Ninth grader CECELIA and twelfth grader JOSEF have long called Glenelg Country School (GCS) home, sharing an experience in the upper school with their siblings and working on campus at the school’s Summer in the Country summer camp. Josef, a GCS “lifer,” has been a student at the school since kindergarten and feels it has prepared him to follow an ROTC path after graduation. Cecilia looks forward to the opportunities she will have the next four years of high school.

How do you feel that you best represent your school?
Cecelia: I best represent my school through two leadership experiences. I have been a student ambassador where I am paired with potential new students. They shadow me for a day, and I answer their questions about our school community. Additionally, this year I served as the president of the middle school’s student council. Through this, I started a digital school newspaper that gave students a chance to voice their perspectives with our community.

Josef: I best represent my school by displaying GCS’s focus on academics, community service, and extracurricular activities. A true GCS “Dragon” embodies all three of those facets while being respectful, honest, and truthful to others. Academically, I participate in the rigorous Scholars Program focusing on technology, engineering, and design. I am a recipient of the Carson Scholarship and a member of the National Honor Society and the National Latin Society. I serve my local community by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and recently helped alleviate the spread of COVID-19 by building and donating a sanitation stand to a homeless shelter.  I also work to improve the global community by volunteering for the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), a nonprofit organization raising awareness of the dangers of land mines and alleviating the pain of landmines in the developing world. Through Peacemakers and Problem Solvers, a program of MLI, I have participated in multiple international peace conferences.  I was awarded a service project grant for creating the most valuable service initiative during my freshman year. This $500 grant initiated my mine detection dog campaign to raise $20,000 to sponsor a lifesaving mine detection dog by my senior year. I also serve as the treasurer for the student council, play two varsity sports, participate in robotics, and created GCS’s motor club. By being strong academically, involved in community service, and a leader of extracurricular activities, I have become a well-rounded student, prepared myself for college, and developed into a true “Dragon.”

What tradition or experience did your school make a point of continuing despite being on lockdown?
Cecelia: Despite the pandemic, we were still able to have our annual All-School Relay. When students enroll at GCS, they join either the Glen or the Elg team. A boy and girl from each grade participate in a relay race, passing a baton from the Little Dragons to the seniors. The race is a friendly yet competitive tradition because it gets the whole school excited to watch their friends race.

Josef: During the lockdown, GCS continued Forum, office hours, and clubs on Wednesdays via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These activities helped establish a sense of community and built strong bonds between students and faculty. Forum is when upper school students meet to discuss future activities and the latest news. Seniors also use this time to present researched topics to the student body and faculty. In addition, GCS implemented private meetings with teachers during office hours to build strong relationships between students and teachers. Finally, students were allowed to join clubs during the lockdown. In student council, we found ways to reestablish our school community by organizing a pumpkin carving competition, an advisory talent contest, and a March Madness tournament. By continuing these activities, GCS continued its sense of community and gave everyone a sense of normalcy.

Do you have a favorite place on campus?
Cecelia: My favorite place on campus is Dragon Stadium. It is where I first started playing field hockey, where we played kickball in gym class, where we played capture the flag during summer camps, and where countless memories were made for my grade.

Josef: My favorite place on campus is the Manor House. The Manor House resembles a Scottish castle and dates back to the 1700s. In 1954, Kingdon and Mary Gould rented the Manor House and started GCS. It is currently being used as an extension of the lower school and features many classrooms. Because I have attended GCS since kindergarten, I have spent many years in the Manor House, developing into the person I am today. It is my favorite place on campus because of its interesting history and the memories I made while being a student in the lower school.

What is the biggest lesson you will take away from your school experience?
Cecelia: One of the biggest life lessons I have learned at school is to always try new things. I’ve learned that no matter what I think the outcome will be, I will never truly know until I try.  All of the teachers at GCS are so encouraging and supportive that they give us the confidence to learn new skills and discover our talents.

Josef: My biggest takeaway from GCS is that any goal can be achieved through hard work and determination. As a GCS student, I have developed a spectacular work ethic due to the school’s challenging courses and inspiring faculty. I have learned that any challenge can be overcome by hard work. My hard work and determination have led to many accomplishments and have prepared me for what lies ahead in the future.

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