George School shared the 2019-2020 Annual Report with members of the community this week. It was a remarkable year both in student and faculty achievements and also in the support the school received from the community. George School raised $15,119,603 in total commitments and saw increases in numbers of donors, parent participation, and gifts for the Great Green Give as well as significant new gifts for faculty support and to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit.
“What happened last spring was as profound as it was unprecedented. We adapted so quickly because of the strength, resilience, and support of our community,” said Head of School Sam Houser. “Your commitment and respect for George School are constantly palpable, as evidenced by your voluntarism, your expressions of support for our faculty and students, and a surge of giving, both to our George School Fund and for many other purposes—some specifically to support the changes we have had to make to be George School during a health emergency. As you will see highlighted in the 2019-2020 Annual Report, new endowments have been created for faculty support, including two new distinguished faculty chairs and a summer sabbatical program.”
During 2019-2020, the Admission Office received more than 700 completed applications and admitted 44 percent of applicants. Despite the unexpected challenges of COVID-19, George School enrolled 140 new students in ninth through eleventh grades, for a total enrollment of 524 at the opening of school.
College Counseling Highlights
After submitting 1,344 applications, the 148 members of the Class of 2020 enrolled in 98 colleges in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Canada. This accomplished group was admitted to such distinctive programs as the Vagelos Scholars Program in the Molecular Life Sciences at Penn, the IDEAS (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts, and Sciences) Program at Lehigh, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for acting and directing.
Their final choices included small liberal arts colleges like Bates, Grinnell, Guilford, and Reed; national research universities like Johns Hopkins, MIT, Stanford, and Vanderbilt; public flagship institutions like Penn State and the Universities of Colorado, Vermont, and Virginia; historically Black colleges and universities like Hampton University, Howard, and North Carolina A&T; such international universities as Ecole d’Ingénieurs ParisLa Défense (France), University of British Columbia (Canada), and University of St. Andrews (Scotland); and portfolio-driven art programs at Rhode Island School of Design and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Class of 2020 plans to study everything from astrophysics to sports management, linguistics to environmental engineering, creative writing to international affairs.
George School was named the Best Private High School, Best Private High School for STEM, and the Most Diverse Private High School in Bucks County. The school also ranked among the top five boarding schools in Pennsylvania and the top ten college-prep high schools in the Philadelphia region.
George School again recorded a 95 percent IB Diploma completion rate (compared to 85 percent globally) and graduated its largest IB Diploma class—52 students—despite the cancellation of final IB exams. In total, 330 George School students sat for 521 Advanced Placement tests in twenty-three subject areas, with the highest scores in calculus, physics, and 2-D art and design. Forty-six students were named AP Scholars, 17 were named AP Scholars with Honors, 32 were AP Scholars with Distinction, and two were AP National Scholars (with high scores on eight or more exams).
Will Carson ’20 and Praveen Rodrigo ’20 were named National Merit Semifinalists, and Will was named a finalist and awarded a $2,500 scholarship. The George School Math Team performed brilliantly taking first place in the Philadelphia Math League Challenge and in the Pennsylvania High School 1-1200 category at the Purple Comet Math Meet. They took 17th place among more than 700 schools in the Math Madness competition.
Writing and arts students were similarly lauded. A record 12 George School students were awarded 13 Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for their vision, ingenuity, and talent. (Only 5 percent of entries received Gold Keys.) Members of the Curious George newspaper staff visited the Yale Daily News for the newspaper’s annual Journalism Symposium in February and came away with Best Culture Feature Award.
The George School Arts Department has always been a powerhouse. It was recognized as an Outstanding Visual Arts Community 2019 by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association. The school’s rigorous and inclusive, highly accessible, and highly visible programs were particularly noted.
In the performing arts, students staged the comedy Noises Off, which chronicles the hilarious escapades of a touring cast putting on a fictitious play, for their opening performance. It was followed by the winter musical theater production Children of Eden, in which student-actors brought tales from the Book of Genesis to life. George School was one of 20 schools worldwide to take part in a pilot project for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, testing a new curriculum in global theater arts. Among students’ tasks was to create a collaborative seven- to ten-minute performance project.
George School’s student-artists received many accolades for their work, winning awards from the Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Phillips’ Mill Youth Art Exhibition, the Congressional Art Competition, the WHYY Youth Media Awards, the Bridge Film Festival, the Greenfield Youth Film Festival, and the Robert F. Kennedy Speak Truth to Power Video Contest.
The first year for new Director of Athletics Kurt Ruch was a memorable one. The spring athletic season was canceled along with on-campus instruction, but not before exciting fall and winter seasons, which saw teams compete for league titles in many sports and students earn all-league and all-state awards. The Athletics Department focused on physical fitness and training for the spring term. Twelve seniors committed to play college athletics and two juniors have committed for the following year.
In fall 2019, both the varsity field hockey and varsity boys’ soccer teams won the Quaker Cup. The varsity equestrian team finished third overall in the IEA Regionals with fifteen ribbons and two students qualifying to the Zone 11 Finals. The varsity boys’ basketball team finished the regular season 7-1 and the varsity girls’ team won the Quaker Cup. Swim team captains Sara Matson ’20 and Francisco Correia ’20 earned all-league honors and helped set new pool and school records during the league championships held at George School.