each September, our seniors pledge to lead the school community with faith, honor and consideration. As part of that ceremony, a member of the senior class reads a children’s story to the gathering of students and faculty.
Although the message of the story is one that resonates with the entire community, the story itself is addressed from our oldest students to our youngest. That simple gesture reminds us all of the responsibility we have toward the youngest members of our community and calls on our Upper School students, especially our seniors, to lead the effort. Each year, they are asked, and each year they go out of their way to make our youngest learners feel known, secure and welcome. Our Upper School students are known for their kindness, compassion and spirit of inclusion.
Cross-grade initiatives, such as Reading Buddies, are extremely popular with Gill Upper-School students. Additionally, it is not uncommon for Upper School students to work with faculty members in designing specific cross-grade activities with Lower-Schoolers in mind, such as computer-coding, map-making or robotics. These exchanges are a source of happiness and pride for our younger students, and they confer on our Upper Schoolers an authentic sense of responsibility.
Often the benefits of a single campus environment are ones of practicality: a family having all four children in one place, a student bypassing the stress of applying to Middle School and then again to high school a few years later, keeping the same friends for 12 or more years. While those things are great, we believe they are just the tip of the iceberg. At Gill St. Bernard’s it is the connectedness of our three divisions—their curricula and programs—that truly make for a seamless experience that ensures that each child is appropriately challenged and nurtured as he or she continues to grow.