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In October, I wrote to you about our “culture code” at Roycemore, sharing the results of an activity that the Roycemore faculty and staff engaged in to define the culture of our school community.  This culture code is now used when we are hiring new individuals to join our faculty and staff, and it reminds us why we believe in the value of our mission and vision at Roycemore.

In the process of creating our culture code, members of the senior admin team landed on a single word that we agreed captured the unique magic of Roycemore– Griffinity!  As soon as the word was uttered, it was like a light bulb went on.  Encompassing our namesake mascot, we defined it as: Griffinity:  (noun) The quality of being Roycemore-Griffin-like.  Embodying a sense of community coupled with a sense of fun. Magical.  Limitless. Unique. Authentic. At once, it felt right.  We had a word that embraced the strength, individuality, and creativity of the Griffin, and a sense of potential– of infinite possibility.  

Griffinity is what Roycemore has always been. It has been there since the first graduating class of girls in 1919 chose the Griffin for Roycemore’s mascot.  

  • It was there when Betty Goerke graduated from Roycemore in 1948, went to Radcliffe (Harvard for girls, because they didn’t admit women at that time!) and she traveled around the world engaging in archeological digs.  
  • It was there when Donnis Hobson class of ‘66 went on to Stanford, followed by the University of Chicago medical school, then plastic surgery residency at Northwestern– all at a time when it was rare for women to become surgeons.
  • Griffinity was at play when Geoffrey Mark graduated from Roycemore in 1985, and after college found himself working as a production assistant in Hollywood.  With the self-confidence fostered at Roycemore, he put himself in front of people who could see the unexpected things he could do on a computer, ultimately landing him opportunities to be in charge of creating visual effects for programs from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to Sharknado, to The Simpsons!
  • More recently, the force of Griffinity transformed the life of Iman Amini, who came to Roycemore all the way from Kabul, Afghanistan.  His dream?– to graduate from high school in America and go to college so that he can return to Afghanistan one day and help create new opportunities for Afghans like him to lead profound lives.  Through the college guidance he received at Roycemore and the support of teachers, host families, and even strangers, he is now attending college on a full scholarship– his dream is becoming a reality!

These are just a few examples of the power of Griffinity to change a life.  And we know one life transformed can have an exponential impact as that life changes others, and ultimately makes our world a better place for us all.

As we wrap up 2019 and begin a new year, a new decade, I ask you, how has Griffinity changed you?  Please share your stories with me, or better yet, share them with others!  Below are a few stories posted on Niche.com. You can help us change lives by sharing your own story!

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Roycemore School, Happy Holidays and our best wishes for a 2020 that is full of the magic of Griffinity in your lives!

From Niche.com

I am proud to be a Roycemore School alumna. I graduated in 2004 and attended the high school. What I valued the most was the small classroom size, the dedicated faculty, and the small knit community. I never felt like a number but felt like someone’s interests and strengths were fostered. I felt more than prepared to go off to college because I had the greatest foundation from Roycemore. Much of what I learned in and out of the classroom I applied in my time in college and now as an adult. Roycemore isn’t just a school, it’s a family where everyone has a place. Students not only just fit, but they flourish here because the faculty and staff care on such an individualistic manner.

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I brought my child here to the middle school from a highly rated CPS selective enrollment school and it was the best decision I ever made. The academics are far superior to those at CPS and they have differentiation and individualized instruction in all classes to make sure each child’s experience is tailored to the learning style that works best for that child. The teachers go above and beyond to ensure that my child understands the material and is confident in her work. They really know their students and they are able to teach to their strengths and weaknesses. We want our child to stay at the school through 12th grade. The upper school is even more amazing than the middle school.

***

Roycemore is a truly special place. We moved our son from one of the top middle schools in Chicago and have found that the academic level and the sheer intelligence of the curriculum is much higher. More importantly each teacher is just remarkable as a thought leader and a human being. They really mean it when they speak of tailoring the learning experience for each individual student. They know my son well and he feels truly valued for who he is. The student body and the teachers are diverse in every possible way and my son just loves middle school— something I would have thought impossible!

***

Perhaps my favorite part was taking classes at Northwestern University.

Not only did this enable me to skip introductory classes in college, but gave real-life preparation for college.

Finally, I gained a lot from the diverse student body. I had friends of every race and family background while at Roycemore, and this really broadened my perspective on life in the years to come.

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I attended Roycemore from 1956-1966, then went to Stanford, followed by the University of Chicago medical school. I finished my plastic surgery residency at Northwestern. It was rare for women to become surgeons at that time. Roycemore gave me the intellectual tools and personal resilience to succeed by providing individual attention and outstanding teachers. It remains a remarkable school.

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We love being part of the Roycemore community. The individual attention our son received has made all of the difference in his life. He struggled until we found Roycemore and then he blossomed. He started loving school, loving his teachers, loving his classmates. This positive experience and self confidence booster made all the difference in his college success and it is evident in his success at law school. The atmosphere at Roycemore has such a positive affect we are so thankful that this school exists.

***

We withdrew from a top private school in Chicago following a very bad experience, only to find the true top category of schools in Roycemore. Within three weeks, our son who was very resistant to the idea of change, expressed how happy and relieved he was. The school environment is relaxing and supportive. Roycemore is a demonstration of how children can excel with guidance but not with pressure. This may sound simple but the truth is that it’s a status schools can’t achieve without teachers and leadership who share the same vision. 

***

Moving to Roycemore was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my child. She is finally feeling very comfortable in school. Teachers and classmates made her feel very welcome and she doesn’t need to worry about “fitting in” anymore. Her focus shifted to academics and sports. Teachers keep her very challenged and engaged. I can not be happier as a parent to see my child thrive.

***

Roycemore has been such a beautiful experience. From challenging academics to inclusion on every level, students are nurtured and guided with compassion. Leadership is emphasized beginning in lower school where students begin preparing for college and professional careers. Their commitment to diversity is real. Core values are demonstrated from the Head of School to administrators, teachers, parents and students. Roycemore fosters a strong sense of community. Students are encouraged to develop independently and as part of a team. Social and emotional development is emphasized along with academics. At Roycemore, my child is more than a student. She’s learning to be a leader, an active, contributing member of our society and our world.

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We transferred to Roycemore after oldest child struggled with severe anxiety at another top 10 school. Moving to Roycemore has turned into one of the best decisions we have made. It has given our child back to us; it has restored his self-esteem and self-confidence. And both of our kids are challenged academically, and growing in a place where they can authentically be themselves.

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We prioritized the social/emotional environment, the curriculum and the administration. Schools live and die by their heads, and Ms. Finley Odell is a strong leader who has fostered a collaborative working environment. Roycemore has been around for more than a century, and while it continues to carry forth its traditions and values, it is the Roycemore of NOW, and it is headed in an exciting direction. Finally, Roycemore embraces diversity. Fifty percent of students receive financial aid, and wealth and privilege are not on display. A grassroots mentality of “let’s work together to do this” prevails.