The spotlight was shining on the first grade on Thursday, February 17 for the Parade of Luminaries project. Other grades in Lower School lined the upstairs hallway as the first graders made their way through, carrying posters filled with biographical information and illustrations of all kinds of people from history and present day who had influenced or inspired others. Research subjects included Hellen Keller, Steve Jobs, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Walt Disney, Thurgood Marshall, Michael Phelps, Rosa Parks, Lebron James, Greta Thunberg, Mark Rober, and so many more. One student studied a personal luminary — his own mother. Of particular Gilman interest were Redmond C.S. Finney, headmaster from 1968 to 1992, Dr. Peter Kwiterovich, our Assistant Head of School, and Edie Meacham, our school nurse.
After the parade, the first grade boys filled the Stevens Room, where they took turns standing behind the podium — on a chair so they could be seen — to deliver their speeches. “Good morning parents, grandparents, and Gilman families,” said the first student who welcomed those watching the livestream. “This project stems from the Gilman motto, In Tuo Lumine Lumen,” said another.
The young scholars impressively presented their speeches completely from memory. They spoke clearly, looked up at the camera, and stayed perfectly quiet while respectfully listening to their classmates.
Each speech included some details about the luminary’s life, how s/he made the world a better place, what the student hopes the audience remembers, and a fun “what you might not know” fact about the person. For example, did you know that Henry Ford invented the weekend?
Dr. Kwiterovich’s son shared about his dad. “He taught me how to be a first-class citizen and never walk by trash.” The boy who chose Nurse Edie Meacham said, “I hope you will remember her for keeping Gilman safe so we can stay in school.”
Boys seemed especially excited to share if their luminary had a connection to Baltimore. The student who researched Johns Hopkins enthusiastically shared that “his bequest started The Country School for Boys. It is now called Gilman!”