Commencement is a treasured tradition at Garrison Forest, one that commemorates and celebrates this important occasion in the lives of our Seniors and their families.
- Commencement Information
- Seating Procedures
- Year-End Calendar for Seniors
- Photo Information
Friday, June 5, 2020
- 2:30 PM: Seniors Meet in Front of Senior House for Individual Portraits
- 3:00 PM: Class Photo (see note below on details)
- 4:00 PM: Ceremony at Centennial Courtyard
Commencement is, of course, the highlight of the end of our year and the end of the Senior Class experience. This ceremony, like the others at the end of the Senior year, has been shaped to reflect both the traditions and the innovations in Garrison Forest School’s history. The structure of the ceremony also reflects the importance of the relationship between the teachers and students, a hallmark of the Garrison Forest education. The entire faculty joins the Senior Class for this celebration, and we pause in the ceremony to honor a distinguished teacher, chosen by a committee of students, parents and educators, and to acknowledge 20-year milestones in the tenure of faculty and staff members. Similarly, we honor student recipients of the Faculty, Alumnae, Jenkins and Shriver Awards, who are chosen by the faculty, and we recognize the Cum Laude Society inductees. To confirm the importance of community in our shared educational endeavor, our School’s stewards and the President of the School give remarks, and younger Upper School students and Senior Class families and friends join the celebration. The ceremony is approximately 90 minutes with refreshments immediately following in Penniman Park.
Commencement Seating Details:
There will be a Senior Family Section for Commencement seating, with each Senior Family receiving six (6) reserved seats for the Senior Family Section via a lottery.
Additional open seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not reserve more than 6 additional seats in the open seating section.
Centennial Courtyard is handicapped accessible, and Garland Theater Lobby will serve as a cooling station with water for all guests. During the ceremony, please refrain from wearing or using items that obstruct others’ view of the ceremony (for example, umbrellas, iPads, posters and celebratory balloons). Important photography information may be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.
In case of rain, Commencement will be held in the Searle Athletic Center, which also has unlimited seating. If Commencement moves to the Searle Athletic Center, all Senior Family Section reserved seating policies apply.
POSTPONED: More information will be available soon
365体育登录For students only (Juniors and Seniors)
365体育登录This is the event that marks the beginning of our Senior Class celebrations. As its name suggests, it is an evening service and is held in our School Chapel. In this ceremony, which is for members of the Junior and Senior Classes only, the light of leadership of the School is symbolically passed from the Seniors to the Juniors, and Seniors share with their Ring Sisters what their GFS experience has meant to them. The Chapel, built by Co-headmistresses Jean Marshall and Nancy Offutt in 1959, once housed the entire Upper School for weekly vespers services. As our School has grown, we have outgrown the Chapel’s space but not its significance as a place of contemplation and community, and so it is powerful for our student leaders to return to this space at the moment when they take up and hand on the leadership of Garrison Forest School.
Thursday, June 4, 2020
- 5:15 PM: Seniors report for Wreath-Laying
- 5:30 PM: Wreath-Laying at GFS founder’s grave
- 6:00 PM: Ceremony at St. Thomas’ Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills, MD 21117
- 7:15 PM: Boarding Families Buffet Reception in Manor House
PLEASE NOTE: St. Thomas’ Church does not allow photography (still and video) during the Ceremony. Families are welcome to take photos outside the church.
Baccalaureate is a celebration that has its origins in the collegiate experience, dating back to the Middle Ages. Many independent schools include a Baccalaureate service in their Commencement celebrations. Garrison Forest School’s early history is intertwined with that of St. Thomas’ Church, rooted in family ties and community connections. Many of the St. Thomas’ parishioners were among the first to enroll their children in GFS in 1910, and the wife of St. Thomas’ Rector was the sister of GFS founder Mary Moncrieffe Livingston. We acknowledge that history when we hold our Baccalaureate service at the Church.
365体育登录Similarly, we acknowledge our founder when members of the Senior Class meet before Baccalaureate to lay flowers on Miss Livingston’s grave in the St. Thomas’ graveyard—a tradition that was inaugurated as part of our Centennial celebration. As our School has changed over the years, so has our Baccalaureate service. Our readings are ecumenical now, and we include members of the School community as celebrants, singers and a speaker chosen by the Senior Class.
INFORMATION ON SEATING: Baccalaureate is typically a smaller event than Commencement. Families, of course, are welcome to bring extended family and out-of-town guests to this event, if they so choose. St. Thomas' Church is small and space is limited. If you plan on a larger group, we recommend that you arrive early to get seats. We cannot reserve seats at the church for any GFS guests.
In order to ensure that families of Seniors have the best seating possible, there will be a designated Senior Family Section.
Please read the procedures carefully for Commencement seating:
- Seating is selected in a random drawing by the Senior Class leaders.
- Each Senior has been randomly assigned six (6) reserved seats on the diagram for the Centennial Courtyard and the Searle Athletic Center (in case of rain).
- Each Senior family will receive a printed copy of both diagrams by mail indicating their assigned seats.
- The Courtyard diagram and the Searle Athletic Center diagram will be posted for your review.
- The morning of Commencement, your last name will be clearly indicated on each of your reserved seats.
- You may not trade your assigned seats with another Senior family.
- There will be ample open seating for other family members and friends in another location, and the seating will be clearly marked. This seating will be open on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 2:30 PM. Any signage reserving seats in the open-seating section prior to 2:30 PM will be removed. PLEASE REFRAIN from reserving more than six additional seats in this section.
365体育登录Please check back soon for a more detailed calendar with times:
Monday, June 1
English Exam (9th-11th grade)
Seniors Depart for Overnight Retreat (Sandy Hill)
Tuesday, June 2
History Exam (9th-11th grade)
Seniors Return from Retreat
365体育登录 Senior ISP Meetings w/Mentors
Wednesday, June 3
Make-up Exams (9th-11th grade)
Exam Return (A, B, C, D Blocks)
Senior ISP Presentations
Thursday, June 4
Awards Assembly (All)
Exam Return (E, F, G Blocks)
Final Advisory (All)
Senior ISP Feedback
Friday, June 5
365体育登录Galeone Photography takes the class photo, an individual portrait of each girl prior to the Ceremony, and photographs the entire Ceremony including each Senior receiving her diploma. Each girl must sit for an individual portrait (taken the morning of Commencement).
Following Commencement, all Senior families will receive an email from Galeone Photography with the password-protected GFS Commencement website to purchase any photographs.
Download the Galeone Photography Order Form.
When do Seniors need to arrive for Commencement?
Each Senior must report promptly to Senior House no later than 2:30 PM for a class portrait and individual portraits by Commencement photographer, Galeone Photography. Photographers begin taking individual portraits at 2:30 PM. Every Senior must sit for a portrait (at no cost). Prints are made available at cost following Commencement through Galeone Photography and a link to the photo gallery will be sent to Senior parents in the days following the ceremony. The class photo will be take shortly after 3:00 PM. Students not in front of Senior House at that time will not be included in the class photo. Ragged Robin bouquets will be given to each girl prior to the class photo by class advisors. Guests may watch these festivities, but please do not inhibit the schedule or work of the professional photographers.
What about seating for Commencement?
365体育登录In order to ensure that families of Seniors have the best seating possible, there will be a designated Senior Family Section. The seating in this section will be determined using a lottery system. Please refer to the seating procedures for details.
What about Commencement invitations and announcements?
These are distributed to Seniors before Spring Break. The School provides each Senior with six (6) invitations, 15 announcements and 21 "calling cards." If you would like additional invitations, announcements or calling cards, you may order these from Judy Sherman at Papers Plus (410-484-7488).
What are the dress requirements for Commencement?
365体育登录Commencement attire should be formal. Students may elect to wear dresses or pants, but attire should be formal, white, long (ankle-length) and not strapless. Necklines, dress slits and cutouts should be modest and appropriate for the event. Shoes must be suitable for a formal occasion (flip flops are not acceptable). Students will also carry bouquets of Ragged Robins, which will be provided to each student by GFS when they arrive on the day of Commencement.
What is the history behind the Baccalaureate location?
Since our first graduating class in 1914, Baccalaureate has been held at St. Thomas' Church, near Garrison Forest on Garrison Forest Road. Garrison Forest was founded as an ecumenical school in 1910 and is not affiliated with the Episcopal Church, but the school's history is rooted in family ties and community connections with St. Thomas'.
Many of the St. Thomas’ parishioners were among the first to enroll their children in GFS in 1910, and the wife of St. Thomas’ Rector was the sister of GFS founder Mary Moncrieffe Livingston. We acknowledge that history when we hold our Baccalaureate service at the Church and continuing this location tradition honors these connections and underscores GFS's deep commitment to community. Just prior to the Baccalaureate service, the Senior Class lays Ragged Robins, the GFS flower, on Miss Livingston's grave in the churchyard, another tradition that celebrates her pioneering vision in coming to Maryland from New York to establish a girls' school.
365体育登录Our service recognizes and celebrates the rich religious diversity of Garrison Forest today. All readings at Baccalaureate are ecumenical, encompassing several faiths.
What are the dress requirements for Baccalaureate?
365体育登录The Baccalaureate service is held in a church. Seniors traditionally wear attire appropriate for events held in religious settings. We ask that Seniors cover their shoulders for this service.
What happens in the evening after Baccalaureate?
It has been the tradition for Seniors and their families to enjoy celebratory dinners on their own following Baccalaureate. To alleviate the guesswork for our boarding families (regional, national and international) who may not know the area and where to make dinner reservations, we are hosting an on-campus buffet reception in Manor House for all Senior boarding students and their families immediately following Baccalaureate. The reception will begin at 7:15 PM. (Please note: because students will be in attendance, alcohol will not be served at this event.)
What are the deadlines and details for the Independent Senior Project (ISP)?
Visit the ISP webpage for all the dates and details your daughter needs to make her ISP meaningful and successful. If you have specific questions about ISP, please contact College Counseling at (410) 559-3129.
We are/our family is coming from our of town. Can you recommend nearby hotel accommodations?
The closest hotels to Garrison Forest are The Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn. Both are located in Owings Mills.
365体育登录Hampton Inn – 410-654-2780
Hilton Garden Inn - 410-654-0030
If you prefer to stay in downtown Baltimore near the Inner Harbor and other attractions, we recommend the following hotels:
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront: 410-385-3000
365体育登录Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore : 410-576-5800
Please note that you will need to make your own travel accommodations to and from the hotel to Garrison Forest.
Attendance Line: 410-559-3169, email@example.com
Athletic Hotline: 410-559-3198
Residential Life Cell Phone: 410-812-7062
Health Center: 410-559-3200
Head of Upper School, Reema Khanchandani: 410-559-3120
Director of Residential Life, Jennifer Hua: 410-559-3126
Campus Security: 443-744-3708