One of the most important components of starting at a new school is that feeling of community—feeling as though you belong from the moment you step onto campus. Before the school year began, we made sure our new sixth-grade students not only felt welcome but also were embraced by the coolest kids on campus—our seniors.
A time-honored GPS tradition, the Cat-Rat program pairs senior Cats with sixth-grade Rats. The Cats and Rats will remain buddies throughout the school year and typically share some social activities on campus such as a breakfast and a final dinner before Commencement.
It all begins with a Cat-Rat Reveal before the first day of school. Cats and Rats come to campus for a special meet-up, and this year’s seniors designed coordinating or matching sunglasses to connect with their young friends.
Incoming sixth-grade Rats were greeted with cheers, hugs, and warm welcomes on the DeFoor Patio as they met their senior Cat buddies. Later the Rats selected numbered plastic floating ducks to determine the order of their Cats’ future Chapel Talks.
At the end of school today, faster than you can say, Yabba, Dabba, Do! the Grand Old Seniors donned silly gear and dressed up the Sixth-Grade Babies as characters from beloved cartoons for the Cat-Rat Parade.
Channel 1: The Backyardigans
Channel 2: Teen Titans
Channel 3: The Muppets
Channel 4: Arthur
Channel 5: Care Bears
Channel 6: Winnie the Pooh
Channel 7: Dora the Explorer
Channel 8: Fairly Odd Parents
Channel 9: Looney Tunes
Channel 10: The Flintstones
Channel 11: Scooby Doo
Channel 12: SpongeBob Squarepants
Even after the music and dancing quiet down, the younger students have a lifeline, a friend, a big sister to look up to for the remainder of the school year.
“Cat-Rat is a fun tradition that is loved by both seniors and sixth-graders,” says Lynne Macziewshi, Head of Middle School. “They spent the entire afternoon together, having fun and building relationships through team-building activities and then ended the day with the parade. Our sixth-graders love the opportunity to spend time with their senior buddies!”
For more Cat-Rat photos, see our SmugMug page
where you can download pictures for free or order prints for a small fee.