Written by Rich Schellhas 1760
Head of School
For our third consecutive school year, GA proudly perseveres as a community united through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, embodying more than ever our school’s wise and inspiring motto: By persevering, we shall see the fruits.
‘Twas the night before the First Day of School when the violent tornado, a final scourge of Hurricane Ida, decimated parts of our region, including the homes, yards, businesses, and schools of too many of our closest neighbors. Once again the shores of the Wissahickon overflowed, flooding parts of our campus and leaving a wake of destruction. It was thus a few days later than we had intended when GA finally kicked off our 262nd year with the first full day of school.
As per tradition, we gathered together to celebrate our annual Flag Raising, 1,207 students and 300 employees strong on Connor Quad. We retold the story of the founding of America’s Oldest Non-Sectarian Day School, our move 60 years ago from Germantown to Fort Washington, and our transition to becoming the first coeducational school in the Inter-Academic Athletic League. Through readings and performances by students from all three divisions, faculty, and staff, we reaffirmed our commitment to both the GA Mission and Civility Pledge. This year we also honored the commencement of the senior year for the mighty Class of 2022 with a Gauntlet of Patriot Pride. While the Belfry bell chimed loudly above the Quad, more than 1,500 members of our beloved community cheered their hearts out as the 136 seniors recessed down the center aisle – a preview of the walk of honor they will take nine months from now when they receive their diplomas on June 10.
With an enrollment of 1,207, GA begins our 262nd year with more students than ever before (including 198 new students across our three divisions!). Despite the challenges wrought by the pandemic, families continued to choose GA’s tight-knit community and strategic mix of tradition and innovation in the classroom and beyond. Our goal remains crystal clear: to fulfill our noble mission for every single wonderfully unique student. In light of the continued stress felt by so many due to the pandemic, we are also deeply committed to creating joy, to splurging on community, to fostering fun, and to forging deep, lifelong connections – now, more than ever. Our students need and deserve an extraordinary year. We are ready.