Weekly Crusader News

12/18/18

Spirit Rock

As it did last year, a message on the "Spirit Rock" located in the upper parking lot has sparked some controversy. If you remember, at one point last year some students painted some pro-NRA comments on the rock. We had it painted over as the spirit rock was not meant to convey political messages. In explaining that decision I wrote that the rock was meant to promote school events and school spirit only... and that is why we made that decision.


On Monday we arrived to school to find the rock painted "Merry Christmas". Although, this clearly isn't something meant to offend or minimize others it is still a message associated with a specific religious belief which is not in keeping with the meaning of the rock. While some see "Merry Christmas" as a simple holiday greeting, it is still symbolic of the birth of Christ. Would we all be OK if the rock was painted "Rejoice, the Savior is Born"? Certainly many of us who are Christians would enjoy this. We are not a Christian school however. Although we are not the most diverse community, we do have students from many different faiths who attend GDRHS. My concern would be allowing a message on a school message platform that celebrates one religion or belief could somehow send a message to others that they are not valued as much. I can sense some of the groans out there as many of you read this. Try and understand from an administrators point of view however, that this is a "no win" situation for us. I suspect that whoever painted the rock knew this as well. If we leave the message on the rock we will be accused of being pro-Christian and not cognizant of others beliefs... and if we paint it over we are lost in the sea of political correctness. There isn't a good answer here. As such I revert back to the question, "what is the rock meant for?" It is meant to promote "school" spirit, promote "school" events, etc....


I make it a point at our 8th grade parent information night to share with parents all that GDRHS has to offer. I do believe this is a great school with much to offer a diverse student body. I also acknowledge that there are some things that we can't offer. We cannot provide the facilities that some private schools can, the classes in specific trades that Nashoba Tech. and Greater Lowell Tech. can offer. I also make a point to say that we cannot provide faith based educations like some of the schools in the area. My first teaching position was in a Catholic high school in Florida. It was fun to celebrate the holidays with our students. That is not the type of high school that we are. It isn't that we do not enjoy and appreciate the meaning of Merry Christmas. I love Christmas time! It is part of who I am. It is not part of what public education is however.


There has been some pushback to a new district expectation to limit the amount of holiday celebrations initiated by school staff. I want to be clear that we at GDRHS are not looking to keep students from expressing their excitement for the upcoming holidays. We have no issue with students exchanging gifts at break, wearing fun holiday themed sweaters, santa hats, or any other fun or meaningful activities associated with Christmas or any other holidays. We are simply trying to let school be a place where people of any belief or custom do not feel marginalized because they may not worship or believe the same thing as the majority.


As this is shared with students as well, I would ask again that any plan to paint the rock be cleared with administration first. If any student wishes to repaint the rock with a positive message (not partial to any specific groups) for our school community as we head into break, please let us know.


** Dr. Novak shared some of the difficulty in addressing Cultural Competency in public schools in her latest edition of the Central Office Crier . Please check it out if you would like more background on the situation.


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Team Up For St. Jude's Children's Hospital

Mark your calendars for December 21st. On this date we will host a Varsity Basketball Doubleheader beginning at 5:30pm. Our girls and boys teams will both host Tyngsborough in a border showdown. This event marks the Second Annual "Team up for St. Jude's Children's Hospital" event. Both schools will collectively work to fundraise and raise awareness for the amazing work and research done at St. Jude's. We will have fun and games available as well as raffles. Tickets will be $4.00. We ask that you make it an even $5.00 and send a dollar to the cause.


Hope to see you there!

Girls and Boys Basketball to play at TD Garden

Please come out and support your boys and girls basketball teams as they take on the Westford Grey Ghosts in a double header at the TD Garden in Boston on Sunday, January 6th at 12:30 pm and 2 pm. Tickets will be on sale during all lunches. Included in the $20 ticket fee is admission to the TD Garden for both games, a fan t-shirt and a ride on a fan bus to and from the games.
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Winter Concert and Art Show...a Huge Success as always

Thanks to our Fine Arts Department for once again providing a great display of the artistic talent of our students. Below please find the write up of the concert crafted by Junior, Taryn Emerle.



This past Tuesday, GD Music Honors Society hosted our first concert of the year, the highly anticipated annual Winter Concert. With performances from the Concert Band, Chorus, Drum Corps, Jazz Band and Chamber Choir, the night was full of talent.

This was the last winter concert for the Class of 2018, and senior Ali Cartier felt a mix of emotions about the event, saying, “It’s hard to believe that this was my last Winter Concert and the next concert will be my last ever. This was one of our best concerts though, each group was spot on and I hope it goes that way for my last concert too.” Chamber has been an essential part of Ali’s life since sophomore year, and has been section leader of the sopranos junior and senior year.

Looking forward, all of these groups will be going to Florida this May on the Disney Trip. Each group learned a Disney song and performed it at the Winter Concert in preparation for this. Chamber will be going to Spain in the spring of 2020, and will be having a fundraiser this spring with lots of live music.

GD’s Music Program is as lively and energized as ever, and this year’s Winter Concert reflected that. With so many incredible performances, you really don’t want to miss these concerts. Thank you to all attendees for your support, and we hope to see you at the next concert!

Student Travel Opportunities

Travel Information 2020


EF Tours options:

- Panama; Cost $3,200.00; February 2020

- To register or get more information visit https://www.eftours.com/tour-website/2137917MH or

see Mr. Rocheleau or Ms. Salemme


- Peru; Cost $4,445.00; February 2020

- To register or get more information visit https://www.eftours.com/tour-website/2139392MX or

see Ms. Penchansky


- South Africa; Cost $5,085.00; April 2020

- To register or get more information visit https://www.eftours.com/tour-website/2149969EE or

see Mr. Reid or Ms. McHugh


Chamber Choir:

-Spain: Cost $4095.00: April 2020

- This tour is only available to members of the Chamber Choir next year. See Mr. Savoy


Summer 2020:

- Germany, Austria, Italy; Cost $3265; July 2020

- To register or get more information visithttps://www.explorica.com/My-Account/My-Tours/TourCenter.aspx

or see Mr. Arena.


Exchange Opportunity

- Costa Rica Exchange; Cost Estimated $1,500.00; Summer 2020 and host February 2021.

See Mrs. Liebold for more information.