CENTREVILLE — The Gunston School commenced its 111th year, and 25th anniversary of becoming a day school, on Friday, Sept. 10, with the annual Embarkation tradition, welcoming a total of 74 new students and 13 new staff and faculty members to the community by boat.

After exchanging a fist bump with the head of school, newcomers signed the school’s Honor Code and made their way up the hill to greet fellow students and current staff and faculty, according to a news release.

The 2021-2022 cohort included the largest ninth-grade class in school history with 62 students, nine 10th graders and three 11th graders. Parents and family members were invited to watch from the shoreline as students arrived.

The event, originally scheduled for Sept. 1, was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

Two weeks prior, during the last full week in August, Gunston hosted several orientations and leadership retreats for students as well as faculty and staff.

“After a hiatus in 2020, we were thrilled to be able to offer our usual 9th Grade Orientation at Camp Pecometh,” Head of School John Lewis said.

The two-day retreat welcomed 60 students, who spent the day and evening getting to know one another while participating in various outdoor challenges and team-building activities offered by the Camp Pecometh Challenge Course Program.

After a picnic dinner with current Gunston student leaders, ninth graders were able to play games and relax before heading back to individual tents to sleep. Following breakfast the next morning, ninth graders returned to Gunston’s campus for the continuation of their retreat program with sessions focused on environmental, global and digital citizenship.

Running simultaneously, Gunston’s sixth annual Leadership Institute invited student leaders from various clubs, student government and athletics to gather and learn about leadership practices, set goals for the year and to help facilitate activities for ninth graders.

“Coming into my first year as a new student and also new to the area, I remember walking into the retreat and I actually didn't know a single soul,” said Senior Class President Lucy Bamford ’22. “What I've learned is that Gunston helps you find that sense of belonging and helps you find those people who make you feel like you belong.”

Founded in 1911 and currently enrolling 235 students, the Gunston School is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian, coeducational, college preparatory high school located in Centreville. Visit gunston.org for more information.

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