Tag Archives: student life

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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Acting at George School

98-Rishi Madnani

by Rishi Madnani ’19

My favorite activity here at George School is acting. I’ve done it all my life, and it was one of the biggest reasons that I chose George School. There are multiple opportunities for me to act at George School, including theater, film, “improv,” and more. One of the art classes offered here at George School is Theater Arts, which takes place during the day as a normal academic class would. I currently take IB/Advanced Theater Arts, a continuation of normal Theater Arts. In this class, I learn about and practice Sanford Meisner’s technique of acting, which defines it as “living truthfully in the moment under imaginary circumstances.” Additionally, we offer three performance classes every year, two straight plays and one musical. These classes meet after school every day, as a sport would. George School’s theater program is seen as an academic class and experience. Given the maturity and professionalism of students at George School, the performances that take place here are typically uncommon for a high school- this prepares me for levels of acting beyond high school. Another art at George School is Film, in which students write, direct, and produce their own film projects. Theater students will often feature in these films, practicing their art in yet another form.

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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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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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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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