As the start of the 2020-21 school year draws nearer, Head of School Gina Borst has announced that she will host some virtual meetings with families of Grier students. The meetings will allow Mrs. Borst to communicate the procedures and protocols in place for the upcoming school year and will give parents and students the opportunity to ask questions.
After thirty years of making a difference in the lives of countless Grier students, Mrs. Abby Curtis has retired from Grier School. She plans to join her husband, retired Grier teacher Mr. Charlie Curtis on their small farm outside of State College, Pennsylvania.
While the International Student Orientation Program (ISOP) has been cancelled for Fall 2020, three Enrichment Program options remain open for enrollment. These options include the Princeton Review, Riding, and Dance Enrichment programs. The cost for each of the specialized programs has been set at $1500 per week. Signed enrichment program permission form and payment must be returned to the school by July 31, 2020. Continue reading to download the permission forms and to learn more.
On Monday, Grier's Head of School released a letter to parents detailing the 2020-2021 Opening plans for Grier School. Within the document, Mrs. Borst listed late-summer enrichment program options, arrival dates and procedures, as well as, guidelines for dormitories and day students. Her letter also addresses health and wellness concerns, provides a revised 2020 School Calendar, and a Daily Class Schedule.
Mrs. Borst's letter, in its entirety, was emailed to families on Monday and is provided below, as well as, on Grier's COVID-19 resources page.
UPDATE as of 7/14/2020: Grier School celebrates the reversal of policy that would affect the visa status of international students. As a result of this reversal, student visas currently in active status will NOT be suspended. Grier will continue to work with students and families through this challenging time.
Grier Director of Enrollment released a letter to parents addressing recent updates from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after reaching out to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Field Representative for guidance. Knowing that many famlies have questions about how this will affect their Grier enrollment in the fall, Mrs. Neely provides answers to several frequently asked questions within her letter.
Mrs. Neely's letter, in its entirety, was released to famlies today and is provided below, as well as, on Grier's COVID-19 resource page.
The Grier Alumnae network is a worldwide connection of supportive and strong women. If you attended Grier, you belong to this community!
Connect with your fellow Grier Alumnae and share with us information about your life after Grier. We love to learn about your major milestones like graduations, career developments, travels, marriages, and births, but we also enjoy hearing about the everyday parts of your lives like what you’ve been reading, your hobbies, and your relationships with other Grier alumnae.
It's all about balance for our #GrierGirls! While we offer rigorous academic course we also provide lots of courses that expand creativity for our students. Follow along during Chujun's day during her freshman year!
Congratulations to Alexis B. for her winning entry to the Pennsylvania Conservation Department’s Trout in the Classroom Poster Contest in the 7th-9th grade category! A letter from the Huntingdon County Conservation District praised Alexis’s work, stating:
Alexis's poster is both visually pleasing and demonstrates a knowledgeable understanding of this year's conservation message. Alexis's poster will advance to the state competition for a chance to compete against entries from across Pennsylvania. If selected at the state level, Alexis's poster will advance to the national competition for a chance to win cash prizes up to $200!
Grier's Concert Choir worked hard on a final project to make up for not having their concert in person this spring. This wonderful montage features them singing Gnothi Safton (Know Thyself) along with photos from the school year. We are so proud of them!
Students in Grier’s Life Science classes have been participating in the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program for seven years. Although Grier’s students did not get to release their trout into local waterways this spring, they were able to learn about the ecological factors in this process and were able to participate in the quilt square exchange program.
Every year, the staff of Grier’s Pineneedleyearbook dedicates the yearbook to a faculty member or two. This year, the staff chose the energetic Athletic Director, Mrs. Cherie Gates for one of the dedications.
The Altoona Community Theatre's (ACT) Annual Isaac Awards are going virtual in 2020! Participating high schools, including Grier, submitted videos as a way to celebrate their unrealized spring productions. Grier’s Music Department had planned to perform James and the Giant Peach in late April, but due to coronavirus, Grier was not able to finish the production. Fortunately, Grier captured an early dance number practice on video.
Every year, the staff of Grier’s Pineneedle yearbook dedicates the yearbook to a faculty member or two. This year, the staff chose enthusiastic science teacher Mrs. Christine Fernandes for one of the dedications.
The personnel of Grier School united to honor the Class of 2020 with a special Virtual Graduation presentation. This Grier School Graduation 2020 premiered on Grier’s YouTube Channel on Saturday, June 6th at 12pm EDT. The celebration included speeches, awards, individual recognition of graduates, remarks, tributes, and a few surprises to honor the unforgettable Grier Class of 2020.
Grier's Head of School released a letter to parents regarding Grier's plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Mrs. Borst confirmed that Grier plans to allow students to return to campus in the fall, following detailed safety protocols for return. She outlined options for mulitple late-summer enrichment programs and listed specific dates when student groups may return to campus. Mrs. Borst also notes that virtual classes are an option.
Mrs. Borst's letter, in its entirety, was emailed to families earlier this week and is provided below, as well as, on Grier's COVID-19 resources page.
Members of Grier’s Chamber Orchestra, along with Director Mr. Mark Minnich, performed the piece “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Unger against a backdrop of photos featuring Grier musicians and seniors. The music was performed, recorded, and compiled during the school closure and while many were in quarantine or under stay-at-home orders. It is dedicated to the Grier Class of 2020.
Grier is proud of #GrierGirls for taking the lead on our campus to create safe spaces to have open dialogues. Student-run groups like Beyond the Bubble and Bridge Club help create an open dialogue on campus where we - students, staff, and faculty - can listen, learn, and respectfully discuss many difficult topics. It is our hope these groups continue to lead the dialogue for years to come at Grier but also in their home communities.
The Class of 2020 is experiencing an unprecedented moment, with the end of their senior year disrupted by the public health crisis. Grier English Department Chair Ms. Kara Lawler offers words of encouragement and compassion to high school seniors in her essay, To a High School Senior published on TODAY Parents.
“This might not be the life you’ve planned, but there is beauty unfolding in what remains, even if it’s hard, even if it’s not fair, even if it’s just so different from what you imagined."
Grier's Head of School released a letter today to parents thanking everyone for their support during the world's on-going battle with COVID-19. Mrs. Borst also detailed information about the storage, shipment, or pickup of student belongings, as well as information about grades, transcripts, and registration for the upcoming school year. She then outlined what Grier has in the works for late summer and fall, including an effort to resume classes in the fall, while maintaining student safety as a first priority.
We know that many campers have been looking forward to attending Grier Summer. For some, this summer would have been the continuation of a tradition, while others might have been looking forward to their first sleep-away camp experience. With an array of games to play, activities to enjoy, and close friendships to develop at Grier Summer, the announcement of this season’s cancellation may be difficult to swallow.
While working from home, Grier’s Mrs. Woolfrey was inspired to create a crochet pattern in honor of the Grier students. Like their mascot, the students of Grier are fast, graceful, and agile athletes, riders, and dancers. They are clever and highly intelligent problem solvers. Foxes, like Grier students and alumnae, are found worldwide, on six continents.
Last week, Grier Head of School Mrs. Gina Borst shared plans for honoring Grier’s class of 2020 through a digital graduation celebration, personalized gift box, and an invitation to return to celebrate a year from now. In a letter to parents of the Grier Class of 2020, she wrote:
Even during this unbelievable situation, life continues on, spring has arrived, the school year will be coming to an end shortly, and it is almost time to say goodbye to our senior class. While this is definitely not the way any of us wanted to recognize and celebrate graduation, the Class of 2020 is such a special group of young women, they deserve whatever we can do to honor our seniors for all they have accomplished during their time at the Grier School.
It is with love and sadness in our hearts and safety and wisdom on our minds that I announce that Grier Summer will not be offering a 2020 camp season.
While we had hoped to be able to put together a shortened and enjoyable camp experience in July - local, state and national guidelines have led us to conclude that this is unwise. While we were prepared to make many adjustments and changes in order to make a camp season happen as it has for 45 consecutive years, the reality of COVID19 is that there are still too many safety concerns for us all to be together this year.
To learn about French culture, students in Madame Pope’s French classes researched Parisian monuments of their choice. The students each selected a monument. Then, depending on the level of the course, they either submitted written facts about the monument or gave an oral presentation. They demonstrated their creativity by recreating the monument from objects found inside their homes! The found-object interpretations of the monuments of Paris were so creative and brought smiles to the classmates.
With nights getting warmer and skies getting clearer, May is a great month to spend some time stargazing. May brings meteor showers, a conjunction of Mars and the moon, and a comet! Mrs. Fernandes has, of course, had her eyes on the skies during our time at home and has captured some magnificent photos to share.
The year 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. Early American suffragists spent years, even entire lifetimes, campaigning for the right to vote.
The US suffrage movement formally began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls convention, just five years before Grier School was born. Activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt organized the convention. After decades of campaigns, protests, demonstrations, the right to vote finally came when US Congress passed the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, which stated, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
In years past, Grier varsity athletes have been honored at a Sports Awards Banquet, but because we could not hold the banquet this year, Grier’s Athletic Director Cherie Gates hosts the event online. Thanks to the contributions of Ms. Cherie, all the varsity coaches, and the video-editing of Grier’s own Mr. Bryan Beckle, Grier proudly presents The Grier Varsity Sports Awards 2020!
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week are three Dominican revolutionaries called the Mirabal sisters.
The Mirabal sisters were featured by Time Magazine this March in a piece by Ciara Nugent. According to the article, sisters Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal lived married, middle-class lives in the Domincan Republic under the brutal regime of dictator Rafael Trujillo in the 1950s. The sisters risked their lives working underground to resist and challenge Trujillo’s regime. Arrests and threats did not deter the sisters' efforts and they were eventually murdered by the state on November 25, 1960. This blow triggered dissidents to assassinate Trujillo and help the nation transition to democracy. The sisters are regarded as symbols of democracy and feminism and carry the nickname “Las Mariposas,” the Butterflies. The UN has honored them by declaring the anniversary of their deaths International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Grier students participated in the statewide reading program by reading books from a list of 15 nominees, and then voting for their favorite. The results of the student vote show that Grier students have wonderful and diverse tastes! Favorites included fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels that reflected a variety of cultural experiences and genres.
Students voted for ten out of the 15 nominees as their favorites, with the book Love, Hate, and Other Filters taking the first place spot by earning the most votes. Love, Hate and Other Filters is the contemporary novel by Samira Ahmed. In the Ahmed’s book, high school senior Maya Aziz is caught between her Indian-born parents’ world of college and finding a suitable Muslim husband and her own dream to pursue film school and date classmate Phil when a terrorist attack upends her life.
Grier riders are missing their equestrian competitions this spring, but sophomore Cassidy R. was able to compete in HITS - Ocala in Florida before the competitions were cancelled. Congrats sophomore Cassidy R. on her results from the HITS Ocala event this past March.
While competing in Florida, she was named Champion in 3’6” Junior Hunters on her horse Bear, Reserve Champion out of 45 competitors in the Modified Juniors on Sammy, and Champion on Cappy in the 14-15 age Group Equitation.
Grier’s network of students, alumnae, teachers, and families extends around the world. Just like Grier students, other students worldwide are experiencing the challenges of distance learning. Voices of Youth shares stories of young people coping with the unprecedented worldwide school closures.
This Friday, May 8th, marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. This day, known as Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, was when the Allied forces officially announced Germany’s surrender. In France, where the initial military surrender occurred in Reims on May 7th, the day is known as “Victoire 1945.” Past milestone anniversaries of VE Day have been celebrated with parades and festivities, but due to the pandemic this year, those wishing to celebrate the historic date must make alternative plans.
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week is Kenyan professor and environmental activist Wangari Maathai.
Professor Maathai was highly active and accomplished during her 71 years, and her work to promote democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation is recognized internationally. Wangari Maathai was born in rural Kenya in 1940 and was a great scholar of science, becoming the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and positions of professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi.
The Academy of American Poets celebrates National Poetry Month each April, and this year, US Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recites a poem of hope from the Los Angeles Public Library in a video from television’s CBS This Morning.
Grier has an array of athletic offerings when school is in session, including varsity and recreational sports, personal fitness, yoga, horseback riding, and dance. While social distancing has limited what can safely take place, Grier is upholding its commitment to the physical well-being of students by offering daily virtual fitness opportunities in dance, yoga, and body sculpting classes.
While we social distance ourselves, Grier students and teachers are coming together across the world for online classes. Through the wonders of technology, students are having discussions and collaborating on projects, such as their American Literature assignment.
Earlier this spring, Grier's Garden Club advisor made her annual pilgrimage to the Philadelphia Flower Show where she captured lovely images of the arrangements. She noted that this year’s show featured themes of water and the ocean.
Typically, Garden Club meets on weekends throughout the school year to learn more about flowers and plants through nature exploration and field trips to local plant nurseries and floral shops, as well as, to create beautiful floral arrangements. Garden Club is one of several clubs at Grier that reflect the diverse interests of Grier’s students and faculty advisors.
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week is New Zealand Suffragette Kate Sheppard.
The year 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. Early American suffragists spent years, even entire lifetimes, campaigning for the right to vote.
Congrats to Bella Newman (Class of 2017) on her most recent feature in Vogue Magazine! Bella is in NYU’s filmmaking program, and before the shelter in place order hit the city, she made her way back to Central Pennsylvania to quarantine with her extended family and two friends in her suburban home. She's been capturing her time on lockdown through photographs which can be seen in her Quarantine Diary.
Attention all Grier alumnae, the latest issue of the Grier Alumnae Bulletin is available now! This issue includes updates from alumnae worldwide, full-color photo-spreads of the 2019 Commencement Ceremony and feature stories about Grier’s amazing alumnae. The bulletin also includes photos and descriptions of the 2019 Spring Break Trips, retirement ceremonies, the latest news from Grier alumnae, faculty, and retirees.
This April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a day established to focus on issues impacting the environment. While the Grier community cannot celebrate the special day together in person by doing some of the usual activities, such as planting trees and spreading awareness of challenges to worldwide ecosystems, we can come together from afar to honor the earth.
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week is Polish war hero Irena Sendlerowa.
Irena Sendlerowa was born in 1910 near Warsaw, Poland, where her father was a doctor to many Jewish patients. During the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, she used her role as a social worker as a cover to direct a rescue organization that smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto, falsified their identification papers, and placed children in the care of other families until they could be reunited with their own families at a later time.
Adolescence is a transitional time, typically filled with increased independence, exploration, important friendships and social interactions, and separations from parents. With the social distancing recommendations and restrictions now in place, many parents are spending increased time with their tweens and teens than before. Licensed clinical psychologist, Rebecca “Dr. Becky” Kennedy, gives some basic advice for parents about interacting with tweens and teens during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her short introductory video, she makes three main points:
Signs of spring can be found throughout the Grier campus and the surrounding areas. While safely social distancing, Mrs. Fernandes enjoyed a walk through a park in Tyrone where she spotted several of nature’s wonders, including springy moss, shelf fungi, velvety magnolia buds, and daffodils and hyacinth popping out of the earth like little green spikes. Students in Mrs. Fernandes Life Science class often learn about the plants and animals that thrive in Pennsylvania.
Student Council members created a video version of the Grier prayer. This simple reminder to be present everyday and to consider the needs of others is something that Grier students, faculty, and staff recite each morning at the start of announcements and before classes begin.
April is School Library Month, the American Association of School Librarians' celebration of school librarians and school libraries. Grier’s Library would normally mark the occasion with some extra contests, displays, prizes, and activities. This year, when we are distant from each other, Mrs. Woolfrey would like to remind students of the great Grier Library resources they can access online.
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week is Mexican physician Matilde Montoya.
Born in 1859 in Mexico City, young Matilde worked as a midwife and surgeon’s assistant. Although women were generally not allowed to officially study medicine, she gained entry to a program and became the first Mexican woman to get a medical degree, along with a PhD. Her areas of expertise were in surgery and obstetrics. Matilde Montoya paved the way for other women to study and make careers in the field of medicine.
After their unit on the Victorian-era play The Importance of Being Earnest by British playwright Oscar Wilde, the ninth grade students in Mr. Lang’s English classes invented their own “Bunbury” characters.
The Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards (PAYRCA) Program is an annual statewide program that gives students the opportunity to vote for their favorite authors. At Grier, students who participate in the program receive Grier Bucks and chances to win prizes throughout the school year. Grier students who have read titles from the nominees list are eligible to cast a vote for their favorite.
This year, Bridge Club initiated regular celebrations of global holidays at Grier. Members of Bridge Club took turns sharing information about holidays celebrated around the world during Monday morning school assemblies, and Grier’s Dining Services provided a special treat after school in honor of each holiday.
With the whole Grier community now connected virtually, Mrs. Salyards has moved the Bridge Club Holiday of the Week online. Listen and learn all about Greek Cypriot National Day, celebrated in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus.
The Garden Club community service project began in the fall when members placed tulip bulbs into repurposed milk jugs. The students taped the jugs shut, but left the tops open. Then, the club members placed the jugs on the ground so the bulbs inside would have access to rain water, but be protected from freezing while they received the necessary cold treatment. Amber Y. and Loan W. worked to plant the bulbs in 6” pots so they can be forced to bloom indoors over a 5 week process. The club members planned to wrap the pots in pretty Easter foil after returning from Spring Break and deliver them to a local nursing home, but instead, the plants are bringing joy throughout Grier school!
Aware of the health benefits of coloring, Grier created a series of coloring pages that highlight some of our favorite scenes around campus. Our Grier coloring pages are available for download for FREE and include scenes of the majestic Old Main, the triangle windows of the Art Building nestled among the pine trees, Grier dancers learning from their instructions, vocalists gathered around the piano in the Choir Room, a rider and her horse, and more!
With the daffodils and forsythia in bloom in Pennsylvania, I am reminded that spring is here and summer is coming. I am reminded that even in the midst of much uncertainty, anxiety, and strain - there is beauty, brightness, and color all around. I am struck that the Summer 2020 theme, "Color Me Happy," picked months ago, is timely and relevant. While having definitive answers about what the next days, weeks, and months will hold would be helpful - we are all having to tolerate the reality that planning for the immediate future is mostly out of our hands.
In addition to weekly world celebrations, Bridge Club members also presented a Woman of the Week. Every Friday, a Bridge Club member would tell a brief story of one courageous woman in history. This week’s Woman of the Week is Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani.
This year, Bridge Club initiated regular celebrations of global holidays at Grier. Members of Bridge Club took turns sharing information about holidays celebrated around the world during Monday morning school assemblies, and Grier’s Dining Services provided a special treat after school in honor of each holiday. With the whole Grier community now connected virtually, Mrs. Salyards has moved the Bridge Club Holiday of the Week online. Listen and learn all about Hùng Kings' Temple Festival, celebrated in Vietnam.
When information and responses are evolving rapidly, it can feel unsettling and many of us will feel some anxiety or fear as a result. People find a variety of ways to cope, but are some ways better than others? What are the best ways to help someone experiencing stressful feelings?
For many in the Grier community, learning and working from home may be a new experience. School psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber outlines seven best practices for maintaining health and well-being during this time. These practices can fortify happiness and efficiency.
The skies were clear on a late February Friday night, so Mrs. Fernandes met a group of thirty astronomy enthusiasts inside the Andrew Wilson Observatory on the rooftop of the Science Building on Grier’s campus. The students bundled up in coats and gloves for the late-night winter sky viewing session. Through the telescopes, they observed Venus, the Orion nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and the winter constellations.
Last month, the Model UN Club participated in the two-day Penn State Harrisburg Model UN Conference. Representing Palestine, Ethiopia, and Russia, the club argued for peace in the Middle East, religious tolerance in Europe, and even cyber security against terrorism.
Music and voice instructors delighted students and colleagues by giving a mid-day recital before Spring Break. The talented teachers sang or played instruments that included flute, cello, and violin. Bravo, Grier music teachers!
Today, Dr. Erin Guydish Buchholz teaches American Literature courses to sophomores at Grier, but observations from her past experience teaching in higher education institutions influenced research that now appears in Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy. In the article, her research focus is on rethinking the practice of teaching, how student differences can be an advantage, and why focusing on skills that transfer to other aspects of students’ lives can enhance teaching pedagogies.
Students prepared the large, thin pancakes using traditional crêpe making methods and tools, as well as, an authentic French crêpe batter recipe from Madame Shaffer’s mother. Chefs Duane and Jon from Grier’s Food Services team provided culinary instruction in the kitchen of Cardinal Cottage, one of the residential cottages on Grier’s campus.
We are excited that every day is different for our #GrierGirls and now you can follow along a few of their experiences! From academics to signature programs, take a peek at Rhianna's day during her junior year!
Members of Grier’s National Honor Society (NHS) celebrated “I Am Beautiful” day last month. On this occasion, NHS encouraged everyone to tell their friends, roommates, classmates, and teachers that they are beautiful. Members of NHS also created a large photo collage and assembled a video featuring portraits of each Grier student accompanied by the Christina Aguiliera song “I Am Beautiful.” The club even shared custom stickers featuring student artwork, made sweet signs, and left uplifting messages on mirrors. Everyone at Grier felt beautiful and loved thanks to NHS.
For the second year in a row, Grier School has earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP® Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP® Computer Science courses.
Students in Philosophy class played with Lego bricks to build a stronger comprehension of one of the philosophical theories they had learned about in class. The students have been reading the novel Sophie’s World, which provides an overview of history and philosophy in a narrative format.
One of the book’s early chapters introduces Democritus’ Particle Theory, in which he believed the world was composed of tiny particles or what we would call “atoms” today. The chapter in Sophie’s World goes on to say that Lego bricks are an ingenious toy to demonstrate this idea. When someone builds a structure with Lego bricks, the assembly of bricks not only represents the new thing, but the integrity of each individual brick is still maintained.
Each student in Philosophy class used Lego bricks to construct something meaningful as they discussed how each of the meaningful sculptures was still made up of the original, unchanged, units, or “atoms.”
To celebrate a great riding season, Grier held a Riding Banquet in the gymnasium. Also, congratulations to the Grier Hunt Seat Team as they hosted the IEA Regional Finals! The Upper School Team finished as Champion and the Middle School team finished as Reserve Champion, with both teams moving on to Zone Finals later this month! Upper School team riders were: Sophia O, Sydney R, Lucy H, and Marcella B. The Middle School team included Aahana L. The following riders also qualified individually for Zone Finals included: Sophia O, Grace W, Maci I, Jimena P, Sydney R, Haley V, Nicole H, Aahana L, Alexis T, and Lucy H! Great job, riders!
Congratulations to riders who competed at the World Equestrian Center in Ohio this weekend! Lucy H. finished 1st in two of her Limit Hunter over fences classes while Morgan M. finished 2nd and 3rd in very large classes. Marcella B. placed in all of her Limit Equitation classes, and Jimena P. and Sophia O. placed in both the NCEA and the National Horse Show medal classes. Congratulations, Grier Equestrians!
Research papers are a regular part of each English and ESL courses at Grier. Knowing this, many teachers opt to partner with Grier’s librarian to give their students specialized lessons in accessing, finding, evaluating, organizing, and citing information.
These skills are essential for college-level work, and, as the decision-makers of tomorrow, today’s students must be able to critically evaluate sources of information for authority and bias. Grier’s Library continues to provide materials in the traditional format of printed books alongside online access to a multitude of searchable eBooks and databases of articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals.
The Science Department is always buzzing with activity on Lab Days and the most recent Lab Days were no exception! Throughout the science building, students were actively engaged in learning through hands-on lab work. Chemistry and biology classes performed technical labs, Earth Science classes modeled convection, and Life Science students simulated a watershed decision-making activity.
Krystal S, Isabella H, and Lily L joined Grier Science teacher Mrs. Forest in attending the Youth Acting for our Earth (YEA!) Conference in State College. The conference was hosted by Isaac Vergun, the Co-Founder and Lead Youth Climate Leader of YEA! The event allowed children in kindergarten through high school to talk about the climate crises, an issue on the minds of many Grier students. Each attendee presented a slide or two about the crisis.
Students in Forensic Psychology class took impressions of their own fingerprints during a lab. They compared their own fingerprints with those of their classmates to notice different whorls, ridges,and patterns.
Following the success of last year’s Artist in Residence, Grier was honored to have artist Susan Nicholas return for a week-long pastel workshop. Grier students had the opportunity to try out the different papers and pastels to explore the play of colors. Then, students used photographs of landscapes, portraits, paintings, and more as inspiration for finished pieces.
To celebrate the end of their season, the Grier Varsity Basketball team challenged the Faculty to a game after school. Both teams played hard. The students took pity on their senior counterparts who were playing dirty in their desparation for a win. It was a fun and fierce time for all the players and the cheering audience. Thanks to the fantastic faculty players who volunteered for this face-off!
Students in Mrs. Fernandes' 8th grade Earth Science class joined her for a field trip to Lincoln Caverns this month. The trip included a tour of two crystal caverns: Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. As they learned about cave geology and local lore associated with the caves, students observed a variety of cave formations, including crystals, stalactites, and stalagmites. They squeezed through some narrow, damp spaces and had fun trying on some wacky bat hats in the gift shop. The trip to Lincoln Caverns was a fun time and educational, as well!
February is Black History Month. To celebrate the history and achievements of African-Americans, Grier invited Key Arts Productions to present an innovative theatrical production to an audience of Grier students and faculty.
The show, titled Spirit of a Woman, showcased noteworthy African-American women accompanied by live music and archival images, film, and audio clips. Joseph Pattinson narrated the audio-visual presentation and played piano accompaniment, while Joyce and Natasha sang pieces made famous by African-American women.
Grier loves to share the accomplishments of our students both in school and outside of school. Following her Grier Varsity Cross-Country season, Grier freshman Edie M. has been representing Grier in competitive indoor track and field events throughout the winter season and achieving her personal best!
Last month Grier shared about a new school initiated called “Beyond the Bubble.” Broadly, this committee of students and faculty facilitators aims to encourage personal growth by taking Grier girls outside of their normal spheres, or bubbles. The group recently held two extremely successful “Bubble Talks,” or town-hall style meetings where everyone is invited to listen, learn, and discuss. Head of School Mrs. Borst, who attended the talks expressed how very proud she was of the students’ respectful handling of these difficult topics.
Congratulations to the Grier School Varsity Dressage team on finishing their 2019-2020 regular season undefeated for the 3rd year in a row! The high school team won both shows finishing with a score of 43 to 22 on Saturday! On Sunday, the middle school team finished 2nd. First place winners include Lindsay S., Grace W., Royce M., Sydney R., Yazmin W., Sarah L., Kara S., Alexis T., Alex Z., Haley V., Rolly W., and Grace T. On Saturday, Lindsay was the high score rider and Grace was reserve high score rider. On Sunday, Royce was the high score rider and Grace was reserve high score rider. Congratulations, Grier Equestrians!
The 2019-2020 Fencing season has begun. Grier fencers had an amazing first match against rival Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic School. The Grier team fought a hard battle, with Amber L, Chaewon L, LIsa T, Judy L, Jasmine L, and Athena J. earning winning points for the Grier team. In their second match of the season, also versus Bishop Guilfoyle, bout winners included: Athena J, Lizzie P, Nguyen V, and Sylvia Y. Go foxes!
During their unit on Ecology, students in Integrated Science are learning about the nation’s sustainability goals and the role of humans in preserving the planet. To deepen understanding of these concepts, the class toured the Eco-Machine and Morningstar Solar house at Penn State’s Sustainability Center.
Senior night was one that not many will forget. The entire 2019-20 Season, is memorable not only for being filled with altheticism, great sportsmanship, and jovial comraderie, but also several unforeseen incidents.
The latest of these was when inclement weather prevented the competition from traveling to Grier! The Grier basketball team rebounded from their disappointment by splitting into two teams: green and white. It was a close game, said Coach Wyland. All girls played their hearts out in front of a large crowd full of friends, family, and faculty.
The five seniors honored before the game started included: Payton, Betsi, Connie, Yazmin, and Sophie. The senior girls are going to be missed. They comprised a unique group on the court that can never be replaced.
Students enjoyed working together to complete a mystery sticker mosaic. As they stopped by the library, the students could adhere a few color-coded stickers to the grid, revealing the image piece-by-piece. Carolyn and Ashley were proud to have placed the very last stickers on this brightly colored unicorn mosaic. Stop by the library to see the result of the result of their collaborative effort for yourself!
Seventh and Eighth grade students, along with their class advisor,, organized a special Valentine’s Bake Sale. The students solicited donations of baked goods from their teachers and other members of the Grier community. Then, they set up tables in the Auditorium to sell the items, which included cupcakes, brownies, and assorted treats. The items were priced at 50 cents or $1 each. The money raised from the sale went toward the Grier Community Fund, which supports members of the Grier community in times of need. This year raised a record total of over $640!
Grier offers special congratulations to all the Equestrian Team riders who qualified for Regional Finals at the end of the month. This includes: Sophia O., Jimena P., Sydney R., Grace W., Lilly F., Lucy H., Hannah H., Isabella H., Nicole H., Briana K., Sarah L., Lindsay S., Leaila T., Haley V., Judy W., Solvieg C., Aahana L., and Alexis T. Great job, Grier riders!
Six members of Grier’s Choir attended the “In High Voice Festival” hosted by the Penn State Oriana Singers at Penn State University on Saturday, February 1st. Along with their Grier Choir Director Mrs. Ginger Reinhart, Amber Y., Liza E., Debbie G., Logan W., Ashley S., and Charlotte M. attended the event designed to motivate treble singers to sing throughout high school and beyond.
With Carnival season just around the corner, it is a great time for the eighth grade students in their World Geography Social Studies class to learn all about the Caribbean, including how to Salsa dance! Their teacher, Mr. Chad Llewellyn spoke to his class about several aspects of the Caribbean culture, including the food (jerk chicken, yum!) and the music.
After practicing with Coach Barr for most of the winter, Grier Archery attended their first tournament of the season. Grier archers in the Saturday, February 8th State-Qualifying NASP Tournament at Bishop Carroll included: April H, Judy L, Nodoka M, and Payton M. All the Grier archers showed their skill with the bow and arrow, but Payton earned special praise for winning the top position in the individual girl’s division with the highest score of the day, 274 points. Wow, go Grier!
Students enjoyed a weekend trip to rock climb at the Milton Rock Gym, and indoor climbing gym in Milton, Pennsylvania. Seasoned climber and Grier English teacher Mr. Tony Lang guided the students, whose experience ranged from first-timers to eight years of climbing.
On Wednesday, February 5th, thirty-one Grier students competed in the Mathematics Association of America’s American Mathematics Competition (MAA AMC). The secondary school competitions are held on the same two days at locations across the nation. Accompanied by math teacher, Mr. Mike Jefferson, the Grier students traveled by school bus to Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, to compete and learn from math educators affiliated with the college.
Students had a great time ice skating in the MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink in PPG Place with science teachers Mrs.Brubaker and Ms. Wyland. The Grier girls took to the ice with the iconic PPG building as a backdrop. The shining neo-gothic PPG Complex called “the crown jewel of the Pittsburgh skyline” is similar to New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza, with shops and cafes on the periphery of the seasonal ice rink. It looks like a great day of fun and friends!
Grier audiences have been enjoying weekly doses of GrierTV, the student-produced news that airs every Friday morning during assembly. This newscast is produced by members of AV Club and Video Production class.
Students collect footage throughout the week, using camcorders, microphones, and greenscreens. Then, with the help of their teacher Mr. Beckel, they edit and assemble footage in FinalCut Pro. GrierTV is an excellent opportunity for these students to work together as a crew, increase their public speaking techniques, and strengthen their technical production and editing skills. On top of all that, it’s a fantastic way for everyone at Grier to see and hear what is happening around the school!
Earlier this year, the Library launched the 2019-2020 One School, One Story school-wide read. This program challenges everyone in the Grier community to read the same book as a shared experience. This year’s book selection was Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Gameby soccer legend Abby Wambach.
Some of the Grier Hunt Seat riders traveled to McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, for their Winter Classic horse show this past weekend. Sophia O. won the Gittings Medal and received a 2nd place National Horse Show Medal. Jimena P. won the MHSA 3’3” Medal and 2nd in the VHSA 3’ Medal. Lindsay S. won the VHSA Hunt Seat on Horses Medal. Lilly F. earned ribbons in every class she showed in! Grace W. was Champion in the 3’3” Junior Hunters! Wow, congratulations are due to Grier’s amazing equestrians!
Last week Grier welcomed Andy Noble and Colette Kerwick to campus to set a piece! Andy is the Artistic Director of NobleMotion Dance and Collette is the Director of Programming. Grier's pre-professional dancer were so excited to work with them for a few days and even practiced lifts!
Over the weekend, sixteen members of Astronomy Club went to Camp Anderson for a wintertime camping trip. The girls enjoyed the cabin in the countryside where they played games, watched movies, sang songs, and shared tasty snacks! Unfortunately, cloudy skies prevented the girls from stargazing, but they were still able to enjoy a night sleeping under the stars by projecting star patterns onto the ceiling with a special night light. They certainly had a great time and will stargaze from the Andrew Wilson Observatory at Grier another evening when the skies are clear.
Grier students delight in learning about other cultures and traditions. Bridge Club and Grier's Food Services have helped to foster this global awareness by presenting an international holiday or celebration to the school every few weeks and pairing it with a special after-school snack. In honor of Lunar New Year, Mrs.Warner and Mrs. Wagner helped to organize a celebration during Friday's Extra Help period for the whole school to enjoy. They festooned the living room with festive red and gold decorations, symbolizing prosperity, good luck, joy, and beauty. Then, they laid out a spread of imported east-Asian treats.
Students in Recording Technologies class are thrilled to announce that the Grier Podcast is officially live on all major platforms.The initial release includes two episodes written and produced by students.
In the episode “Culture Shock,” American students Mikayla and Helena and Chinese students Diana and Jin discuss differences between the US and China when it comes to some of our favorite consumables: food, music, and social media. In the episode “Disney Villains 101,” Nina, Tina, Carina, and Bri explore the parent-child relationships of Disney villains like Mother Gothel to Rapunzel and Lady Tremaine to Cinderella.
It is a delight when students return from a school holiday to share their photos, stories, and experiences with the rest of the Grier community. While eighth-grade student Nicole K. was at home in Seoul, Korea during Winter Break, she had the opportunity to witness a Lunar Eclipse that was not visible to her Grier classmates and teachers in the Western Hemisphere.
After a well-earned Winter Break, students and teachers resumed learning and exploring their world together. Students in Mrs. Knepp’s Physical Science class were no exception. These students used microscopes to visually understand the different ways that matter is classified and how changes created in the solutions examined help define the classification.
Congratulations to the Grier riders who competed this weekend both away and at home. On Saturday, the Western team traveled to the University of Findlay in Ohio for an IEA show. The Middle School team finished as show Champions! On Sunday, both the Upper and Middle School Grier Hunt Seat teams finished at Champion of the IEA show on Sunday,hosted by Grier. Sydney R was Reserve High Point rider and Grier horse Alex was voted as Horse of the Day! First place finishers included: Lindsay S, Sydney R, Lelia H, Ferne A, Solveig C, Judy W, and Nicole H. Congratulations, to the Western and Hunt Seat riders for a great show weekend!
Seventh grade English Honors students displayed their understanding of Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel Gathering Blue by designing a Singer’s robe and composing an epic ballad, both key elements in the story. The Honors English 7 students worked in two groups, each designing a robe that showcased the history of the society and composing a song which they performed before the class.
Students involved with Grier’s Beyond the Bubble program met on Thursday afternoon with Kaela Fuentes-Packnick, a fourth year PhD candidate at Penn State in Curriculum and Instruction's Language, Culture and Society and Literacies and English Language Arts programs. Grier Bridge Club advisor Mrs. Keri Salyards explains that Beyond the Bubble is a new program at Grier that aims to encourage personal growth by taking Grier girls outside of their normal spheres, or bubbles.
Congratulations the Varsity Dressage Team on their back-to-back championships this weekend. Following the largest regular season IEA Dressage show in history, Grier School Upper School team remains undefeated! Grace W. took home high score rider honors on Saturday. Lindsay S. was reserve high score rider on Saturday and high score rider on Sunday. First place winners included Lindsay S., Grace W., Yazmin W., Haley V., Marcella B., Catie R., and Lexi T. Great job, Grier girls, for helping to host this record-breaking show!
Grier was thrilled to have Carla Wennberg return to offer a Dressage Clinic to some of the school’s riders, including Lindsay S., Jimena P., and Lily F. Wennberg has received a series of accolades and awards, with the 2019 IHSA Lifetime Achievement award being her most recent. She has been head Western Coach at Saint Andrew’s University in North Carolina since 2006. In addition, she holds a United States Dressage Federation Bronze medal and teaches dressage and is responsible for the IHSA Western Team, which were National Champions in 2016 and 2017. Wennberg had visited Grier previously in 2018 as a Western Clinician. She is a striking example of what multifaceted horsemanship looks like.
Out of ten teams to attend a make-up IEA Hunt/Seat show held during Winter Break, Grier was reserve champion high school team! Lindsay S. won open flat, Kara S. won novice fences, Lucy H. won beginner flat, and Aahana L won future beginner flat. Way to go girls!
Students in Mrs. Smith’s English 7 Honors class completed a project for their unit on the Lois Lowry book Gathering Blue. For the assignment, students were required to create the Gathering Blue community following the author’s description. The students could use the format and medium of their choice. Mrs. Smith says these seventh grade students did an amazing job!
Grier Summer is now hiring enthusiastic and qualified individuals! We have openings for Art Instructors and Camp Counselors. These Summer 2020 positions run June 14 through August 3, 2020. Grier Summer is happy to accommodate student employees seeking internships. Positions include free room and board, plus wages.
Interested applicants should apply through our online application. Click the link below to begin your application. Fill out the form with your name and email address, then click “Begin application” to continue working on your application until you reach the “Application Complete” confirmation screen.
Grier’s Music Department is thrilled to announce that the annual musical production for the 2019-2020 school year is James and the Giant Peach. This musical adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl book premiered in 2010. Through a series of musical numbers, it tells the story of the orphaned boy James, his dreadful aunts, and his adventures inside a giant peach populated by eccentric insects.
Grier’s Archery season is underway. With their Coach Ms. Barr, Grier archers participated in a recreational Christmas Shoot here at Grier, aiming for paper ornaments taped to the targets. The archers will continue honing their skills and some students might choose to participate in regional competitions. Stay tuned!