Greenwich Academy celebrates 186th birthday

Greenwich Academy Group IV students participate in a beloved school tradition as they mark Charter Day with a maypole dance. This celebrates not only the school’s founding but also the most welcome arrival of spring.

Greenwich Academy Group IV students participate in a beloved school tradition as they mark Charter Day with a maypole dance. This celebrates not only the school’s founding but also the most welcome arrival of spring.

Greenwich Academy (GA) is no spring chicken. The school recently celebrated its 186th birthday, kicking off festivities with student elections in the Middle and Upper Schools, with candidates taking the stage to impress and win the votes of their peers.

And keeping with school tradition, once the students had cast their votes, the entire school gathered on GA’s front lawn to await the results and celebrate the founding of the school.

At this last all-school assembly of the year, outgoing school officers led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Academy Song. Breaking with tradition, the National Anthem was sung by the Madrigals in the arrangement they had performed at CitiField for a Mets game earlier this month.

Two Group IV students then introduced a much-loved Charter Day tradition — the Maypole dance. The girls explained that the dance “symbolizes how important each individual is to the community. We work as a team, always willing to stop and help someone who has become tangled. We begin the dance on separate ribbons, just like we began our journey in PC. We end our dance with ribbons entwined with happy memories of friendships and community.”

Then it was with great excitement, that each outgoing officer of the Middle and Upper Schools introduced her successor. And, in fitting tribute to this day of cheer and celebration, the girls of Group V sang their rendition of Life’s a Happy Song from The Muppets.

Head of School Molly King spoke of the importance of character in the school’s mission, especially through GA’s motto, “toward the building of character.” She shared that during the time that Ruth West Campbell was head mistress, from 1925-1955, she used to award monogram pins at the end of the year to the girls with the highest average in spirit. Qualities that constituted “sprit” included moral courage, kindliness and moral earnestness.

Ms. King went on to say that, “While some of our awards may have changed over the years, qualities related to character are still those we hold in highest esteem and it’s a privilege for all of us to cherish those values that have been part of the Greenwich Academy culture and mindset for almost two centuries.”

The gathering concluded with a perennial favorite, Happy Birthday, GA, sung by girls in the pre-connecting and connecting classes. The tribute to Greenwich Academy’s 186th year was the perfect ending to the morning’s celebrations, and a transition to an afternoon filled with barbecue and carnival fun, the school said.

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