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Where Every Child is Known

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News & Videos

GVS Parent and Author Neha Bajaj Speaks to Students for Autism Acceptance Month

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, GVS Lower School students were treated to a special presentation by Neha Bajaj, a GVS parent (Nate, 2nd Grade) and author of Noah's Intense Day. The occasion was not just about sharing a story; it was a celebration of neurodiversity, individuality, and fostering a more inclusive environment.

 

Bajaj began her presentation by explaining the process behind her heartwarming book as she guided students through the ins and outs of writing, revising, and illustrating, all of which contributed to bringing Noah's world to life. Diving into her own journey as a writer, Bajaj revealed a secret: she is an avid reader, just like many of the students before her.

As Bajaj read Noah's Intense Day aloud, she painted a vivid picture of some of the challenges faced by individuals with autism. Through Noah's eyes, students began to understand a life filled with sensory overload, social complexities, and the profound emotions that shape his daily life. Bajaj explained how Noah's story isn't just about autism; it's about understanding and embracing differences, and fostering empathy in our community.

The heart of the story lies within Noah's journey of self-discovery. As he navigates through his intense emotions and sensory experiences, he learns to appreciate the unique bond he shares with his brother, Shaun, who faces similar difficulties. Through their connection, readers witness the power of acceptance, compassion, and the unwavering support of family.

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The 2nd Grade Shines in Portrayal of Rainbow Crow

Anticipation filled the Harris Theater for the 2nd Grade's performance of Rainbow Crow—a Lenape Native American legend that tells the story of a crow with brilliantly colored feathers who sacrifices his beauty to bring warmth and light back to his freezing, darkened world. 

Directed by music teacher Jess Beja and supported by the creative talents of art teacher Brigid Coffey and music director Kayla Sorenson, the stage was certainly set for a magical journey bringing nature to life.

Head of School Dr. Jesse Dougherty set the tone with words of encouragement, praising the students' collaborative spirit and their dedication to portraying characters with finesse. As the young actors took their places, their faces lit up with smiles and their enthusiasm was palpable in the waves exchanged with the audience.

Coffey’s skillful set design transported the audience into the heart of nature, setting the perfect backdrop for this legendary tale. Accompanied by Sorenson's wonderful talent on the piano, the students—dressed as creatures from the story—sang with gusto, filling the theater with melodies that captured the essence of the story. 

From playful Mice to Sky Spirits crowned with rays of sunshine to Crows adorned with rainbow-feather boas, each child embodied their character and narrated their lines with pride and confidence. Through the crow's journey, the themes of selflessness, sacrifice, and the importance of community and the environment resonated deeply, leaving a lasting impression on all who watched.

As the final notes of "Over the Rainbow" faded into a roaring applause, it was a clear testament to the students' hard work and dedication. 

Additional thanks goes to Head of Lower School Heather Wagner; our 2nd Grade team: Lisa Del Prete, Christina Gong, Takesha Graham, and Helen Yu-Holguin; our technology extraordinaire Danielle Maggi; the music and art departments; photographer and videographer Chloe Johnson; and all of the enthusiastic attendees in the audience.
 

A Touchdown Talk: A Glimpse into the Strategy of the NFL with William Deng

GVS parent William Deng spoke to Upper School students about his role as Head of Corporate Strategy at the National Football League (NFL), offering a captivating glimpse into the inner workings of the renowned sports organization. 

Deng, father to Marshall (Pre-K) and Wyatt (2nd Grade), kicked off his presentation with an exclusive peek into a video produced annually by NFL Films, taking students on a journey through the exhilarating highlights of this past football season. Students were on the edge of their seats as play-by-play moments unfolded on screen, garnering some pronounced “oohs and aahs” along the way.

Delving deeper, Deng shared insights into the elite world of the NFL, explaining the rigorous process of actually securing a spot on an NFL roster as a player, a feat achieved by 0.005% of hopefuls. With a touch of humor, he quipped, "If you ever aspire to join the NFL, taking my path might just be the easiest route."

But Deng's path wasn't without its own twists and turns, likening his journey to Sheryl Crow's "Everyday is a Winding Road." Prior to assuming his current role in 2023, Deng spent eight years in the NFL’s Media Strategy & Business Development group, spearheading various media partnerships. With a background in finance and strategy from esteemed institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Interbrand, and The Clinton Foundation, Deng holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Diving into riveting statistics, Deng revealed football's status as America's favorite sport, capturing the hearts of 70% of the population, with NFL programming ranking 93rd among the top 100 programs—and continuing to grow globally. Also on the rise, is the NFL's Flag Football League, now a part of the LA Olympics in 2028.

Highlighting the NFL's staggering $20 Billion annual revenue stream from media, ticket sales, events, merchandise, and sponsorships, Deng offered students a glimpse into the multitude of career opportunities within the NFL, spanning strategy, content production, legal, and beyond.

With a focus on his role as Head of Corporate Strategy, Deng simplified the term “strategy,” defining it as setting a goal, and then creating a plan to achieve that goal. His specific responsibilities include identifying trends, setting goals around long-term growth potential, and ensuring everyone stays on task and works together. From enhancing game safety and excitement to engaging the next generation of fans, Deng's strategic vision encompassed every facet of the NFL's operations.

In closing, Deng imparted invaluable advice on the power of networking, resilience, and self-discovery, urging students to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. “Always listen, work hard, learn your strengths, and don't be afraid to fail and try again.”

As his words lingered in the air, students departed with newfound inspiration and a deeper understanding of the NFL's inner workings.

GVS Book Fair: Where Reading Becomes an Adventure

Green Vale hosted its annual Book Fair on April 8-12 in the Cheryl Webb Gymnasium.

The gym seemed to come alive, as books of every shape, size, and genre lined the tables, their colorful covers calling curious minds to explore. Students from Pre-Nursery to 8th Grade entered the Book Fair and their eyes lit up with excitement at the sight of so many books waiting to be discovered.  

Throughout the week, students browsed the aisles, eager to find their next favorite read. The Book Fair concluded with a grand finale at Grandparents & Friends Day—as the students enjoyed one last go-around to take home their literary treasures.

A heartfelt thank you to all volunteers, especially co-chairs Susie Anderson and Maria Lustig, who worked hard to ensure that everything ran smoothly. 

The Book Fair at Green Vale was is more than just a chance to buy books—it is an opportunity to foster a love of reading and discover new stories. By the end of the week, students left the Book Fair with arms full of books and hearts full of excitement for the adventures that awaited them within the pages.

Uniting Generations: Green Vale's Grandparents & Friends Day Celebration

Green Vale's Grandparents & Friends Day is a cherished occasion where the school community comes together to celebrate the bond between generations and the enduring friendships that enrich our students' lives.

On the morning of Friday, April 12, families, friends, and loved ones gathered on campus, greeted by the welcoming smiles of students, teachers, and staff. Throughout the day, classrooms buzzed with activity as students eagerly shared their latest projects and school experiences with their special guests. 

From colorful art displays to hands-on math lessons, each classroom offered a glimpse into the vibrant learning environment that defines Green Vale. The Book Fair added to the excitement, offering a chance for book lovers of all ages to discover new literary gems.

As the event came to a close, gratitude filled the air as thanks were extended to all who had contributed to its success. From the dedicated teachers to the hardworking staff, it was clear that teamwork had made the day memorable for all involved.

Looking ahead, there was a sense of anticipation for the future, filled with more moments of connection, celebration, and shared joy. Grandparents & Friends Day not only brought us together, it reaffirmed the bonds that bound us as a community and filled our hearts with gratitude for the love and support that surrounds us each and every day.