As adults, we sometimes find it difficult to recall our entire middle school experience. Rather, we remember specific interactions and moments, and these powerful memories have played an important role in shaping who we have become. I’ll never forget my eighth grade English teacher pushing me to share my thoughts as we discussed The Outsiders, or the night-walk we did on our sixth grade trip. The potential of every moment and interaction is not lost on the Middle School faculty at GA. Whether in advisory, the classroom, or on the playing field, our faculty and coaches are always teaching.
Middle School at GA, in its purist form, is a series of moments that create opportunities for transformational experiences: sixth graders explore an author in-depth during their author study project; seventh graders travel to Williamsburg, Virginia; eighth graders immerse themselves in complex and detailed science fair projects; students lead divisional morning meetings, ski together on Friday afternoons, and participate in community service; advisees develop important relationships with their advisor and learn to become self-advocates who are active participants in their learning; athletes participate, defend and score; artists and actors practice, perform and exhibit…the list could go on and on.
Ask a faculty member at Germantown Academy why he or she teaches in the Middle School, you’re liable to hear some form of this response: “I love the students, their energy, and the substance of the middle school years.” Ask a GA Middle School student what he or she loves most about GA and the response most often is: “my teachers.” What you find when you enter our halls are powerful student-teacher relationships that result in active, engaged learners who are immersed in the process of becoming independent, confident, compassionate, collaborative and honorable human beings.
The Germantown Academy Middle School experience builds upon the solid educational foundation laid by the Lower School. It is an exciting, fun and challenging three-year journey that prepares students for the rigorous and diverse experience of the Upper School. And while it is impossible to predict which moments will most affect which student, our students experience adversity and success, joy and disappointment, and grow tremendously throughout their middle school years. It is an honor to play a part.
- Jonas Jeswald
Head of Middle School