July 06, 2021

Rising to the Challenge

Joanie Morningstar ’22


Glenelg Country School’s Scholars program, is a challenge by choice opportunity to which all Upper School students can apply. The program provides an opportunity for students to graduate with distinction in one of five areas of study. Through specific coursework and experiential discovery, students focus their studies, build a portfolio of work, and defend their thesis before the faculty.


This year, five seniors graduate with distinction after completing all aspects of the program, including extracurricular analysis, internships, teaching opportunities, and more. While it would have been easy for these seniors to lose sight of their passions while adjusting to virtual learning, each remained focused on their goal. Chris Shematek, director of the program, and Lisa Haack, coordinator of the convergent science distinction could not be more proud of the students graduating from this year’s program.


Graduating with a distinction in entrepreneurship are Grant Denny, Madisyn Howard, and Catherine Morningstar, while Ryan Chipperfield and Esther Nissen graduate with a distinction in convergent science. 


The entrepreneurship scholars are extremely proud of the projects they were able to manage, saying it helped them become better managers. The graduates believe the experience will help them in the business world after college. 


Denny served as project manager of the 2019 Halloween games for Little Dragons and Lower School students. Also in 2019, Howard led the Haunted Trail, creating the most profitable trail to date. She calls this feat is her greatest accomplishment in the program. Likewise, Morningstar created and managed the Halloween Care Packages last year. This initiative provided a creative way to keep the Halloween spirit alive while the GCS community was unable to gather due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


In convergent science, Chipperfield focused on implicit bias, completing a college-level course and a Yale EXPO session. Meanwhile, Nissen completed an internship with an orthopedic surgeon, an learning experience she calls unforgettable. Nissen took what she learned from her internship and used it to teach fourth grade students in the Lower School the basics of orthopedic surgery. 


These five seniors stood apart from their class and worked hard to attain the distinction they’ve earned. Program coordinators and mentors cannot wait to see them excel in college and pursue their passions further. 

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