Back in 2019, our plan had been to celebrate Georgetown Day School’s 75th birthday in October of 2020 with our first-ever Country Market Day in Tenleytown. We would at last realize our aspiration of One GDS—a PK-12 community gathering on our unified campus.
And then…COVID, Zoom, nasal swabs, social distancing, hand sanitizer, hybrid instruction…words that may evoke a trauma response for many of us. As we were making daily decisions to navigate unprecedented circumstances, a fall festival was relegated to the back burner. Given all that we collectively endured over the past two years, the chance to celebrate our 77th birthday on Saturday, October 22 (better late than never!) felt that much sweeter. As we rekindled old traditions and launched new ones, we were reminded of what we love about our community. The day was, indeed, magical.
My own Country Market Day started with a flag football game—faculty versus High School students. We hadn’t played the game in years and the conditions were perfect—sunny, crisp fall weather, music playing in the background, joyful banter as players warmed up before the game. The game itself featured the requisite (loving) trash talking, a cameo on one play by the Hopper, and a chance for students to see their teachers in a new light. While the High School students brought abundant athleticism, the wisdom and experience of their elders ultimately carried the day. Bobby Asher had a game for the ages with five interceptions. High School teachers played alongside their Lower & Middle School counterparts, new faculty played with veterans. And while Saturday was defined by joy, for this head of school, Sunday was defined by difficulty walking up and down stairs. It turns out that a 53-year-old body isn’t quite as resilient as it once was.
For Country Market Day veterans, much was familiar about the day. GDS alumni and alumni parents were kept busy at the grill, serving up scores of hot dogs and hamburgers. The Sweet Shoppe sold countless cupcakes, cookies, brownies and more. GDS readers made off with bags of reading material from the Used Book Sale. There was a raffle, games, face painting, and prizes.
And there were lots of firsts: a miniature train running a loop up and down Davenport Street. A cappella and jazz performances on the High School field. Policy Institute students educated the community on refugee issues and others enlisted community members for future service projects. Tenleytown vendors promoted their businesses and connected GDS to the surrounding community.
Most of all, as families traversed the campus, connecting with old friends and making new ones, I felt the strength of our community. We’ve been so hungry for connection, for the chance to celebrate our past while embracing our joyous present. Country Market Day is alive and well in its new home. The transplant from Macarthur Boulevard to Davenport Street was a success. And we all got to revel in the magic.