With each tradition comes a valuable experience from which our girls shape their views of friendship, sisterhood, integrity, and confidence. 

Cat-Rat

Before her first day of school as a GPS student, a sixth-grade “Rat” meets her twelfth-grade “Cat," an older girl with whom she has been paired, one who readily assumes the roles of friend, role model, and big sister for the year. The bond of sisterhood that begins then is often so strong that a girl’s Cat returns to campus years later to watch her Rat, now a twelfth-grader, be presented in May Day, give her Chapel Talk, or walk across the stage at Commencement.
 
This tradition is much more than the fun activities like the Cat-Rat Parade. It’s about knowing what young girls need as they begin their new journey at our school and in their development. It is also the beginning of demonstrating the power of women who support each other and build each other up. This concept of “sisterhood” forms lifelong friendships.
“Young teens admire older teens and fervently wish to be like them.” —Dr. Lisa Damour, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

May Day

Ask any GPS alumna about May Day and chances are good she will remember the day with great affection. She may also tell you about the significance of the day: a celebration of true beauty within each GPS girl.
 
May Day is among the most highly anticipated events of the school year, where tradition and the values of GPS culminate in one beautiful outdoor celebration. The flowers, the dresses, the winding of the May Poles—these are all displays of outer beauty, but the heartbeat of this day is inner beauty.
 
Family and friends gather around the courtyard to fete the members of the senior class. The May Queen and her court receive special recognition. Their peers have nominated the May Court for reflecting inner beauty in the highest sense: girls who actively and enthusiastically contribute to the life of the school and who embody the ideals of character and integrity.
 
As all the GPS students prepare to take their final exams, the seniors embark on life beyond GPS with the blessing of their community. This memorable step ties them to the thousands of GPS alumnae before them who enjoyed this same tradition and share these same values.

May Queen + Court

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 of character and integrity. They should be respected and admired by fellow school mates and faculty alike.

Chapel Talks

Chapel Talks are given by each senior during her last year at GPS. For a soon to be graduate, it is a celebration and a rite of passage. It is during her talk in front of the entire school that this student can express herself freely and demonstrate how she has found her voice at GPS. Chapel Talks can be profound, humorous, or personal—or sometimes all three at once. But it is here, in this tradition, surrounded by family and friends, that our seniors mark an important moment in their educational journey.

Honor Code

On My Honor. That’s how our students live their lives. That’s why there are no locks on lockers and why they can leave their backpacks unattended. That’s why their teachers trust their work and their friends respect their word.
 
At the heart of GPS lies our most important tradition, the Honor Code. Developed around the belief that “a girl’s honor is her most valuable possession,” the honor system provides the guidelines for the community while allowing each student her individual freedom. Every GPS girl bears responsibility for abiding by and upholding the system, creating a solid foundation of honesty, trust, and respect upon which she and her classmates can learn and thrive.
Each year, individual grades meet with the Head of School to affirm a commitment to the code and to reflect on what it means to attend a school that values honor and integrity. The girls read the Honor Code and sign individual papers that signify their acceptance of the tradition, a reminder of the expectation and responsibility. They turn in their papers to Dr. Graves, shake her hand, and then affix their signatures to a poster that all students sign and which is displayed at the school. Dr. Graves' handshake represents the school and faculty’s promise to continue to provide an environment of integrity and trust.
"While I was a student at GPS, we lived by the Honor Code and took it seriously. I still live my life the same way — it is my responsibility to be an honorable person and to do what is right even though it's not always the easiest thing to do." —GPS Alumna

Girls Preparatory School

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