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Grace BLOG

Welcome to the Grace Blog! In the 2016-17 school year, we'll feature voices from around our school: specialists, faculty and staff, and more. Tune in each week for another snapshot of our community! 

Awards Assembly 2017

Today we enjoyed a wonderful awards assembly to honor recipients of three awards: The Drew Nealley Walkers' Club Award, the Daniel Benner Memorial Award, and the Theolyn Wilson Music award.

The Drew Nealley Walkers' Club Award, given in memory of former Grace student Drew Nealley, is awarded to the student who has logged the most walking miles during recess. Students in all grades are eligible for this award. Drew's parents Eric and Sarah Nealley were on hand to present the award, which this year went to a student in -- wait for it -- Grade 1, Sanjana Jacob! I think even Sanjana was surprised by her own dedicated walking.

The Theolyn Wilson Outstanding Student in Music Award is presented to a Grade 5 student who has had a solo in a major performance, has consistently demonstrated exemplary conduct in music class, and has developed excellent performance skills in singing and/or playing an instrument.

Ms. Wilson was at the ceremony with us and was delighted to present the award to this year's winner, Grade 5 student Cameron Hagans. As Ms. Danish said, "In discussing this year’s recipient of the Wilson Award, the faculty cited the honoree’s beautiful voice but more than that this musician’s embodiment of the joy of music. Our honoree is always dancing and singing through life!"

We were lucky enough to be joined by a few Grace alumnae who are past winners of the Theolyn Wilson Music Award, Lourdes Fitzgerald (2012) and Carolyn Hoff (2015). It was great to have them back on campus and to hear about their continued adventures in music!

The Daniel Benner Memorial Award is given to a student in Grade 5 who has participated on a Grace sports team and has exhibited scholarship, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Daniel's mother, Dr. Gurny, joined us to present the award this year to co-recepients in Grade 5: Nevan Brundage and Danielle Foster. As Ms. Danish noted, "One is a kind and gentle friend with a strong work ethic and excellent sportsmanship. The other is a kind of “mayor” of the class – a student who serves as an anchor and a leader in Grade 5."

Congratulations to all award winners, and thanks to all of the Friends of Grace who joined us for today's presentation.

Below are some excerpts from Head of School Jen Danish's presentation:

"Good morning Grace students, parents, faculty, former Grace students and parents, and distinguished guests. We are delighted to have you with us today. As we draw closer to the end of another school year, we have much to reflect on and celebrate. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for making this first year for me such a special one. In many ways, I feel like I have been here much longer than 11 months – mostly because this community is so very warm and welcoming. I am prouder than ever to be a Grace Gryphon and I enjoy each day that we get to spend together. Again, thank you to all of you for welcoming and supporting me as your new Head of School.

We are here today to offer awards to a few deserving students – recognizing values they possess like teamwork, sportsmanship, scholarship and musicianship. We offer these awards to students in our school now with a look back to the students and faculty that these awards are named for who have come before us. Gathering annually for this assembly gives us an opportunity to recognize good works in our community and also remember that we are a part of something larger than ourselves. We are connected to a Grace family that includes the memories and contributions of past students Drew Nealley and Daniel Benner and music teacher, Theolyn Wilson. We are all a part of the tapestry that is Grace and when we leave this place, our contributions, large and small, will have impacts many years after we have left. So as we offer these awards today, let us all remember that we all have much to give to each other and to Grace.

Ms. Danish also shared with us a wonderful prayer written just for occasions such as these!

“Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, we meet to honor those among us who have distinguished themselves in various ways. We also honor all of those who have aided in that effort by friendship, sharing of ideas, encouragement, and team spirit. Above all, we bless you who created a world in which such insight, leadership, and hard work are possible. Help those of us who are on the sidelines at this moment not to be so envious that we don’t use it as a time to figure out what draws out the best in us. Help us to be with those whom we honor so that they don’t confuse themselves with notions of superiority in areas other than those for which they are rewarded. Help us to liberate everyone to do as well as we can, and with your help to achieve with integrity and peace. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ who distinguished himself in speaking and living for justice and love. Amen.”

Posted by kfloman on Thursday May 25 at 02:25PM
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High School Reunion -- Grace class of 2011

If you're confused by the topic of this blog, we understand! Grace still ends after Grade 5. However, every year we invite Grace alumni who are now alumni graduating high school seniors back to GEDS to visit, catch up with classmates, and share memories of their time at Grace.

Yesterday, the Grace Class of 2011 gathered together to reunite and celebrate their upcoming graduation from high school! We loved seeing them and hearing about their college choices. Thank you to all of them (and their parents) for coming back!

Grace alumni of all ages -- we'd love to hear from you! Please reach out to Director of Advancement, Becky Mulholland, at bmulholland@geds.org or 240-292-5245 so that we can keep in touch.

Posted by kfloman on Wednesday May 24 at 02:04PM
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DC Race for Hope: The Drew Nealley Team

On a beautiful, bright Sunday morning (May 7), Grace teachers, administrators, families, and friends gathered at Freedom Plaza to run or walk in the DC Race for Hope, an annual 5K race that raises money for research into brain tumors.

The dedicated Members of the Drew Nealley team, led by Grace alumni parents Eric and Sarah Nealley, plus Karen Smith and Lauren Simpson, were out in force to show their support!

Our team’s namesake and guiding spirit, Drew Nealley, was an exuberant seven year-old who lost his personal battle with a glioblastoma brain tumor in 2006. Drew loved attending Grace Episcopal Day School, where he developed strong bonds with classmates, teachers, and administrators. Students at Grace still participate in the Drew Nealley Walkers' Club during the school year.

This year was the Drew Nealley Team’s 11th year of participation in the DC Race for Hope. Many of our team members continue to participate in the Race year after year. During the past ten years, Drew Nealley teammates have run and walked over a thousand miles to raise $206,060 in support of brain tumor research.

Thank you to all who support this effort! If you would still like to make a donation, you can visit the team's fundraising page.

This year, Director of Elementary Education Gail Kennedy ran the 5K while Head of School, Jen Danish, enjoyed the walk with current Grade 4 student, Luke Schwindt and his mom, Ann Ewing. The race is a wonderful way for current and past Grace families to gather, and remember and honor Drew's memory, while raising money for brain tumor research.

In total, this year's race raised $1,692,194.01 to fund research. The Race for Hope, now in its 20th year, has raised over $27 million dollars! Save the date for next year's race: May 6. 2018! We hope you all can join us then to honor Drew and raise awareness and funds.

Posted by kfloman on Thursday May 11 at 04:11PM
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Grace Episcopal Day School will provide every student the opportunity for academic excellence in a caring, nurturing, moral environment that embraces diversity and promotes creativity, self-confidence, and service to others.

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