GPS Celebrates May Day 2022

The joyous occasion returns to Smith Courtyard
It’s a tradition students look forward to throughout their years at GPS, and this year’s celebration was one for the ages. The long-awaited May Day celebration of our May Queen, court, and graduating seniors saw a return to form today, with the festivities taking place, once again, on Smith Courtyard.

Last year’s May Day featured COVID-19 precautions that included moving the fete from the Smith Courtyard to the lower athletic field, distancing students in the viewing areas, and creating seating pods for families. It was also the first time in history that the maypole dance was expanded from three to five maypoles—a move designed to allow the junior class students, who were unable to participate in the honor the year prior, to join in the fun.

As in years past, this year’s event featured a festival prior to the pageant, held on DeFoor Patio, with various clubs hosting booths for both fun and fundraising. Students and guests were invited to purchase tickets to use throughout the festival in support of our student organizations.

Following the festival, folks made their way to their seats on Smith Courtyard for the main event. Head of Upper School Jenise Gordon welcomed the crowd and began the pageant with a perspective on how this year’s theme, Nostalgia: Blast from Our Past, was selected. She said, “Nostalgia is a beautiful emotion—a  sentimental longing for happy times. Simple things: a light fragrance, subtle sound, or faint flavor on our taste buds can transport us years back and miles away. I feel a personal nostalgia looking at these seniors who were born into this world 18 years ago, the same year I joined the GPS community as an educator … Nostalgia will allow them to return, any time they like, to dwell in this place of learning, nurturing, and love–to remember years of joy they spent together.  And to remember, specifically, this day.”

Gordon then read the names of each member of the Class of 2022, 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, Head of School Megan D. Cover, and the faculty and staff.

Our May Day Committee
Chair | Abigail Claire Prescott
Secretary | Kathryn Ella Michele Kraus
Senior Chairs | Madison Rhodes Clower, DeMoss Grace Stribling
Maypole Chairs | Ava Craton Scotchie, Clayton Steele Watson
Dance Chairs | Graci Madge Felker, Lily Grace Greenwood
Costume & Sound Chairs | Brooke Claire Niemeyer, Olivia Jaspin Scotchie, Kennedy Price Watson
Program, Lawn & Festival Chairs | Ansley Grace Blevins, Alice Kennedy Brown, Caroline Elizabeth Farris

Our May Day Court
Julia Love Combs | Crown Bearer
Mary Katherine Johnson | Scepter Bearer 
Frances Jean Crowe | Left Train Bearer
Jenna Corley Brown | Right Train Bearer
Olivia Catherine Burns | Lady of the Court
Louisa Sutton Bohner | Maid of Honor
Shalizeh Fatima Rizvi | May Queen

After the senior class completed their promenade, they took their seats to be entertained by their younger classmates. 

The first dance, “You’re Watching Disney Channel … Movies,” featured our Terpsichord ensemble (minus the seniors, of course!) and a lively mashup of songs from classic Disney Channel movies such as High School Musical. Then, members of the sophomore class took over the dance floor to wow the crowd with “Pop Nation” set to music by Neon Trees, Taio Cruz, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. The junior class danced “Life on Set” followed by “Toon In!” by the eighth-graders and “Bedtime Stories” by the seventh-graders. The performances wrapped up with “Toys ’R’ Us,” an upbeat number to songs by Gabriel Mann, Rob Hudnut, Satomi Terui, Kazumi Totaka, Redfoo and SkyBlue, Pitbull, and Kesha, danced by members of the freshman class. 

Once the class dances were completed, the three traditional maypoles (blue, yellow, and pink) were carried out by members of the Class of 2023 Olivia Stafford, Lily Kate Botts, Caroline Clark, Sims Haisten, Emma Maynard, Ally McVay, Kenall Rizer, Carolie Roe, and Allie Walley, with the ribbons unfurled by the sophomores, decked out in their white dress uniforms with ribbon belts to correspond to the maypole colors. The traditional music was from Camelot with choreography by former GPS faculty Peggy Evans Thomas and Cathie Ault Kasch ’72.

Singing of the “Alma Mater” closed the event.

Next up for our senior class will be Cum Laude on Friday, where we acknowledge the top students in their class. Their final bow will take place two weeks later with Commencement on Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m., when their family, friends, and our faculty will celebrate their departure from our school in the main gym. 

Special thanks for our successful May Day goes to Co-Director | Pageant Erin Davis Sizemore ’98; Co-Director | Dance Laurel Moore Zahrobsky ’90; Senior Director Tracie Marlin Durham ’80; Presenter of Seniors Jenise Gordon; our teams in MarComm, facilities, and dining services for their behind-the-scenes coordination; Lee Wright and his students for their camera and audio work; and all the teachers who helped with myriad tasks preparing for the event and assisting the day of. The day is truly a culmination of weeks of work by nearly everyone on campus.