Gunston Opens New Student Athletic Center and Expands Athletic Offerings

Gunston recently cut the ribbon for its new student athletic center—Heron House. Overlooking the Corsica River, Heron House involved a major conversation and expansion of the former Headmaster’s residence, which has been transformed into a 3,000 square foot facility that includes a fitness/workout space for all students, team rooms, provisions for environmental teaching and learning, and event facilities for Gunston’s nationally competitive crew and sailing teams.

“Heron House reflects the essence of our waterfront campus, and the vision of our Board of Trustees to convert Heron House for athletic use was tremendous, especially with nearly 40% of our student-athletes competing in waterfront athletics,” said Jon Mellinger, Gunston’s Director of Athletics.

Gunston’s trustees, coaches, and building committee, join Headmaster John Lewis, SGA president Caroline Roser, and Athletic Director Jon Mellinger in cutting the ribbon on Heron House, the new student athletic center.

With Gunston’s enrollment growing to over 200 students, the school will also be expanding athletic offerings. The addition of Heron House will facilitate the growth of four new athletic offerings—triathlon and softball will make their debut in the spring of 2019, while golf and cross country will launch during the 2019-2020 school year. All four of these sports will utilize existing campus facilities as well as wider community facilities.

“We’re very excited about these new additions,” said Gunston’s Headmaster, John Lewis. “Between the athletics and admissions departments, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy thinking about our areas of strength and potential growth within athletics. We’ve generated a lot of excitement amongst the student body and I am excited to see these offerings take shape.  We’re also excited about the high quality coaching that these sports will enjoy. Our Athletic Director Jon Mellinger is a former collegiate runner at St. Lawrence, and is currently a nationally competitive triathlete.”

Gunston supports 17 interscholastic programs and 7 fitness programs for its student-athletes—requiring all students to participate in two seasons of athletics each year. These offerings will help expand an already robust offering to reach additional areas of interest and potential competitive success.

Gunston Athletes Honored

On Thursday, November 1st, Gunston student-athletes from field hockey, sailing, soccer and rowing gathered to honor the accomplishments from the fall season. All three field sports made the playoffs and the girls’ varsity soccer team made the Northern Maryland Soccer League finals. Our waterfront teams earned accolades from the MDISA (sailing) and the King’s Head Regatta. These results capped a successful fall season for the Herons. Headmaster Lewis delivered high praise for the programs success and continued growth while Director of Athletics Jon Mellinger provided exciting news about new programs on the horizon as well as challenging the student-athletes in attendance to elevate their peers by taking leadership roles. The fall season ended on a high note which has set the bar for the winter and spring seasons.

Pictured ESIAC/NMSL Award recipients. L-R: Sam Umidi, Cole Evans, Will Urquhart, Luke Stehle, Megan Prochaska, Sydney Nittle, Lydia Davis, Becky DeFino, Claire Johnson, Annabelle Gillespie, Reagan Gessford, Cedar Foster. Missing Olivia Hershey and Natalie Cockey.

ESIAC All-Conference
Will Urquhart – Boys Soccer, Luke Stehle – Boys Soccer, Cole Evans – Boys Soccer, Megan Prochaska -Girls Soccer, Sydney Nittle – Girls Soccer, Annabelle Gillespie – Field Hockey, Becky DeFino – Field Hockey, Claire Johnson – Field Hockey, Lydia Davis – Field Hockey

ESIAC Honorable Mention
Sam Umidi – Boys Soccer, Natalie Cockey – Girls Soccer, Reagan Gessford – Field Hockey

NMSL All-Conference (Soccer)
Megan Prochaska – Girls Soccer, Sydney Nittle – Girls Soccer, Natalie Cockey – Girls Soccer, Cedar Foster – Honorable Mention, Olivia Hershey – Honorable Mention

Girls Soccer
MVP – Megan Prochaska, MIP – Ashley Escobar, Coach – Cedar Foster

Boys Soccer
MVP – Jude Smith, MIP – Henry Sheets, Coach – Max Brady

Boys JV Soccer
MVP – Leo Santoboni, MIP – Kenneth Bonuccelli, Coach – Ben Cunningham

Field Hockey
MVP – Annabelle Gillespie, Becky DeFino, MIP – Sheila Groz, Coach – Erin McDonald, Ellie Wilson

MIP – Lydia Periconi, Jack Pigman, Coach – Katie Easter, Max Scott, Josh Campbell, Isabella Santoboni

MVP – Severin Schut, MIP – Phebe Wood, Coach – Marion Riddle

Thirty Gunston School Students Honored at National Honor Society Induction

On Friday, November 2, thirty students were inducted into the National Honor Society at The Gunston School. The National Honor Society (NHS) is a prestigious organization for students in upper grades, which requires them to hold a them to meet rigorous national and school standards in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

The inductees, their parents, and current NHS members gathered in the Susie Konkel Atrium for breakfast, pictures and celebration before the induction ceremony that was held in the Field House. Welcoming remarks were made by Headmaster John Lewis, who spoke about the importance of pursuing the four key National Honor Society values: leadership, character, service, and scholarship.

Following Mr. Lewis’ remarks, the keynote address was delivered by alumnae Ms. Laura Woods ‘11. Ms. Wood graduated from Rhodes College in 2015 with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Economics. After college, Ms. Wood came back to the Eastern Shore in the hope of applying her degree where she grew up. She worked first on a 45 ft wooden yawl sailboat, XAPA, then in January of 2016 she started at the Sassafras River Association (SRA) as an administrative assistant. In January of 2017, Ms. Wood  started working at the Chester River Association as an Office Manager, while continuing with SRA as well. In January of this year the two organization merged, along with the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, to form ShoreRivers. Ms. Wood now serves as a Watershed Coordinator and manages the Marylanders Grow Oysters program for the Chester and Corsica, organize shoreline cleanups with local groups, monitor agricultural restoration projects, and support our Riverkeeper programs.

Photo: Front row L to R: Frankie Fisher, Cedar Foster, Joey Zhuo, Cynthia Yang, Grace Holmes, Lynsey Hildebrand, Nina De Angelo, Katie Schiwy, Eily Ashley, Natalie Cockey. 2nd row L to R: Laura Wood, Katie Moreau, Anna Wolf, Paige Murphy, Areopl Bai, MacCallum Borghardt, Cotter Buckley, Erica Reece, Isabella Santoboni, Mason Rudolfs, 3rd row L to R: Will Gibson, Wyatt Howell, Will Newberg, Allen Wang, Lily Judd, Nick Kellogg, back row L to R: Max Gaspers Scott, Peter Sharpless, Owen White, Sam Umidi, missing Andrew Amygdalos

Ms Wood spoke fondly of her years at Gunston where she had ample opportunities to direct her own learning and explore a myriad of interesting and relevant topics with caring teachers committed to the success and growth of all students. Ms. Wood encouraged the NHS members and all of the students to embrace the learning opportunities available to them here. Ms. Wood also shared her deep appreciation for our local watershed and how much she valued Gunston’s past, current, and future commitment to environmental education and sustainability.  She stated her hope for the future of the Chesapeake Watershed “… to see healthy waterways that can support the ecosystems and industries that rely on them—and to see collaboration between policy, environmental organizations, agriculture, watermen, and landowners to get us there.” She closed with heartfelt congratulations to the newly inducted members of NHS.

To highlight the core values of NHS, four candles were lit by current members, as senior and NHS president Megan Prochaska spoke about the meaning of each value. NHS Secretary Marisa Pisapia read each inductees’ accomplishments as they were called up one-by-one, to receive a certificate, pin, and rose, and to sign their names into the NHS registry. To make them official members of the society, current members pinned the inductees with a pin bearing the NHS logo and the pledge was recited, led by Megan Prochaska. Mr. Michael Kaylor, the NHS advisor, concluded the ceremony with high praises to the students for their accomplishments.

We congratulate this year’s NHS Chapter Officers and Inductees.


President: Megan Prochaska, Vice President: Davy Song, Secretary: Marisa Pisapia, Treasurer: Anneliese Clair


Nick Basham, Karen Chen, Shiloh Clark, Becky DeFino, Cora Duncan, Katie Easter, Cole Evans, Menel Harris, Leah Hellwege, Phin Howell, Claire Johnson, Camy Kelly, Nick Lee, Ellie Merton, Paige Murphy, James Pratt, Caroline Roser, Drew Seaman, Elena Sherman, Nellie Stup, Cynthia Yang, Vickey Zhou


Andrew Amygdalos, Eli Ashley, Areopl Bai, Mac Borghardt, Cotter Buckley, Natalie Cockey, Nina De Angelo, Frankie Fisher, Cedar Foster, Will Gibson, Lynsey Hildebrand, Grace Holmes, Wyatt Howell, Lily Judd, Nick Kellogg, Katie Moreau, Paige Murphy, Will Newberg, Erica Reece, Mason Rudolfs, Isabella Santoboni, Katie Schiwy, Peter Sharpless, Max Gaspers Scott, Sam umidi, Allen Wang, Owen White, Anna Wolf, Cynthia Yang, Joey Zhuo

Gunston’s Annual Bull & Oyster Roast was a Huge Success

On Saturday, October 13, The Gunston School held its annual Bull & Oyster Roast & Alumni Reunion. Nearly 240 parents, trustees, alumni and friends gathered on Gunston’s campus for this event to support the school in its largest fundraiser of the year. Guests mingled, enjoyed shucked and steamed oysters, and tried their luck on silent auction items that were generously donated by local businesses and Gunston families.

The evening was a huge success—over $100,000 was raised through sponsorships, silent and live auction, and ticket sales.  In keeping with tradition, the Live Auction was interrupted midway through for “Raise the Paddle.” The proceeds this year will be matched by a generous grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation and used to fund a new 15 passenger van t0 be used for Chesapeake Watershed Semester, as well as transportation for student trips.

Parent volunteers take a moment to smile for the camera. Left to right: Laura Chester, Donna Roser, Keith Willett and Nicola Daniel.

The lucky winner of this year’s Live Auction Item raffle was Casey Santora P ‘21 ‘22! The Santora family will be vacationing in the Outer Banks over Gunston’s spring break, thanks to our donors Steve and Jennifer Salos P ‘22. Other live auction items included vacations to Deep Creek, Jamaica, and Nova Scotia, as well as a signed Paul Reed Smith guitar.

“The generosity of our parents and friends is truly extraordinary, and this generosity translates directly into a stronger educational program for all of our students,” said Headmaster John Lewis.

Local businesses were key to the success of this auction. Over 200 businesses, community members, and families from throughout the Eastern Shore and Annapolis donated items, and made financial contributions to this year’s fundraising event.

Headmaster John Lewis greets the audience.

Gunston would like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors:

Title Sponsor—KRM Construction

Grill Master Sponsor—The Gunston School Board of Trustees

Prime Sponsors: Caesar Guerini—Deirdre & Wesley Lang P ‘22, The Star Democrat, DataLink, Intown Management—Gigi & Steve Hershey P ‘21, Ashley Insurance—Jack Ashley, Friends of Gunston, Shore United Bank, Gillespie & Son—Julie & Todd Gillespie P ‘20, P ‘22; Gillespie Precast—Karen & Jim Talbott P ‘20

Choice Sponsors: Callahan’s Gas—Dana & Mark Callahan P ‘22, Dogwood Acres—Audrey & Kurt Reichardt P ‘21, Freestate and Son, Inc., IT Direct—Bess & Ralph Riddle P ‘21, Karen & John Morrison P ‘18, Gunther’s Electric, Inc.—Trudy Schiwy P ‘19, The Ward Family P ‘21 (2)

Select Sponsors: Attraction Magazine, The Country School,Ben & Karen Dize, Ecotone, Inc., Friel Lumber Company—Gina & Jay Friel P ‘22, Mary B. Hoff, Kent School, L & S Bus Service, John and Laurie Lewis, Betty & Roger Mooney GP ‘07, ‘09, ‘15, ‘19, Colleen Moran P ‘20, Impressive Printing, People’s Bank, Radcliffe Creek School, Shepherd Plumbing, Mara & Walt Schmittinger P ‘16, Tri-Gas & Oil Co., Inc., Whitten Group Insurance.

We are also very grateful to the Gunston Parents’ Association, Gunston’s faculty and staff, and the 2018 Bull & Oyster Roast Committee Chairs—Karen Talbot P ‘20, Jill Meyerhoff P ‘11 ‘13 , Gigi & Steve Hershey P ‘21, Audrey Reichardt P ‘21, Stacey Sharpless P ‘20 ‘22 , and Trudy Schiwy P ‘19 who worked tirelessly to create a spectacular evening.

The Gunston School Launches Innovative New Program, the Chesapeake Watershed Semester

On a perfect summer evening in August, the launch of the Chesapeake Watershed Semester was celebrated with a gathering of students, families, partners, and supporters.  With a warm welcome by Gunston’s Board Chair, Jim Wright, and inspiring words by Headmaster John Lewis, Gunston formally launched the first cohort of the program with full enrollment of 13 students.

Director, Emily Beck, says “We’ve designed and built an educational program that is immersive, rigorous, and place-based.  The watershed’s 64,000 square miles forms our classroom with students completing five weeks in the field during the semester. Over the course of the fifteen-week semester, students will weave together science and public policy, time in the lab and in the field, and direct action with reflection. The semester concludes with students presenting their independent research and action projects at a regional symposium. We fully believe that today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and that it is critical to engage them in an educational experience that is equal to the challenges of their time.”

Pictured L-R: Caroline Taylor, Caroline Roser, Katie Schiwy, Nick Kellogg, Yanni Harris, Camy Kelly, Zachary Goss, Phil Ashley, Brooks Armstrong, Keller Evans, Mason Rudolfs, Menel Harris, not pictured – Cole Evans

“The Chesapeake Watershed Semester is a powerful opportunity to expand our educational paradigm and offer students a 21st Century learning experience that empowers them with real-world knowledge, critical thinking capacities, and leadership skills” she adds. “The restoration and sustainable management of the Chesapeake Bay is a litmus test for humanity’s capacity to maintain ecological harmony, and The Chesapeake Watershed Semester seeks to provide students with the intellectual, social, and leadership tools to successfully respond to these challenges. It is a unique opportunity for highly motivated high school juniors or seniors to join a talented community of learners who will immerse themselves in the study and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay for one semester. Through dynamic and diverse field-study Expeditions, students travel the region meeting with stakeholders and conducting research. While in residence on our waterfront campus, students take honors and AP level classes while maintaining an intense, hands-on engagement with the natural environment.”

Such a rich and robust program would not be possible with the support and inspiration of our program partners! Our partners in designing and launching the program include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Sultana Education Foundation, Washington College, and the Harry Hughes Center for Agroecology.

Semester schools are inspired by the collegiate “semester abroad” program; designed and adapted for high school students. Though not widely known, semester schools have been around for several decades. Semester schools offer a full semester of academic credit as well as a wealth of knowledge and new experiences for students who return to their four-year institutions upon completing the semester. Each program offers a unique curriculum and learning environment.

Beyond the academics, semester schools offer motivated students powerfully transformative experience. Students who attend semester schools develop poise, grit, and a firm sense of self; all hallmarks of 21st Century education. Indeed, colleges view a student’s decision to attend a semester school highly and reflective of the students maturity and college readiness.

The Gunston School has established itself as a regional and national leader for environmental teaching and learning with its annual Chesapeake Bay Studies week of field courses, successive Green School certifications, its unparalleled 35-acre waterfront campus on the shores of the Corsica River in Centreville, MD, and finally with the launch of the Watershed Semester.

To learn more about the Chesapeake Watershed Semester visit or call 410.758.0620

Gunston Partners with Wharton Professor to Develop Student Leadership Program

As part of an effort to further enhance the school’s student leadership development program, Gunston is partnering with Dr. Stewart D. Friedman to develop an innovative student leadership curriculum. Dr. Friedman is the Practice Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the founding director of both the Wharton Leadership Program and the Wharton Work/Life Initiative. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Total Leadership (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014)

Headmaster John Lewis shared, “At Gunston, central to our mission is a belief that all students should cultivate the capacity to serve as leaders in our society, and we also believe that leadership is a skill that can be practiced and learned. We’re excited to partner with Dr. Friedman to develop our currently existing student leadership curriculum.  He is an internationally recognized teacher, and his Total Leadership program is an intensely participant-centered model that fits well with the developmental skills and capacities of adolescents.”

The school has been working throughout the summer to finalize the key elements of the program, and the Gunston/Total Leadership program will be piloted this fall with Gunston’s Chesapeake Watershed Semester students. It will eventually adapted and integrated into the curriculum for all Gunston students. Gunston is profoundly grateful to former board member and Wharton MBA graduate Greg Hagin for helping to forge the relationship between Dr. Friedman and Gunston.

Gunston’s A.D. Mellinger Finished in Top 11% at USA Triathlon Nationals

On Saturday, August 11th, Gunston’s Athletic Director, Jon Mellinger competed in the 2018 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, in the second largest field in history with over 5000 competitors throughout the weekend.

Athletes swam in Lake Erie and biked and ran along the lake shore overlooking downtown Cleveland. Competitors of both races had the chance to compete for Age Group National Titles as well as spots on Team USA in 2019. The olympic-distance event consisted of a 1500 meter swim, 40km bike, and a 10km run. Athletes who competed at this event have qualified throughout the course of the year for the opportunity to race.

“This race was something special for me” Mellinger said. “Cleveland is basically home. My family is from northeast Ohio and I have so many fond memories there so returning to a place that we all call home to race in a national event meant the world. I’ve had a few podiums this season and I felt like my fitness was in a good place. Overall, it wasn’t the result or time I was hoping to achieve, but I battled all day long after some very challenging swimming conditions.”

Follow him on Instagram as he continues to document the remainder of his season, @ad.mells. Mellinger trains and competes as a member of an elite triathlon team, E3 Training Solutions, out of Boston, MA.

Gunston’s Administrators Led Innovative Environmental Conference

In mid-July, Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis, and Chesapeake Bay Studies Coordinator Emily Beck led the 3rd Annual Environmental Leadership for Independent School Leaders conference held at the Smith Island Education Center. This conference is a partnership between the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), The Gunston School, the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools, the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.

Top administrators from independent schools surrounding the Chesapeake Watershed gathered to collaborate on ways to integrate high­ impact environmental education and sustainability in our schools. This hands-on seminar combined field experiences, curriculum theory, leadership development, and personal reflection.

“It’s exciting to work with colleagues who are inspired to integrate sustainability and environmental education into mission and program of their school,” remarked Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis. “Each year, the conference has grown and improved, and thanks to experts like our own Emily Beck and CBF, we feel great about the impact this conference is having in our region and beyond.”

Gunston Announces Fourth Quarter Academic Honors

Congratulations to the following students for earning High Honors or Honors for the fourth quarter of the 2017-2018 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.

High Honors

Grade 12

Rongjie (Rose) Fan, Steven Goss, Lila Ingersoll, Sam Johnson, Mary Macmillan, Alex Papadopoulos, Henry Parkhurst, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel, Alli Webb

Grade 11

Kejing (Karen) Chen, Cole Evans, Phin Howell, Claire Johnson, Paige Murphy, James Pratt, Megan Prochaska, Caroline Roser, Katie Schiwy, Haorui (Davy) Song, Nellie Stup, Fuji (Cynthia) Yang, Sitong (Vicky) Zhou

Grade 10

Andrew Amygdalos, Eily Ashley, Yuntian (Areopl) Bai, Cotter Buckley, Nina De Angelo, Frankie Fisher, Emily Gray, Wyatt Howell, Lily Judd, Katie Moreau, Will Newberg, Erica Reece, Isabella Santoboni, Max Scott, Qirui (Allen) Wang

Grade 9

Avy Aubin, Lily Berntsen, Helen Boone, Em Borghardt, Julie Ireland, Rion McCluskey, Sydney Nittle, Ethan Nuessle, Campbell Parkhurst, Lydia Periconi, Sean Riley, Charlie Shifrin, Haoying (Grace) Wang, Hannah Worth


Grade 12

Simon Cawley, Simiao (Grace) Dai, Tirza Enriquez, Gillian Felton, Susie Fordi, Jack Morrison, Hope Murphy, Chris Newberg, Dutch Nickerson, Lily Phipps, Joey Smith, Tanner Ways

Grade 11

Dolan Carella, Anneliese Clair, Shiloh Clark, Becky DeFino, Katie Easter, Will Gibson, Menel Harris, Yanni Harris, Griffin Hecht, Leah Hellwege, Grafton Howard, Camy Kelly, Nick Lee, Miao (Suzy) Li, Michell Pagan, Marisa Pisapia, Drew Seaman, Yifan (Michael)Shen, Elena Sherman, Morgan Smith, Katie Staley, Anna Wolf, Yong (George) Yan

Grade 10

MacCallum Borghardt, Mark Bourdin, Stephen Brown, Natalie Cockey, Kate Dieterle, Cedar Foster, Lynsey Hildebrand, Grace Holmes, Nick Kellogg, Junlin (Thompson) Leng, Mason Rudolfs, Peter Sharpless, Owen White

Grade 9

Bella Adams, Zack Anderson, Max Brady, Arianna Campi, Lydia Davis, Kayla Flood, James Fordi, Glynis Gardner, Reagan Gessford, Emma McClary, Aiden Myers, Adie Parish, Connor Reichardt, Joshua Sanford, Owen Santora, Severin Schut, Henry Shifrin, Christian Walker, Colin Ward, Lilli Ward

Gunston Students Excel in National Foreign Language Exams

Congratulations to students from The Gunston School who attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2018 National Spanish and Latin Examinations earning a total of 7 gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals along with 20 honorable mentions.

Latin Exams:

Gold medalist at level 1: Helen Boone

Silver medalist at level 3: James Pratt

Silver medalist at level 2: Sam Umidi

Silver medalist at level 1: Sean Riley

Honorable mention at level 2: Zack Anderson, Isabella Santoboni

Honorable mention at level 1: Hannah Worth

Latin Awards: Left to right, Mr. Angarita, Sean Riley, Sam Umidi, James Pratt, Helen Boone, Ms. Wheatley

Spanish Exams:

Gold medalists at level 5: Henry Parkhurst

Gold medalists at level 2: Avy Aubin, Andrew Amygdalos, Haroui Song

Gold medalist at level 1: Ryan Evans, Charles Shifrin

Silver medalists at level 3: Lila Ingersoll

Silver medalists at level 2: Payton Lord, Lydia Periconi

Silver medalists at level 1: Cedar Foster, Grace Holmes, Orion McCluskey, Henry Shifrin

Bronze medalists at level 3: Michelle Pagan, Marisa Pisapia, Caroline Roser

Bronze medalists at level 2: Shiloh Clark, Annabelle Gillespie, Ellie Merton, Campbell Parkhurst

Bronze medalists at level 1: Mark Bourdin, Will Gibson, Lynsey Hildebrand, Cameryn Kelly, Lillian Ward, Owen White

Honorable mention at level 3: Heidi Barcus, Hopewell Murphy, Paige Murphy, Elena Sherman

Honorable mention at level 2: Rick Archambault, Eileen Ashley, Rose Fan, Griffin Hecht, Claire Johnson, Sydney Nittle, Joey Smith

Honorable mention at level 1: Hannah Beckman, Emerson Borghardt, Stephen Brown, Kayla Flood, Glynis Gardner, Reagan Gessford, Leah Hellwege, Nicholas Kellogg, Colin Ward

Students were taught by Spanish teachers, Juan Angarita and Avis Wheatley, and Latin teacher, Erin Ferguson.

The National Language Examinations are administered each year across the country in grades 6 through 12, and are sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League.