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Upper School Director Update: October 2, 2022

Ryan Cook

Another busy week in the bank, and another on the horizon! Cultural observance and celebrations have been key this week with Rosh Hashanah and National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Head of School Tracie Catlett visited the upper school assembly on Tuesday to share the new Campus Master Plan with our students and staff. Students were blown away by the vision and scale of the proposal, and they had excellent questions. The proposed new Bengal Cafe coffee shop was a particular hit, as was the notion of a new dining commons that would seat the entire upper school family.

A particularly busy week for our athletes was made even more so by rescheduling as a result of the poor weather. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian.

A Busy Week for Parents & Guardians

Upper school parents and guardians also had an exciting and busy week. Thanks to those of you who were able to make it to our first meeting with the division directors this week. We discussed the characteristics of solid graduates, and we had a great time getting to know you! As a reminder, these meetings are held in the Bengal Cafe, and all four division directors provide you with a brief overview of the topic listed (about 15 minutes or so) and then break into smaller division-based groups for some connection and Q&A. Dates and topics are listed below. 

October 21 8:30–9:30 a.m. How Students Learn
November 29 6–7 p.m. The Neuroscience of Gratitude
January 13 8:30–9:30 a.m. Public Purpose

Our college counseling team hosted a Zoom meeting on Wednesday evening, focused upon college scholarships and financial aid. The event was attended by over 40 families, which is awesome. This work complements the excellent work that is going on in the college CLEAR Labs with our 10th–12th graders. I love how GDS connects student and parent/guardian college guidance so brilliantly.

The excitement kept rolling with parents and guardians joining us for the Senior Backpacking Trip (SBT) meeting, followed by meeting for international trips on Thursday evening. If you were not able to attend the SBT meeting, the slides are linked below.

SBT Presentation Slides

There is great buzz and excitement around the excellent program of experiential learning opportunities we have in place. A trip to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana is the latest offering to be added. Thank you to Stephanie Sutter-Shoaf for her willingness to offer and lead this trip for our students. If you missed this meeting, the slides are linked below.

International Trip Presentation Slides

April 6–14, 2023 England & Wales 9–12 Williams 15
May Term 2023 Spain 9–12 Fung 18–20
May 18–22, 2023 Grayson Highlands State Park 9–12 Montana, Thielen TBD
May 15–19, 2023 Carolinas 9–12 Bowden 18
May 16–24, 2023 Galapagos 9–12 Crown 16
May 27–June 3, 2023 Bahamas 9–11 (after graduation) Ross 18–20
June 10 or later Blackfeet Indian Reservation 9–11 Sutter-Shoaf 15–22
May Term 2024 France   Parker TBD
May Term 2024 China   Valoris TBD

BengalFest is this Friday!

BengalFest: Fall Fun for the Whole Family

\We hope you will join us on this Friday, October 7, from 3:30–7 p.m. for BengalFest. This is going to be a great time with fun for the whole family! Click here for more details.

NC A&T Drumline

This upcoming Tuesday our students will have the opportunity to enjoy music by North Carolina A&T’s Cold Steel Drumline. We are excited to welcome them to our campus and look forward to their performance! 

Bengal Cafe and Bookstore Balance

Remember that you can check your student’s spending in the Bengal Bookstore and Bengal Cafe. This information is located in myGDS under Resources. The tab titled “Bengal Bookstore and Balance” will give you a breakdown of spending.

Senior Nights for Fall Athletic Teams

On Friday, October 7, during BengalFest, we will celebrate the seniors on our fall athletic teams:

  • 3:45 p.m.: Varsity Girls Tennis at the tennis courts
  • 4:15 p.m.: Varsity Girls Field Hockey at White Field
  • 5:00 p.m.: Varsity Boys Soccer at Harris Field
  • 5:25 p.m.: Varsity Girls Volleyball (with Girls Golf) at Dillard Gym
  • 5:25 p.m.: Varsity Girls Golf (with Volleyball) at Dillard Gym

The varsity cross country team celebrated their seniors on Thursday, September 22.

Coming Up

  • National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15–October 15
  • NC A&T Drumline: October 4 
  • Yom Kippur begins in the evening of October 4 and ends in the evening of October 5.
  • School closed: October 5
  • College Counseling Junior Jumpstart: Thursday, October 6, 7–8 p.m.
  • Bengal Fest: October 7, 3:30–7 p.m. This family-friendly fall festival is good fun for the whole family.
  • Fall Ball: October 8–10 p.m. Details about this event were sent to upper school families on September 13. Those details are also posted here. GDS students wishing to bring a non-GDS student guest are required to complete the Guest Permission Slip, which are available from Ms. Wilder in the US admin office.
  • Honor Society Ceremonies: Tuesday, October 11, 7:30–8:30 p.m.
  • PSAT testing for grades 9–11: Wednesday, October 12. Students will be dismissed following the conclusion of testing. Students unable to travel home are welcome to remain on campus to complete assignments and seek assistance from teachers. Click here for more details.

Warm regards, 

Ryan Cook
Upper School Director