Announcements

2019 Open Houses

Online Course: Rachel Simmons

Essential Info

GA Website Gets New Look!

Leading the Way Campaign

Toward the Building of Character

“At GA, we develop confident young women for a life of purpose.”—Molly King, Head of School

Lower School

When your daughter joins our Lower School, she gets the benefit of hundreds of big sisters to look up to and aspire to be.

Middle School

In Middle School, GA girls cultivate meaningful friendships, see their futures as boundless, and are inspired to make a positive impact in the world.

Upper School

In the Upper School, students discover that there’s almost nothing they cannot do. Teachers believe in them, classmates cheer them on, learning and ambition know no bounds.

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Varsity Athletic Teams

Character and sportsmanship are foundational to GA’s powerhouse athletics program.

30%

Students of Color

GA strives to engage girls from a broad range of backgrounds and one third of students identify as people of color.

5:1

Student-Teacher Ratio

A small-school setting allows our outstanding faculty to give students the commitment and attention they need. A GA education begins and ends with relationships.

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Upper School Courses

GA’s unique Coordination program with Brunswick makes for big-school opportunities within our small-school setting.

23%

Financial Aid

Families across the economic spectrum benefit from GA’s expansive tuition assistance program.

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Career Placements

Our innovative Career Resource Center connects students and alumnae to jobs and internships—more than 200 in the last year.

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Students Pre-K–12

We are a community, with girls from all divisions leading, learning, and growing with each other.

88%

Top-Choice College

GA’s attributes dovetail into a single compelling statistic: Almost every member of the class of 2019 is attending one of her top three college preferences.

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 “From a young age, we want GA girls to understand that they can look at any question many different ways. We want them to feel comfortable testing their own ideas and hypotheses as a way of learning.”

SpotlightSTEAM at GA

GA was an early member of Maker Nation, opening the Engineering & Design lab in 2013. Naturally, we were full-STEAM ahead and today “making” is an integral part of our curriculum in all divisions. 

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Nine GA Seniors Named 2020 National Merit Semifinalists
Katherine Pushkar

On September 11, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Among this year’s semifinalists were nine Greenwich Academy seniors: Isabel Allard, Grace Austin, Holland Ferguson, Laura Kapp, Sophia Klein, Megan Meyerson, Sophia Moore, Sydney Pittignano, and Hanna Tulchinsky.

These girls qualified as semifinalists by scoring in the top one percent on the 2018 preliminary SAT (PSAT). Head of School Molly King congratulated the girls and noted that, “At GA, we are fortunate to be part of a community of achievers—to have 10 percent of our senior class recognized as National Merit semifinalists speaks to the depth of our senior class. We are immensely proud of these bright young women.”

To become a finalist, each girl must submit a detailed scholarship application in which she provides information about her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors or awards received. Finalists will go on to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

Congratulations girls, and good luck!
 

Opening Day: Spirit of 2020
Asha Marsh

GA girls don’t just head back to school, they celebrate it. And that celebration is led by the senior class. 

Dressed in their signature red shirts, the Class of 2020 made their grand entrance on campus in a caravan of cars decorated with red balloons, streamers, and signs. After a class photo, they headed to Raether gymnasium to prepare for the opening assembly. As students in Groups I to XI approached the gym, they were greeted by the loud and energetic cheers of the 92 members of the senior class. Once inside, the girls pass through a gauntlet of seniors, each receiving 92 high fives (and sometimes hugs) before taking a seat.

In her opening remarks, Head of School Molly King introduced the theme for the school year—“We Can Do It!” As explained by Mrs. King, the phrase made famous by WWII’s Rosie the Riveter, “seemed like the right one, given all the building we have going on and the many other goals we’ve set for ourselves. What we inevitably find is that when we join together for a goal, we are even stronger as a community…When you unite for a shared purpose, the results are amazing—far stronger than any one individual. It’s a lesson that we learn here at Greenwich Academy, and it’s a lesson that you take with you through life.”

Cheered on by her “sisters in red,” School President Emily Fernandez ’20 then addressed the audience, sharing her simple but powerful slogan for the school year: Dream on. “After all, what are we if not but a bunch of dreamers?,” said Emily, “We are scholars, that is undeniable, but we all have so many dreams. A big win on the field, a lead in the musical, a good grade…Why do we dream? Because there is something in the water at Greenwich Academy, and that something is passion. It is a fire for life. Green and gold and burning bright, nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Here, we dare to speak our minds, do what we love, and try new things. And we dream, so that we stay daring and stay passionate. Because our dreams inspire us to do better, to be better, to be good.”

With the closing of the assembly, students returned to their respective divisions, but had one more opportunity to celebrate opening day—with an all-school cookout for lunch! 

 

 

Class Speaker Kate Hazlett's Commencement Remarks
Asha Marsh

Kate Hazlett began as student at GA in pre-K and graduated as a member of the Cum Laude Society. As a senior she was a captain of the GA Swimming & Diving Team and president of the GA Athletic Board. For 5 consecutive years, she has held the title of New England Champion in the 50 freestyle as well as 10 additional New England championship medals. She is a 12-time All-American and qualified and competed in the Olympic trials in 2016. In the fall, Kate will be attending Harvard University. She was elected by her peers to serve as their commencement class speaker.

During these past few weeks as seniors, wrapping up our time here has given all of us the opportunity to reflect on our Greenwich Academy experience.

For me, this began when I took a seat at the Harkness table of Mr. Motland's Russian Literature class a couple of weeks ago. Even after spending two years facing the wrath of Mr. Motland's existential questions, I can't say I was ready for the class ahead of me.

We had read Anton Chekhov's short story "Gooseberries" the night before, which is a story about a man who strives towards a single goal to achieve by the end of his life. He believes that if he ends up living in a country house lined with gooseberry bushes, he will have lived a life that he is satisfied with.

After discussing the story, Mr. Motland turned to us and asked, "What's your gooseberry?" Put in simpler terms, what is the one thing that if you have by the end of your life, you know you'll be happy? If you have that one thing, you will finally be fulfilled. You will have made it.

Our class went around the table, and we shared a diverse array of answers. But, we then asked Mr. Motland what his gooseberry was out of curiosity, and also probably partly out of frustration because there goes Mr. Motland, again, asking us another life-altering question right before lunch block.

But I'm not sure that any of us expected his response.

He said, "My vocation. There's nothing I'm better at and nothing I enjoy more than teaching at this school. A lot of my friends don't love what they do, but I do." He told us he wasn't looking forward to retiring, and he didn't want any other gooseberries.

That moment made me stop and think. We are so lucky to be at a school where the teachers not only love what they do, but the teachers at GA also are willing to teach beyond the curriculum. They teach to the person. They go beyond the equations. They prepare us for college and for the world. They guide us to be good people, and they truly guide us to build our character.

We, as students, can only hope for a time in our lives professionally where we can feel like Mr. Motland, happy in the moment and not always striving for something different and new. In today's era, it was comforting to hear from a person completely happy in his life, and someone who has achieved his goals.

And I mean, yeah, the more I think about it, the story is kind of ridiculous. The guy in Chekhov's piece thinks that if he doesn't have a bush with some mediocre berries on it by the time he dies, he'll have felt like his career and life tanked harder than James Charles'. And for my mom, who doesn't know who James Charles is, uh... think Laurie Loughlin.

But honestly, I appreciated hearing at this point in my life, that it is possible to be an adult who is truly happy in their profession and in their life. And thanks to Greenwich Academy, we're all ready and confident to find this in college, and more importantly, to find this in our lives.

As a class, we were guided through Greenwich Academy with poise and determination. Well, for the most part. The journey was not always easy. The lyrics to "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," were very much not clear to us the day before Mumming Sophomore year. And that sig fig quiz in 8th grade threw us for a bit of a loop, and maybe terrified us for high school Chemistry.

And, despite many of us dying of influenza on the Oregon Trail in 3rd grade, we have also accomplished great things. Of course, the most commendable being winning the dodgeball tournament versus the faculty this year, even though there seemed to be a bit of a controversy over who the winner was, but that's beside the point. We were also the first class at GA to do a grade-wide talent show piece in the middle school. We truly are a group of sisters, and we have only grown closer together with time.

Although we've gone through the same experiences at GA, as individuals, we have had so many different talents and interests fostered by this school. Some of us are beautiful singers and dancers, and some of us are phenomenal researchers. Some of us can hit a shot from half-court with our eyes closed, and some of us have already learned multivariable calculus.

So, on behalf of the Class of 2019, thank you to the faculty, administration, and fellow students for dedicating your time to inspire us. And thank you to our parents, for making the decision and sacrifices to send us to GA. We are thankful for the support that we have been given, shaping us to be who we are today. We were proud to be GA girls, and are now proud to be GA alumnae. And I am proud to join my mom and her two sisters as a GA alumna as well.

And to the Class of 2019, this is it. For years, we've watched this big white tent be put up for each graduating class, a visual marker that shows another school year is nearing its close, and that it's time to transition from one year to the next. But this time, the tent is for us, and we're the ones in white.

Sure, we might have swirled our last cup of frozen yogurt and taken that final path walk. We even ate our last Chef Anthony chocolate muffin. But I know that we will walk into our next classroom confidently, with the skills and lessons that GA and our 84 sisters have instilled in us. With our diplomas in hand, GA has prepared us for the next step, and I know we are all ready and eager to find our own gooseberry. Thank you.

Commencement Speaker Radhika Jones' Remarks
Asha Marsh

Radhika Jones graduated from Greenwich Academy in 1990 and went on to earn a BA in English from Harvard University and a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair.

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Molly and the Board of Trustees, for inviting me to speak today, and thank you especially to the class of 2019 for allowing me to be part of your day. It has been 29 years since I graduated from GA, but it doesn't feel like that long ago, and I remember what it was like to occupy that space between an ending and a new beginning. One thing that happens as you grow older is that endings and beginnings can sneak up on you. A chapter of your life comes to a close without your even realizing it; a relationship strengthens while another fades away; you move to a new place temporarily and find yourself putting down roots. Those transitions aren't always marked with flowers and songs, and so I am honored to share in this moment with you, when a whole community has come together to celebrate who you are, and what you'll go on to do.

I have heard that you are highly accomplished, and that you wear your accomplishments with grace and humility. I have also heard that you have come into your own as leaders this year, and I am glad to hear it, because the world needs leaders, and in particular it needs leaders who are women. I want to tell you about a couple of things that happened to me in my career that helped me on my path to leadership. They have to do with being scared and also with speaking up.

After college I moved abroad for three years, and then I came back to New York to start a Ph.D. program in English literature at Columbia. As part of the program, we had to teach a composition class to first-year college students. We went through a training course to prepare for it. But on my first day of class, I was halfway up the stairs in Hamilton Hall, holding a cup of tea, when I had something akin to a panic attack, and I thought: I can't do this. I can't stand up in front of a room full of actual students, I can't hold their attention, this whole program was a terrible idea, and if I just turn around and calmly go back downstairs, I can quit Columbia and figure out something else to do with my life. I was frozen on the staircase, with students passing me in both directions, and I just stood there, fantasizing about walking away, which suddenly seemed like a highly rational plan. I think it was at least a minute or two before I collected myself and climbed up the rest of the stairs and went into the classroom. I can tell you without a doubt that my performance that day was not perfect. In fact, I was so nervous I had to lean against the desk for the entire hour to keep from shaking. But I am also one-hundred percent positive that the only failure that day would have been retreating back down the stairs.

It's ok to be scared. But you should do the things you're scared of, because they really do make you stronger, and that sets you up for bigger adventures. Now, I've done a lot of challenging things since that moment on the staircase. One time, when I was working at Time magazine, I had to get on the phone with Oprah to edit a piece she had written for me. When the phone rings and it's Oprah asking for edits on her piece—that is a little intimidating. I go on television and talk about the news and answer questions about my work—that can be intimidating. For the past two years I've hosted the Vanity Fair Oscar Party—it's a lot of fun, but the red carpet can be intimidating. So my secret is that, every time an opportunity comes up, I just say to myself, don't worry, if you could survive a room full of jaded first-year college students in a required composition class on your very first day of teaching, you can handle this. And it sounds ridiculous, but it really works. I remember the fear that paralyzed me, and then I remember the feeling of pushing past it. And the second feeling is the one that sticks.

Now you may have already experienced a moment like this in your life, of being afraid and doing the thing anyway, and if that's the case, I say, keep that memory as a measure of what you're capable of. It doesn't matter if it's a big thing or a small thing. Remember the pride you feel, the pride you earn, by doing the thing that's difficult.

The other thing I want to talk to you about is speaking up, which I know can be a big cliche in speeches like this, but bear with me. About a decade ago I started working at Time as the arts editor. There was a big meeting every morning, where all the editors sat around the table and talked about their stories for the day. On about the third day I was ready to talk through my lineup, so I did, and everything seemed fine, but on the way out, one of my new colleagues stopped me at the door. She said: "You have such a nice low voice, but I need to tell you something. Our boss is a little hard of hearing, and if you don't speak up, he won't be able to hear you." This was like a metaphor come to life. I had always been pretty quiet, but I wasn't going to be able to do my job if I didn't turn up the volume. So I literally got louder. I raised my voice. And once that happened, it was like a chain reaction. I found myself emboldened to speak about ideas and issues beyond my regular beat—about bigger stories I thought we should tell. And gradually, my boss, who was the editor in chief of the magazine, began to see me as a leader. He gave me more and more responsibility, and I grew more and more confident, and that's part of the reason I'm here today as an editor in chief myself, because I learned that life is too short not to speak up and make yourself heard, about whatever it is that matters to you. You will not always prevail, but you will know that you had the confidence to speak.

Commencements are beginnings—and starting today, you are in charge of defining your own success. This is something that takes getting used to. Up until now, you have been held to certain standards, you've gotten grades and awards and trophies, and you've known pretty much where you stand, relative to your peers. To a certain extent that continues through college, and in your career. And having those external metrics of success can be kind of comforting. But eventually you'll realize that none of it is more important than your own measure of success and fulfillment. Other people will try to legislate that for you, especially because you are women, and sometimes it may feel like you can't win. Women are judged in so many contradictory ways. We are judged for our intelligence and our competence. We are judged for how we look and what we wear. We are judged for the choices we make about our bodies. We are judged for having children, or not having children, and for how many children we have, and how we raise them. We are judged for how much we work, or how little. We are judged for our emotions, for getting angry and being outspoken. We are judged when we ask for more, yet somehow we are also judged when we don't ask for enough. We are judged for how we lead, even as we try to invent new models of leadership.

But there are ways to counter all that. First, we can help each other. You've had the privilege of a girls' education, which means you leave this campus today with a built-in girls' network. Use it. Be generous with it—make it bigger if you can. Be ready to reach out to women who may not have been as lucky as you, to women who might lack your experience or your confidence or your opportunities. And be ready to let other women help you. When I took my job at Vanity Fair, I began receiving emails from a number of women who held leadership roles in media. Some of them were technically competitors. But they reached out to offer advice and support, and we talked about every aspect of the work, the travel, the wardrobe, the personalities, the ways to keep everything in balance. That has been a huge gift. The need for support never goes away, however old you are, and I say that with immense gratitude to my GA class, the legendary Class of 1990, some of whom are here today, and who over the years have believed in me, sometimes more than I believed in myself. We have believed in each other. And it makes me so happy that you in the Class of 2019 will have that support going forward.

Second, we can push past our fears and speak up about the things that truly matter, the things that have meaning. We can define our own mission and our own success. For me, right now, that means shining a spotlight on a new creative class, one that is leading the culture to a more inclusive and equitable place. I didn't know I would ever have a platform from which to do that, and I don't want to waste it. You will find your platforms and your messages to the world. Stick with them. Speak with conviction. Make sure everybody can hear you. Be open to every opportunity, especially the ones that scare you. Don't get hung up on perfection. Go and attempt great, difficult things. The people in this tent will be cheering you onward and upward, every step of the way.


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Raether Athletic Center