The Gunston School commenced its 111th year (and 25th anniversary of becoming a day school) on Friday, September 10, with the annual Embarkation tradition, welcoming a total of 74 new students and 13 new staff and faculty to the community by boat. After exchanging a fist bump with the Head of School, newcomers signed the school’s Honor Code, and made their way up the hill to greet fellow students and current staff and faculty. The 2021-2022 cohort included the largest 9th grade class in school history with 62 students, nine 10th graders, three 11th graders, and 13 new faculty and staff members. Parents and family members were invited to watch from the shoreline as students arrived. The event, originally scheduled for September 1, was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
Two weeks prior, during the last full week in August, Gunston hosted several orientations and leadership retreats for students as well as faculty and staff. “After a hiatus in 2020, we were thrilled to be able to offer our usual 9th Grade Orientation at Camp Pecometh,” said Head of School John Lewis. The two-day retreat welcomed 60 students, where they spent the day and evening getting to know each other while participating in various outdoor challenges and team building activities offered by the Camp Pecometh Challenge Course Program. After a picnic dinner with current Gunston student leaders, 9th graders were able to play games and relax before heading back to individual tents to sleep. Following breakfast the next morning, 9th graders returned to Gunston’s campus for the continuation of their retreat program with sessions focused on environmental, global, and digital citizenship.
Running simultaneously, Gunston’s 6th Annual Leadership Institute invited student leaders from various clubs, student government, and athletics to gather and learn about leadership practices, set goals for the year, and to help facilitate activities for 9th graders.
“Coming into my first year as a new student and also new to the area, I remember walking into the retreat and I actually didn’t know a single soul,” recalled Senior Class President Lucy Bamford ’22. “I wish I could go back and tell myself ‘listen, everything you’re worried about and everything you’re scared about right now — you have nothing to be afraid of.’ When it comes to that sense of belonging (and I think that’s something that we all fear we won’t find), […] what I’ve learned is that Gunston helps you find that sense of belonging and helps you find those people who make you feel like you belong.”
Founded in 1911 and currently enrolling 235 students, The Gunston School is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian, coeducational, college preparatory high school located in Centreville, Maryland. Visit gunston.org for more information.