Tag Archives: holidays

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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Filed under Student Work, Students

New Year, New Goals

by Tiffany Olszuk, Advancement Office Intern

Tiffany Olszuk is a 2012 graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a resident of New Jersey. When she is not assisting with development projects, she enjoys coaching swimming, singing, and reading positive psychology or sport psychology research.

It’s that time of year when people begin to reflect on the ups and downs of the past year and map out their road in the New Year. For some, this means generating New Year’s resolutions. Whether they are made to be broken or not, it is my opinion that the act of engaging in quiet reflection and focusing thoughts has great potential to generate a sense of optimism or renewed energy going into a new year.

As someone who recently joined the George School staff, I find myself reflecting on all the ways that I have been welcomed by staff, students, and faculty since my first round of interviews and campus tour just a few short months ago. My collective experiences at George School thus far have inspired me to set a few George School related goals before the end of the academic year. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would share a few of my goals—perhaps others share my sentiments!

Goal 1: Attend another Quaker meeting (perhaps more than one!).

  • Prior to working at George School, my experiences in a Quaker community were limited to studying contemplative traditions at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. I dedicated one semester to exploring contemplative traditions in both the United States and Japan and had the opportunity to study the role of silence and mindfulness in Quakerism as well as experience my first Quaker meeting. It was during this time that I realized the value of mindful activities in focusing thoughts and energy or reducing daily stresses. I attended Quaker meeting at George School in November and I was immediately transported back to my collegiate experiences with Quakerism.  The act of being still and engaging in a spiritual community was so centering that I am making it a goal to attend another meeting this year.

Goal 2:  Enjoy the many beautiful spaces on campus.

  • In the two months that I have been on staff, I have seen South Lawn transform into a beautiful canvas with pink, gold, and red hues at sundown (ideal for meditation!) to a sports arena, to an icy winter scene in which I can hear students bursting with laughter or the occasional sound of a snowball whipping through the air. I can’t wait to cheer on the Cougars at sporting events in the spring and take in the peaceful scenery within the next few months.
  • The Anderson Library is another location on my “to visit” list. I distinctly remember stepping into the Library for the first time during my campus tour and being amazed by the floor-to-ceiling windows. It makes me wonder whether George School students draw inspiration for their writing assignments just from being in that space…I know it would inspire me!  I hope to spend some time writing there in the future or perhaps participate in the weekly mindfulness practices held there.

Goal 3: Have more conversations with George School students.

  • I occasionally run into students via advancement office co-ops or brief dashes to the post-office or bookstore. Each time that I do, I learn more about George School and I am reminded of how each student makes unique and meaningful contributions to the George School community.  Whether I am learning about students’ athletic interests and community service activities, or trying to figure how the flamingo trend started (or where they will appear next!)I enjoy these brief interactions, as they  often  motivate me to want to do more to help improve the George School experience through my work.

These are just a few goals that I’m looking forward to working towards in 2014. I would be curious to see what other  members of the George School community are aspiring to in order  to “let their lives speak” in the new year. I invite you to share or comment below!

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Filed under Faculty and Staff

Behind the Scenes of Holiday Weekend


Juniors Jordan Dunbar, Alice Croom, and Kristine Olsen

Behind the glamour


Juniors Rachel Keller and Monica Nadeau

and the dresses


Seniors (and roomies) Buse (Sunny) Duz and Sunyul (Michelle) Kwak

and the smiles


Dorm head Julia Nickles and hall teacher Courtney Harrigan

are a whole bunch of adults in sweatshirts.  Just as excited as the students.


Junior Natalie Hackett and Courtney Harrigan

I can’t speak for the boys’ dormitories, but in Main (where sophomore through senior girls reside), watching the students depart for winter formal was one of the highlights of the weekend.


Hall teacher Michelle Ruess (standing on chair) and dorm head Avis Leverett (in pink shirt)

To me the moment encapsulated everything we try to do as dorm parents: be supportive.  Keep organized.  Take pictures.  With many families far away, we filled that role wholeheartedly, offering hugs and compliments and the occasional advice on footwear.  We wanted each girl to feel as beautiful as she looked.

The girls were stunning, but more importantly, they seemed happy.  They humored the adults who made them pose for photo after photo


Making C’s for Central (Central Main, our dorm)

and only got a little bit silly.

The holiday festivities continued the following day, with a dorm wide Yankee Swap (hot gift item: pink Snuggie), a candlelit Meeting for Worship with readings and music, and an elegant holiday dinner.  Even the beloved flamingos made an appearance in the Meeting centerpiece!

There are moments when dorm parenting (like real parenting) can seem focused on the humdrum.  Study.  Clean your room.  Call your mother.  These small things are part of building a relationship, and it’s important to have conversations about homework and college and why uneaten tacos shouldn’t be left in the hallway.  But this weekend, it was lovely to simply celebrate the season and the students.  Gathered in Midway with the residents of Main, decked out in their semi-formal finery, I felt every bit the proud parent.  I just happen to have 41 teenage girls.

Top photo by Courtney Harrigan


Filed under Admission Office, Musings from Faculty, Students