GCA Weekly Update


Hello Spartan Community,

We had a great day yesterday celebrating the awards of the individual students and the presentation of our A+ School of Excellence banner. When I commented on the important contributors to why we received the award, I did not mention one significant contributor, our parents and community members. Mr. Feller mentioned that one of the reasons we were chosen as an A+ school was our parent and community involvement. We all work together to create learning experiences for students that get them to achieve their best. I am proud of our students, teachers, support staff, counselors, district, parents, and community. Thank you for making a tough year successful.

May 2021 Final Exam Schedule

Finals begin May 21st for seniors and May 25th for all other students. Finals may not be administered early. If a student cannot make a final exam session, they will make it up when they have recovered or returned.


Students returning to GCA this Fall 21-22 will not be turning in Chromebooks/chargers. They will be keeping Chromebooks with them over the summer. Graduating seniors or transferring students who will not be returning to GCA this Fall will need to return their Chromebooks and chargers as soon as they are done using them. We will be calling in Seniors to turn in their Chromebooks directly to the Cybrary on Tue, 5/25, during the last Spartan time (1:50-2:30). Non returning 7-11th graders will turn in their Chromebooks to the Cybrary on Thur, 5/27, after their last final. If your student is unable to return their device during these times, please contact the Cybrary.

Textbooks/Cybrary Books

All textbooks should be turned in to teachers before the last day of school. All Cybrary books are due by Wednesday, May 19th. Any questions or if you would like to know whether or not you have any outstanding items, please contact the Cybrary.

End of Year Uniform Donation Request

Bring your outgrown, gently used uniform to the office and receive a ticket to dress down for the last two half days of school. PTO will use the gently used clothing to stock their uniform closet.

Latin Tutoring at GCA this Saturday

Latin tutoring will be from 8 - 11 am in room 125. Come prep for the Latin final exams and translations. Bring $5 for all the help you need, whether it is 15 minutes or all three hours.

Do you want to host a Foreign Exchange Student?

We are going to have two foreign exchange students attend GCA during the next school year. We have one family all ready house one of the students because they have done it once and had a great experience. If you are interested in hosting a foreign exchange student, please click on this link for more information and the AFS representative to answer any questions.

GCA Good Things

The State Track and Field Meet

Hyrum Sawyer - 300 m hurdles State Champion

Sophia Byrd - 100 m hurdles 3rd place, 300 m hurdles 6th place

Ayla Young - 1600 m 5th place - beat her personal record by 14 seconds. 3200 m - 7th place and school record

Tess Bloxam - High jump 9th place

4 X 800 m - 8th place and a new school record.

Tennis Player - Uday Brathwaite - earned 2nd team All-State recognition for his accomplishments this year.

Mars Kapadia developed some cool Smart Glasses for his Science Fair project and continued refining the glasses.

Mars’ glasses have been recognized by many multinational corporations, professional magazines, and earning the sponsorship of a couple of big global companies! Below are some highlights:

- Mars' YouTube channel of the Smart Glasses has earned 94k+ views.

- His work on smart glasses got published in Popular Mechanics, Arduino website, etc. It also mentioned that his Smart Glasses are "Better than Google's.”

- His work got published in many international magazines in multiple countries, including China, France, Germany, etc.

- He was also featured in the Big_R Research Journal.

He started the project for his school science fair and has taken it so far!




GCA Music News

Thank you to all who attended our band concert last Friday! Whether you joined in the auditorium or on the live stream, we hope you enjoyed the performances. We are looking forward to another great year of music-making next year!

We are very excited to present "Movie Music Magic!," our choir pops concert tonight at 7 pm and tomorrow at 3 pm. Both performances will be in the MJHS Auditorium. Tickets are required to be admitted. They are $5 per person and are available for purchase at the door. If you cannot join us in the auditorium, the Saturday show will be live-streamed! The link for the channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxB8HBCTgbOWy4cb8gHzHng/videos

Good luck, choir students!

Please be sure that all concert uniforms and GCA instruments are returned ASAP. We will be putting charges on student accounts on Monday for any missing items. Seniors may not be allowed to walk at Commencement on Wednesday evening if those items are still missing and unpaid.

We are looking for some student assistance on Friday, May 28th at 8 am to help move large instruments and furniture pieces from our music rooms to the wrestling room. Because of the new flooring being installed in the band and choir rooms and the renovations to the orchestra room, we need to be sure those items are safely stored for the summer. Please have your child notify their music teacher if they are interested in helping.

Finally, we want to give a final, fond farewell to Mr. Rossi. We wish him luck as he embarks on his new journey in California as a doctoral candidate. We will miss you, Mr. Rossi!

Mental Health Counselor

With the testing season underway, it is very common to see an increase in stress and anxiety in students. It is normal to experience some nerves over upcoming exams. However, extreme feelings of anxiety and stress before and during an exam can have unhealthy results. Anxiety can be problematic when it prevents you from taking or doing your best on an exam, causes you to feel anxious all the time, or becomes extreme. Test anxiety is a combination of physical symptoms and emotional reactions that interfere with one’s ability to perform well on tests. Symptoms might look different from student to student, but the following is a list of possible symptoms students might experience.

Physical symptoms: Headache, nausea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, and feeling faint. Test anxiety can also cause panic attacks, which are the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which you may feel like you are unable to breathe or like you are having a heart attack.

Emotional symptoms: Feelings of stress, fear, helplessness, and disappointment, negative thoughts (rumination about past poor performances, consequences of failure, feeling inadequate, helpless), mind going blank, and racing thoughts. Behavioral/cognitive symptoms: Difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively, comparing yourself to others, and procrastinating.

Causes of test anxiety:

Fear of failure- While the pressure of doing well on an exam can be motivating, it can be detrimental to one’s self-worth if you associate the grade of the test with one’s value.

Lack of preparation- Waiting until the last minute or not studying at all can leave one feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Poor test history- Not succeeding on the previous exam can cause anxiety for the next exam. It is important to remember to stay in the present moment when taking an exam to maintain focus.

High pressure- If a certain grade is needed to pass the class, it could increase test anxiety. Perfectionism- Perfectionism is having extremely high-performance expectations for oneself. Research studies show that high perfectionism and high self-criticism tend to have high test anxiety and do worse on exams.

How to reduce test anxiety:

Before the exam-

Be prepared- Start studying a few weeks in advance to have enough time to prepare for your test. Space your studying out into smaller chunks over time.Make a study schedule and remain accountable.

Study effectively- Ideas for active studying include:

-Create a study guide by topic. Formulate questions and problems and write complete answers. Create your own quiz.

-Become a teacher. Say the information aloud in your own words as if you are the instructor and teaching the concepts to a class.

-Derive examples that relate to your own experiences.

-Create concept maps or diagrams that explain the material.

-Organization and planning will help you to actively study for your courses. When studying for a test, organize your materials first and then begin your active reviewing by topic.

Engage in self-care. Take care of your overall health by eating well, getting enough restful sleep, incorporating exercise or movement into your day, and participating in relaxing and fun activities that you enjoy.

Create a calming worksheet. This is a paper that you can carry with you all the time and especially before your exam. On this paper you can put motivational quotes, why you are likely to succeed, breathing techniques, pictures of your supporters, and anything else that will keep you motivated without making you anxious. Create this several days in advance, when you are not stressed and anxious, so that you can turn to it if you do become anxious. Immediately before the exam:

-Get a good night’s sleep (7-9 hours) the night before the exam. Your ability to think clearly and deal with anxiety improves with sleep.

-Avoid too much caffeine.

-Gather all of the materials you need in advance, including a pencil, eraser, or calculator, so you are not rushing around before the exam.

-Play calming or familiar music to help you relax.

-Don’t let the exam define you. Remember that your self-worth and intelligence do not depend on your performance on this one exam.

-Give yourself a pep talk to reframe your anxiety as excitement. Telling yourself you’re excited will help you see the exam more positively and experience more positive emotions.

During the exam:

-Calm your body.

-Breathe deeply from your belly.

-Tighten various muscle groups, and then relax them.

-Close your eyes and count to ten.

-Sit comfortably: Sitting up, relaxing your shoulders, and being mindful of your posture can help you feel more confident and assertive and make you feel less stressed and anxious. Research shows that slouching and hunching pose decreased persistence and creativity when solving complex problems and increasing negative self-thoughts.

Calm your emotions and thoughts:

-Focus on only the present moment to help you stay grounded.

-Focus on yourself and what you are doing. Ignore other people around you, and don’t compare yourself to others.

As always, if you are concerned about your child’s mental health or in need of family support, please don’t hesitate to contact me at nicoleta.alfaro@gilbertschools.net.

Best Wishes on your Last Weekend of the 2021 School Year,

Mr. Hood