GPS May Day Celebrates Seniors

Annual event features festival of dancing and wrapping of the maypoles
At the beginning of their senior year, the Class of 2019 determined their theme to be Y(our) Story, and throughout the past eight months, we have witnessed the collective conclusion of their 83 unique stories. Today each member of their class shared a common closing chapter to their GPS story—the celebration of May Day.

A tradition that spans more than a century and a day months in the making, May Day allows us to present to our school community these young ladies who will soon leave us to find their way in the college world. In December, the May Court and Queen were elected by the student body based on the following criteria:

We believe that our May Queen and Court should be representatives of the Senior Class in the highest sense. They should be gracious, friendly and loyal to friends and to GPS. They should be actively and enthusiastically involved in the life of GPS, eager to give of their time and their talents. They should stand for the highest ideals in character and integrity. They should be respected and admired by fellow schoolmates and faculty alike.

Before the senior class was presented and the May Queen and Court were celebrated, the DeFoor Patio and nearby circle drive and lawn held a festival with booths hosted by school clubs. Some sold food and May Day memorabilia and more, MarComm provided a free photo booth with an abundance of props, and a mock Central Perk (ala Friends) offered a place where folks could rest on a comfy chair or sofa. Our sixth-grade class danced during the festival with a showcase of dances celebrating the attributes of female heroines.

While blustery winds threatened to topple some tabletop wares, eventually the weather calmed and the clouds parted to make way for our seniors and their under-classmates.

This year’s May Day theme paid homage to beloved TV shows, with seventh- through 11th-grade classes dancing to favorite theme songs. The crowd’s favorable reactions to the opening notes of classic shows—particularly favorite girlfriend series such as Gilmore GIrls, The Golden Girls, and, of course, Friends—confirmed that this trip down memory lane gave everyone a reason to smile.

Head of Upper School Jenise Gordon punctually welcomed the crowd at 2 p.m., and kicked off the pageant with a perspective on how this year’s theme was selected. “The May Day committee chose this theme to allow an opportunity for you, the audience, to be nostalgic about the past just as they are engaged in a sentimental longing about their time here at GPS,” she said. “We watched as many of these seniors launched their pilot season in the sixth grade, and each stand-alone episode was unique in its storyboard creation.”

One by one, Gordon read the names of each member of the Class of 2019, with the names of the May Day Committee, Court, and Queen read last, as she presented the students on behalf of the Board of Trustees of GPS, our Head of School, Dr. Autumn Graves, and the faculty and staff.

Our May Day Committee:
Olivia Evans | Chair
Corley Compton | Secretary
Chandler Mull and Ellison White | Senior Chairs
Gracyn Davis and Ellie Kline | Maypole Chairs
Kalli Agudo and Carson Thatcher | Dance Chairs
Kendall Crum and Charlotte Vance | Costume & Sound Chairs
Katherine Berce and Clair Calhoun | Program, Lawn & Festival Chairs

Our May Day Court:
Myra Brock | Queen
Olivia Fannon | Maid of Honor
Caitlin O’Brien | Crown Bearer
Allison Smith | Scepter Bearer
Ellie Swan | Left Train Bearer
Maya Bhutwala | Right Train Bearer

After the senior class completed their promenade around the Smith Courtyard, they took their seats to be entertained by their younger classmates. The ninth-graders started the musical celebration with a dance to a medley of TV tunes including Hannah Montana and The Gilmore Girls followed by the sophomores' and juniors' rollicking rendition of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, and more theme songs.

Terpsichord, our modern dance company, showed off their superior skills to the tunes of “Fame” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” The Golden Girls theme song. The theme songs of M*A*S*H and The Brady Bunch were cleverly interpreted by our seventh-graders, and eighth-graders closed out the dance portion of the program with rollicking tunes from some of TV’s favorite quirky families, The Addams Family and The Flintstones.

Once the class dances were completed, the lawn cleared for the setting up of the maypoles by the sophomores, the Class of 2021. Decked out in white dress uniforms with ribbon belts to correspond to the three Maypoles—yellow, blue, and pink—the girls skipped around the poles as their ribbons wrapped the poles in a braided fashion to match their own hairstyles.

The May Queen and Court made one final promenade to the lawn before the close of May Day, parading under the blue ribbons of the center pole.

For our senior class, their “next episode” will be Cum Laude this Friday, where we acknowledge the top students in their class with teacher tributes to their accomplishments. Their “series finale” takes place two weeks later with Commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 9 a.m., when their family and friends and our faculty will celebrate their departure from our school.

Special thanks for our successful May Day goes to Pageant Director Erin Davis Sizemore ’98, Dance Director Laurel Moore Zahrobsky ’90, Senior Director Tracie Marlin Durham ’80, Assistant Director Cathie Ault Kasch ’72, Photography Coordinators Amy Piper and Jordan McCarter ’96; our teams in MarComm, Facilities, and Dining Services for their behind-the-scenes coordination; and Lee Wright’s students for their camera and audio work.

To read more about why we still celebrate May Day, click here.

Click here to go to our SmugMug account where you can download photos for free or order prints for a small fee. Images of May Day will be uploaded soon.