Students at George School

by Elenore Wang ’18

As I am munching on lotus flavored moon cake from Lan, our Chinese teacher, I realize it is the fourth Mid-Autumn Festival that I have spent at George School. It has been four years since I flew across the earth from a Chinese public school to George School, a place that seemed so strange but full of opportunities to the ninth grade me at the time. Looking back, I can say my four years here as an international student have been very happy and fulfilling. If you follow my advice below, I promise you too will have a fabulous journey at George School.

1. Be yourself

I know it is a cliché, but this really is the key to happiness at George School. When I first came to campus, I felt compelled to ingratiate myself with American kids by pretending to be someone I am not, because I was afraid of being different. Later, I realized this concern was completely unnecessary, because George School is the most accepting place you will ever find. Pretending is exhausting and futile, for everyone at George School respects and values individuality. If you are confident just being yourself, friends will come to you and you will be much happier.

2.    Don’t be afraid and try your best

George School offered me countless opportunities to do things I never thought I could do before. Not only did I have fun trying things out, but I also found my passion—film. I took film class my sophomore year and immediately fell in love with it. Now, I am known among my friends as “the filmmaker” and I am happy about it. Before I made my first film I was terrified, because I had zero experience. However, the tremendous support and encouragement that George School offered me eliminated my fear of failure. Feel free to try anything you like—sports, like lacrosse, or arts, like film. As long as you are willing to give your maximum effort, you have no reason to be afraid because you will succeed.

3.    Have fun!

Always remember that George School wants you to have fun. Please do not over-stress yourself and enjoy the George School years to come!

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George School Visits the Happy Island of Bermuda – 2017

by John Stevens ‘02

For the past three years, I have enjoyed summer weather in September, as my George School Admission travel has taken me to the Schools to Know Fair in Bermuda. A warm atmosphere has always appealed to me, and over the years, I have spent significant time visiting many islands, but Bermuda is my favorite.

Yes, the climate is wonderful, the views are breathtaking, and the food is delicious, but what separates Bermuda from the others is the people. During my visits, I have connected with hundreds of students, dozens of school officials, and countless Bermudians. Teachers and administrators are patient and dedicated, local business owners are creative and talented, and taxi drivers proudly wave and smile as they drive about the island. The people are happy, and they have always made this oblivious tourist feel safe and welcome.

This year’s trip was extra special, as I was provided the opportunity to visit and present to several schools. As I walked through the hallways, everyone made eye contact, and greeted me with a smile or a “morning” or “good afternoon.” During presentations, students took notes, listened intently, and asked thoughtful questions. When it was time for me to leave, they each shook my hand and thanked me for my time. Mutual courtesy is important to me, and Bermudian children are the most gracious I have encountered.

I was also fortunate to be joined by parents of current George School students for the two day Schools to Know Fair. In my opinion, parents are the most important ambassadors for schools because their feelings can be entrusted as 100% genuine. I love George School, both as an alumnus and admission officer, but I am unable to represent the feelings of a parent whose child is truly happy in a school environment. These parents are happy because their children are happy, and they conveyed this happiness to both myself and prospective families.

I am thankful to have spent time in such a beautiful country, with such happy, gracious people, and I look forward to the next group of Bermudians joining the George School community.

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