The GPS Community Celebrates Upper School Class Day

Virtual evening ceremony honored achievements in academics, athletics, the arts, and citizenship.
Traditionally held on the final day of school with the entire school present, Class Day was adapted to an online format this year, with the Upper School community gathering on Tuesday evening, May 12. To open the award presentations, Kshama Patel ’20, Senior Class Leadership Council Chairwoman, welcomed those in attendance. 

“As our theme for the year, my fellow seniors and I selected the theme ‘You’re Invited.’ We aimed to empower each and every student, sixth-grader to senior, to emphasize inclusivity and togetherness in their actions,” Kshama said. “Recently, as our school year has come to an unexpected halt, the words ‘You’re Invited’ might have lost some meaning to some of you. However, I encourage you to recognize that the message was never just being invited to participate in the traditional events at school, but rather that we should always be inclusive and celebrate one another. I hope you recognize this situation does not diminish the relationships you have built with one another. So, as we begin this ceremony, highlighting the achievements of our classmates, I encourage you to listen intently and wholeheartedly as we celebrate one another.”

Then, as a way to introduce the sixth-grade class’s performance of “Count on Me” (Bruno Mars), Kshama said, “The Cat-Rat relationship is a special tradition at GPS and, as a parting gift, the sixth-grade class would like to dedicate a song to the Class of 2020.”

After the awards were presented, the “Alma Mater” was led by Sarah Kalla ’23 and then Ms. Gordon offered this message from author Melody Beattie:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

To those in attendance Gordon expressed her own gratitude. ”For those who won awards, for the classmates who are growing alongside them, and for all the teachers, coaches, and other adults who are nurturing you all along life’s path,” she said. “Here’s to the girls! And, here’s to you!”

Congratulations to the following students for their awards. We appreciate and acknowledge your dedication to the arts, athletics, academics, your classmates, and your community. Also, congratulations to all GPS Upper School students on a successful near-completion of your 2019-20 school year.


Senior Awards
Presented by Dr. Autumn A. Graves, Head of School

Ethel B. Poston Valedictorian Award | Astra Burke ’20
The Ethel B. Poston Valedictorian Award is presented to the senior who has maintained the highest grade average during her four years in Upper School.

Rickie Pierce Salutatorian Award | Meg Priest ’20
The Rickie Pierce Salutatorian Award is presented to the senior who has maintained the second-highest grade average during her four years in Upper School.

Mary Hannah Tucker Faculty Award | Kshama Patel ’20
The Mary Hannah Tucker Award is given to a senior who has given her best as a student, as a friend and as a leader—a girl who lifts the spirits of those around her and consistently stands for right and fair play. Nominations are made by seniors and faculty and, from the nominees, the recipient is selected by the Head of School and the Head of Upper School.

Founders Award | Faith Copeland ’20
The Founders Award is given to a senior whose character and integrity have had a most wholesome influence on the GPS community. Nominations are made by seniors and faculty and, from the nominees, the recipient is selected by the Head of School and the Head of Upper School.

Daughters of the American Revolution Award | Sarah Foropoulos ’20
The DAR Award is given to a senior who displays outstanding citizenship.

Pete Wood Award | Katherine Bell ’20
The Pete Wood Award is presented to a senior who has great dedication and loyalty to GPS, her classmates, and the faculty.

Patsy Williams Scott Service Award | Li Luffman ’20
The Patsy Williams Scott Service Award is presented to a senior who has actively participated in school affairs, often in behind-the-scene ways, and who has given unselfish, exceptional service to GPS.

Jane Henegar Noble Christian Award | Katie Millican ’20
The Jane Henegar Noble Christian Award is presented to a senior who actively pursues Christ, joyfully and energetically serves the needs of others, and whose God-inspired character shines brightly as a beacon of his gifts of love and grace. The “Book of Prayers” is given.

Betsy Chisolm Silberman Award | Claire Lindeman ’20
The Betsy Chisolm Silberman Award is given to a member of the senior class who is a true servant-leader, who never seeks recognition for herself, and who always shows empathy and concern for others’ perspectives as she inspires those around her to follow her sterling example.

Laura Handly Award | Sana Nisar ’20
The Laura Handly Award is given to a member of the senior class who shows promise of becoming a community leader and who has been developing that leadership in a quiet way.

Roberta Moore Award | Jadyn Matthews ’20
The Roberta Moore Award is presented annually to a senior with a twinkle in her eye and a laugh in her heart, who has repeatedly placed school above self.

Barbara Johnson Prickett Award | Leightta Sherrill ’20
The recipient of the Barbara Johnson Prickett Award must demonstrate qualities of wise leadership, sincere friendship, and involvement in a variety of school activities.

Character Awards
Presented by Ms. Jenise Gordon, Head of Upper School

Marilyn Sherman Center Award | Hannah Grace Kornberg ’23
The award is given to a freshman who exemplifies the qualities of Marilyn Sherman Center ’58; she is kind, thoughtful, and sensitive to the needs of others and should possess a sincere love of the arts and for GPS.

Frances Wheeler Freshman Cup | Anabel Wilson ’23
The Frances Wheeler Freshman Cup is awarded by the National Honor Society to a freshman who exemplifies scholarship, character, leadership, and service.

Dora Maclellan Brown Christian Leadership Award | Caroline Clark ’23
The Dora Maclellan Brown Christian Leadership Award honors a freshman who has demonstrated the most outstanding Christian leadership during her time at GPS.

Sophomore Bowl | Frances Crowe ’22
The Sophomore Bowl is given each year to the sophomore who most nearly represents the ideal GPS student. She should be loyal to the school, a good student, and a consistent worker. The recipient is chosen by the Student Council from a selection of nominees.

Dorris Chapin Wells Award | Mary Kate Johnson ’22
The Dorris Chapin Wells Award is presented annually to a beloved and enthusiastic member of the sophomore class who has an infectious personality, exudes creativity, is loyal to her classmates, and is dedicated to the GPS experience.

Battle Award | Chapel Cunningham ’21
Given to a junior, the Battle Award recognizes a student with a B average (or higher) who demonstrates leadership in academic or extracurricular activities, effective time management, and versatility. The winner, who should be enthusiastically active in sports, is honored by having a scholarship provided to a younger student who otherwise could not attend GPS.

Palmer Griffin Award | Erin Marshall ’21
This award is given annually in memory of Palmer Griffin ’08, who courageously battled leukemia during her junior year at GPS, to a member of the junior class who captures the essence of Palmer—the vibrant center of athletic teams and class activities throughout her years at GPS. The recipient is vivacious, fearless, unselfish, and compassionate. She is a positive leader who lives life to the fullest and is animated and fun, constantly impacting the lives of others through her caring exuberance.

Athletic Awards
Presented by Mr. Jay Watts, Director of Athletics

Robinson Sportsmanship Cup | Ella Ensign ’20
The Robinson Sportsmanship Cup, awarded for the first time in 1949 by Justine and Grace Robinson, is presented to the athlete who, in the eyes of her teammates, best exemplifies good sportsmanship.

Sandra Martin Award | Faith Copeland ’20
Awarded for the first time in 1955, the Sandra Martin Award is presented to a senior who has distinguished herself in athletics, extracurricular activities, scholastics, and citizenship.

Peggy Thomas 100% Award | Preslee Brooksbank ’20
The Peggy Thomas 100% Award is given to a senior who supports all phases of the athletic program and gives 100% effort.

Mary Alice Hood Chambers Award | Kennedy Ball ’23
Given to a girl in the eighth or ninth grade, the Mary Alice Hood Chambers Award is awarded to an athlete who has displayed a sense of honor and a sense of humor in her relationships with her peers as well as in her estimation of herself. Her ability and participation in sports is equal to her awareness and respect for sportsmanship; her capacity for friendship knows no limits.

Elizabeth Collier Farmer Award | CJ Polk ’22
This award is presented to a sophomore who best exemplifies the athletic standards set by Elizabeth Collier Farmer ’89 during her years at GPS. She is active in athletics year-round and is a team leader who strives to achieve the best from herself and her teammates.

Laura Holt Outstanding Athlete Award | Sydney Morris ’21
The Laura Holt Outstanding Athlete Award is presented to a junior athlete chosen by the varsity coaching staff.

Fine & Performing Arts Awards
Presented by Mrs. Meg Persinger Brock ’79, Fine Arts Department Chair

Terpsichord Award | Isabelle Torrence ’20 & Jillian Tombul ’20
The Terpsichord Award is given in honor of Peggy Evans Thomas and celebrates an exceptional senior member of Terpsichord. Selected by the members of our signature high school dance company, the Terpsichord Award recipient is a member of the company who has unselfishly given her absolute best and made significant contributions through her hard work and creativity.

Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts | Cathy Gray ’20
The Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts is given to an outstanding senior art student who has displayed an exceptional dedication and diligence toward her artistry. She is a leader among her peers, exhibits a love of learning and curiosity, and has achieved the high standards required by the AP Art curriculum. Her pursuit of visual art expression is bolstered with independence and self-motivation.

National Orchestra Award | Allison Lockhart ’20
The National Orchestra Award goes to a student who has exhibited selfless dedication to her music, her fellow musicians, and the GPS orchestra. She demonstrates a confident presence within a larger group, yet is an individual who has excelled in her talents as an independent musician.

National Band Award | Heather Ake ’20
The National Band Award is given to a student who is an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the band, a talented musician, and has a fun and upbeat approach to music. She is willing to play her instrument with energy and passion; she is an inspiration to musicians around her.

Excellence in Dramatic Arts | Leightta Sherrill ’20
The Award for Excellence in Dramatic Arts celebrates the theater student who has crafted a body of work that is both vast and varied. The student must display leadership qualities that inspire others around her and be willing to work above and beyond the call of duty to master her roles on the stage. 

Excellence in Technical Theater | Li Luffman ’20
The Award for Excellence in Technical Theater honors a girl who displays laser sharp focus and attention to detail, is committed to all aspects of technical theater, and has the presence of mind to make wise decisions at the drop of a hat.

Fletcher W. Bright Fellowship | Emma Dexter ’21
The GPS Fletcher Bright Fellowship for Artistic and Community Engagement, is an endowed program that offers an annual award to a rising senior. Named for one of the world’s great bluegrass fiddlers and GPS supporter, this award honors a student who has presented a proposal to a panel of judges in order to further pursue her passion for the arts.

Academic Awards

Mildred Peters Award for English | Leightta Sherrill ’20                          
Presented by Ms. Katelyn Dix, Member of the English Department
This award goes to a graduating senior who has shown great excellence and integrity in English.

Eula Lea Jarnagin Love of Language Award | Astra Burke ’20, Latin; Erin Maxwell ’20, Spanish; & Mary Beth Propes ’20, French
Presented by Dr. Erin Montero, World Language Chair
The Eula Lea Jarnagin Love of Language Award is given to three students who have written an outstanding paper on the value of learning a second language.

Lois Moyer Award for Mathematics | Meg Priest ’20
Presented by Mrs. Lisa Wilkes, Math Department Chair
The Lois Moyer Award for Mathematics recognizes a senior for excellence in mathematics.

Lucy Ann Adams Science Cup | Astra Burke ’20                           
Presented by Mrs. Kristi Springfield, Science Department Chair
The Lucy Ann Adams Science Award is given to a senior who shows great interest in science and who is a promising future scientist. The student is selected by the science department faculty.
John Locke History Award for Excellence | Erin Maxwell ’20
Presented by Dr. Steve Harrison, Member of the History Department                   
The John Locke Award for Excellence in History and the Social Sciences is given to the senior who demonstrates exceptional skills in the principles of rigorous, logical, analytical, rational, and creative thought while having had the greatest positive impact on her classmates’ academic achievements.

Publications Award
Presented by Ms. Jordan McCarter ’96, History Teacher

William C. McKenzie Award | Ella Ensign ’20 & Erin Maxwell ’20
This award is presented in memory of William C. McKenzie to the girls who have made the most valuable contribution to our school publications.