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Class Stone Tradition from 1885 Continues Today

This year’s class stone was given to Germantown Academy, as per tradition, by the graduating Class of 2023. Senior Class Representatives from the Student Government Association—Kayla D'Eletto '23, Morgan Hellebusch '23, and Ava Toren '23—presented the class stone, as well as the Class’s gift to the Annual Fund, during graduation on June 9 on Connor Quad. The stone was designed by Ryleigh Dougherty '23.

“When planning out my design for the class stone, the bell tower came to mind as it is an iconic symbol of GA’s campus,” said Dougherty. “I know for many it stands for freedom, pride, and education, but for me it also represents a place for unity, hope, and new beginnings. I also chose to discreetly place GA’s mission statement among the clouds, as these words truly guide us in all that we do. Being chosen by my classmates was an honor, and I am thrilled to leave a part of me with the school that has given me so much these past years.”

The giving of the class stone is a tradition that dates all the way back to the 1800s and was introduced by Head of School Dr. William Kershaw. Stones used to carry an ivy motif because in previous years each graduating class planted an ivy vine on Ivy Day to celebrate their tenure at GA at the old campus in Germantown. The tradition of presenting the stone faded away in the 1930s during the Great Depression.  As the campus moved to Fort Washington, the administration brought the stones with them. The Class of 1980 brought back the tradition of creating a new stone each year.

There is a process for each class stone’s creation. The senior class of Academy Club representatives led the effort to solicit designs from the class and then the whole graduating class votes. There were six designs presented this year and Dougherty’s design received the majority of the votes!

Director of Alumni Relations Heather Durkin 1760 oversaw many of the Academy Club’s efforts this past year. “The number of unique designs from the Class of 2023 was impressive; I’m so grateful to all of the artists who submitted them. It’s gratifying to add Ryleigh’s artwork to Alumni Walk as the Class of 2023’s own stamp on their alma mater.”

You can still see these beautiful stones here in Fort Washington. Stones are located in Alumni Walk, as well as on the outer walls of the Arts Center.