Celebrating Success

For the final blog of the 2010-11 school year, Head of School Scott Griggs shares his thoughts.

Over the course of the last week we have celebrated the end of another school year. We recognized the fourth grade for their successes in navigating through Lower School. We acknowledged many Middle School students for their academic achievements and praised the eighth graders for their upcoming transition into Upper School. Finally, we honored numerous Upper School students for achievements in and out of the classroom, and we celebrated 104 seniors at their commencement ceremony at the Meyerson. As I participate in the various ceremonies, I am reminded repeatedly that what we do as educators cannot be captured by any single event or at any one point in time, but rather, must be viewed as a long process and journey.

The journey of the Class of 2011 was a special one. They proved to be an independent and driven group who truly lived the mission of Greenhill School. Forty-six of the 104 seniors were members of the Forever Club, having started at Greenhill in first grade or before. Yet, 33 members of this graduating class joined during their Upper School years. These numbers are consistent with prior years and the special blend of new students and talents with those who have been here in the early years creates a unique camaraderie. This was never more evident than at Commencement when award winners from the class were announced to the genuine and rousing applause of their classmates.

Over the course of their Upper School years, the Class of 2011 garnered numerous academic accolades and scholarship awards, achieved extraordinary individual and team athletic accomplishments, and provided exceptional performances in the arts. Included in the class are national caliber debaters, one student who spent an entire year studying abroad with courage and tenacity, a creative writer who won multiple awards, a filmmaker who earned national and international recognition, musicians, artists and designers of extraordinary talent, an athlete who was without peer nationally, and others who led two undefeated and championship teams this year in boys volleyball and boys tennis, respectively.

Not surprisingly, this group of seniors will take their talents to a wide group of colleges and universities in the fall. The list of colleges to which our students applied and were admitted is varied in depth and breadth, and our students have wonderful options. Our goal of creating independent thinkers is never more evident than through the college application process as we encourage them to seek and find the best match for them. The Class of 2011 applied to 242 different colleges in the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, this list includes 45 colleges that Greenhill students had not applied to in the previous three years. They will be attending 66 different colleges in the fall.

While we say goodbye to another school year, faculty are already planning and working towards bettering themselves for next year. Next week, seventeen of our teachers will participate in an in-house technology professional development seminar. Other teachers are currently serving as table leaders and graders for national Advanced Placement exams at various locations across the country. One faculty member is in Israel visiting two schools with whom we will be involved in a collaborative study project for Upper School students in the fall. And, forty-seven of our teachers will be working on a variety of collaborative projects throughout the summer to enhance the classroom experience for their students. While we all are looking forward to a break from the normal routine, we are also excited at the opportunity another school year brings.

And so one school year ends and the next is already in view. Have a restful, refreshing summer. We look forward to starting the new year with you in August.