From Where I Stand

From Where I Stand
by Russell Shaw

This Fall 2022 edition of Georgetown Days represents a transition in our print calendar for the School’s community magazine. Our magazine will now be circulated in the Fall and Spring of each school year. This issue covers content from November 2021 through June 2022. 

The spring of 2022 at GDS was marked by bustling activity, which felt particularly joyous and vibrant following two years of pandemic schooling. Spring in school is always busy. The seeds of student possibility, which are carefully planted in the fall and assiduously cultivated through the winter, bloom proudly in the spring in the form of concerts, essays, presentations, and an abundance of celebration-worthy student work. 

Even during this typically bustling season, the 72-hour period that commenced the evening of April 21, 2022 was noteworthy. Our community was partially emerging from a pandemic of more than two years. We reached deep into our School’s past to celebrate the people and relationships that have made us who we are, even as we celebrated our contemporary strength and vitality and shared excitement for the future. 

As you’ll see in other parts of this magazine, that weekend was a rich few days for our community:

Thursday Evening, April 21:

Poetry Club co-leader Ben Carter '23 performs during Slam Poetry Night.

I joined alumni parents on the LMS patio to enjoy drinks, hors d'oeuvres and each others’ company. Parents of alumni reminisced about their child’s GDS era and shared stories of their now adult children thriving in the world, as physicians, playwrights, social workers, scientists, policy makers, and more. While many marveled at our newly unified campus, which they were seeing for the first time, they were reassured that, “It still feels like GDS.” As if to emphasize the point, the words of student poets drifted across Davenport Street from their Slam Poetry Night on the High School balcony.




Friday Morning, April 22:

LS Passover Assembly

Lower School students gathered in the LMS Performing Arts Space to celebrate Passover, their first-in person assembly in more than two years. The performance took place in the round, with old favorites like “Pass Over All Our Houses” and “Dayenu” enhanced with modern dance and vivid imagery projected on screens overhead. 




Saturday, April 23:

Eco Market Day (Credit Shaila Joshi '25)

Our fields were thrumming with Spring Sports Saturday activity, as our lacrosse and softball teams competed on campus, our baseball teams played just down the road, and we christened a new crew boat. Even as we were cheering on our teams, community members also gathered on the LMS Driveway for Eco Market Day, a student-planned event with the goal of raising environmental consciousness. The event, co-planned by the Student Action Committee and Environmental Task Force, featured booths for voter registration and a clothing swap, along with opportunities to learn about topics like affordable housing and recycling. The bustling carnival atmosphere coincided with our first in-person Alumni Reunion in three years. Alumni enjoyed tours of the new building, and returned to the classroom for a new offering, Classes Without Quizzes, featuring lessons from Kevin Barr, Sue Ikenberry and Bobby Asher. There were also affinity gatherings for Black and LGBTQ+ alumni and an evening reunion party.

Sunday Morning, April 24:

Gladys Stern Celebration (Credit Weikerken Altema)

Nearly 200 community members gathered in the LMS gym to celebrate the life of Gladys Stern, our third head of school. Gladys began at GDS as a parent in the 1950’s, was the founding director of the GDS High School, and served as head of school for 21 years, from 1975-1996. The celebration featured performances from students, faculty, and alumni as well as four speakers reflecting on Gladys’s remarkable life and her many contributions to GDS. 

As we prepare to welcome students back to campus for the 2022-23 school year, that whirlwind spring weekend is still with me. I’m reminded that at GDS, we’re blessed to be part of a story that is bigger than all of us. Our programs and facilities evolve to meet the needs of the present moment and our teaching practices and student supports improve based on contemporary research. Even as we evolve to meet our present moment, we are anchored in a story, a mission, and a web of relationships that make us uniquely GDS.

That weekend in April, as I was surrounded by every type of community member, watching our students display new forms of advocacy, celebrating Gladys and our Passover tradition, and building new connections, I was buoyed by the knowledge that we are honoring our past while leaning into the possibility of the future, a balancing act that is at the heart of GDS.

Russell Shaw
Head of School

From Where I Stand
  • Head of School