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Gray Stone kicks off a new year

The 2018-2019 school year kicked off Aug. 13 for Gray Stone Day School.

A student body of 835 in grades 6-12 arrived ready for the new year. The school held open houses on two evenings the week before to give parents and students an opportunity to follow their class schedules and meet the teachers.

“We are excited about another great year at Gray Stone,” said Jeff Morris, who serves as principal for the high school. “After lots of growth in both facilities and student population last year, the beginning of school has been very smooth.”

An orientation day for all freshmen helped them transition to the expectations of high school in both the rigors of curriculum and responsibilities as a student.

Prior to the first day of school, seniors participated in meetings referred to as “Senior Seminar.”

“Seniors come in to check in with me and begin the process of applying to colleges,” said Sarah Ince, college counselor who led the seminar.

“It is exciting to see them working through the many post-secondary options and helping to guide them through applications, essay writing, recommendations and the financial aid process,” she added.

All sixth-grade students participated in a two-day orientation prior to the start of school to help them transition to the middle school.

“Students learned about the culture of Gray Stone, bonded with their classmates through fun activities and enjoyed time learning the skills and expectations to get off to a great start,” said Robert Stack, principal of the middle school. “It is hard to believe this is only year two of the middle school, because it has been a very smooth and exciting start to the year.”

The sixth grade teachers worked through the summer to put together a well-planned experience for the students.

Middle school also began the second year of athletics, with fall sports coinciding with the first week of school.

Gray Stone added 12 faculty and staff members, bringing the total to 66.

The school hosted a faculty/staff retreat with a day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Members did the zip line and ropes courses as well as whitewater rafting and other activities.

“We were able to get together as a staff and spend some time together, away from school and school-related conversations,” teacher Olivia Pettigrew-Fanzo said. “It felt like we got to know some of our co-workers in a different context.”

This opportunity allows teachers to know each other better and help with collaboration and teamwork as the year progresses, school officials said.