Gunston Crew Completes Season with Milestone at National Championships

The Gunston School’s Rowing team completed their spring season with invitations to the Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s National Championship Regatta in Cherry Hill, NJ. Competing against the top rowing programs in the country, Gunston was represented in the Boy’s and Girl’s Varsity 4+ categories.

Gunston’s Boy’s Varsity 4+ reached a milestone this year by breaking out of the first round of racing for the first time in this event in program history. Later in the day the crew went on to compete in the Repechage (second chance race) and placed 6th.

“The boys’ performance in their heat was exactly how we had practiced their race plan over the last few weeks. Thanks to their sprint they were able to edge themselves into 3rd place and avoid elimination from the regatta. They eventually reached elimination in the repechage but they were very happy with the way they rowed and left everything they had on the race course,” said Head Coach Nicole Stimpson.

Representing Gunston in the Boy’s Varsity 4+ were Coxswain Lauren Covell ‘17 (Annapolis, MD), Stroke Ben Jones ‘17 (Chestertown, MD), 3 Seat Ethan Boone ‘17 (Centreville, MD), 2 Seat Alex Papadopoulos ‘18 (Townsend, DE), and Bow Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 (Centreville, MD).

Gunston’s Girl’s 4+ placed 6th in their heat eliminating them from the regatta. “With a freshman coxswain, 2 sophomores, and 2 seniors the underclassmen in this crew were able to gain valuable race experience at this regatta,” said Stimpson. “After racing at nationals these younger athletes will be able to pass on their experiences and motivate their teammates this coming fall.”

Representing Gunston in the Girl’s Varsity 4+ were Coxswain Isabella Santoboni ‘20 (Annapolis, MD), Stroke Olivia Sherman ‘17 (Middletown, DE), 3 Seat Elena Sherman ‘19 (Middletown, DE), 2 Seat Katie Easter ‘19 (Grasonville, MD), Bow Maddy Romberger ‘17 (Sudlersville, MD).

A Fond Farewell: The Gunston School’s Class of 2017

Friday, May 19th marked a special day at The Gunston School. An annual tradition, Senior Transition Day and Disembarkation commemorates seniors’ final day on campus. During the day, the seniors enjoyed a walked down memory lane with a slide show highlighting their high school years, were welcomed into TGS Alumni Association, and with family and friends watching, placed a personalized brick on the Heron Walkway adding to the foundation of Gunston. The day ended with a receiving line of students and faculty wishing them farewell as they disembarked the Gunston campus on the Chester River Packet for a cruise down the Corsica and Chester Rivers. We wish the Class of 2017 the best of luck!

Gunston Competes in Academic Team National Championships

For the first time in school history, Gunston’s Academic Team competed in the in the National Association of Quiz Tournaments national championship tournament, held in Chicago at the end of April. Drawing many of the strongest academic secondary schools from across the country, the NAQT tournament is the premier academic quiz bowl tournament in the United States. The Herons finished 20th overall in the Charter and Private division. The team initially qualified for nationals at the Johns Hopkins Winter Tournament, and were led by Seniors Abigail Miller (Easton) and Sutter Phillips (Stevensville), Sophomore Phineas Howell (Chestertown) and Freshman Andrew Amygdalos (Dover, DE).

Pictured left to right: Phineas Howell, Headmaster John Lewis, Sutter Phillips, Abigail Miller, Andrew Amygdalos.

Gunston’s academic team coach, Headmaster John Lewis, said, “The team has worked incredibly hard all year, and it was fun to match wits with some of the best students in the country. They worked well as a team, and though we will miss Sutter and Abby, we look forward to heading back to nationals next year.”

The performance of Freshman Andrew Amygdalos was especially impressive. In a field typically dominated by 11th and 12th graders, he ranked as the 35th overall individual tournament scorer, making him one of the strongest 9th grade academic team players in the country.

Strong Season Opener for Gunston Crew

Gunston Crew opened its season strong taking home two first place medals at the Bladensburg Invitational hosted by DeMatha High School. Other crews participating were Annapolis Junior Rowing, Elizabeth Seton (girls), Walter Johnson, St. John’s College High School, Montgomery Boat Club and Bishop O’Connell High School.

Gunston entered 7 events and came home with 5 wins in the following categories:
Boys Varsity 4 – 1st
Girls Varsity 8 – 1st
Boys Novice 8
Girls Novice 8
Boys 3rd Varsity 4

“It was a great way to start our spring season,” said Head Coach Nicole Stimpson. “Almost all of our boats were able to get in solid racing experience today with two races each. Having a time trial and a final allowed them to review any issues they may have had in the morning and come back out fresh and focused for their final.”

Gunston Crew continues their season this Saturday, April 1 at home with a duel with St. Paul’s Boys and Episcopal’s Girls.

Writers Daisy Fried and Roy Kesey Work with Gunston English Students

On March 6 and 7, Gunston hosted Daisy Fried and Roy Kesey as part of the spring installment of In Celebration of Books, the school’s visiting writers series. Fried, a poet and critic, currently serves on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. Kesey is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction as well as a PEN/Heim grant for translation.

A public reading of their work was held on Monday, March 6 in Gunston’s Field House. After that, Fried and Kesey visited Gunston’s English classrooms over the course of two days as they led students in writing exercises and craft discussions.

Daisy   Kesey - Copy

Photos: Daisy Fried and Roy Kesey

Poet and critic Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry: Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh, 2013), named by Library Journal one of the five best poetry books of 2013, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (University of Pittsburgh, 2006), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn’t Mean to Do It, (University of Pittsburgh, 2000), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Award. For her poetry, she’s received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowships, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Recent poems have been published in the London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, The Threepenny Review and Best American Poetry 2013. She reviews books of poetry for The New York Times, Poetry and The Threepenny Review, and won the Editors Award from Poetry for “Sing, God-Awful Muse,” an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding. She is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Roy Kesey’s latest books are the short story collection Any Deadly Thing (Dzanc Books 2013) and the novel Pacazo (Dzanc Books 2011/Jonathan Cape 2012). His translation of Pola Oloixarac’s Savage Theories was published by Soho Press in January of this year. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in over a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and New Sudden Fiction. He is currently a visiting professor at Washington College; last semester he taught a course called “Fire and Ice: How the World Ends,” an anthropological and scientific exploration of the apocalypse, and this semester he is teaching a creative writing workshop on travel writing and a literature course on contemporary world fiction.

Gunston Students Compete in the First Tech Challenge

Eight Gunston students built a robot as part of the First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition which is sponsored by the FIRST robotics program. The Gunston Team was one of twenty teams from all across Maryland and nearby states that competed at the Naval Academy on January 22 and thirty two teams that competed at Oakland Mills High School in Howard County on the 29th of January. At these events, the robots perform complicated tasks such as pushing the correct button on a beacon, shooting balls into goals, and manipulating a large yoga ball. The game was divided into two phases. First, the robot had to perform tasks autonomously by sensing and reacting to its environment; next three students were able to control the robots using game pads.

As a team they created an engineering notebook that described their strategy, proposed designs, and problems that the team overcame along the way. At the competition the students had to describe and defend their design in front of a panel of engineers. Real world engineering challenges like FTC teach students to follow the engineering processes that they will use in their future careers.

team photo

Team Photo L to R: Sutter Phillips ’17 of Stevensville, Sam Wargotz ’17 of Grasonville, Nikki Blades ’17 of Trappe, George Bowie ’17 of Still Pond, Ryan Redding ’17 of Galena, Garrett Rudolfs of Centreville, Jamie Caron ’17 of Chestertown.

Eight students built the robot during the fall semester during their robotics course and nine building sessions over the holidays. Suter Phillips worked on design, Nikki Blades on documentation and organization, and Sam Wargotz and Ryan Redding worked on construction. Jamie Caron was the rules and strategy expert. Garrett Rudolphs and George Bowie programed robot and Alli Webb helped with diverse tasks. During the matches, George, Sutter, Garrett, and Sam took turns as acting as robot drivers and team coaches. The group was mentored by Gunston physics teacher Dr. Ken Wilson and Gunston director of technology Joe Thompson. Gunston student Sophie Cooper worked with Nikki Blades to design the team logo of a Heron built of gears.

This is the third year the the team 9530 “the Herons” participated in the FTC competition and each year the robot design has improved. Mentor Dr Wilson commented that the basic design of the robot body was the best that the Herons team had produced. Compared to their earlier efforts, this year’s robot, affectionately dubbed “Steve” by the students, was robust, easy to work on, and very nimble on the playing field.

The competitions always produce unexpected challenges and the students in the pit crew have to work out the kinks in real time under stressful conditions. The students learn how to work together as a team to systematically find and solve problems. The Gunston team performed especially well at teamwork in the pit: they were calm and focused which allowed them constantly improve their scores as they participated in a total of 10 matches across the two events.

This year’s team was primarily composed of seniors, some of whom have participated in the robotics team for several years. They bequeath to the 2018 team programs, design, and a working robot. Dr Wilson said that he is sorry to see them go but confident that the program that they have built will continue to improve over the coming years.

The Gunston School Announces Second Quarter Academic Honors

Congratulations to the following students for earning High Honors or Honors for the second quarter of the 2016-2017 academic year. To earn a place on the High Honors list, a student must have an A average and effort grades of “S” or above. To earn Honors, a student must achieve a B+/A- average and effort grades of “S” or above.

gunston honorsHigh Honors

Grade 12—Lauren Covell, Evan Donohue, Annie Herron, Xinying (Elaine) Jiang, Emma Johnson, Lizhi (Cliff) Peng, Rachel Pettit, Maddy Romberger, Tong Shen, Huixin (Emily) Teng.

Grade 11—Minto Aono, Yuxuan (Ciara) Chen, Rongjie (Rose) Fan, Steven Goss, Lila Ingersoll, Hope Murphy, Henry Parkhurst, Ryleigh Paskoski, Lily Phipps.

Grade 10—Kejing (Karen) Chen, Katie Easter, Nicholas Lee, Paige Murphy, James Pratt, Megan Prochaska, Caroline Roser, Yifan (Michael) Shen, Haorui (Davy) Song, Elena Sherman, Si-tong (Vicky) Zhou.

Grade 9—Andrew Amygdalos, Frankie Fisher, Emily Gray, Lynsey Hildebrand, Grace Holmes, Lily Judd, Junlin (Thompson) Leng, Will Newberg, Isabella Santoboni.


Grade 12—Alice Agee, Chad Angelini, Nikki Blades, Ethan Boone, George Bowie, Ben Byerly, Nuobing (Amy) Fan, Tim Hesford, Drew Hightower, Nick Mosner, Greg Panor, Sutter Phillips, Kane Powell, Ryan Redding, Eli Schut, Olivia Sherman, Tianqi (Stacey) Shi, Jason Staley, Sam Wargotz, Junchen (Kevin) Zhao.

Grade 11—Rick Archambault, Simon Cawley, Tirza Enriquez, Gillian Felton, Susie Fordi, Yohanes Gray, Emma Hottel, Sam Johnson, Xinqi (Crystal) Liu, Mary Macmillan, Jack Morrison, Mitchell Naumann, Chris Newberg, Dutch Nickerson, Brennan Paddy, Neel Patel, Alli Webb, Baoyi (Betty) Zhou, Li (Cubby) Zhou.

Grade 10—Brooks Armstong, Nick Basham, Anneliese Clair, Shiloh Clark, August Clarke, Becky DeFino, Cora Duncan, Cole Evans, Malachi Graham, Menel Harris, Yanni Harris, Griffin Hecht, Leah Hellwege, Phin Howell, Claire Johnson, Camy Kelly, Nick Lee, Ellie Merton, Michell Pagan, Marisa Pisapia, Samara Pyfrom, Zhenghao Ren, Drew Seaman, Nellie Stup, Sam Umidi, Will Urquhart, Anna Wolf, Yong (George) Yan, Fuji (Cynthia) Yang.

Grade 9—Eileen Ashley, Logan Cameron, Michaela Campbell, Nina De Angelo, Cedar Foster, Wyatt Howell, Nick Kellogg, Michael Nickerson, Erica Reece, Max Scott, Abigail Silva, Shuai (Bob) Tong, Qirui (Allen) Wang, Owen White, Yaxuan (Joey) Zhuo.

Gunston Coders Return to Dartmouth Lab

Gunston Coders

L to R: Claire Johnson of Church Hill, Will Urquhart of Queenstown, Nick Basham of Trappe, Brynne Kneeland of Stevensville, Cliff Peng of Centreville, Cora Duncan of Centreville, Katie Easter of Grasonville and James Pratt of Chestertown.

The Gunston School sent a group of Computer Science students to visit Dartmouth College’s DALI digital arts lab over the weekend of January 19-22. The students took part in coding and prototyping activities provided by the lab, had an opportunity for questions and answers going both directions, and showed DALI staffers projects that they have been developing at Gunston.

“It was great to see that the DALI lab staff have chosen to extend and broaden our working relationship”, said trip leader and CS teacher Joe Thompson. “This year, in addition to the planned ‘hacktivity’, we were invited to both a Design Resident workshop in the software Sketch for Dartmouth undergrads, and were given a tour of a digital music production facility with a DALI staffer.”

The trip was led by Thompson and Gunston College Guidance Counselor Kellee Webb. “DALI is my kind of facility”, said Webb after the visit. “Their heavy emphasis on collaboration and creativity are excellent fits for our school’s methods and mission”.

“Once we were invited,” said Thompson, “we built a weekend around our visit, as we did last year.” Arriving late Thursday evening, the students toured the campus Friday morning, lunched in the undergraduate Dartmouth Commons, then headed to the DALI lab for a full afternoon of coding, including working with the lab’s new VR (virtual reality) gear. “They are doing interesting VR work with NASA to help astronauts on long-duration missions deal with stress,” said Thompson. “We were very lucky to get a look at that equipment and software, to see where VR is headed”.

“I have gotten used to the idea that our visits are not just welcomed but useful to this lab,” said Thompson. “CS education at the high school level is rare, and we take their suggestions for tweaks to our program very seriously. They can see their suggestions in our students’ work.”

This year’s students included 7 sophomores and one senior. Katie Easter, Claire Johnson, Brynne Kneeland, Cora Duncan, Will Urquhart, Nick Basham, and James Pratt, all Gunston ’19, made the trip, as did Cliff Peng ’17.

Thompson, Meyerhoff Set to Join Gunston Coaching Staff

Thompson, Joe

Joe Thompson Gunston’s new Associate Head Coach.

The Gunston School is pleased to announce the hiring of two highly-accomplished athletes, Mr. Joe Thompson for the sailing program and Cole Meyerhoff for the boys lacrosse program.

Mr. Thompson will assume the role of Associate Head Coach of the sailing program. Having competed at the US Olympic trials, Thompson was a member of the US Sailing team in the FD class as a crew member for four years, and it was on this team he competed on the international stage throughout Europe and portions of Canada and the United States.

“Speed matters,” Coach Thompson said. “I plan to bring an emphasis on the fine points of boatspeed to our team. (We) won’t ignore tactics or rules, but to win (regattas) you have to accelerate your boat speed as well as anyone, and you have to be consistently fast.”

Thompson has also competed and finished in the top-ten of multiple sailboat classes as a crewman and helmsman for the 505 and J35 divisions in races including the European Championships and Block Island Race week. In addition to Coach Thompson’s competitive success as a racer, he oversaw numerous summer sailing programs. The wealth of experience brought by Thompson to the program should lay the foundation for many competitive seasons ahead.


Cole Meyerhoff (on right) playing for St. Mary’s College joins TGS as Assistant Coach for Men’s Lacrosse.

Cole Meyerhoff returns to Gunston after a four-year career at St. Mary’s College as a defenseman. At a strong Division III program, during his tenure at St. Mary’s, Meyerhoff was a member of the 2013 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship team, logging his first career appearance in the playoffs of that year. Additionally, the Easton (MD) native made the CAC All-Academic team his junior and senior years, while serving as team captain in his senior campaign.

Meyerhoff, a graduate of Gunston, was the 2011 recipient of the Gunston Award, exemplifying his commitment and service to the school community. An avid sailor and artist, Meyerhoff’s varsity lacrosse experience and affinity for the Gunston community will make an immediate impact on the 2017 boys lacrosse season.

Near Space Balloon Launch


Corsica River

On Friday, Nov 18 The Gunston Science and Engineering Club successfully launched and retrieved a near space balloon. This high altitude balloon, dubbed “Heron 4” as it is the fourth in a series of balloon missions launched by Gunston students, reached an altitude of 18.5 miles above the Earth’s surface. At that point the balloon burst as planned and the instrument package was delivered safely to Earth via parachute. The instrument package contained tracking equipment which reported the balloon’s position every 60 seconds to the tracking team at Gunston and to a chase and retrieval team that was following Heron 4 from below.

The goal of the mission was to photograph the Chesapeake Bay area from an altitude “near space”, above 95% of the Earth’s atmosphere. At these altitudes the sky becomes black as there are few molecules to scatter the sun’s rays. The curvature of the Earth is also notable in our photographs, although the wide-angle camera lens exaggerates the effect. The instrument package returned to earth after its 2 hour journey at Hooper’s Landing, a golf course in Seaford, DE. The package landed in a small pond.


Delmarva Peninsula

Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall mentor the Science and Engineering Club and Mrs. Alison Vooris lead the chase and retrieval team. Freshman Owen White prepared the payload. Twenty-four student are participating in the club this year including President Ryan Redding ’17, Vice president Alli Webb ’18, and Secretary Garrett Rudolfs ’18. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston Alum Jay Wegner, also provided invaluable assistance for this launch.

Goals of previous missions:

Heron 1 mission: high altitude photography
Heron 2 mission: measurement of pressure and temperature changes at the boundary of the ozone layer.
Heron 3 mission: measurement of cosmic ray radiation above the Earth’s atmosphere.
Heron 4 mission: high altitude photography


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