GPS Begins 109th Year

Monday, August 18, 2014
GPS Class of 2012
GPS Class of 2012

Standing ovations were the rule rather than the exception on Monday as the faculty, new students, and a new head of school were welcomed at opening assembly. As has become custom at GPS, gowned faculty led in the sixth grade class to the cheers, applause, and ‘atta-girl’ pats on the back to the 82 members of the Class of 2021 as they walked nervously up the steps of the Frierson Theatre to their seats. 

The celebratory air continued as students and faculty sang and danced to the music of “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical. Click here for more photos from opening day. 

Elaine Milazzo, principal of the Middle School, welcomed the students back to their school, one that offers “rigor with support,” opportunities for physical growth through athletics, and opportunities for service. She described the mood as one of “thankfulness to be a part of a greater goal.”

Dr. Chris Smith, chair of the Board of Trustees, introduced Dr. Autumn Graves, new head of school, who received a lengthy standing ovation. “I’m pretty certain that no school in town just opened with this enthusiasm and energy,” Dr. Graves told the students before wishing them a happy new year. Describing GPS as a supportive, warm, kind community, she introduced the other new students in the 7th through 11th grades before asking the sixth graders to stand once again. “These 115 new Bruisers represent 51 schools and 33 zip codes,” she said, thanking GPS student ambassadors and the admission office for their success.

Revealing school photos of herself at the ages of 11 and 17, she reassured the girls that she remembers being scared, nervous, and also happy. “”Keep surrounding yourself with positive people,” she said, “great coaches, friends, and mentors who all want you to be your best self.” 

Acknowledging the girls’ concerns and hopes as they start a new school year, she told them that the four things important to her at their age – being known and loved, being in a safe place to take thoughtful risks, being allowed to be herself, and being allowed to learn from her missteps – is how she wants each of them to describe GPS. “I want each of you to say, ‘This is My School,’ but know that you must take on some responsibilities to make that claim.”

Noting that she herself has 15 weeks to go before giving birth to her first child, she said, “All of us will change in some way this year, and the good changes will be because of this community.” 

In closing the assembly, Jessica Good, principal of the Upper School, described the day as one the students will remember for the rest of their lives, saying, “This day begins a new era in GPS history.”


Nuclear Regulatory Commission Awards Scholarship Funds To Chattanooga State

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded $146,845 to fund scholarships for students in nuclear-related programs at Chattanooga State Community College. The donation made to the Chattanooga State’s Nuclear Scholarship Program will provide 32 scholarships to full-time students majoring in one of four nuclear-related programs of study in the Engineering ... (click for more)

New $1.1 Million Gift Establishes W. Max Finley Chair For Excellence In American Business At UTC

Continuing a legacy of support for UTC, a $1.1 million gift from the Finley family has created the W. Max Finley Chair for Excellence in American Business to honor the entrepreneurial energy and career of the late W. Max Finley, former chairman of the RockTenn Corporation.  The W. Max Finley Chair will employ or retain a distinguished faculty member for the UTC College of ... (click for more)

Deputy Beaten After Vehicle Crashes In His Yard Sues Officers

A man who was mistakenly beaten by officers who had been pursuing a pickup truck that crashed into his home has sued Hamilton County and the officers for $700,000. Aaron Lucas Shelton and his wife, Heather Nicole Shelton, filed the suit in Circuit Court. Aaron Shelton is himself a deputy sheriff. It names Curtis Brian Killingsworth and unknown officers who allegedly took part ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)