Tag Archives: community

Celebrating Tradition: Galette Des Rois

by Claire Heydacker ‘18

In France, each year during January, the bakery’s shelves are full of Galette Des Rois. A French tradition, this cake is shared on January 6 to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. A Galette Des Rois, is a large cake-sized puff pastry, filled with frangipane, a sort of almond cream. Inside of this galette, is hidden a fève, a small sometimes porcelain figurine.

As the tradition goes, the youngest child hides under the table as the galette is cut, and decides which person gets which piece, without seeing the pieces. After this is done, everyone enjoys their share, and whomever finds the fève in their piece becomes the King or Queen, and gets to wear the cardboard crown provided with the galette.

This is by far one of my favourite holidays to celebrate each year, as it gathers friends and family. Even though I am no longer able to fully participate in this tradition, as it is not celebrated in America, I still keep all my past fèves, and bake galettes in January.

Thanks to George School’s diverse and inclusive community, I’ve actually been able to bring my celebration to our school. Working with George School’s French Club, we’ve since incorporated this holiday. We invite students to take part in the baking of the galettes, the finding of the fève, and the crowning of the King or Queen!

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Building Family at the Equestrian Center

 

by Kailee Shollenberger ’18

We often neglect to take a moment to connect with the world that encompasses us in its beauty every day. I find we are losing the awe we once felt watching birds soar through the sky, seeing flowers bloom in bright colors in the spring, and listening to the pitter patter of rain on our bedroom windows when we were children. As a young girl, I always found myself able to connect with horses, something many do not have the opportunity to experience. During my search for a high school, I looked high and low for something, anything, about a school that would enable me to strengthen my understanding of myself, as well as about the beauty and secrets hidden in nature. Upon arriving at George School, I was immediately captivated by the beautiful horses and extensive Equestrian Program. I finally knew where I belonged and was determined to be a part of the family housed at the barn.

Now almost halfway through my senior year, I can confidently say the barn has been a place of solitude and comfort for me through the stressful weeks of exams, as well as the joyful moments, like receiving my acceptance letter to Bucknell. I had never been part of a team as close-knit and family oriented as the equestrian team here at George School. Tiffany Taylor, our director of the Equestrian Center, has become a second mother to me, ready to offer guidance through unfamiliar situations or a simple hug when needed. She has taught me more than I ever thought I would learn through riding. The horses are another source of wisdom that have remained a constant through all the changes I have gone through in my time here. At the end of the day, going down to the barn offers an immediate sense of relief when I see the horses munching on hay or whinnying at each other. High school is stressful, but the barn is a place where that all vanishes.

When I am riding, all I need to focus on is my connection with the horse. I have no choice but to be present and ready for anything these animals may throw my way. Centering myself, literally on the horse and figuratively in my mind, is something so important to my well-being. This time spent riding and caring for the horses at the end of the day is my time to build a connection and understand a creature so different, yet so similar to me. These horses have a mind of their own, and they are not afraid to let you know when you need to relax your arms while you are riding or create a stronger connection between your leg and your reigns. They are exquisite creatures with so much to teach us.

Not only am I fortunate to spend time with these animals every day, but I could not be happier to say I am part of the equestrian team. The key word here is team. When people think of riding, they often think it is just you and the horse. How could there be a team? I am here to say loud and proud that they are right. We are not just a team, we are a family. Through these years, I have fostered friendships with my fellow equestrians unlike any relationships I have had before. My family at the barn is the biggest support group I have, constantly letting me know when I have done well, but also when I may need to work on myself riding and socially. There is no possible way for me to express my gratitude to this family through words, but I want them all to know that I love them.

I hope to experience a family like this at Bucknell, and look forward to bringing the wisdom and love I have gained here at George School to Lewisburg, PA. Whether you find peace with horses or simply taking a walk, remember to dedicate some time each day to center yourself and connect with your surroundings.

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Students Don’t Mind Minding The Light

Curious George Poll: Students Bring Quaker Values Into Their Lives

by Julia Carrigan ‘20

The George School Mission Statement claims that Quaker tradition is the school’s “touchstone”–the testing point for any discussion of values or policy that goes on here. Quite simply, at George School, Quaker values are essential, including Quaker practices and, especially, attendance at Meeting for Worship.

George School’s website claims, “We don’t try to turn students into Quakers,” but the importance of Quakerism at George School was reaffirmed by students themselves recently, when sixty-six percent of students polled by The Curious George said their desire to be involved in some way in Quakerism has increased since attending George School.

One student even stated that the strong Quaker vibe at George School was “one of the major reasons I chose to go to here instead of Westtown.” Overall, it is clear that George School’s strong Quaker program has influenced the spiritual lives of many students.

However, George School is not the Bodhi tree, and let us not pretend that every student has been spiritually enlightened sitting on the firm wooden benches of the eighteenth-century meetinghouse.

What is important is that every student has sat there.

During the school year, day students spend thirty minutes a week in Meeting for Worship, and boarding students usually spend an hour and fifteen minutes. In addition to Meeting for Worship, we often pause for moments of silence and use Quaker consensus in meetings. In addition, many of our religion classes also focus on Quakerism.

Overall, it is pretty fair to say that Quakerism is central in the lives of students during the school year, but how does it affect their lives during the summer?

Fourteen percent of respondents told CG that they attend meeting over the summer. Even more significant, about a third of students take time out of their summer to practice Quakerism on a smaller level. For example, they might pause in their day to take a moment of silence.

This is incredible given the busy lives of teenagers in the summer, the relatively low number of Quaker identifying students, and the growing rate of non-religious teenagers. According to a recent study done of teenagers in Chicago, for instance, thirty-six percent of teenagers are “religiously unaffiliated.”

The approximate third of the George School student body who practice Quakerism in different smaller ways throughout the summer shows that while they may not be able to drag their families (or themselves) out of bed every Sunday morning, “Quaker tradition,” as the Mission Statement puts it, has a profound spiritual effect on them.

Although a hundred percent of those who answered the survey attend a Quaker school, only six percent attend or work at a Quaker camp over the summer. Some Quaker camps George School students spent time at over the summer include Camp Dark Waters, Camp Onas, and The George School Day Camp, which “emphasizes Quaker philosophies.”

Three George School students also attended Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s annual session, a gathering of all Quakers in the Philadelphia region.

While George School does not try to “turn students into Quakers,” apparently the school does a good job of exposing them to the values and practices of Quakerism. The students themselves decide how much of it they want to bring into their lives outside of school.

That’s a win-win proposition!

 

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A Guide to Being a Happy Roommate and Having a Happy Roommate

by Isabella Lin ’18

Prior to coming to George School, I never experienced having a roommate let alone living away from home. As a result, I had no idea what to expect from a roommate, so I envisioned an entire scenario in the days before moving in… I would open the door to my beautiful dorm room, somehow already decorated, and upon seeing me, my roommate would throw up her hands and we would squeal and scream at each other in excitement, instantly becoming the best of friends.

In other words, I believed that roommates were destined to immediately feel a bond, get along perfectly, and live together in bliss and harmony for the rest of the high school years. Spoiler alert: This is likely impossible in all roommate scenarios. However, I do have proof that it’s entirely possible to live in blissful contentment with your roommate when you put in some effort and give it more time than one day.

When I met my roommate Ale, there wasn’t screaming or hair-braiding – we were two awkward and nervous sophomores, hoping that our roommate didn’t have an odd habit that would drive the other crazy. It isn’t an easy task to be assigned to live with someone you’ve never met, and it isn’t supposed to be. But remember, once you conquer high school boarding, college dorm life will be a breeze.

Tip #1: Acknowledge your roommate’s presence! I know this sounds silly, but a simple “good morning” and “good night” can go a long way to build a strong foundation for a long term roommate relationship. Not only does it feel natural to greet someone when you see them first thing in the morning, but it helps to create a friendly and home-y environment in your room.

Tip #2: Work out a sleeping time and waking time. Chances are, you and your roommate will have different sleeping schedules. Discuss this with your roommate as soon as possible so you both have correct information, and you and your roommate will have a happy year of undisturbed sleep. If you are an early-bird, gather your things the night before and position your alarm so that you don’t keep hitting snooze. If you stay up late, find another light source and invest in headphones or earphones.

Tip #3: Get a small bedside light. This correlates with the tip above. If you or your roommate needs a later night than the other, having a small bedside light is a great solution to problems with keeping the room lights on. A small, movable light doesn’t disturb the sleeping roommate, and gives enough light for the awake roommate.

Tip #4: Get a mini fridge and share it. Just do it. And be kind and share it, or if it’s your roommate’s fridge, nicely ask to share it. Stock it up with everything that makes you smile on a Monday. It’s a guaranteed mood-booster for both of you.

Tip #5: Have deep, existential conversations at night. Maybe not as deep as existential reflections, but open yourself up to listen to your roommate’s thoughts, or speak your own. When two roommates are lying awake at night, sometimes conversation is what feels the most natural. Don’t worry, this feeling is mutual, you won’t be left hanging. Talk about stress, interests, hopes, dreams, homesickness, or anything else that comes to mind in the moment. It’s a great way to bond with your roommate, and trust me, losing an hour or so of sleep talking with your roommate is worth it.

If you’re wondering, while I didn’t get my big, magical, and unreasonable moment of meeting my roommate, at the end of the year, I did gain a cherished friend for life. Good luck and happy boarding!

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Loving Dance

by Gia Delia ‘18

Dance at George School is unlike any other class that is offered here. I have been taking dance here since my freshman year, and now as a senior, I have a whole new perspective on dance. The most unique aspect to the dance program is that it is integrated into the normal school day. One moment I would be in math; and five minutes later I would be dancing across the studio for forty-five minutes. It does not even stop there, after the forty-five-minute class I have to go to English class. I found the variety of the George School curriculum to be energizing and motivating.

The dance program teaches students a wide variety of styles, focusing specifically on technique and how the body works through anatomy. Over my four years here, I have been involved in a variation of different dances, from topics on climate change to dancing to a Michael Jackson song. I love the bonds that I have made with my classmates—we have been together since freshman year.

Our classes organizes two performances per year, The Holiday Dance Assembly in December, and Dance Eclectic in April. For each we have one to two weeks of rehearsals at night and over the weekend, and this gives all three of the classes a lot of time to get to know each other. I feel like I have made a second family.

Barb Kibler, our amazing teacher and mentor, works alongside all of us to encourage creativity and the start of the choreographing process. As an IB Diploma candidate, I will take the HL Dance Exam, choreograph three pieces, and write an essay comparing two different styles of dance. Barb has played a huge role in mentoring me during this process. My perspective on dance has matured since I have been here, and I have a greater appreciation for the art as a whole.

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Colleen Crowley: A Woman of Many Hats

This is the first in a series of articles in which Curious George staff writer Julia Carrigan interviews some of the behind-the-scenes people at George School–dining room staff, grounds crew workers, environmental services, and plant personnel; the people who keep us up and running day-by-day, year-by-year.

by Julia Carrigan ‘20

“Steady. Quiet. Good.”

These are the three words Colleen Crowley uses to describe her life.

Working at George School for over seventeen years, Colleen has served as barn manager, emergency services officer, assistant self-defense teacher, and Culinart team member in the Dining Room. Though often overlooked, down through the years Colleen has made extraordinary contributions to the George School community. And George School is all the richer for her hard work, her friendliness, and her playful sense of humor.

“I grew up in Vermont,” Colleen replied when asked about her early roots. “My parents divorced when I was five. I did see my dad during my childhood, but it was my mom who raised us. I went to college in Pennsylvania and was really surprised to find out that spring break was actually spring break, instead of freezing my butt off. I enjoyed it down here—so my first job out of college was in Pennsylvania as well, in Allentown, and then George School had a position open and they wanted me to give it a shot. So I did.”

Ever open to new experiences, Colleen helped teach a self-defense class last year. “It was learning for me, as well as helping [Doug] out,” she noted. “I would tease him and say that I was his test dummy, but at no time was I harmed, hurt, or anything. It was learning for both the students and myself.”

She felt the importance of knowing self-defense tactics lay in the fact that we are all vulnerable. “Anybody can get attacked, anybody. So it’s important for us to be able to get out, get away, be willing to put them down, and run like crazy.” She added that some of the more physical techniques can be especially useful for people who are not naturally loud or fast. “I don’t have a good scream; that part of my defense doesn’t work,” she said.

Additionally, Colleen added, learning self-defense is fun. “It’s good to know and it’s fun to do. I would have loved to see more kids do it.”

Teaching self-defense, though, was just the latest of a long list of jobs Colleen has performed at George School through the years. “Basically, I’ve had three hats. My first and my longest stint, was down at the barn teaching horseback riding lessons. I was the community lesson person, and my title ‘Barn Manager’ was just a fancy title for getting the crap done that has to get done—the non-glamourous stuff. So I did that for sixteen years here. Then I got tired of dealing with the horses, and it just wasn’t any fun anymore.”

Colleen is always trying to re-invent her “place” at George School. “George School has been good to me,” she noted. “Doug [Walters] was the first person who said to me, ‘Are you interested in working security? Do you want to try it?’ and I said, ‘Sure!’ and I do like it. I do. I pray we never have an incident, but I do enjoy it. I like hanging out. I like wandering around helping out the kids as needed.”

Unfortunately, Colleen noted, the security position is part-time. “I had to find something else, and again through somebody who knew me. I knew him [Joe Ducati, Food Service Director] through his wife Kate, because she worked down in the garden. We were all the earth girls down there. The dirty girls, all covered in dirt and never paying attention to it. And Kate said, ‘Do you want to try this? They need some help,’ and I said, ‘Okay.’”

So, Colleen started working a second job with the Dining Room staff, and she likes that position, too. “I do like talking with the kids and visiting with the kids and stuff like that. I like that interaction. I don’t enjoy the messes. It’s not bad, though—it’s good.”

Colleen Crowley at The Renaissance Faire.

All of Colleen’s memories seem positive—happy memories that may explain why she is such an upbeat and optimistic person. “My family has always been supportive,” Colleen said when asked about her childhood. “When we were younger, I think I was thirteen, my dad took us on a cross country trip. I don’t know how we didn’t kill each other. The whole summer, we drove along the exterior states, you know, exploring things.”

Colleen’s tightest bonds, though, are with her sister and her mom. “I’ve always had good memories with my mom. It’s my sister, my mom and I. We’ve always been pretty close. We harass each other constantly. I have a nephew who looks like me so my sister can’t say I’m adopted anymore.” She laughed. “You know, the sibling thing.”

Teaching for Colleen is all about long-term rewards, and not the material kind. “I love it when I’ve taught a kid, then they go on with life, then they see me again, and it’s like—huge hug! ‘Oh my god. Thank you.’”

“For most people, you affect people, you help people, but in the back of your mind, you don’t see yourself as a huge part of their life. You don’t see yourself as a huge factor. I’ve had parents come back and they say, ‘Thank you for believing in my child.’ That hits me here [gestures towards heart]. I’m not a big, crazy, out-there-in-the-world person, but I like to know that I’ve had some influence, some effect on someone in a positive way.”

Asked if she would change anything about George School, Colleen waxed philosophical, in a down-to-earth way. “The big thing that I would love to change about George School,” she said, “is that it’s a bubble. It’s this community, it’s different from the real world. There’s this mentality that ‘it’s not going to happen to us,’ and that scares me.”

As anybody can tell from just talking to Colleen, respect is a big part of her life, and she would like everyone to show more respect for themselves and others. “We should be respectful of each other,” she says. “Be respectful of property. Respectful in every way you can look at it. Respectful towards the earth, towards people, towards animals, towards everything. I’m a big proponent of animals. Senseless violence makes me angry.”

For George School students in particular, Colleen has pointed words of wisdom. “There is no such thing as being entitled—no one’s entitled to anything. The world is not fair—it doesn’t give you things because you did this the right way. You want to try to make it as fair as possible. Do right, do good, no matter who’s watching, but at the same time I know that not everybody is going to do that. You want to try to change that, but you can’t expect everybody to do that.”

Although she claims that her life “hasn’t been as adventuresome as some other people’s,” and although she may never have climbed Mt. Everest, or starred in a Broadway musical, or worked as an FBI agent, Colleen has led her own uniquely individual life that is exciting in its own ways. She dares to be an earth girl and dress like a pirate at the Renaissance Faire. She dares to tame horses and she dares to learn to defend herself. She even dares, when exam week comes around, to stop a hungry high-schooler from grabbing six chicken fingers instead of the allowed five.

Although Colleen’s life may be summed up as “steady, quiet, and good”—that sounds pretty adventuresome to me.

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Why I Selected George School

by Sophia Guo ’18

I had no idea what a Quaker school would be like when I first came to visit George School. Instead of perceiving Quakerism as a religion, I perceived it as a set of spiritual values that continuously influence this school community. George School left me the impression of being the most open, friendly, and caring among the eighteen schools I visited in the US, and thus I spontaneously attribute the community’s unique aura to the biggest difference it has from other high schools, that is, Quakerism.

I always learn about the environment from people who live in it. Holding firmly to the belief that a school should not be approved until its people are worth trusting and being friends with. I was not committed to George School by its beautiful campus with squirrels running around, its two-floor library filled with natural light and over two thousand paperbacks as well as ten thousand electronic books, or its modernly designed Fitness Athletics Center with a homeothermal swimming pool, wrestling rooms, yoga rooms, and a supervised fitness center.

Instead, I was gradually convinced to select George School as my first choice through my talk with my tour guide and the community I observed in a very short time period. What surprised me was that people called each other by their first name, even a student to a teacher. It was one of the “SPICES” in Quakerism: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and service. “People feel that they are responsible for the community,” explained my tour guide, “because everyone is equal.”

I was impressed by the rigor of courses that George School students take. George School provides over 20 AP courses, as well as a full IB program for students who want to challenge themselves academically. Challenging oneself and trying to achieve a higher academic level seems very normal. Not to mention that students also pursue scores of leadership roles and passions. When I told my tour guide that she was very excellent, she blushed a little and told me that she thought “excellence should be a habit.”

It was not “love at first sight” between me and George School. It was the relationship between the kinds of lovers that the more they find out about each other the deeper their love is. Community, culture, and academics were all great reasons why I selected George School.

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Deciding on George School

by Maisy Cadwallader ‘20

I always heard the love story of my grandparents who met in high school. They talked about it often and I was confused because I knew for sure they didn’t live close to each other during those years. One day I asked my grandpa and he said they had attended George School, a boarding school. He told me as well that my father had attended George School too. So, I knew this “George School” had some sentimental meaning to my family.

I forgot about it for a few years until 2010 when at dinner one night my parents asked my brother if he had any interest in going to a boarding school, the same one my father and grandfather had gone to. This struck me and all I had heard about the school from my grandfather came back to me. Initially, I started to cry because my brother would be gone, leaving me to be the only one in the house. Then I got excited because it dawned on me that if he was asked, maybe I would be too.

A few months later my parents piled my brother and I into the car and we headed down for the first look at George School. I fell asleep waking up a bit later to my dad saying, “Here we are!” I looked out the window and was ecstatic. Driving past the campus I was blown away. My young eyes suddenly became filled with hope that this would be my school one day. Turning onto the campus loop we did a full circle. I remember looking at the view from the corner edge of the girls’ soccer fields, past what I now know as the “stairs to nowhere,” and being overcome with a calm feeling. The bright blue sky was the most beautiful thing my eight-year-old eyes had seen.  During the tour I saw the happiness on my father’s face. The smile was one of the biggest I had ever seen from him. During the car ride home, George School was on my mind.

A short five years later, we were sitting at the same dinner table and my parents asked me the same question, if I was interested in boarding school. My face lit up. A few months later, we were once more headed down for another tour of George School. During my tour, the abundant feeling of happiness I had when I had followed my brother on his tour, came rushing back to me. I looked up at my dad and saw the same big smile that I had before. That March when I received my acceptance letter I was overjoyed. I could start to picture my experience here.

Since I have been here it has been amazing. I am glad I get to experience the trials of high school at George School.

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Why Become a Tour Guide

by Liam Mitchell ’19

Every student should feel proud of their school. Proud of the buildings, the history, the athletic teams, and the opportunities available. When I first came to George School in my application process, my tour guide had a profound impact on me and really helped influence my decision to attend here. He was knowledgeable, confident, and carried himself with a certain amount of pride talking about his school.

While becoming a tour guide does require effort, knowledge, and time, becoming one is worth it. For me personally, giving tours is one of my favorite activities at George School. There’s a certain amount of enjoyment I take out of walking prospective families around, especially when I can answer their questions with confidence.

Being a tour guide is all about being the face of George School. I love my school, and I love to show it off. Not only does becoming a tour guide expand your knowledge of the campus, it allows you to meet new people, and expand your people skills. Every tour I go on, I learn something about the family or the prospective student, whether they are from a place I’ve never met someone from, or they participate in an interesting activity that I might not have heard of before.

Being a tour guide, especially a George School tour guide, unlocks new opportunities to expand your horizons and show off your beautiful campus. One of the best feelings is when a family asks a question, and you know the full answer with complete confidence. When families leave George School, they leave with a feeling of satisfaction that they know more about the school than they did when they came in, which is what being a good tour guide is all about.

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A Special Community

by David Mark ’18

My favorite part of George School is our community. I remember coming here freshman year inexperienced and scared for what would come. As soon as I walked into Campbell I felt welcomed and knew that I would be successful here. I was used to being away from home already as I went to a boarding school before, but George school is a place unlike any I’ve ever known.

The community and people are the part that makes up George School and sets it apart from the rest. The feeling you get when you walk into a room full of strangers is usually anxiety and fear, but here when you walk into a room you can’t wait to meet everyone and share your story. Everyone here makes you feel very welcome and wants to get to know the real you. I was shocked about this because I was used to walking down the streets at home staring straight down or ahead. Now, whenever I’m walking I look up and am greeted with a smile from everyone.

I really appreciate everything about the school because it invites you to be yourself in your truest form. No one judges or criticizes you. If you are sitting by yourself simply reflecting, people will recognize that and acknowledge it. I think that anyone who steps foot on this campus will instantaneously fall in love with everyone and everything here.

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