Page 1


Vol. 86

No. 01

pu bl i c at i on of ge orge scho o l, ne w tow n, pennsy lvania



perspe c t i v e s

Exploring the Impact of Fitness on Learning


s u ppo rti n g george school

The Hayden Family Legacy



The Fitness and Athletics Center

The Remarkable Value of a George School Education

b u i ld i n g fo r a s u stai nab le futu r e

s u rvey r e s u lts wo rth s h o uti n g abo ut



Vol. 86 | No. 01 | JANUARY 2014

PHOTOS: Inside Front Cover: Joe Kinsey ’15 works with Source coach Mike Rothwell to develop a daily exercise routine that helps improve memory, brain health, and physical fitness. (Photo by Bruce Weller) Front Cover: Image “Genius Boy” (Illustration from Mustafa Hacalaki at iStockphoto)

01  PERSPECTIVES Exploring the Impact of Fitness on Learning 02 New Lessons on Learning 04 Where the Mind Goes, Will the Body Follow? 06 Healthy Body, Healthy Mind 08 Mindfulness: Students Slow Down and Unplug 09 eQuiz Highlights



12 History of Athletics at George School 18 Supporting George School: The Hayden Family Legacy 20 Building for a Sustainable Future 22 Survey Results Worth Shouting About





with Freesoul El ShabazzThomspon ’15, Isabelle Oppenheimer ’16, and Sydney Denmark ’14 on a sunny fall day.


Exploring the Impact of Fitness on Learning The new Fitness and Athletics Center that is currently being constructed on George School’s campus is located on the corner of Farm Drive directly across from the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library and catty-corner to the meetinghouse. The proximity of these three buildings is symbolic in many ways. Linking past, present, and future, the buildings also reflect the important connection between “mind, body, and spirit” that has long been held to be the ideal in education. Today we are coming to understand that connection in new and very exciting ways. While George School has a long commitment to educating the “whole child,” for generations we, like educators world-wide, have viewed the mind, the body, and the spirit as three separate and distinct parts of the whole. Today, thanks to groundbreaking research in neuroscience, we are beginning to understand how closely integrated these aspects of our being really are. In this edition of Perspectives, you will learn about how the George School faculty is incorporating this new research. You’ll learn about the work

of neuroscientist Emily Falk ’99, who studies ways that verbal messages (mind) influence physical behavior (body). You’ll be introduced to the ways that healthy eating and regular exercise (body) help graduate Jessie Price ’91, and former faculty member Ed Ayres to keep their minds more focused and engaged throughout the day. Finally, graduate Jeffrey Mann ’88 and current faculty member Michael Lo Stracco will introduce you to the spiritual practice of mindfulness meditation and the ways in which this practice is being incorporated into the George School curriculum to help faculty and students stay focused (mind) and healthy (body). Whether seen as distinct and separate or understood, as they are today, to be fully integrated, the three pillars of “body, mind, and spirit” continue to symbolize George School’s commitment to the whole student.





JERRICA BAUER ’16 AND NOELLE LUCIEN ’16 review pond water to identify microscopic life forms including protozoans and small animals.


New Lessons on Learning BY ANDREA LEHMAN Over the last decade, neuroscientists have been uncovering evidence of the important relationship between exercise and learning. Advances in imaging are revealing the effects of exercise on areas of the brain responsible for cognitive function. Studies on mindfulness are demonstrating its impact on emotional health and executive functioning. And educators are taking note. At George School, our faculty members are exploring the implications of these new discoveries on curriculum and pedagogy. Leading the inquiry is George School’s Foundational Skills Committee, an “action research” team designed to help faculty learn how to teach the skills, strategies, structures, and dispositions common to all learning. Together the committee read Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina, and presented their findings to the entire faculty.


In Brain Rules Medina points to a number of shortand long-term exercise-induced effects on cognitive function, including increased blood flow, which stimulates the creation of new blood vessels. Exercise “allows more access to the bloodstream’s goods and services, which include food distribution and waste disposal,” he says in Brain Rules. “Imaging studies have shown that exercise literally increases blood volume in a region of the brain called the dentate gyrus…a vital constituent of the hippocampus, a region deeply involved in memory formation.” In addition, “early studies indicate that exercise also stimulates one of the brain’s most powerful growth factors, BDNF,” which stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor. “BDNF exerts a fertilizer-like growth effect on certain neurons in the brain.” Other researchers concur. Clinical psychiatrist and Harvard professor John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain and A User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception,


Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain, has also shown that exercise can optimize learning. Exercise results in the production of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins as well as BDNF and can lead to new brain cells in the hippocampus. Benefits range from increased motivation and better attention and self-control to improved planning and organization. Medina “would have treadmills in our classrooms,” quipped Scott Spence, associate head of school, and though George School has eschewed that option in favor of building a new centralized fitness and athletics center, he anticipates a similar payoff. “Strong scientific evidence supports the connection between exercise and improved executive functioning, including long-term memory, problem-solving, reasoning, and attention—all so critical for adolescents to manage the high school experience. It’ll be great to have a facility that will enable our students to more readily take advantage of this knowledge.” This research is also proving the soundness of existing George School programs and approaches. According to Scott, “It underscores the importance of our physical education requirement—that students should be in after-school sports or take a PE class in order to get the aerobic exercise they need. When schools focus so much on standardized testing that they cut recess and other physical activity, it’s not good for students.” It’s a policy indicative of the school’s longtime focus on educating balanced, well-rounded young people. And the benefits of fitness on mental acuity are not just limited to young people. Co-author of The Alzheimers Prevention Program Gary Small, M.D., discusses a new body of compelling research that favors physical activity for mental acuity. “When people exercise, the areas that control memory, thinking, and intention increase in the brain,” he said. “Regular exercisers have less of the abnormal protein deposits in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s.” In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Aging Research, the authors found that aerobic exercise and strength training impact the brain differently—underscoring the importance of both types of exercise. While both types of exercise are beneficial to improving spatial memory, cardio alone is capable of improving verbal memory. In a 2012 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, women in their seventies who practiced strength training improved associative memory.

“W hen people exercise, the areas that control memory, thinking, and intention increase in the brain.” Mindfulness, or the process of careful, attentive presence, is another intriguing area of research. A new study from the University of California, Santa Barbara demonstrated that mindfulness training can improve cognitive abilities and even raise test scores. The study showed that students who practiced two weeks of mindfulness training, including forty-five minutes of formal meditation practice four days a week, boosted their Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) results by an average of 16 percent. A new program at George School offered by faculty member Michael LoStracco offers the George School community weekly opportunities to practice mindfulness. “Offering a space, a refuge, where students can slow down and unplug and be away from the screen, to know themselves and be themselves, and practice being human for fortyfive minutes is incredibly important,” says Michael. (See “Mindfulness” story, page 8.) “The focus on new areas of brain research has encouraged committees and individual faculty members to study trends, attend conferences, and synthesize and apply research on an ongoing basis,” explains Scott. “We are striving to develop a body of knowledge that suggests new areas to pursue while providing support for what the school has long done right.”





Where the Mind Goes, Will the Body Follow? NEUROSCIENTIST Emily Falk ’99 studies neural responses to health messaging.

BY ANDREA LEHMAN Just as health and fitness can have a positive effect on brain function, new research is exploring whether persuasive messages—and the way these messages are processed by the brain—can have a positive effect on health and fitness. The latter is a primary focus of neuroscientist Emily Falk ’99 and her lab, the Communication Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Their research is yielding valuable insights about the impact of communication on healthy, and unhealthy, behaviors. Through imaging like functional MRIs, Emily’s team studies neural responses to messaging, particularly health messaging. They look at the parts of the brain that are active when messages are received, concentrating on areas concerned with self-related processing, such as the medial prefrontal cortex. How do we behave in response to the messages all around us? What makes successful ideas spread? How can we predict whether persuasive messaging —to stop smoking, wear sunscreen, or exercise, for example—will actually get people to institute positive change? How do the responses of individuals and small groups translate to those of larger populations? These are the questions being tackled by Emily and her team. Some of their work is pure scientific inquiry, published in scientific journals. Some is more applied, often in partnership with public health agencies.


“We think it’s really important to learn about how behaviors become contagious,” said Emily. “Obesity can spread almost like other diseases spread. We’re trying to understand that from a neuroscience perspective.” For example, participants in one study were exposed to messages to increase their sunscreen use. The team looked at people’s brain responses and stated intentions to change, and compared them with data about people’s actual sunscreen use behavior in the weeks before and after the study. Brain response proved to be a better predictor of whether people would actually alter their behavior. The team then found the same results for smoking behavior (neural responses to ads designed to help smokers quit predicted behavior change above and beyond people’s stated intentions to change). The team is now looking at whether this is true for physical activity behavior measured using accelerometers. Another project of the lab is researching the adolescent brain’s sensitivity to neural cues. In concert with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Emily’s team is looking at why teens are so susceptible to risky peer influences that lead to fatal automobile crashes in the first year of being licensed. They’re examining what teens’ brains look like when they’re being included or excluded from a group and relating it to behavior in a driving simulator. Reflecting on her own teenage years, Emily is thankful that her George School teachers,



especially advisor Sam Smith, provided perspective when she herself was a teen. And she credits George School with instilling the value of collaboration: “In order to do science in an effective way, you need a really strong team. A lot of the Quaker values that influence how you approach other people are different than standard approaches to running a lab. One of the things I’m really proud of is the way people in my team support each other.” Emily has recently returned to the Philadelphia area, having been invited to move the lab from the University of Michigan to the University of Pennsylvania. Now an Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, she is enjoying being back and spending more time with George School classmates and her family, including sister Lily ’15, a George School junior. Busy setting up the new lab, Emily continues to receive grants and accolades. Last year, she received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s

How Your Brain Helps Ideas Go Viral Have you ever wondered how to predict if an idea or a photo will go viral on Facebook or Twitter? Emily was the lead author of a study published in July 2013 Psychological Science that identified for the first time, the areas of the brain that are associated with the successful spread of ideas. The study was conducted by a team of University of California Los Angeles scientists while Emily was a UCLA doctoral student. “We’re constantly being exposed to information on Facebook, Twitter, and so on,” said senior author and UCLA professor Matthew Lieberman, explaining the study’s rationale

New Innovator Award, which provides funding “to study things in a more open-ended way for highrisk, high-reward research.” In September, the lab was awarded another NIH grant for a new study that continues looking at strategies to reduce defensive responses to health communications and to promote physical activity. According to the grant abstract, “Our core hypothesis is that the balance of neural activity in regions associated with selfrelated processing versus defensive counter arguing is key in producing health behavior change, and that self-affirmation (an innovative approach, relatively new to the health behavior area) can alter this balance.” The ultimate goal is to “improve our capacity to design and select interventions that successfully alter such behaviors.” Emily sums it up simply: “Our work is really fun. We’re doing good basic science and also applied work to make people healthier, changing norms and values for the good of society.”

in a UCLA news release. “Some of it we pass on, and a lot of it we don’t. Is there something that happens in the moment we first see it— maybe before we even realize we might pass it on—that is different for those things that we will pass on successfully versus those that we won’t?” It turns out, the study suggests there is. The scientists found that the students who were especially good at persuading others showed significantly more activity in a brain region known as the temporoparietal junction, or TPJ, at the time they were first exposed to the ideas they would later recommend. The more activated the TPJ region of the students’ brains were, the more they wanted to share the idea, even when it wasn’t something they found interesting themselves. “Before this study, we didn’t know what brain regions were associated with ideas that become contagious, and we didn’t know what regions were associated with being an effective communicator of ideas,” said Emily. “Now we have mapped the brain regions associated with ideas and in the future, we would like to be able to use these brain maps to forecast what ideas are likely to be successful and who is likely to be effective at spreading them.”




HEALTHY EATING, STAYING FIT, AND MINDFULNESS PRACTICE are important parts of the lives of Jessie Price ’91, Ed Ayres ffac, and Jeffrey Mann ’88.


Healthy Body, Healthy Mind BY LAURA LAVALLEE Every day we are bombarded by information on how to stay healthy. Eat less of this and more of that, exercise every day, eat smaller portions, lower your stress levels, get more sleep, separate work and home—sometimes it seems like becoming a little bit healthier could be a full-time job. George School community members Jessie Price ’91, former faculty member Ed Ayres, and Jeffrey Mann ’88 shared their own experiences with eating healthfully, staying fit, and practicing mindfulness. Jessie Price ’91 has been eating well since childhood. Growing up in a home with a wood burning stove in the kitchen, the kitchen was the warmest place in the house and the best place to hang out. “I was always drawn to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Jessie who is now the editor-in-chief of EatingWell Magazine. In this role, Jessie is charged with executing the mission of the magazine: helping people make delicious and healthy food at home. “Eating healthfully came sort of naturally to me but I’ve learned so much more about it since I began working at EatingWell,” she shared. “We are lucky to have several registered dieticians on staff and they are the real experts on nutrition.”


According to Jessie there are several “big picture” things you can do to eat more healthfully on a dayto-day basis. “Choose whole grain foods instead of those made from refined flours. Add more vegetables to everything—for example, add shredded zucchini to your chili, it will melt right in and you won’t even realize it’s there,” she said. Choosing lean meats and eating them in appropriate portions is important, too. “Three ounces is the right serving size for meat—and when most people see that on a plate they think it looks tiny.” For Jessie, eating healthfully helps her to stay focused and engaged throughout the day. “I feel better when I am well-nourished and my brain is humming along—which happens after I eat my fruit, yogurt, and a few nuts each morning. It’s like everything just comes together.” She has been a contributor to at least seven cookbooks and is also the author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The Simple Art of EatingWell. But eating isn’t just a means to keep her body going. “Eating is such a pleasurable part of life,” shared Jessie. “The most important thing about food is to enjoy it. Yes, I love healthy food but the most important thing is that it tastes great.”


Ed Ayres, a former faculty member, finds running to be one of the most pleasurable activities. At seventy-one years old he is training to run an ultramarathon—and even as he trains for it, running an average of at least fifteen to twenty miles each day, he will tell you that running still feels as good as it did at 16. “For me, running isn’t just a sport—it connects me to my world,” he shared. “I usually start each day with a run. It’s essential. It helps me get in sync with myself. It has taught me that if I want to get things done as soon as possible and as well as possible, I need to slow down.” The idea of slowing down to get ahead is one that Ed discusses in his book The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, An Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance. The book is an account of the second time Ed ran the JFK 50 mile ultramarathon—at sixty years old. “The first mile, like a scene from an old Western, is just get out of town…but the next two miles are a fairly steep climb to the South Mountain pass, where you leave the road and enter a thirteen-mile segment of the…Appalachian Trail (AT). The conundrum is that on one hand you want to get to the trailhead before the horde does…On the other hand, going up the South Mountain road, it would be a big mistake to go too fast. It’s a tricky thing to balance…”. Ed considers this—the idea of slowing down and clearing your mind in order to accomplish your goals—essential. In fact, he believes it is counter-intuitive to human nature that our culture moves so quickly. According to Ed our ability to complete endurance competitions, is closely tied to our ability to achieve a state of calm before we begin. “The guy with the bullhorn announced that we had thirty seconds, and then at 6:59:50 he began a countdown: ‘Ten, nine, eight…’. It was time to let my mind go blank, Zenlike. This was important,” he wrote in The Longest Race. The benefits of running are tied to more than just good health. Ed has spent years looking at the connection between running and brain development through his work at Running Times magazine, which he founded with a George School alumnus. Citing a Swedish study that explored how active cardiovascular exercise impacted IQ scores, Ed shared that running is critical to his ability to write and think.

“I probably spend about as much time running as I do writing. When I was working at George School I sensed there was a connection and later when I was editing the magazine I was writing about this connection. Running wakes you up and oxygenates your brain. People often say they have found connections between their ability to solve problems and running.” Jeffrey K. Mann ’88 has also found a connection between thought and physical activity. When he began practicing martial arts in college it was for the physical activity. When he later learned about mindfulness, his martial arts practice reached a new level. “Mindfulness is a passive awareness of everything you can perceive,” said Jeffrey who began practicing mindfulness during his daily martial arts training a few years ago. “In practicing a physical discipline you are cultivating yourself and becoming a productive member of society,” said Jeffrey. “Practicing mindfulness improves my abilities as a martial artist.” A professor of religion at Susquehanna University and author of When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship between Zen and the Martial Arts, Jeffrey has found that his work in mindfulness has carried over into his teaching and it helps him strive to be the best teacher he can be. “I need to engage and challenge students for long periods of time, lecturing them about a subject which is usually outside their chosen major. I am at my best…when I am the most present with them,” he said. “The mindfulness that Zen articulates, and that I seek to cultivate through meditation and…martial arts, is what helps me make progress toward becoming more of that kind of teacher.” And mindfulness isn’t limited to the practice of martial arts. “In Zen meditation, one attends to the moment and is present with oneself and all that is in one’s environment. This has obvious benefits for people engaged in innumerable physical disciplines. The goalkeeper cannot afford to be distracted by memories of the last game she played…[and] the runner cannot forget to breathe for the last 100 meters of the 300 meter hurdles— a lesson I learned at GS.” “Mindfulness is the idea of learning one thing so you can do 10,000,” says Jeffrey, and it’s this process of focusing his mind on the moment that has helped him to achieve greater connection to the martial arts he practices.






a mindfulness practice session for students including Savannah Merritt ’17 and Maanav Patel ’17, helping them to slow down and unplug.

Mindfulness: Students Slow Down and Unplug Mindfulness is another intriguing area of research on learning and the brain. Generations of George School graduates have attested to the benefits derived from centering themselves in meeting for worship. More recently, varied meditative practices have been taught in the religion curriculum, especially in its new freshman and sophomore courses. Though these experiences have an attendant spiritual dimension, mindfulness practice—directing one’s attention to the present moment experience, intentionally, repeatedly, and without judgment— need not. According to English and religion teacher Michael Lo Stracco, “There has long been anecdotal evidence that mindfulness practice supports and strengthens emotional regulation and helps to reduce stress and anxiety, but in recent years there have been many scientific research studies to support that.” Using his personal interest as a springboard, Michael has studied mindfulness and is sharing both the research and the practice with the George School community. For the former, he cites two studies. In one conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MRIs revealed that participation in a program of mindfulness-based stress reduction “is associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, selfreferential processing, and perspective taking.”


Wake Forest University School of Medicine demonstrated that “brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.” Bolstered by this evidence, Michael began offering weekly mindfulness practice sessions to the George School community this fall. Participants learn exercises to focus attention and reduce stress in a continual process of noticing and redirecting that strengthens attention like one would strengthen a muscle. Michael sees the practice as particularly useful to adolescents, whose fast-paced and pressure-filled lives are filled with social media and technology. “Offering a space, a refuge, where students can slow down and unplug and be away from the screen, to know themselves and be themselves, and practice being human for forty-five minutes is incredibly important.” With faculty approval, the sessions are being offered as a choice for students caught up in the minor discipline system as an alternative to a Tuesday evening Teachers’ Convenience (TC) study hall. Michael proposed it as a way “to disassociate discipline with punishment and make it more instructive, more powerful. It’s a way of getting at those behavior patterns that lead to TC study hall and other forms of discipline, to teach students not to impulsively react. Mindfulness practice really does help with decision making and planning, preparing them for decisions with weightier consequences.”



eQuiz Highlights The August eQuiz asked alumni to share their thoughts on the connection between physical fitness, mental acuity, and overall wellness. Recent research has shown that the mind-body connection is strong—regular exercise helps relieve stress, increase information processing, and improve memory functions. Some of the responses to the eQuiz are highlighted here.

1979 | Todd Rutstein I am fascinated by the ways in which exercise stimulates the thought process. It often seems that the most interesting ideas are generated during a workout. In light of this, I am inclined to think of exercise as another aspect of professional development—indeed, human development. It is much more than just about enhancing physical wellbeing. I was the kind of person—still am—who would never have been able to sit still in class if I did not have the promise of the glorious physical outlet destined to appear at the end of the school day.

1980 | Kevin J. Klenner The Body-Mind Connection

1950 | Paul Craig Exercise and brain; brain and exercise… If I don’t exercise I can’t think. Exercise lets us make contact with the mind-body problem. It helps us “get in the moment.” Those moments are the most satisfying we experience. When we’re so involved with an activity that time vanishes, we’re at our most productive and our most human.

Exercise gives me the stamina to get through many a twelve-hour work day and keep a calm and patient façade in challenging circumstances.

1985 | Christina N. Raymond I find while I’m exercising that ideas pop into my head, new perspectives occur, and affirmation of direction or goals happens.

1986 | David Biester Exercise relieves stress and makes me feel as if I have more energy. Plus I sleep better, which is nice.

1952 | Headley S. White Jr. We need massive education of the American public on the positive effects of regular exercise of the body and brain and the negative consequences of the lack thereof.

1961 | Margaret Uehlein Suby-Dorney I always feel both physically better and more alert after exercise. On days when I do not exercise or have much to do, I am noticeably “duller” mentally and can feel the pull of just sitting and staring.

1966 | Rachel A. Eisenhard Cartwright A three-mile walk every day—walking over hills on back roads or in parks—relieves stress immediately, and promotes a feeling of well-being and definitely, for me at least, raises mental acuity. Swimming is another way to promote a feeling of well-being and later in the day, increased alertness.

1973 | Daphne P. Taylor I make time to walk wherever I am an hour a day just to clear the mind and help the stress.

1991 | India F. D. Ennis I am fascinated by how powerful what we consume is relative to how we function and how overlooked it is by everyone. I hope I can help to spread the word that good food is fuel for our brain and our soul.

1993 | Jeremiah S. Burns As an educator who is interested in helping students become more engaged in the lessons I teach, I have found it helpful to read about the ways movement and learning are connected. 1995 | Ann St. Claire As a pre-natal yoga teacher I help my students understand the connection between mind and body and the importance of breath to calm, energize, and focus the mind.

2003 | Nicole Grennbaum Physical activity helps calm me and restores my cheerfulness.




2004 | Lindsay L. Stephenson

1952 | William G. Nelson

I work out every weekday before work and this helps me stay focused throughout the day. I also get up and walk around my floor when I find myself getting sleepy at my desk.

One common thread among almost all walks of life and almost all levels of society happens to be sports. Thus I could strike up a conversation with almost any one from a cab driver to a CEO by talking about sports.

Sports and Culture Lessons Learned at George School

1938 | John F. Cadwallader I have often thought that if every child between K-12 was required to exercise from one to two hours every day there would be less drugs and obesity in the world. All athletic endeavors at public and private schools should be distributed for the benefit of all students and not just the school jocks. It would be a different world!

1968 | Pat K. Kramon Pincus The model we learned from Anne LeDuc for healthy living—fresh air, regular exercise, and good eating habits—affected my future choices and lifehabits!! Many of us learned important life lessons about living a healthy, well-balanced life (in all ways) from Anne.

Alumni Profile: Alice Henriques ’98 work from the minute I got up to the minute I’d go to bed. That impacted how I felt about myself until I started getting back into a routine and training for triathlons. Now I typically do five or six a year.

You were a competitive swimmer for many years. How did that factor into other parts of your life, especially your academics? I started swimming seriously in the eighth grade. While at George School, I took a heavy course load. It was similar when I got to Berkeley. I was following a challenging path, academically and in the pool. I fell into economics, and it was a great fit. By my senior year, I was tutoring other student-athletes and working as a research assistant for a professor. I did better when I had a full plate and needed to focus— like at George School, which wants you to have a wellrounded experience. After the Olympic trials in 2004, I “retired,” and I didn’t really have a direction fitness-wise. I didn’t have the structure of training goals. I went to the gym occasionally, but I found myself worrying about my


Now that you’re working, what benefits do you get from your fitness regimen? When I finished college, I worked at the Brookings Institution for three years before getting my Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University. Now I’m at the Federal Reserve and taking time for fitness is still important. I do better when I can step away, go for a run, stop actively thinking about every little piece. When I return to work, I start fresh and see it more broadly. That’s what works for me. Fitness allows me to have balance and be effective in everything else that I’m doing. What advice would you give to scholar-athletes pursuing excellence on both sides of the hyphen? Focus on each one in the moment. If you’re going through a bad period in one area of your life, let positive experiences in the other provide confirmation that you can get through the difficult times. Build on successes to bridge the gap. Having that balance creates a healthy mental state that enables you to be successful in all aspects of your life.


1969 | Ann Heimlich I learned to try new physical challenges such as field hockey and even cheerleading. It was a combination of overcoming innate shyness and perfectionist tendencies. You really can’t learn how to do something new without taking risks and making mistakes. You just have to learn from those errors and not make the same mistake(s) over and over.

Alumni Profile: Sarah Dunphy-Lelii ’96

1973 | John B. Hoffman One of the things I most loved about George School was the equal emphasis on academics, athletics, and the arts.

1978 | Marta Ernst George school helped me value routine exercise.

1979 | Tracey Holliday George School allowed me to play team sports which introduced me to a love of sports, physical activity, team work, and discipline.

1986 | Laura Grontkowski James When I was at GS, I started an exercise program that I have continued thoughout my whole life— I started running. At 44, I just completed an 83-mile hike across England. I’ve exercised for my weight, my joints, my flexibility, and my mood and stress level. It is one of the “Four Cornerstones” as I say to my patients (I’m a doctor) that are essential for good health: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.

1998 | Annemarie R. P. Poniz Haar I think GS generally taught us the importance of exercise and how it helps shape us both physically and mentally.

2004 | Daniel Suchenski I think the GS approach to whole person development was an incredibly formative experience in my life. Responses might be edited due to space limitation and Georgian style guidelines.

What made you choose to study how the mind works? I originally started studying biology, first at George School and then at Penn State. But I found that my real interest lay in behavior and explaining behavior. Initially I wanted to study animals in the wild, looking at group behavior—which ones were dominant and which ones subordinate. But in grad school at the University of Michigan I switched over from apes to human children. Now I look mainly at preschoolers. That age is fascinating. My field is social cognition, and the part that I study is called “theory of mind.” Specifically, what do you research? I’m looking at when children know that other people’s behavior is caused by internal states and not necessarily by the external state of affairs. As adults, we know that behaviors are driven by what you believe. For example, if you want to find something, you look where you think it is. Three-year-olds don’t get that. By five, children are pretty sophisticated. I’m curious about how they get from reality-based to thought-based behavior and what contributes to the change. In my research, I’ve found that children with better language skills do it earlier and children with more siblings do it earlier. They’re confronted with other people’s expectations. As psychologists, we try to predict what people will do in certain situations, and we’re really good at it. That’s why psychology is considered a science—the science of human behavior. Do you enjoy being a professor at Bard College? I love Bard. It is so much like George School. It’s a small interdisciplinary community. People in different fields have discussions all the time. Choosing to spend my life at a small liberal arts college provides a quality of life I really prioritize. I love working in a culture of ideas.


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ATHLETICS at George School

1893. George School opens with 155 students.

1895. Mary Esther Sawyer is hired as director of

Its mission is “to offer that physical, mental, and ethical culture which we have seen producing such excellent results.”

gymnasium, teaching physical education for both boys and girls. A specialist in gymnastics, her student exhibitions are open to the public and an early feature of campus life.

1895. The first gym is constructed with the goal of “exhausting the students physically.” Other facilities include six tennis courts and two earthen-floored playrooms in the east and west Main basements. The ring road around Main is used for relay races and Eyre Line is used for sprints.


1898. Curtis Eves, Class of 1898, is hired upon graduation to supervise activities with the students. He would later be described as the father of athletics at George School.


1909. A modest, fifty-foot swimming pool is added to the gym.

1900. Curtis Eves arranges the first interscholastic athletic contest, a basketball game against Friends Central, which George School wins, 55-4.

1902. A quarter-mile running track is constructed on the grounds in the location of the present Cougar Track.

1913. The boys’ athletic program includes interscholastic teams in soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, track, and baseball. There had also been one trial interscholastic football game and several seasons of lacrosse.

1920. George School Committee, the school’s

1903. The area surrounded by the running track is graded, named Sharon Field, and put into use for soccer, baseball, and intramural football.

board of trustees, authorizes interscholastic competition for girls in hockey, basketball, and tennis. Grace Thwing (Thwingie) is hired as director of girls’ physical education. Thwingie’s biographer wrote, “She has proved through her work that the training of the body can be as beautiful and sensitive a process as the training of the mind; that character development through the intimate acquaintance with the mind, heart, and spirit is as much the ideal of physical education as of any other education.”


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Stanley Sutton is hired as director of boys’ physical education. During the ThwingSutton years, there is a simple clarity in the lives of George School students. Between the end of classes and dinner, your body, heart, and soul belonged to the Athletic Association.

1928. Heath Point is a girls’ physical education program designed for students with little prospect of earning a varsity letter in a team sport. Requirements include a brisk morning wake-up routine—either a cold shower or a walk around Main before breakfast—and no eating between meals. The major activity was hiking with a substantial mileage (one 1930’s graduate recalls it as 150 miles) required over the length of a school year.

1923. Stanley Sutton starts football as an interscholastic sport and adds wrestling, cross country, and swimming during his tenure as director. He also founds the George School Cross Country Invitational.

1938. George School Committee establishes sets of rules and regulations governing coed tennis, badminton, deck tennis, volleyball, swimming, and golf.

1925. George School expands its athletic facilities to add a soccer-baseball field (Alumni Field) in place of a former corn field, and below South Lawn, a hockey field and six tennis courts are added for girls. George School’s catalog at the time outlined the virtues of competition, which would “produce fun, thrills, physical benefits, mental discipline, self-control, fairness to others, and good sportsmanship.”


1951. Alumni Gym is built for boys. The girls gain exclusive use of the more convenient old gym.


1952. Robert Geissinger (Geiss) comes to

1964. In the Georgian, Geiss describes the pri-

George School as assistant director of physical education. He serves as the director from 1962 until he retires in 1990. He expands the athletics program during his tenure to include interscholastic lacrosse, cross country, and golf.

mary emphasis of the athletic program as the healthy development of the individual. Plenty of vigorous exercise causes the athlete to rest better, eat more, breathe more deeply and rapidly, and enjoy better circulation and better use of all bodily systems. The boys’ athletic program involves 180 of 228 boys on twenty competitive athletic teams at three levels of skill—varsity, junior varsity, and cub—in 167 contests.

1962. Anne LeDuc joins George School as director of the girls’ athletics department. During her tenure, soccer, cross country, track, softball, cheerleading, equestrian, and golf are added to the list of competitive sports. Her philosophy is to “place the emphasis on teaching more than coaching. The purpose is to equip our girls athletically and psychologically, to learn skills and achieve fitness, to enhance self-esteem, to solve problems, to deal with stress, and to pursue excellence by performing to the best of their ability.”

1965. George School selects the cougar as the school mascot through a student opinion poll. Purportedly, cougars won by a large margin over the other choices: bobcats, wildcats, dragons, huskies, rams, and bulldogs.

1967. The varsity football team has an undefeated season.


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1971. Girls hockey team travels to the Caribbean. A trip to England follows a year later.

1990. David Satterthwaite ’65 becomes boys’


Worth Sports Center and Marshall-Platt Swimming Pool open. The facility becomes the girls’ “turf,” and the site of the girls’ athletics department offices.

athletic director. Basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track are offered for interscholastic competition for boys and girls separately. Football and wrestling are offered for boys while field hockey and softball are offered for girls. Four team sports are officially coed: diving, riding, cheerleading, and golf.

1996. George School adds an interscholastic 1983. The equestrian program begins on the site

coed winter track team and later, an interscholastic girls’ volleyball team.

of the former pastures of the school’s dairy farm.

1999. George School adopts the colors of green 1986. Nancy Zurn Bernardini, a legendary coach of field hockey, lacrosse, and basketball, and girls’ assistant athletic director since 1978, succeeds Anne LeDuc as girls’ athletic director.


and white, replacing the original school colors of buff and brown which are increasingly difficult to find in standard uniform options.


2009. George Long, Jr. returns to George School

2011. The original cinder track and athletic field

as boys’ athletics director.

are replaced with a new all-weather running track and a synthetic turf field. The field is dedicated in honor of coaches Bob Geissinger, Anne LeDuc, and John Gleeson ’65. The track is dedicated in honor of David Satterthwaite ’65.

2010. George School expands and renovates the former weight room of the Alumni Gym, adding a performance and wellness center managed by the Source Institute, a strength and conditioning company that emphasizes personal development through physical activity, athletic performance, and optimal health.

2012. The soccer field that generations of athletes have played upon is dedicated in honor of Russ Weimar ’48 and Paul Machemer ’65.

2010. The two outdoor riding rings are resurfaced as the first part of the upgrades to George School’s equestrian program. The following year, the tack room is substantially renovated to increase storage space for equipment and to add individual locker rooms for boys and girls, complete with ventilated lockers. Planning begins for enhancements to the equestrian program including an indoor riding ring.

2013. In March, construction begins on a 100,000 square-foot fitness and athletics center. The new facility will include a performance gym, a multipurpose field house, fitness center, swimming pool, exercise and movement studio, a wrestling room, locker and training rooms, offices, and classrooms.


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THE HAYDEN FAMILY — Don and Marilyn Hayden; Steve Hayden ’04 and Shannon Farley; Peter, Emerson, and Sarah Hayden Hall ’02; Scott Hayden ’08 and Becca Hayden ’14.

Supporting George School: The Hayden Family Legacy BY ANDREA LEHMAN The Hayden family’s connection to George School began in 1998, when Sarah Hayden Hall ’02 was a freshman. The time since may be relatively short by family legacy standards, but the school’s impact on the Haydens and theirs on the school are anything but. Sarah is the first of four Hayden children to attend, followed by Steve ’04, Scott ’08, and Becca ’14. When Becca graduates in the spring, parents Marilyn and Don will have been at George School for fourteen of the last sixteen years. During that time, Don worked as a Bristol-Myers Squibb executive and more recently with small pharmaceutical biotech companies while Marilyn kept home and family running smoothly while also engaged in a variety of community activities. They also found time to be active participants in the George School community. Like other parents of day students, Marilyn and Don cheered from the sidelines and stands,


brought goodies for cookie and candy drops, and served as chaperones, chauffeurs, and off-site innkeepers for classmates. “Our children’s lives and, by extension, our lives were a mixed day-boarding experience,” notes Don. “Our children spent a lot of time on campus, and boarders spent a lot of time at our house. It was a particular benefit to get to know their friends.” When you watch four children spend their formative years at an institution, you get a clear picture of what the school does well. For the Haydens, it is accommodating and nurturing diverse people. “The school was a different experience for each of the children,” says Don. “They were able to find a set of experiences that they made unique to them. From an academic and curriculum standpoint, they were each able to find paths and teachers that maximized their development, and they put together extracurricular activities to suit their own interests and capabilities. “One of the things about the school that we find attractive is that diversity is multidimensional,


“A t George School, playing sports forces people to connect with one another. The new fitness center will be a place for people to interact, where people can come together and talk as well as work out.”

not just in terms of race, ethnicity, and religion, but in ways of thinking. All of that goes into the wealth of experiences students can take advantage of during their time at George School. What we see in our children now that’s attributable to their experience then is that they’re broadly prepared to participate in the world around them. They’re prepared to be successful professionally, to be socially involved, to be flexible, adaptable, and open-minded.” It’s the school’s complete education—its multifaceted impact on multifaceted people—that has led the Haydens to become involved in ways above and beyond the typical. Longtime supporters of the Parent Annual Fund, they’ve provided energy as well as funds by serving as solicitors and donors. “We’ve contributed to the general fund to enable the school to best direct dollars to where they will do the most good,” says Marilyn. In 2004, the Haydens got involved in efforts to build the new Cougar track and field—the early stages of what would become the Fitness and Athletics Capital Initiative: Fit for the Future. They had seen other capital projects create wonderful facilities for students’ academic and social benefit, but they knew the athletics facilities were lagging behind. Though their children all played varsity sports, their reason for contributing “wasn’t our kids’ involvement so much as the school’s need,” says Marilyn. “The facilities really had to catch up.” “George School does a wonderful job of getting you involved and then finds a way to get you more deeply involved,” jokes Don. After joining the campaign committee, he became co-chair alongside David Bruton as the campaign turned to a new Fitness and Athletics Center. Don is eager to get other families involved, too. Thanks to George School’s “whole-person approach to the development of children,” the center, currently under construction, will be not just for varsity teams but for everyone. That appealed to the entire Hayden family, who discussed their support for the project and the community. A fully equipped 4,000-square-foot fitness center on the second floor will be named the Hayden Family

Fitness Center in their honor. It was a gift in keeping with family interests and values, nurtured at George School. Today Scott works for a New York philanthropy and fundraising consulting firm called Changing Our World. He sees it as the natural outgrowth of his interest in social service and social justice, whose seeds were planted both at George School and at Loyola University Maryland. In the new fitness center, he sees facilities not just for building muscle, but for building community. “At George School, playing sports forces people to connect with one another. The new fitness center will be a place for people to interact, where people can come together and talk as well as work out.” Where Scott’s focus is more on communication, Sarah’s is on wellness. She manages a wellness facility that takes a global, whole-body approach, encompassing chiropractic, fitness training and classes, massage therapy, meditation, and nutrition counseling. “I used to go work out in the basement of the Alumni Gym before its renovations. I remember the cold concrete floors,” she reflects. “A lot of people have to feel comfortable to build a routine.” She sees the new facility as doing just that. “Providing people with an opportunity to improve their health is wonderful.” She looks forward to seeing her son, Emerson, use it when and if he attends the school around 2026, as the whole family hopes. Steve, who works for an IT consulting firm, has also built off of experiences at George School. He is involved in several community organizations and supports the George School Annual Fund. Don and Marilyn plan to stay involved at George School even without a child or grandchild there. Meanwhile, Don notes that Becca, Scott, Steve, and Sarah all “take their place in the community seriously.” Becca continues to be involved in varsity sports and a variety of organizations, while Scott, Steve, and Sarah stay in touch through ongoing personal contacts and active roles in their reunions. Clearly, the Hayden family is deeply connected to George School now, and for a lifetime.


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THE RADIANT HEATING SYSTEM is installed in the floor of the field house, the southwest quadrant of the center, which will feature two courts for training and competition. The radiant flooring is designed to provide an energy-efficient heating system in areas of high use.

Building for a Sustainable Future: George School’s New Fitness and Athletics Center BY LAURA LAVALLEE Sustainability is an important part of life at George School. Our on-campus organic garden provides fresh produce to the dining hall. The dining hall then composts food waste to be used to enrich the soil in the organic garden. The recent renovation of McFeely updated the building to feature hightech, eco-friendly classrooms. The LEED gold certified Anderson Library has a green roof to help with drainage and irrigation. George School’s latest example of sustainability, our new Fitness and Athletics Center, is rising behind the trees at the south end of campus. The new Fitness and Athletics Center will feature a number of green components to help reduce our overall environmental footprint. From water-wise landscaping to energy-efficient radiant flooring, the building is being built with the intent to achieve LEED certification—no easy feat when constructing a building of this type.


“As you may know, the LEED rating system attempts to evaluate the environmental performance of a building project from a ‘whole-building’ perspective and seeks to provide a definitive standard of what is a ‘Green’ building,” said Stuart Billings, one of the lead designers from Bowie Gridley Architects, the firm that designed Anderson Library and the new Fitness and Athletics Center. New construction earns credits in six major categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Despite many known obstacles to achieving LEED certification in a building of this size and type, George School is committed to achieving LEED certification. “We aren’t working toward a specific level [of certification]” said Mike Kosoff ’56, George School trustee and local project executive, “but we are


ATOP THE GREEN ROOF, construction workers install an exterior

THE RUBBLE FROM THE DEMOLITION—including brick, block, con-

brick wall with slate trim over the durable fluid air and water barrier coating the building. The building also boasts twentyseven linear feet of solar panels on the roof which are designed to sustainably heat the potable water for the building.

crete, and masonry—is separated on site and hauled to a quarry where it was processed into a variety of fill products including sub-base and road-base.

“G reen buildings save energy and water, produce fewer carbon emissions, cause less waste, and create healthier environments for the communities they serve.” doing everything we can to be as environmentally sustainable and thoughtful [as we can] about the construction.” Mike lists the green roof as being critical in earning energy and atmosphere credits—which encourage building better energy performance through innovative strategies. The rain gardens and the abundant insulation throughout the building will also help George School earn credits in this category. “People won’t see many of the green aspects in the building,” said Mike. “One [thing people won’t see] is the durable fluid air and water barrier that we applied to the block work before the exterior bricks were placed on the façade.” The building also boasts twenty-seven linear feet of solar panels on the roof which are designed to heat the potable water for the building. In addition, the building will feature water efficient landscaping to eliminate the need for irrigation and measured service shower fixtures and lavatory faucets as well as low flow toilets and urinals to reduce water consumption. Another aspect of LEED certification requires that more than 75 percent of project waste must be diverted from landfills. Through August 2013, more than 98 percent of the waste created during the demolition of Worth Sports Center was recy-

cled. The rubble—including brick, block, concrete, and masonry—was separated on site and hauled to a quarry where it was processed into a variety of fill products including sub-base and road-base. Commingled waste was sent to Revolution Recovery, a Philadelphia-based recycling center that aids in the recycling of construction site waste. Constructing a building of this size is a significant undertaking and ensuring the building achieves LEED certification poses an even greater challenge. By working to ensure that the new Fitness and Athletics Center is LEED certified, George School continues our commitment to sustainability. “Green buildings save energy and water, produce fewer carbon emissions, cause less waste, and create healthier environments for the communities they serve,” says Head of School Nancy Starmer. “This new project is another step towards our goal of a leadership position in environmental sustainability. We are counting on all of you to help us finish the fundraising campaign for this remarkable green building.” To learn about naming opportunities within the building, including the sustainable green roof garden, please contact Tessa Bailey-Findley, stewardship and donor relations coordinator, at 215.579.6572.


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Survey Results Worth Shouting About BY ODIE LEFEVER, ILLUSTRATIONS BY GARY CLEMENT In summer 2013, George School surveyed students, current parents, recent parents, and alumni from the classes of 1992 to 2012 to get their feedback on how well the school prepares students for college and for life in general. The survey—administered and tabulated by Lookout Management, Inc. (LMI), a firm which specializes in conducting surveys for independent schools—produced results that attested to the remarkable value of a George School education.


T  he alumni score for their overall satisfaction with


George School hit 4.6 on a five-point scale.

This achievement was matched by only two other

for life 4.5 (new high score for surveyed schools,

schools of the many schools whose alumni completed surveys tabulated by LMI. ★ ➤

GS provided me with well-rounded preparation the average is 4.1). ★★

GS prepared me well for living in a world

T  he parent score of 4.3 for satisfaction topped

of socio-economic diversity 4.4 (new high score,

the 4.2 average score among 112 parent surveys

the average is 3.6). ★★

done by LMI. ➤

T  he student score of 3.9 matched the average among the 57 student surveys conducted by LMI.

Note: Over the past several years LMI has given 300+ surveys to about eighty independent schools. Each school's perceived value survey was unique, but when the questions were the same, LMI was able to compare our outcomes to theirs.

ALUMNI MATCH THE BEST OF THE BEST George School scores matched the highest among the many schools whose alumni completed LMI surveys. ➤

I found my time at school to be transformative 4.5. ★

I felt encouraged to express my opinion 4.3. ★

M y school experience instilled in me a love of learning 4.3. ★

22 | G E O RGIAN



Sense of Community 4.6.

Acceptance of cultural differences 4.5. ★★

This 4.5 score was a new high score among measured LMI schools.


C ompassion for the needs of others 4.6.

Intellectual curiosity 4.6.

Working independently 4.6.

Leadership skills 4.3.

MISSION STATEMENT RATINGS ARE OUT OF SIGHT Alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff applaud the school’s adherence to the nine components of the mission statement with an overall average of 4.2: 1. Quaker tradition as its touchstone, 2. academic excellence at its core, 3. development of citizen scholars, 4. openness in the pursuit of truth, 5. service and peace, 6. stewardship of the earth, 7. treasuring learning for its own sake, 8. using that learning to benefit a diverse world, and 9. letting their lives speak.


A lumni agree that they were intellectually well matched to the college they selected 4.0.

A lumni rated their satisfaction with their selected

Seniors rate their satisfaction with the college

college 3.9. they plan to attend 4.3.


Among the other schools who asked about these skills in their surveys, George School matched the best of the best with these high scores.

58.4% of GS respondents received financial aid.

C reative thinking skills 4.5. ★

That’s more than three times higher than the 18.5% average of other schools surveyed. ★★

Social skills 4.4. ★

Working in a group 4.4. ★

G eorge School gets high praise from parents for

C ritical thinking skills 4.4. ★

the availability of information about financial aid

C oping with peer pressure 4.3. ★

during the admission process 4.2. ➤

M illions of dollars in need-based financial aid are granted to almost half of the GS student body


each year.

Working independently 4.3.

Intellectual curiosity 4.2.

Test taking strategies 3.5.


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Relationship with and support from their

A rts facilities 4.0.

Sense of community 3.9.

advisor 4.1.


S  tudent satisfaction with interscholastic athletics rated 3.4.

P  arent satisfaction with interscholastic athletics rated 3.8.

A  lumni satisfaction with interscholastic athletics declined from a high of 4.3 in 1995 to 3.4 in 2012.

These scores confirm the importance of our current emphasis, enhancing our athletics and physical education program and building a new 100,000 square-foot fitness and athletics facility. ➤


of communications with their child’s advisor,

4  0.7% of alumni respondents reported partici-

teachers, the dean of students’ office, the head

pating in varsity or intramural athletics while at college.

Parents evaluated the quality and accessibility

of school, and the associate head of school. ➤

A ll of 10 communications ratings (100%) achieved or exceeded the 4.0 threshold.

The average of other schools was 6 out of 10.


A lumni rated the presence of at least one adult at GS to whom they could turn at 4.6 ★ (matching the highest score among the other schools surveyed).

Students rated the presence of at least one trusted adult they can talk to at 4.1 (a slightly higher score than the average score of schools surveyed).


B  y the time students graduate they have completed an off-campus service project, volunteering for at least 65 hours.

B  y the time freshmen graduate they will have served George School by providing about 130– 150 co-op hours, starting with shift in the kitchen their first year and engaging in shift or other work on campus each term thereafter.

8  0.7% of alumni have engaged in community service since they graduated from college.

24 | G E O RGIAN

This is good news because GS has always recognized the critical relationship between adults and students. Our consultant confirms its importance in cross tabulations that reveal that those who report the presence of at least one trusted adult at the school report much greater overall satisfaction. They also feel treated as individuals, more encouraged to speak up and share their perspective, and more emotionally safe while at the school. They also rate themselves as more confident and better prepared for self-advocacy and coping with peer pressure.



O verall boarding experience at 4.4.

Relationships with other boarding students at 4.5.

C aring dormitory staff at 4.3.

Study time requirements at 4.3.


O verall boarding experience at 3.9 (the average of other schools is 3.6).

Q uality of relations with other boarding students is high at 4.2 (the average of other schools is 4.0).

C aring residence staff at 4.0 (the average of other schools is 3.7).

Study time requirements at 3.8 (the average of other schools is 3.4).


96% of graduates reported that GS faculty or staff members had a strong and positive impact on their lives.


O verall boarding experience for my child 4.1. Q uality of care my child receives from the

attended George School, with a high score of 4.7. ➤

G raduates reported that when they were students they were treated as individuals with unique abili-

student health center 4.1. ➤

Graduates report that they are proud to say they

ties and needs, with a strong score of 4.4.

Assistance my child and I receive with travel arrangements 4.1.


I feel free to be innovative in the classroom 4.6.

I feel strongly that it is my duty to care for the

I constantly look for better ways to do my job 4.4.

I identify strongly with the school’s mission 4.4.

wellbeing of students beyond the classroom 4.5.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SURVEY AT WWW.GEORGESCHOOL.ORG/VALUE Go to to read more about the responses of alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff.


18.2% have been GS volunteers.

76.6% of those who have never volunteered at George School expressed an interest in doing so (332 yes or maybe).

69.2% reported they made a financial contribution to GS.

8 8.6% expect to make a financial donation in the near future.

You can also view the list of schools whose survey results provided comparative scores for questions in common across measured schools. We are grateful to the hundreds of students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff members who completed these surveys. Their perspectives have helped us provide a report card on past performance, produce a baseline against which to measure future progress, and inform our strategic planning process that will begin in 2014.


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Got Stories?

Submit your George School sweetheart story and wedding photo to our website

Cori and Scott met at George School in 1987. They married in June 2004. Cori wrote, “We are beyond grateful for the gift our parents gave us by sending us to George School and for the love and support we got from the community as students and that we still feel as adults. George School is a place filled with love, and definitely where I found mine.” Learn more about their story on Select Explore Stories & Photos and 1990-1991.

We are launching a new feature called “Sweetheart Stories” and we can’t wait to hear from you. Did your eyes meet across a crowded classroom? Was it love at first sight? Maybe you found the love of your life at a reunion. To share your sweetheart story and add a photo, just go to, and click the “Share Stories & Photos” tab on the far left of the home page to share your own photograph and story in the George School Compendium. It’s simple to do. If you have questions, call Tessa Bailey-Findley at 215.579.6572 for help.




Updates Planned for Equestrian Center Construction on the new environmentally sustainable, state-of-the-art Fitness and Athletics Center is well underway, and plans for the equestrian program are being discussed in preparation for the next phase of improvements to the fitness and athletics program at George School. A committee—composed of faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and students —compared eight potential plans for updates to south campus. Goals include building an indoor riding ring with viewing area, team rooms, locker rooms, and storage; converting the alternative energy center to be ADA accessible; and improving the organic garden.

Students Learn Ecology First Hand Two groups of students visited the Stone Harbor Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. With guidance from the institute and George School teachers Polly Lodge and Michael Eareckson, they learned about invasive species, food webs, and migration as they performed water analysis, soil comparisons, and seining.

Queen Bee and Hive Rescued Members of the George School Beekeeping Club rescued a queen bee and her hive from a damaged tree. Club members cut the hive from the tree, captured the queen, and relocated the hive to the school’s apiary located near the organic gardens. This particular hive is interesting because of its natural ability to survive in the wild.

Athletic Update Three varsity boys’ soccer players, Jay Koh ’14, Adian Greer ’14, and Timofei Kharisov ’15 were named to the Friends League All-Star Team and participated in the Thanksgiving Classic, dominating the game and winning 6-0. Jerrica Bauer ’16 won the George School Invitational in a new course record time of 18:27:25. Jerrica was also named to the second all-state team for cross country, a first for George School. Three students were named top hitters in baseball last spring. Luke Haug ’16, George Long ’13, and Mike McGinnis ’14 were all recognized for their achievements at bat last season. The varsity equestrian team also had a successful season earning champion and reserve champion titles at Blessington Stables in Furlong, PA. Several George School athletes were also named all-league for the spring 2013 season. Twenty-one athletes representing baseball, golf, boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, softball, boys’ tennis, and boys’ and girls’ track were honored by the Friends Schools League.


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Students Successful in Scholastic Art Contest More than fifteen George School Painting and Drawing students received accolades from the regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. Their work was on display at Gershman Hall at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among those honored were Maggie Chen ’15 and Emily Sohn ’14 who received Gold Key awards for their work, the highest recognition offered in the regional competition. Many other students received silver key awards and honorable mentions.

IB Chemistry Class Conducts Design Lab Students in Alyssa Schultheis’s IB chemistry class used chromatography to compare the types of dyes used in various popular candies. Some students were testing the color composition of two similar candies, and others were testing which dyes were used to create the color for one specific candy. These experiments were one of several design labs that the students complete each term. “About once a month we come in and do night labs and design our own experiments,” said Katie Ward ’14. This is the second time students had completed a lab using chromatography. In the first lab, they separated a mixture of three food dyes using two separate solvents.


Math Contest Winner Visits Campus In the March 2013 Georgian, readers were asked if they could solve the math problem posed by teacher Travis Ortogero to his class: “What is the remainder when 20122012 is divided by 11?” The correct answer is “1.” James Michener ’61 was selected from among the individuals who submitted the correct answers to receive a George School sweatshirt. Congratulation to all of our math geniuses.

Students Think Differently More than 130 members of the sophomore class gathered in the Anderson Library to present the results of their individual Thinking Across Disciplines (TAD) projects. Students were asked to look back on two assignments they had completed in two distinct subject areas then compare and contrast the ways of thinking and learning they had used in the process of completing each of the assignments. Inspiration for the project grew from the curriculum review the school recently completed, which established the Foundational Skills Committee. That group was charged with ongoing curriculum review and identifying ways of helping students build critical thinking skills.

George School Eliminates Sale of Bottled Water Big changes occurred over the course of the last year at George School, where a decision was made to ban the sale and distribution of bottled water beginning fall 2013. TERRA, George School’s chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition—a broad network of high school and college-aged youth from across the country who work to protect the environment—successfully urged the passing of an initiative which will improve the quality and availability of on-campus water fountains and ban the sale and distribution of bottled water. The George School Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, and administrators were all involved in helping to pass the initiative.




Upcoming Georgian expands to add alumni photo galleries.

>> L auralee Lightwood-Mater ’07 joined the Peace Corps in Paraguay where she is working closely with small-scale farmers to increase farm productivity and crop diversification.

>> J udith McIlvain Lewis ’64 celebrated daughter Kim's wedding and her 40th wedding anniversary to her husband Donovan.

>> J enny Sorel ’84 shared a photo of her son Dulio in a George School sweatshirt vacationing in Martha's Vineyard with several other George School alumni.

>> S tafford A. Woodley Jr. ’94, Jamil Brown ’95, RaShawn Woodley ’98, and Jaron Shipp ’98 traveled to Myrtle Beach SC for a mini reunion and a weekend of golf.

Pictured above are some of the photos submitted with class notes for earlier editions of the Georgian. With your help, we will transform the spring 2014 Georgian into a digital publication of awesome photographic proportions. Send us your pictures…weddings, babies, grand-babies, anniversaries, gatherings of George School friends. You name it. Just email your high resolution digital photographs to Add a caption that identifies the people and describes the event it captures. We are counting on you to make our next edition of the Georgian a photo-extravaganza (of modest Quaker size).


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Georgian, January 2014  

The Georgian is the official publication of George School.

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