News Around School
Titled “Open Books, Open Minds,” this year’s Book Fair featured a digital twist. All the book browsing took place online with help from Grace community members who showed off their favorite reads in photos on an accompanying webpage. Thanks to chairs Merritt Tilney and Aubrey Shipway for a wonderful reimagining of the Book Fair.
Grace grandparents and special friends enjoyed a virtual visit with students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade Four for this year’s VIP Day, which featured a special video message from those who missed them most.
Time for Community
One aspect of last year’s hybrid curriculum, Community Weeks, were periods set aside quarterly for high school students to foster connection in a time in which we were all mandated to stay apart. Whether students were discussing topics from activism to wellness or headed out on field trips exploring the city, each Community Week gave students the time together to reflect and build relationships. Middle School students also got community time during day-long sessions dedicated to forming bonds with their classmates.
Just in time for Pride Month, C.H.A.N.G.E., the Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance group (GSA), sponsored a hybrid collage workshop with artist and children’s book author Anastasia Higginbotham. Higginbotham, who handmakes her nationally-acclaimed books with exclusively recycled materials, led students in the creation of their very own mixed-media masterpieces exploring love in all of its forms.
Eighth Grade Graduation
Eighth Grade Graduation in June marks the end of students’ time in Middle School. The traditional celebration in Grace Church recognized the accomplishments of all students and the outstanding work of the award recipients.
The 2021 recipients of the Kim Walker “Shining Star” Drama Prize, Jonas Coats and Maeve Cannon, in recognition of their devotion to and talent for the performing arts.
A sad note as we mourn the passing of Ruth Walker who each year awarded the prize that she established in memory of her daughter, Kim Walker ‘82. Ruth was a dedicated champion of Kim’s “Shining Star” Drama Fund at Grace and a stalwart friend of the school. Since its inception in 2002, the Fund has raised more than $215,000 and has steadily provided funds to an endowment to support drama productions at Grace. Ruth died in May 2021.
Each year, sophomores pursue yearlong independent study projects exploring a subject of their choice. This year’s topics, which ranged from sustainability in the fashion industry and the effects of Covid-19 on the deaf community, to an examination of gun violence in schools and a beginner’s guide to obsessive-compulsive disorder, were presented at the digital March Madness Symposium. More than 20 alumni served as experts for the students’ research.
Middle School Trips
As restrictions surrounding Covid-19 began to ease up, end-of-year field trips returned: Middle School students delighted in tours of Governors Island, a lunch cruise around New York Harbor, and a visit to Six Flags Great Adventure.
Leading up to Commencement, the Class of 2021 enjoyed two very special events in May. Students offered their fond memories of Grace at the Senior Farewell Chapel, their last chapel as students, and members of the community bestowed their blessings upon them. Shortly thereafter, the Senior Celebration brought laughter and tears as seniors paid tribute to their advisors and viewed the Seniors Through the Years slideshow, a surprise presentation of photos submitted by parents of the Class of 2021.
There was nothing sleepy about this year’s Pajama Day in June! Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students (and their teachers) donned their comfiest PJs to school and enjoyed a fun-filled day of games.
Parents’ Association Celebration
At a special happy hour in May, members of the 2020-21 Parents’ Association were honored, and the torch was officially passed to next year’s team. Thank you to all past and present PA officers, event chairs and class representatives for their outstanding contributions to the Grace community!
Pictured (L-R): Outgoing 9-12 PA Co-President Kathy Keane, 9-12 PA Co-President Seifali Patel, JK-8 PA Co-Presidents Adrienne Goldthorpe and Renée Noel, outgoing JK-8 PA Co-President Kyung Choi and PA Treasurer Val Toscano.
This year, as part of their Service Learning class, Grade 8 students examined the hunger crisis in America and the United States’ relationship with food, food production, distribution and food equity. Throughout the course, students designed service projects that addressed hunger and food-related issues in the community.
In June, they presented their work to the entire grade as well as to Kathleen DiPerna, Director of Government Relations at the nonprofit Rethink, a nonprofit that combats food insecurity in New York City as well as in Chicago, Nashville and San Francisco. Through working with restaurants to reduce food waste and serving those in need at their donation-based cafe in Brooklyn, Rethink aims to create more sustainable and equitable food systems across the country.
Thank You Teachers
To thank teachers for continuously being our community’s backbone, GCS families adorned both campuses with signs featuring messages of appreciation. Students also took to the streets, decorating the sidewalks with colorfully rendered words of encouragement.
Students “Spring” Into Action
The start of Spring is always cause for celebration! To get the spring semester started off right, teachers, staff and the Grace griffin gave students and families a spirited “welcome back” to in-person learning.
In alternating years, Grace’s Visibility Project, celebrates the LGBTQ+ loved ones connected to our school community in a photo exhibit at the school. This year’s exhibit took the form of a video slideshow, backed by a musical performance by members of CHANGE and the GraceNotes. On February 24, the exhibit opened with a digital premier, which included a storybook reading from local drag queen, Cholula Lemon.