GPS Celebrates May Day 2021

Monday, May 3, 2021
The May Queen and Court
The May Queen and Court

In the 1920s, the senior with the longest hair was named GPS May Queen, since she could braid her tresses and fashion them into a crown. One hundred years later, the GPS May Queen and court are chosen for a greater distinction: representing the senior class in the highest sense. They should be gracious, friendly, and loyal to friends and to GPS. They should be actively and enthusiastically involved in the life of GPS, eager to give of their time and their talents. They should stand for the highest ideals in character and integrity and should be respected and admired by fellow schoolmates and faculty alike.

This year’s long-awaited May Day celebration of the May Queen, court, and graduating seniors comes at the conclusion of a challenging year for students, faculty, and staff. One year into a pandemic, the school has learned a new way of conducting ourselves themselves inside and outside the classrooms. 

Last year’s May Day was canceled due to COVID-19 and, later in July, a hybrid celebration of both May Day and Commencement saw the promenade of seniors without the traditional dances, maypoles, or festival.

Precautions were put in place so that the celebration could take place more traditionally this year, which included moving the fete from the Smith Courtyard to the lower athletic field, distancing students in the viewing areas, and creating seating pods for families. 

The larger space also provided an opportunity to expand this year’s maypole dance—an honor typically reserved only for sophomores—to the junior class students who were unable to participate last year. In addition to the traditional blue, pink, and yellow poles, green and purple poles were wrapped, and all were held in place with faculty/staff alumnae. 

Prior to the pageant, a student festival was held on DeFoor Patio, with various clubs hosting booths for both fun and fundraising. In typical unpredictable weather, the cloudy day became partly sunny with temperatures in the high 70s by the afternoon.

Following the festival, students trekked to the lower field, and sophomore, junior, and senior families were shown to their seats. Head of Upper School Jenise Gordon welcomed the crowd at 2 p.m. and began the pageant with a perspective on how this year’s theme, The Roaring ’20s: Then and Now, was selected and noted some of the contrasts and comparisons between the 1920s and the 2020s.

Ms. Gordon then read the names of each member of the Class of 2021, with the names of the May Day committee, court, and queen read last, as she presented the students on behalf of the Board of Trustees of GPS, interim Head of School Dr. R. Kirk Walker, and the faculty and staff.

May Day Committee
Mattie Ballentine | Chair
Kenzie Grisar | Secretary
Sydney Morris, Nicola van der Merwe | Senior Chairs 
Cybelle Gable, Alie Williams | Maypole Chairs
Annsley Kelley, AnnaKate Stipanov | Dance Chairs
Chapel Cunningham, Molly Ann Hathorne | Costume & Sound Chairs
Emma Brandao, Anna Beth Coffman | Program, Lawn & Festival Chairs

May Day Court
Addie Youmans | Queen
Erin Marshall | Maid of Honor
Astha Sinha | Crown Bearer
Lily DuPlooy | Scepter Bearer
Emma Dexter | Left Train Bearer
Shreena Patel | Right Train Bearer

After the senior class completed their promenade, they took their seats to be entertained by their younger classmates. 

The first dance, “Heart of Jazz,” featured sophomores and juniors and a lively mashup of songs by Duke Ellington and Rihanna. Then, Terpsichord took over the dance floor, or rather dance field, to wow the crowd with a “Modern Flapper” rendition set to music by James P. Johnson and the Jazz Ensemble, Q-Tip, Goonrock, and Fergie. The freshman class danced “Aaand Action!” followed by “Marching Through Time” by the eighth-graders.

Once the class dances were completed, the five maypoles were carried out by alumnae with the ribbons unfurled by the juniors and sophomores, decked out in their white dress uniforms with ribbon belts to correspond to the maypole colors. The traditional music was from Camelot with choreography by former GPS faculty Peggy Evans Thomas and Cathie Ault Kasch ’72.

Next up for the senior class will be Cum Laude, where the school acknowledges the top students in their class, with teachers paying homage to their GPS accomplishments. Their final bow will take place two weeks later with Commencement on Saturday, May 15, at 9 a.m., when their family, friends, and our faculty will celebrate their departure from the school on Smith Courtyard—weather permitting. 

Special thanks for a successful May Day goes to Co-Director | Pageant Erin Davis Sizemore ’98; Co-Director | Dance Laurel Moore Zahrobsky ’90; Senior Director Tracie Marlin Durham ’80; Assistant Director Amanda Byars ’99; Presenter of Seniors Jenise Gordon; Maypole instruction by Cathie Ault Kasch ’72 and Kingsley Michaels Bennett ’94; our teams in MarComm, facilities, and dining services for their behind-the-scenes coordination; Lee Wright and his students for their camera and audio work; photography arrangements by Jordan McCarter ’96; and all the teachers who helped with myriad tasks preparing for the event and assisting the day of. The day is truly a culmination of weeks of work by nearly everyone on campus, said officials.

To see the video about the May Day tradition, click here.

Click here to go to the SmugMug account to download photos for free or order for a small fee. More images of May Day will be uploaded soon.


Tennessee General Assembly Makes Historic $250 Million Contribution To TCRS

Chattanooga Native Selected As 2021 Outstanding Master Of Arts In Teaching Student In Middle Grades Education At Augusta University

Ooltewah High School's Parent Advisory Council Observes Teacher's Appreciation Week Virtually


The 112th Tennessee General Assembly appropriated a historic one-time additional contribution of $250 million to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System State and Higher Education plan. ... (click for more)

Angie Smith, of Chattanooga, was awarded Outstanding Master of Arts in Teaching Student in Middle Grades Education by the Augusta University College of Education. Ms. Smith, who is being ... (click for more)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the members of the Ooltewah’s Parent Advisory Council held their 2nd Virtual Teacher’s Appreciation Week Celebration, during the week of May 3-7. Prior ... (click for more)



Student Scene

Tennessee General Assembly Makes Historic $250 Million Contribution To TCRS

The 112th Tennessee General Assembly appropriated a historic one-time additional contribution of $250 million to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System State and Higher Education plan. The largest single contribution in the history of TCRS, this appropriation will further bolster the pension and help lower future recurring contributions, said offiicials. TCRS has been consistently ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Native Selected As 2021 Outstanding Master Of Arts In Teaching Student In Middle Grades Education At Augusta University

Angie Smith, of Chattanooga, was awarded Outstanding Master of Arts in Teaching Student in Middle Grades Education by the Augusta University College of Education. Ms. Smith, who is being inducted into Phi Kappa Phi next month, enjoyed a great deal of academic success at Augusta University. But her favorite class was Language Arts Best Practices, taught by Dr. Christi Pace, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Roadtec, Inc. To Expand Chattanooga Operations With $6.2 Million Investment

Roadtec, Inc. officials announced on Wednesday that the paving equipment manufacturer will expand its operations in Chattanooga. Roadtec will invest $6.2 million to make building and site improvements and relocate its Washington operations to its headquarters in Tennessee. The project represents the creation of 128 new jobs in Hamilton County. Roadtec, a subsidiary of ... (click for more)

County Commissioners Anxious To Expand Number Of Officers At Hamilton County Schools

County Commission members said Tuesday they are anxious to expand the number of officers at county school campuses - even if it means using a number of security guards in addition to School Resource Officers. They said they are concerned that a tragic incident will occur on a local campus with no officer present - either from not being assigned one or from the SRO being called ... (click for more)

Opinion

Please Stop Calling Us “Latinx”

We’re asking nicely, because we think the use of the term has been mostly well-intentioned. But let’s start with some numbers: a mere 3 percent of Americans of Latin-American descent use “Latinx” to describe themselves. This is based on a 2020 Pew Research poll of about 3,000 American Latinos. Those who want for “Latinx” to become the default say it’s preferable because it’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Earn Life's "Free Lunches"

The worst debacle in our nation’s history, it is beginning to be proven, was when the United States was quarantined during the COVID-19 epidemic. Our economy – from employment to production – was stymied. Our next generation responded with virtually no education for an entire year and a surging teen suicide epidemic and the biggest profits that were made in the second half of 2020 ... (click for more)