A Message to the GPS Class of 2020 from Dr. Autumn Graves

Our head of school addresses the concerns for our end-of-year celebrations for the senior class.
Dear GPS Class of 2020!

Several times each day I think about you, and I become emotional when I think about how your senior year must feel to you. I hate that COVID-19 has collided with your final year at GPS. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I realize that our globe is undergoing a tragic health pandemic. Thousands of people have fallen ill and many are dying. As millions of people experience life-altering financial loss, many hard-working Americans won't be able to pay their rent, feed their children, and pay for needed medicines. I know these are real-world problems, and I know that you realize these are real-world problems. Some of you may be directly or indirectly experiencing the financial and medical impact of this virus. My heart aches for all who are suffering, and I am praying for relief. 

And while I know that COVID-19 is more significant than the events of your senior year, I am still upset about this crisis’ profound impact on YOUR year. Last week, when I got over the shock that I was going to have to close our campus and suspend in-person classes, I decided to channel my emotions into problem solving. 

Determining when and how GPS would continue our traditions related to the senior year were my first priorities: May Day, Class Day, Senior Dinner, and Commencement are just a few of the traditions I am driven to celebrate with you. Thankfully, I am not alone. 

Several teachers and staff, including Ms. Gordon, join me in wanting to ensure our community celebrates you. After all, that's the purpose of these traditions. It's our moment as a school community to celebrate each of you for your individual and collective achievements and to acknowledge and thank you for your leadership and contributions to our school. As seniors, you bring our entire school community together in celebration of your class and GPS's heritage. 

I want you to know I am determined to provide you with some semblance of the traditional end of a GPS senior year. I have yet to determine when these events will take place. I haven’t solidified the format. But I do know that I work with brilliant, creative, and caring people who have joined me in this problem-solving endeavor. 

The unpredictable nature of this global pandemic impedes our ability to make some decisions, and I don't want to make a promise I won't be able to keep. I will reach out to you again around spring break with an update. I may not have any answers at that time. But I will reach out. You need to know that I am still working to make these special events happen for you. 

I ask that you continue to be patient and that you DO NOT give up hope. I also ask that you do your part to continue social distancing, stay positive, get plenty of rest, continue to do your schoolwork (so you will qualify for your diploma), and wash your hands!

With determination and a heart full of love for the GPS Class of 2020,