Early each September, the Corsica River comes alive with a flotilla of boats carrying new students to the Gunston School for its annual Embarkation Ceremony. This moving and symbolic ceremony, where new students arrive to the 32-acre waterfront campus by boat, concludes with each new student being met at the dock by the Headmaster, signing the school’s honor document, and shaking the hands of the faculty, administration, as well as each individual Gunston student.
“We’re a community that values both scholarship and character,” said Gunston’s Assistant Headmaster Christie Grabis, “and the Embarkation ceremony seeks to honor these values.” This year, Gunston–a co-educational college preparatory high school–is opening at a historically high enrollment of 164, and welcomes fifty-six new students from five Maryland counties, Middletown, Delaware, as well as a handful of international students who have decided to pursue their education in the United States.
In 2014-2015, all students at Gunston are returning to a campus that has been transformed during the summer. As part of a nearly $4,500,000 ongoing campus renovation, the school is opening its new Fine Arts Center, as well as The Gunston Tennis Center. The Fine Arts Center, a 3,500 square-foot, two-floor annex that includes enhanced areas for drawing and painting, woodcarving, silkscreen, and ceramics, as well a laboratory for film photography, digital photography, videography, and graphic design. Designed by Rubeling and Associates Architects, and constructed by the Whiting-Turner, Co., the Fine Arts Center will be the new home for Gunston’s award-winning Art Department.
“Our students create remarkable work under the guidance of talented teachers,” notes Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis, “and the arts are integral to our curriculum. Gunston has always believed deeply in the capacity of the arts to cultivate creativity, develop an appreciation for craft and beauty, and to expand students’ worldviews. In a culture where many school arts programs are either eliminated or in jeopardy, we’re redoubling our commitment to a discipline we believe is essential.”
In addition to the Fine Arts Center, the school will be dedicating its new Gunston Tennis Center on Saturday, September 13th as part of an “International Day of Play” in partnership with the USTA and the YMCA. The 6-court, ADA-compliant tennis complex was made possible through a major grant provided by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), as well as through financial support provided by the Gunston School community, the YMCA of the Chesapeake, and Maryland tennis icon Pam Shriver. The courts include “blended lines” for promoting Under-10 youth tennis, and will be the only facility of its kind in the Mid-Shore region.