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June Head of School Letter: Tartan + Tradition

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Passing of the Tartan occurs at the close of Evening with the Graduates. If you haven’t experienced that event, a meaningful GUS tradition awaits you. Eighth graders circle around seventh graders in Braemar, holding candles and bearing tartan scarves and ties, the mantles of leadership and insignias of history. The older students bestow the Urquhart tartans on the rising eighth graders, who step up to take their place at the apex of the student experience, adolescents on the edge of young adulthood. Children grow up at GUS. They learn and become themselves here, and then they go “out into the world” as the school song reminds us.

Glen Urquhart School is growing up, too. When GUS was founded in a church basement in 1977, we were called the North Shore Middle School. By 1982 we had moved to our present campus and changed our name to Glen Urquhart School in honor of the ancestral clan of benefactor David Warren, whose wife Lynne provided the founding vision for the school and remains a guiding voice. Lynne has a keen sense of history and a passion for understanding and supporting child development, and adopting the tartan traditions (with the blessing of Scottish Chieftan Kenneth Trist Urquhart) gave us both history and a foundation from which to grow. Now, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary with the annual meeting, a reunion, and graduation, we turn to the next decade and the next iteration of the community of students and families who will continue to make GUS the special school that it is.

What will our fifth decade bring? Pre-K students will join GUS for the first time in September. Some of these youngsters may be the first “ten-year alumni” of GUS. They’ll help us celebrate GUS at 50! In their decade at GUS, they will see growth and changes as GUS matures and “becomes more of what we already are”: more thematic and more place-based, integrating local people, stories, and resources into the classroom; more child-centered and empowering of students; more grounded in current research around teaching and learning. Our new Strategic Plan (look for a printed copy in September) will guide the first five years of this work; then we’ll reassess and move ahead to 2028.

As we celebrate 40 + Forward with students, alumni, past and current families and faculty, and friends, we can all be thankful for the many individuals who have built this school. Good things happen for children in “this green and shady place.” Thank you for being part of GUS this and every year.

Trust and go forward,

David Liebmann
Head of School