Each year Class Day marks the last time the entire student body gathers this school year at GPS. While the seniors completed their course requirements the previous week, their underclasswomen have been at work wrapping up projects, presentations, and classwork. Class Day allows them to connect as a class over lunch and in celebration of their accomplishments this year.
As they did the first day of school, Class Day it is also customary for the girls to wear their dress uniforms in their grade colors: seniors in white, juniors in yellow, sophomores in pink, freshmen in green, eighth-graders in lavender, seventh-graders in light blue, and sixth-graders in navy.
The seniors practiced for the Commencement ceremony—including walking across the stage, pausing for photos, and shaking hands—and then posed for a group photo while wearing their college sweatshirts.
Then all students gathered in Frierson Theatre to see the unveiling of their yearbooks. This year Kaleidoscope’s cover bears Black Watch tartan with the word “woven” in script. Each student received her yearbook and then headed to DeFoor Patio to enjoy lunch with her sisters, pausing between bites of pimento cheese or chicken salad sandwiches to sign each other’s yearbooks.
After lunch and a time in Advisory, the students and their teachers assembled along with some parents in the gym for Class Day awards. As a special treat, the sixth-graders, under the direction of Mrs. Mary Baxter and accompanied by the school orchestra, sang “Thank You for Being a Friend” to the senior class. The lyrics were adjusted slightly to include a precious “catty” shoutout to their senior Cats from their Rats. The video can be viewed on the GPS YouTube channel.
Next the sixth-graders started off the traditional singing of the “Where Oh Wheres” as each class in turn bid farewell to their year and respective grades with a resounding charge into the next. For the seniors, they proclaim to be “safe in the college world!” and ready to become GPS alumnae.
To begin the Class Day ceremony, Amal Ali, chairwoman of the Class of 2019, welcomed those in attendance. “This year, the GPS community has explored the theme of stories and how individual stories create collective ones,” she said. “As students of GPS, we share the story of sisterhood—late nights studying, singing in the hallways, our beloved traditions, and so much more. Today, we highlight individual stories, while remembering, of course, that a student is not defined by her accolades but empowered by them.”
Here are the awards:
Presented by Dr. Autumn A. Graves, Head of School
Ethel B. Poston Valedictorian Award | Olivia Combs ’19
The Ethel B. Poston Valedictorian Award is presented to the senior who has maintained the highest grade average during her four years in Upper School.
Rickie Pierce Salutatorian Award | Charlotte Vance ’19
The Rickie Pierce Salutatorian Award is presented to the senior who has maintained the second-highest grade average during her four years in Upper School.
Mary Hannah Tucker Faculty Award | Brianna House ’19
The Mary Hannah Tucker Award is given to a senior who has given her best as a student, as a friend and as a leader—a girl who lifts the spirits of those around her and consistently stands for right and fair play. Nominations are made by seniors and faculty and, from the nominees, the recipient is selected by Head of School and Head of Upper School.
Founders Award | Olivia Fannon ’19
The Founders Award is given to a senior whose character and integrity have had a most wholesome influence on the GPS community. Nominations are made by seniors and faculty and, from the nominees, the recipient is selected by Head of School and Head of Upper School.
Daughters of the American Revolution Award | Allison Smith ’19
The DAR Award is given to a senior who displays outstanding citizenship.
Pete Wood Award | Charlotte Vance ’19
The Pete Wood Award is presented to a senior who has great dedication and loyalty to GPS, her classmates, and the faculty.
Patsy Williams Scott Service Award | Mayson Harwood ’19
The Patsy Williams Scott Service Award is presented to a senior who has actively participated in school affairs, often in behind-the-scene ways, and who has given unselfish, exceptional service to GPS.
Jane Henegar Noble Christian Award | Myra Brock ’19
The Jane Henegar Noble Christian Award is presented to a senior who actively pursues Christ, joyfully and energetically serves the needs of others, and whose God-inspired character shines brightly as a beacon of His gifts of love and grace. The “Book of Prayers” is given.
Betsy Chisolm Silberman Award | Maya Bhutwala ’19
The Betsy Chisolm Silberman Award is given to a member of the senior class who is a true servant-leader, who never seeks recognition for herself, and who always shows empathy and concern for others’ perspectives as she inspires those around her to follow her sterling example.
Laura Handly Award | Claire Calhoun ’19
The Laura Handley Award is given to a member of the senior class who shows promise of becoming a community leader and who has been developing that leadership in a quiet way.
Roberta Moore Award | Ellie Swann ’19
The Roberta Moore Award is presented annually to a senior with a twinkle in her eye and a laugh in her heart, who has repeatedly placed school above self.
Barbara Johnson Prickett Award | Caitlin O’Brien ’19
The recipient of the Barbara Johnson Prickett Award must demonstrate qualities of wise leadership, sincere friendship, and involvement in a variety of school activities.
Upper School Awards
Presented by Ms. Jenise Gordon, Head of Upper School
Marilyn Sherman Center Award | Frances Crowe ’22
The award is given to a freshman who exemplifies the qualities of Marilyn Sherman Center ’58; she is kind, thoughtful, and sensitive to the needs of others and should possess a sincere love of the arts and for GPS.
Frances Wheeler Freshman Cup | Julia Combs ’22
The Frances Wheeler Freshman Cup is awarded by the National Honor Society to a freshman who exemplifies scholarship, character, leadership, and service.
Dora Maclellan Brown Christian Leadership Award | Evie Jackson ’22
The Dora Maclellan Brown Christian Leadership Award honors a freshman who has demonstrated the most outstanding Christian leadership during her time at GPS.
Sophomore Bowl | Maggie Parsley ’21
The Sophomore Bowl is given each year to the sophomore who most nearly represents the ideal GPS student. She should be loyal to the school, a good student, and a consistent worker. The recipient is chosen by the Student Council from a selection of nominees.
Dorris Chapin Wells Award | Erin Marshall ’21
Given annually to a beloved and enthusiastic member of the Sophomore Class who has an infectious personality exudes creativity, is loyal to her classmates, and is dedicated to the GPS experience.
Battle Award | Alex Center ’20
Given to a junior, the Battle Award recognizes a student with a B average (or higher) who demonstrates leadership in academic or extracurricular activities, effective time management, and versatility. The winner, who should be enthusiastically active in sports, is honored by having a scholarship provided to a younger student who otherwise could not attend GPS.
Palmer Griffin Award | Meg Priest ’20
This award is given annually in memory of Palmer Griffin ’08, who courageously battled leukemia during her junior year at GPS, to a member of the junior class who captures the essence of Palmer—the vibrant center of athletic teams and class activities throughout her years at GPS. The recipient is vivacious, fearless, unselfish, and compassionate. She is a positive leader who lives life to the fullest and is animated and fun, constantly impacting the lives of others through her caring exuberance.
Middle School Awards
Presented by Mrs. Lynne Macziewski, Head of Middle School
Margaret Wheland Cate Award | Ella Beth Wiedmer ’25
The Margaret Wheland Cate Award is given to a member of the sixth-grade class who possesses Margaret’s character traits of dedication and determination as shown through her level of involvement in school activities and her loyalty to GPS.
Joan Haley Frierson Award | Mabry Cook ’25
The Joan Haley Frierson Award is given to the sixth-grade girl whose positive attitude and strong leadership abilities set her apart. She leads others in a wise and gracious manner and has made a significant contribution to the school during her sixth-grade year.
Ruth Schmidt Award | Gracie Pritchett ’24
The Ruth Schmidt Award is given to the seventh-grade girl, whose love and enthusiastic support for her school make her an invaluable asset, not only to her class but to the entire GPS family.
Thedford Award | Ella Harris ’24
The Thedford Award is given to an outstanding member of the seventh-grade class.
Janet Campbell Jackson Award | Kennedy Ball ’23
Presented in memory of Janet Campbell Jackson, this is given to an eighth-grader who participates in GPS activities and is respected by her classmates.
DAR Youth Citizenship Award | Hannah Grace Kornberg ’23
The DAR Youth Citizenship Award is given to an eighth-grader who possesses the following characteristics: honor, service, courage, leadership, and patriotism.
Presented by Mr. Jay Watts, Athletic Director
Robinson Sportsmanship Cup | Myra Brock ’19
The Robinson Sportsmanship Cup, awarded for the first time in 1949 by Justine and Grace Robinson, is presented to the athlete who, in the eyes of her teammates, best exemplifies good sportsmanship.
Mary Alice Hood Chambers Award | Ansley Blevins ’22
Given to a girl in the eighth or ninth grade, the Mary Alice Hood Chambers Award is awarded to someone who has displayed a sense of honor and a sense of humor in her relationships with her peers as well as in her estimation of herself. Her ability and participation in sports is equal to her awareness and respect for sportsmanship; her capacity for friendship knows no limits.
Elizabeth Collier Farmer Award | Nicola van der Merwe ’21
This award is presented to a sophomore who best exemplifies the athletic standards set by Elizabeth Collier Farmer ’89 during her years at GPS. She is active in athletics year-round and is a team leader who strives to achieve the best from herself and her teammates.
Laura Holt Outstanding Athlete Award | Ariana Whatley ’20
This award is presented to an outstanding junior athlete who is chosen by the varsity coaching staff.
Sandra Martin Award | Kylie Eiselstein ’19
The Sandra Martin Award, awarded for the first time in 1955, is presented to a senior who has distinguished herself in athletics, extracurricular activities, scholastics, and citizenship.
Peggy Thomas 100% Award | Caitlin O’Brien ’19
The Peggy Thomas 100% Award is given to a senior who supports all phases of the athletic program and gives 100 percent effort.
Fine & Performing Arts Awards
Presented by Mrs. Meg Brock ’79, Fine Arts Department Chair
Greene-Hanlin Award | Grace Brody ’19
The Greene-Hanlin award is named for two beloved former GPS music teachers, Anne Greene and Jean Hanlin. The award is based on character, leadership, service, and initiative. The recipient must show joyful eagerness, display outstanding leadership qualities, and have an enthusiastic approach for the GPS Singers. A Greene-Hanlin Award winner has willingly assumed extra responsibilities and inspired others and has faithfully attended rehearsals and performances.
Terpsichord Award | Carson Thatcher ’19
The Terpsichord Award is given in honor of Peggy Evans Thomas and celebrates an exceptional senior member of Terpsichord. Selected by the members of our signature high school dance company, the Terpsichord Award recipient is a member of the company who has unselfishly given her absolute best and made significant contributions through her hard work and creativity.
Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts | Mary Kenley Tugman ’19
The Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts is given to an outstanding senior art student who has displayed an exceptional dedication and diligence toward her artistry. She is a leader among her peers, exhibits a love of learning and curiosity, and has achieved the high standards required by the AP Art curriculum. Her pursuit of visual art expression was bolstered with independence and self-motivation.
National Orchestra Award | Claire Lindeman ’20
The National Orchestra Award goes to a student who has exhibited selfless dedication to her music, her fellow musicians, and the GPS orchestra. She demonstrates a confident presence within a larger group, yet is an individual who has excelled in her talents as an independent musician.
National Band Award | Katie Day ’21
The National Band Award is given to a student who is an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the band, a talented musician, and has a fun and upbeat approach to music. She is willing to play her instrument with energy and passion; she is an inspiration to musicians around her.
Excellence in Technical Theater Award | Lily Luffman ’20
The Excellence in Technical Theater Award honors a girl who displays laser sharp focus and attention to detail, is committed to all aspects of technical theatre, and has the presence of mind to make wise decisions at the drop of a hat.
Fletcher W. Bright Fellowship | Jadyn Matthews ’20
The GPS Fletcher Bright Fellowship for Artistic and Community Engagement, is an endowed program that offers an annual award to a rising senior. Named for one of the world’s great bluegrass fiddlers and GPS supporter, this award honors a student who has presented a proposal to a panel of judges in order to further pursue her passion for the arts.
Presented by Ms. Corrie White, Upper School English Teacher
William C. McKenzie Award | Isabelle Torrence ’20
This award is presented in memory of William C. McKenzie to the girl who has made the most valuable contribution to our school publications.
Mildred Peters Award for English | Olivia Combs ’19
Presented by Mrs. Catherine Ingalls, English Department Chair
This award goes to a graduating senior who has shown great excellence and integrity in English.
Eula Lea Jarnagin Love of Language Award | Amal Ali ’19, French; Claire Calhoun ’19, Latin; Charlotte Vance ’19, Spanish
Presented by Dr. Erin Montero, World Language Chair
The Eula Lea Jarnagin Love of Language Award is given to three students who have written an outstanding paper on the value of learning a second language.
John Locke History Award for Excellence | Brianna House ’19
Presented by Dr. Steve Harrison, Member of the History Department
The John Locke Award for Excellence in history and the social sciences is given to the senior who demonstrates exceptional skills in the principles of rigorous, logical, analytical, rational, and creative thought while having had the greatest positive impact on her classmates’ academic achievement.
Lois Moyer Award for Mathematics | Corley Compton ’19
Presented by Mrs. Lisa Wilkes, Math Department Chair
The Lois Moyer Award for Mathematics recognizes a senior for excellence in mathematics.
Lucy Ann Adams Science Cup | Ruchi Patel ’19
Presented by Mrs. Tracie Marlin Durham ’81, Science Department Chair
The Lucy Ann Adams Science Award is given to a senior who shows great interest in science and who is a promising future scientist. The student is selected by the Science Department faculty.