Gryphon Gazette The student voice of St. George's Independent School. Tue, 05 Apr 2016 20:15:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Who runs the world? Tue, 05 Apr 2016 18:02:24 +0000 Instead of sitting in class last Thursday, March 31, a group of junior girls, including myself, attended sessions put on by the first inaugural Memphis Women’s Summit.

The summit consisted of inspiring female leaders in the Memphis community who have made it their goal to “elevate Memphis,” like the summit’s theme stated. Some leaders included Ms. Joan Lunden, former co-host of “Good Morning America,” Ms. Amy Weirich, General District Attorney of Shelby County, Ms. Amy Speropoulos, LocalMemphis News Anchor and Ms. Terri Lee Freeman, president of the National Civil Rights Museum.

With each session, I learned something new that I felt the need to share. These are some of my takeaways from the summit. 


1. “Memphis won’t change unless you do.”

The summit began with a speech by Ms. Vicki Clark, owner of Building the Capacity of Organizations. Ms. Clark reminded us that Memphis is made up of all of us. She said that we are Memphis, and “Memphis won’t change unless [we] do.” The people are what make Memphis the place that it is, so if we want to enact positive change in our community, it has to start with us. Ms. Clark said that we need to stop asking what Memphis is going to do about a problem and start asking what we are going to do about that problem.


2. “Are you ready?”

My first session of the day was about answering the call to civic and community leadership, led by Ms. Weirich. Ms. Weirich told us a story of when she was first promoted to the position of District Attorney. The moment before her big interview for the job, her boss simply asked her, “Are you ready?,” a question that has always stuck with her. Ms. Weirich reminded us that we will be given opportunities to lead in the future, and we must always be ready for these opportunities when they arrive.


3. Everybody has a story.

During her session, Ms. Weirich also told us stories from her job, stories of families, adults and children who she has interacted with over the years. One thing she reminded us about was that they try to steer away from asking what the person has done during court and instead ask what their story is. Everybody has reasons for their actions, and we may never understand some of them. However, it is our responsibility to look from the other person’s perspective and always try to show empathy.


4. Courage is doing something that is unpopular but you know is right.

My favorite session of the day came from Ms. Claudia Haltom, founder and CEO of the A Step Ahead foundation. Ms. Haltom was a Memphis juvenile court judge for 17 years. During her time as a judge, Ms. Haltom saw a direct correlation between poverty and unplanned pregnancies, so Ms. Haltom retired early from her comfortable position as judge to found the A Step Ahead foundation, an organization devoted to providing free long-acting reversible contraceptives. When Ms. Haltom told her family of her plans, they laughed at her and thought she was kidding, but Ms. Haltom knew this organization was needed in the community. Now, the unplanned pregnancy rate is down 45 percent in Shelby County, largely thanks to her organization.


5. “Face facts and hold onto hope that you’ll prevail.”

Ms. Gayle Rose, CEO of EVS Corporation, was one of the lunchtime speakers. She taught everyone a lesson learned from the Stockdale Paradox, named after Mr. James Stockdale, an American and United States navy vice admiral who was a prisoner of war for over seven years. When he was asked who suffered the most in captivity, he said it was the optimists because they kept thinking they’d get out by a certain date, and when they didn’t, they were heartbroken. The idea that you have to face the cold, hard facts of your reality, yet still hold onto the hope that you will prevail in the end, has become known as the Stockdale Paradox.


6. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

Another tip of advice shared by the lunchtime speakers was that the worst trait in a leader is trying to do it all. The speakers voiced that it is vital as a leader to have a strong team that has your back, and to allow them to help you. I am the kind of person who sometimes tries to do everything herself, but this reminded me just how important it is to share the workload with people I respect and trust.


7. Find a mentor.

The lunchtime speakers also said that mentors are an invaluable part of learning and growing. Find someone in your community who you respect, and allow them to help mold you. Everybody needs someone older to look up to, and it is never too early to start looking for that person.


8. Understand your values, and do not compromise them for anything.

In a session with Ms. Mary Kay Wegner, the SVP at Terminix, we received advice on effectively handling conflict and negotiations. She stressed the importance of knowing yourself and knowing what values you would never be willing to compromise. Some conflict can be healthy, especially when when the conflict stems from standing up for something you believe in. These conflicts teach you the valuable lesson that you should always stand by your values and defend them no matter what.


9. “Just take one more breath.”

Ms. Susannah Herring, owner of Hot Yoga Plus, gave a session on being your best self. In the session, we meditated and did yoga while Ms. Herring told us about lessons she has learned from meditation and yoga. One of those lessons was how you can sometimes avoid conflict or control your emotions by simply taking one more deep breath. If you feel overwhelmed or don’t think you can push yourself any further, just take a deep breath and keep moving forward.


10. Women are powerful.

One of the most important takeaways I took away from this summit was how strong women are. Women are too often degraded and treated unjustly, but being in a room with powerful, passionate women for the day reminded me that women are so much more than their stereotype. There are not many women on the top, but it can be done. Women can be good leaders just like men can.

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Softball beats RCA Mon, 04 Apr 2016 12:46:43 +0000 The Gryphon softball team won their first game of the season on Tuesday, March 29, beating the Rossville Christian Academy Red Wolves 29-7.

“It’s been the first win in a long time, and it’s nice,” junior Shane Horton said. “I think it was our first regional win.”

A lot of the team’s success can be attributed to freshman pitcher Lindsey Pepper, who had a solid outing on the mound.

The Lady Gryphons now move to a record of 1-5 with their next game against Rossville Christian Academy.

“We play them on Thursday, and hopefully we’ll beat them again,” Horton noted optimistically.

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The D-Word Thu, 31 Mar 2016 14:18:48 +0000 It’s hard to remember a time when my parents weren’t divorced. Since I was four, my brother and I split our time at our two houses, shuttling back and forth every weekend. And since I was four, I’ve known a different normal. Normal, for me, is three seats at the dinner table. It’s Mondays with my dad and Thursdays with my mom. Normal comes, like animals to the ark, in twos: two houses, two bikes, two Christmases. And although the word divorce doesn’t necessarily bring thoughts of rainbows and butterflies, it does bring light to some of life’s most valuable lessons.

Independence. It is so important to understand that you do not need anyone’s help. You can do what you need to do on your own, and do it well. I’m not sure if it was my dad’s dedication to learning how to untangle a kindergartner’s hair or my mom’s valor in killing cockroaches, but somewhere in my childhood they gave me some of the best examples of independence. They both work to give my brother and me an education, a house to live in and food to eat, among the many other things. They support themselves and are happy doing it. Every day they teach me that I don’t need to rely on anyone but myself for my own happiness, and that, my friends, is very important.

Responsibility. I learned responsibility at its finest because of my parents’ divorce. I have two rooms, and therefore I have to keep both of them clean, which is nearly impossible. My clothes are scattered between my two houses, so I’ve learned to keep the staples, spirit skirt and moccasins, in my car. I know that if I forget my retainer at my mom’s house, my dad isn’t going to drive me back to get it. It’s taught me to prepare myself for tomorrow and, on top of that, how I’m an fantastic packer.

Differences. My mom and dad both have different parenting styles. My dad is the kind of dad who hates elbows on the table, while my mom really doesn’t care. They give me different curfews, different chores and different schedules. I’ve learned that there is a time and place for everything. Both of my parents have different ways of raising me, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together to be my parents.

Yes, I don’t belong in a picture-perfect family, but I don’t view that as a bad thing. Experiences shape people, and my parents’ divorce has made a significant impact on my life. It’s taught me so much about the world, myself and making the most of any situation.

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Cancer is no excuse Sat, 26 Mar 2016 19:24:13 +0000 Senior Adam Cruthirds walked 13.1 miles at the St. Jude marathon arm-in-arm with his friends, pumped with chemotherapy, adrenaline and the knowledge that he had a major surgery the next morning, but he crossed the finish line anyway. This was just another average day for Adam Cruthirds.

Adam, a senior at St. George’s, was diagnosed with leukemia at the outset of his junior year. Since his diagnosis, he has inspired others with his story, impacted the St. George’s community and raised approximately $150,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, all while courageously battling cancer.

Imagine trying to learn pre-calculus without upper school math teachers Ms. Page McMullen or Mr. Jimmy Oxsalida. It’s a terrifying thought to many students, but Adam did just that last year.

“I think I was one of the first-ever patients to be learning pre-cal because most of them are learning addition or subtraction,” Adam said. Keeping up with school was an intimidating task, but his teachers jumped on his side and helped him. “Ms. Vasil would come to the hospital sometimes. She was so nice.”

If anyone thinks they have an excuse to complain about school stress, it’s Adam. He managed to maintain good grades and squeeze in AP classes, all while receiving treatments at St. Jude several times a week.

“[Keeping up with school] was definitely hard because I was learning new stuff, but I was learning it all at St. Jude,” Adam said. “They have a school program underground, literally below the first floor, that I went to every day for at least an hour.”

Senior Sophia Quesada said she is impressed with Adam’s determination and how he manages to balance everything while staying dedicated.

“He’ll have a doctor’s appointment at eight in the morning, and then he will come to school for like a period, and then go back to the hospital.” Quesada said. “He finds time for everything.”

“That’s the typical day,” Adam said. ”It’s just a non-stop grind.”

Besides keeping up with school, one of Adam’s achievements has been how he has immersed the St. George’s community with St. Jude.

I feel like I have made an impact by bringing St. Jude here.”

— Adam Cruthirds '16

At the beginning of the school year, Adam established the St. Jude Club here at St. George’s with the help of senior Sope Adeleye and junior Kneeland Gammill. Though the club is new this year, 50 people signed up within a week, and 40 of those individuals attend meetings regularly. Just this school year, the club has held dog washes to raise money, participated in St. Jude events, including the walks and runs, the ride and the marathon and selling Team Carson and Adam’s Army t-shirts.

“To have buses come out to the marathon and things like that, it’s just been amazing. There’s been hundreds and hopefully thousands of people in the community that have learned about my story and that have learned about St. Jude,” Adam said. “I feel like I have made an impact by bringing St. Jude here.”

One of Adam’s goals was to raise money for St. Jude, not only so he could give back for what they have done for him, but to leave his own mark there.

“For Adam’s sake and the sake of his Senior Independent Study, I hope that they are successful in raising the $100,000 he has pledged to raise,” upper school English teacher Ms. Jennifer Vasil said. The student body at St. George’s has participated in countless ways to help Adam achieve his goals, helping him accomplish far beyond what he envisioned.

“What has really inspired me [and] really touched my heart, in ways that I’m often moved to tears about it, is how the student body as a whole has just wrapped Adam up in this and really paid attention,” Mrs. Connie Cruthirds, Adam’s mother, said.

So far, Adam has raised about $150,000 for St. Jude, and the St. Jude marathon raised $100,000 alone for Adam’s Army.

“It’s amazing. All the hard work that the club’s doing really pays off,” Cruthirds said. “There are kids losing their lives, my friends losing their lives, and seeing that money, how it affects them, it’s awesome.”

When two of Adam’s friends, Quesada and senior Katherine Clayton, were asked what their favorite thing about Adam was, they had to think for a second. This was not because they didn’t have an answer, but because they had too many answers, too many great things to say about Adam.

“He does not use his cancer as an excuse,” Clayton said. “When he was riding, we could tell he was in pain, [but] he wouldn’t stop. At the marathon, we could tell how much pain he was in. He was holding his hips, but he wouldn’t sit. [At the bikeathon], I was on the bike thinking, ‘Alright, if Adam can do this, so can I.’”

After listing many of her favorite things about Adam, Quesada finally shared the quality that defines Adam the most to her.

I was on the bike thinking, ‘Alright, if Adam can do this, so can I.’”

— Katherine Clayton '16

“There are so many things that you think would set him back, or you think he would take a day to just process everything,” Quesada said. “He’s just like any other teenage boy. He just had to learn a lot of lessons other teenage boys don’t have to learn so early on.”

Despite his disease, Adam is living his life to its fullest. Not only is enjoying his senior year and hanging out with his friends and girlfriend, but he is participating in marathons, bikeathons and raising money for St. Jude.

Adam has already placed his footprint here at St. George’s and said that he is hoping to leave a legacy.

“Hopefully, I laid everything down so that, after I leave, someone can still take the reins and keep [the work benefitting St. Jude] going,” Adam said. “I don’t want it to stop.”

The St. Jude Club can continue to participate in St. Jude’s fundraising events, fill the leadership positions open after the seniors leave and can ensure that the Adam’s Army and Team Carson spirit remains in the school. Now, it is up to the student body to continue the work Adam has started and keep his legacy going.

“To me, the chemo is the science of this, but the love from St. George’s and the connection is the healing medicine for our son,” Mrs. Cruthirds said. “When he came back to school, everything changed for him, so we are forever, forever and ever grateful in ways that words are way too small.”

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You’re going to Disney World! Tue, 22 Mar 2016 19:40:59 +0000 On Friday, March 18, the St. George’s Make-a-Wish club granted their 12th wish for Omya, a young girl who loves Disney and the colors pink and green. Students formed a pathway in the Slatery Gym and wore pink and green shirts to celebrate Omya, and they made signs in advisory earlier in the week with Disney-related phrases.

Omya came to St. George’s on Friday and took a school of the tour from the perspective of a student interested in the school. However, the tour was actually a cover for Omya’s wish, and the last stop was the Slatery Gym.

When Omya arrived, she walked through the pathway and was greeted by all middle and upper school students cheering for her. Once she made it to the end, senior William McBride announced that she was going to Disney World and would be leaving on Saturday.

The wish was made possible with the sale of Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits and Parker’s Water Ice throughout the year.

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Humans of Memphis Mon, 21 Mar 2016 14:57:20 +0000 Today began like any other day for me. I ran out to the mall to buy some things I needed, I went to Barnes and Noble to finish up some homework and look at new books, and later on, I started to get hungry. So, I thought, what better way to fight off my hunger than sweets? I quickly ran over to Great American Cookies, only to be met with the everlasting dilemma of what cookie to get. Out of the ordinary though, I was met with this extremely positive aura and laughter-filled air.

When I was having trouble deciding on what kind of cookie I should get, Great American Cookies worker Josh Beitler greeted me and persuaded me to have my usual: a sugar double doozie cookie.

I could immediately tell he was incredibly kind and patient with me since I was so indecisive about what I wanted. He continued on to help me by letting me ask him a question:

“Do you mind if I take your photograph? I’d like to know more about you.”

This is what happened:

Elise Fong: “What was your happiest memory?”

Josh Beitler: “My happiest memory I think was meeting my best friend. He works here actually. We’ve been friends for almost eleven years. I met him in a park in Memphis, and we’ve been friends since middle school.”

EF: “How did you two become friends?”

JB: “We became friends because we were sorta similar. We were both bullied in school.”

EF: “When did it start?”

JB: “Actually, it started in second grade. It went on until sixth grade, and that’s when I met my friend. But one day I decided to stand up to them because I couldn’t take their comments anymore.”

EF: “Any advice to someone who’s being bullied now?”

JB: “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Just remember that you have to prove those guys wrong. Don’t ever listen to them.”

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It’s a zoo out there Thu, 17 Mar 2016 21:49:14 +0000 On Tuesday, March 15, both honors biology classes and the Media, Marketing and Design class took a trip downtown to the Memphis Zoo. These classes have been tasked with designing informational videos, infographics and signs for the Zoo’s upcoming Zambezi River exhibit.

Students spent the day interviewing zookeepers and getting footage of their assigned animals. The trip was chaperoned by Ms. Emmy McClain and Mr. Michael Masters, the leaders of this project, along with upper school science teachers Mr. William McClain and Ms. Kalyn Underwood. Director of Academic Technology Ms. Julene Reed also went to the zoo because she assisted the students with using the technology necessary for the interviews and taking video footage, such as cameras, microphones and green screens.

The responses of students in both the media, marketing and design and honors biology classes were very positive overall, and most vocalized that the project has been really enjoyable so far.

“It was a lot of fun,” junior and honors biology student Alton Stovall said. “We got to learn how the food was prepared and see the crocs in their cages.”

Sophomore and media marketing and design student Margo Valadie also attended the field trip.

“The MMD class was interested in the video and photography aspect of the trip,” Valadie said. Her class’s goal during the trip was to gather images and videos that would help communicate their message and hook families who will view their videos when they visit the zoo.

Mr. Masters launched this project for his students as their third trimester project. Mr. Masters and the students have been working with Ms. Michele Correia, mother of junior Isabel Correia, since she works at the zoo and is providing guidelines for each step of the project in terms of what the zoo wants.

“The goal of this project was to do something that has a practical application outside of the classroom,” Mr. Masters said. “It makes it more engaging.”

The exhibit is scheduled to open late this April, and it will feature animals including flamingos, hippos, nyalas, crocodiles and okapi.

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Tunesday Wed, 16 Mar 2016 18:35:27 +0000 The Gryphon Gazette went around the high school asking people what they are listening to at the moment. These are their responses. Let us know what you’ve been listening to lately in the comment section down below!

Senior William McBride: “What Went Down” by Foals

Senior Elise Fong: “Malleable Beings” by The Paper Kites

Senior Sam Hyde: “G.V.G.T.” by Apollo Anthony

Junior Chloe Booth: “This is Acting” album by Sia

Junior Mason Walker: “Life of Pablo” album by Kanye West

Junior Anna Darty: “Wiped Out” album by The Neighbourhood

Junior Elizabeth Evans: “Watch Me (Whip/ Nae Nae)” by Silentó

Junior Deon Crum: “Formation” by Beyoncé

Junior Shane Horton: “Reflection” by Matt Corby

Sophomore Ellie Franklin: “Pillow Talk” by Zayn Malik

Sophomore Olivia Barton: “Pillow Talk” by Zayn Malik

Sophomore Richard Beason: “Anti” album by Rihanna

Freshman Emma Bennett: “Tell Me I’m Pretty” by Cage the Elephant

Freshman Spencer Smith: “Summer Sixteen” by Drake

Freshman Sidney Marr: “Apollo” by Last Dinosaurs

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St. George’s students partner with MedLife in Peru Tue, 15 Mar 2016 17:09:39 +0000
  • High school students post in front of ancient Incan remains. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • The tour guide, Osvoldo explains to junior Avery Whitehead about the bridge they are standing on. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Spanish students pose in front of Machu Picchu for a photo. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Locals coming home from school wave at the bus as the students drive by. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Students look at local markets and stands for sweaters and blankets. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Students visited the Andes, which is also the name of a delicious candy. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Juinor Megan Lenoir and sophomores Amelia Griffin and Caroline Zummach put the flowers from their dinner in their hair at Morena Peruvian Kitchen. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Katherine Clayton)
  • Students pose for a picture in front of the city of Cusco. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Students pose in front of one of the largest Incan stones in Peru. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Freshman Elianna Hills and senior Katherine Clayton go down a slide carved into a rock in Peru. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Jason Hills)
  • Junior Grace Optican hugs a local goodbye as she leaves the project site. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • The group poses in their scrubs in the village that they were working in. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Freshmen Ann Wallace Scott and Kate Murphy kiss a llama at a local zoo in Peru. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Spanish II teacher, Ms. Freya Kridle and senior Katherine Clayton smile in Morena Peruvian Kitchen. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Freshmen Kate Murphy and Ann Wallace Scott and sophomore Emily Grace Rodgers sit on a swing set in the local village. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Caroline Zummach)
  • Sophomore Caroline Zummach tries to feed a llama. Students from the upper school ventured to Peru to partner with MedLife to bring medical care to low-income families. (Photo: Julia Fogel)
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5 Questions with Mr. Tom Morris Tue, 15 Mar 2016 16:50:18 +0000 1: If you came to the school and saw the students running around like the boys in “Lord of the Flies,” what would you do?

I would immediately sit down with my laptop to start crafting a summary with the home office in Bovina, N.Y.


2: You’re starting a rap group, but you need members and a name. What is the name and who are your top 3 picks for members?

Yankee Four, abbreviated to Y-4, and the members are my wife and my two children.


3: Who is your favorite dead president?

James Madison because he is overlooked and I would love to talk to him about the constitution.


4: What subject did you struggle with the most in school?

Math in all of its forms.


5: If you could open any type of store with anyone, dead or alive, what type of store would it be and who would be your business partner?

A haberdashery with a young Harry Truman.

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