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.”


Students Across Tennessee Compete For History Day Honors

Nearly 300 students from throughout the state will begin competing this month for the opportunity to represent their schools at Tennessee History Day.  Tennessee History Day is an affiliate of National History Day, an event that was started in 1974 to help students experience history outside of the traditional classroom setting. As part of History Day, students in grades ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Is Top Technical College In Georgia For Dual Enrollment Students For Third Straight Year

For the third consecutive year, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) has the largest number of dual enrollment students out of all of the technical colleges in the state of Georgia according to the “High School Collaborative Enrollment: Academic Year 2016” Report issued by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The report shows that  GNTC had 1,767 dual ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Principals Say Part 1 Of TN Ready Testing Should Be Cut Due To Online System Failure

Hamilton County principals are asking that Part 1 of the TN Ready Assessment be dropped this year due to the recent crash of the online system for the program. The principals also asked that any Part 1 TN Ready test results  not be applied to students’ grades or to evaluations and rankings for school personnel and school districts. The local principals also ... (click for more)

Allan Walsh Named New Bradley County Workhouse Superintendent

Sheriff Eric Watson announced the appointment of Allan Walsh as superintendent of the new Bradley County Workhouse, which will begin construction soon and be opened this year.  Plans are for the new facility, to be adjacent to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Jail and Courts complex, to hold up to 128 non-violent, low security inmates. A graduate of Bradley ... (click for more)

What Our Schools Are And Have Been Doing About Bullying

Bullying has been a widely discussed topic during the last few weeks in the wake of the incident involving the Ooltewah High basketball team.  Contrary to public opinion, Hamilton County Schools have not been passive in our efforts to address bullying now or for the past several years.  Unfortunately, bullying is a societal norm that is infiltrating our school community, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Warmth For Cold Days

I come across all sorts of warm things every day and as we burrow out of sub-freezing temperatures for a day or two, shaking off ice and snow, allow me to share a few things for a change that may take the bite out of the winter wind. This is what helps me. * * * Judy Bellenfant, who has been a soul mate ever since we shared jokes in high school classrooms, sends along this ... (click for more)