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Toward the Building of Character

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

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

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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.

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Students of Color

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

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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.

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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.

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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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US Assembly: NYT Columnist Bret Stephens
Greenwich Academy

Fifty years from now, what will we say are the three innovations of the early 21st century that had a transformational effect on the economy and the world at large? That was the question posed by New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens at last week’s Upper School assembly. 

Students offered a variety of responses including smart phones, social media, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Stephens’ three picks were: gene therapy and immunotherapy for their potential to extend the average human lifespan by making illnesses like cancer more treatable; fracking as a cleaner source of energy that can be generated domestically, thereby reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources; and smart phone apps for how they are transforming everything from how we order food to the ways in which individuals can participate in the economy.

He also noted that the three aforementioned inventions were largely the products of American ingenuity. This, despite the fact that there are plenty of other countries that have large, established scientific communities. What was happening in the U.S. coming in to the 21st century that made the U.S. fertile ground for game-changing innovation? According to Stephens, the U.S. has long taken positions on four key questions that have enabled America to become the global leader in innovation:

Are immigrants viewed as an asset or a liability?
Stephens made the case that, on the whole, the U.S. has been enriched by immigration, and that embracing the diversity of ideas and approaches that immigrants bring to the table has led to a culture of innovation. As supporting evidence he cited that America wins more Nobel Prizes than any other country and that more than one third of those winners are immigrants to the U.S. He also shared that a remarkable 40 percent of all Fortune 500 companies were established by immigrants or the children of immigrants.

How does a society view independent thinkers?
Stephens acknowledged that independent thinkers, those that defy socially accepted norms, can be provoking or challenging to engage. At the same time, he argues, you need people who are willing to stand in the minority if society is going to advance and evolve. It’s also why freedom of speech is so important he explained, because, “If you cannot speak freely, at some point you’re not going to be able to think clearly.”

How does a society react to failure?
When something goes wrong in a society, you can ask “Where did we go wrong?” or “Who did this to us?” The former leads to solutions, observed Stephens, while the latter results in a search for culprits. 

Does a society define its interests according to its values, or values according to interests?  
“America is at its best,” said Stephens, when we ask “What do we stand for and how do we pursue those things?” He cited examples like the Berlin airlift which was run by the U.S. and Britain for more than a year starting in 1948. The airlift had been costly and resource intensive, but the right thing to do, and supporting an independent West Berlin, he said, ultimately set the stage for a non-violent end to the Cold War.

In his opinion, at this moment in history, the U.S. is getting all four of these questions wrong. And he was clear with the girls that he didn’t view this as an issue of the political right or left. Both sides “are pointing fingers rather than taking ownership,” he said.

Stephens closed his presentation with a mandate for the girls; as they go to college and then on to their professional careers, he urged them to remember these questions and do their part to keep America moving in the right direction.  
 

Ingathering 2019
Greenwich Academy

Each year, just before Thanksgiving, Raether Athletic Center hums with excitement. With Lower School girls in uniform plaid, and Middle and Upper School girls adding class colors, each Group participates in Greenwich Academy’s annual Ingathering assembly.

As is the tradition, students arrived at the assembly bringing with them all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal including canned goods, fruit, desserts, and stuffing. Seniors were on hand ready to collect and sort these donations which they later arranged into 50 festively decorated hampers (adding in the turkeys donated by faculty and staff). In partnership with Greenwich Social Services, these hampers were later delivered to local families in need. 

In her address, Head of School Molly King reminded the girls that central to GA’s mission is “to help you to feel the confidence and sense of purpose that allows you to assert your voice, your identity, and your truest self,” to be changemakers and have a positive impact in the community. 

Lower and Middle School students provided updates on some of their latest community service efforts including helping with Greenwich-area greening initiatives, raising funds for victims of Hurricane Dorian, and collecting food for those in need. Community Service Board President Izzy Kalb encouraged all in attendance to give back in a way that is personally meaningful. “Whatever service means to you, now is the time to undertake it,” she said, “Think of that one cause that gets you fired up, that one organization you’ve been meaning to volunteer at … take an hour to bring something wonderful to someone else.”

Mrs. King then presented the Sally Casey Award, given to an Upper School student in recognition of her outstanding community service contributions. Mrs. King announced this year’s recipient, senior Maddy Singleton, noting her many community service efforts including: volunteering with Stamford-based Inspirica, starting the “Cooking for a Cause” club at GA to cook and deliver meals to local shelters, and working with Emergency Shelter Partnership in her hometown of Mt. Kisco. Maddy has also taken an academic approach to her service interests pursuing an individual study examining the root causes of homelessness and hunger, culminating in a film titled Rent Eats First.

Ingathering concluded with the Madrigals and Bel Canto performing “For the Beauty of the Earth” and students in Groups I-IV singing a sweet song of gratitude. 
 

Pick of the Litter: Alejandro Durán & Pollution Art
Greenwich Academy

What do a Norwegian toilet cleaning solution, a Haitian margarine, and a South Korean shampoo all have in common? Their empty containers washed up on Sian Ka’an beach in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and were picked up by Brooklyn-based artist Alejandro Durán. 

Durán first visited the beach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 10 years ago and was stunned to see the beach littered with piles of trash. Expecting a tropical paradise, he wondered if he had ended up at the area dump by mistake. His reaction was to collect the trash. And then meticulously sort and arrange the trash for statement-making photographs described by Luchsinger Gallery Director Kristen Erickson as “both alluring and alarming.” Washed Up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape, Durán’s Luchsinger Gallery exhibit, showcases a series of his photographs as well as an installation piece. 

For the past 10 years, Durán has continued to visit Sian Ka’an beach—gathering trash and creating art that juxtaposes natural beauty with the manmade elements threatening to destroy it. Ironically, the majority of the pieces in his “collection” are containers for cleaning and beauty products. Speaking at an Upper School assembly, Durán told the girls that he’s collected trash from 58 countries and territories around the world which he sorts by color or type (he has amassed 2,000 blue flipflops). And with few recycling options in the Sian Ka’an area, he has ended up keeping his plastic finds and reusing them for other pieces of art. “Right now, my reds are part of an exhibit in D.C.,” he told the girls. 

Durán also met with the Middle School Conservation Club during his visit to GA. Over a period of several weeks, the girls saved used plastic bottles and caps. The day before the artist’s visit, club members sorted the caps by color and installed them at the base of a tree in the MS courtyard, creating a rainbow tree skirt of sorts. Under Durán’s supervision, the girls took the green bottles they had collected and hung them from the tree’s bare branches, a nod to the leaves that cover the tree in the spring and summer. They used the large volume of clear plastic bottles collected to spell out the word THINK in the grass next to the tree. 

Creating artwork that screams plastic is bad is “too didactic for me,” Durán told the girls, “My pieces are meant to create a tension between beauty and horror. It’s like poetry—you need to figure it out yourself.” 

Washed Up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape is on view and open to the public through December 17.

Symposium at 10: Celebrating Suffrage, Still Fighting
Greenwich Academy

For a half day each fall, the GA Symposium offers the Upper School community the opportunity to examine a topic of national or global impact at a deeper level and from multiple perspectives. It’s fitting that in its 10th anniversary year, it focused on the centennial of American women securing their right to vote. 

Decades in the making, the United States house and senate passed the proposed constitutional amendment in May and June of 1919 respectively. The 19th Amendment was ratified and adopted in August 2020. The centennial of the enfranchisement of American women is being celebrated across the country while also providing an opportunity to highlight the need for continued focus on issues of gender equity.

GA was fortunate to host distinguished author and former Boston Globe reporter Tina Cassidy as the Symposium’s keynote speaker. She discussed her book Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait: Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the Right to Vote, which chronicles the the extended battle for women’s suffrage. Highlighting parallels to nonviolent acts of protest and civil disobedience employed by today’s activists, Cassidy described the women’s rights movement that effectively began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention and continues today in many forms, including renewed efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment first introduced by Alice Paul in 1923. 

Following Cassidy’s presentation, Honors History Seminar students shared their study titled “International Movement Toward Equal Suffrage.” They examined the timing of the American suffrage movement in a global context and provided insights to the social and political forces that sparked and sustained the movement both at home and abroad. The girls closed their presentation with a slide that clearly illustrated the enduring gap between men and women—from unequal access to primary education to the wage gap to the dearth of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. The statistics viewed in aggregate were startling and motivating for the Upper Schoolers.

The symposium concluded with a panel discussion featuring New York Assistant Attorney General Elena Gonzalez ’99, Olympic Gold Medalist in ice hockey player Meghan Duggan, and Greenwich Media Strategies Founder and CEO Hagar Chemali ’99. The panelists shared advice and anecdotes with the girls that were insightful, inspiring, and practical. Gonzalez spoke of finding her voice, and the supportive community of GA teachers and classmates that helped her develop the confidence to stand up for herself—and also for those who may not be in a position to do so. Chemali, who worked for 12 years in communications positions in government entities in Washington D.C., before starting her own firm, talked about the power of women lifting each other up and the importance of finding and leveraging mentor relationships. Duggan, who has three NCAA championships and three Olympic medals, also led the successful strike by the 2016-17 U.S. Women’s National Team versus their national governing body, USA Hockey, for pay and professional equity with the men’s team. Duggan and her teammates recognized that the discrepancies in the level of engagement and investment between the women’s program and the men’s, and even the boys’ program, needed to be addressed. For 16 months they tried resolving these issues in closed-door negotiations with no results. While it was a painful decision to boycott the 2017 world championships, it was an action that yielded results. Duggan’s story elicited a spontaneous round of applause from the GA audience. 

The Symposium laid out how much progress has been made towards gender equity, and how much more there is to do. It was also a reminder of how an all-girls GA education serves to develop the confident changemakers of tomorrow. 

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Massey Theater
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Massey Theater