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GPS Tucker Fellows Program

At the retirement of former longtime headmaster Randy Tucker, the GPS Board of Trustees and friends of the school joined together to honor his tenure with the establishment of the Tucker Fellows Program, a two-year student study of the Tennessee River. The mission of the program, which began in the summer before the 2014-15 school year, is to prepare future leaders to have an effect on the conservation of the Tennessee River. 

Fellows, selected prior to their freshman year, spend part of the summer and following academic year engaged in interdisciplinary scholarship and experiential learning about the many issues impacting their local watershed as well as learning about the historical, ecological, political, economic and aesthetic significance of the Tennessee River. 

During the second year in the program, fellows focus on leadership skills while continuing to learn about the river and watershed. They read and discuss the works of current and historic environmental thinkers. They choose a focus and work with local experts, scientific literature, and policy to become more knowledgeable about their chosen topic. They then collect, analyze, and publish data.

Throughout the program, fellows become familiar with the various entities that implement, enforce, and monitor watershed policy. By the end of the program, fellows propose solutions to watershed problems and become life-long advocates for clean, healthy watersheds in the Chattanooga area and beyond. 

The first Tucker Fellows cohort includes six GPS students and two students from CGLA (Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy). Students apply and are selected in April/ May.  Enjoy a student blog of their experiences. Check out photos of their one-week initiation into the program.

The following are responsibilities and privileges of Tucker fellows during the two-year program:


  • Attend a week-long summer experience in June.
  • Create a video or blog communicating what was learned in the summer session. 
  • Present regular “public service announcements” in all-school assemblies.
  • Work for a two-hour period (during school) every eight-day rotation at the Tennessee Aquarium propagation facility (with scientists from the TN Aquarium Conservation Institute) from August through October. After October, this two-hour period will be used for other River Fellows experiences and field trips.
  • Attend relevant community meetings and events and keep a record of the number of conservation-related community events and presentations personally attended, as well as the number of other students who joined. Additionally, keep a record of presentations made and/or contests entered.


  • Attend a week-long summer experience focused on leadership. 
  • Conduct research and present a project of choice, outside of the normal class commitments, to share with the GPS and Chattanooga communities.
  • Continue to attend relevant community meetings or events.
  • Attend a weekly fellows meeting to discuss assigned readings and projects.

Optional: 2016-2017 school year/ 2017-2018 school year:

  • Act as a mentor/leader for new River Fellows

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