Kershaw is named for headmaster Dr. William Kershaw (1877–1915). Kershaw’s colors are navy blue and light blue and the mascot is the kangaroo. (Matt Dence)The Lower School consists of three main buildings: Leas Hall, McLean Hall (constructed in 1964), and the Abramson Lower School (constructed in 1999). Leas Hall comprises the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms, while McLean Hall contains 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms. The Abramson Lower School has two 3rd grade classrooms, science rooms, and music classrooms. After the World Wars, GA was led by headmaster Donald Miller who was instrumental in the move from Germantown to the current Fort Washington campus. By the 1960s, more and more lower income minority families moved into Germantown and GA families left Germantown for the nearby suburbs. In five years, “The Miracle of Fort Washington” (a term coined by Judge Jerome O’Neill, ’28) occurred as the school moved from city to suburb. In this transition, GA coeducated, accepting girls in 1961 with the first co-ed class graduating in 1968. Germantown Academy, informally known as GA and originally known as the Union School, is the oldest nonsectarian day school in the United States. The school was founded on December 6, 1759, by a group of prominent Germantown citizens in the Green Tree Tavern on the Germantown Road. Germantown Academy enrolls students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and is located in the Philadelphia suburb of Fort Washington, having moved from its original Germantown campus in 1965. The original campus (see Old Germantown Academy and Headmasters’ Houses) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The school shares the oldest continuous high school football rivalry with the William Penn Charter School.Truesdell is named for longtime GA teacher, Walter Truesdell. Truesdell was Phi Beta Kappa and taught Latin for thirty years. The house colors are blue and silver and the mascot is the timberwolf. (Rachel Lingten)After the Civil War, the school was in decline, with a small student body and outdated facilities. In 1877, Dr. William Kershaw was appointed headmaster. Under his leadership, the Academy gained prominence and expanded its activities with the introduction of the Inter-Academic League (1887), The Belfry Club, one of the oldest high school drama clubs in the country (1894), and The Academy Monthly (1885), one of the oldest student literary magazines still in existence. During his headmastership, GA graduated a future University of Pennsylvania president, a Supreme Court justice, and a primate of the Episcopal Church.
Students are required at minimum, five credits per year and at least four years of English, three years of Math, Science, History, two years of Language, and one year of Art. There are 567 students enrolled in the Upper School (as of the 2019-20 school year). The student to teacher ratio is currently 8:1 in the Upper School.Conduct in the upper school is governed by the Honor Code, a system where students agree to a set of rules, and where, in the case of an infraction, students are judged by an honor council consisting of teachers and peers. The upper school runs on a house system. Each student is placed into one of seven houses. These houses include, Alcott Day, Washington, Galloway, Osbourn, Kershaw, Truesdell, and Roberts. Each house is named after an important figure with a Germantown Academy connection. A student will stay with their house for all four years of upper school life. Over the course of a year, each house will meet twice a week, and for special events, they will compete against each other. These special events include The Knowledge Bowl House Olympics and The Annual Spelling Bee. Each year a house cup is crowned to the house with the most house points which are picked up throughout the year in the challenges above and in many others. The Middle School as a separate department was established in 1976. It was first led by Barbara Hitschler Serrill,’68 and then run by longtime Head of Middle School, Richard House. The first Alter Middle School was donated by Dennis and Gisela Alter and constructed in 1997. In 2011, the new Alter Middle School was constructed and opened as a part of the Building on Tradition campus campaign. There are many activities for students, such as the science fair, a play and musical, sports teams, many clubs, such as a Fandom Club, an art club, and a literary magazine. There are 275 students currently enrolled in the Middle school (as of the 2019-20 school year).Roberts is named for Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts, a member of the class of 1890. Roberts House colors are blue and orange and their mascot is the walrus. (Allison Rader)Galloway is named for early Academy trustee Joseph Galloway, a notable Philadelphia figure during the Revolution. Galloway’s house colors are black and yellow and their mascot is the Griffin. (Michael Torrey)
. It’s been a very long day today and the kids have been very quiet. We met with every student this morning in a community meeting and students also have counselors and teachers available to talk to,” Connor said.
An investigation was launched that determined through text messages, emails and other evidence that the defendant had engaged in sexual behavior with the minor student both inside and outside of Germantown Academy.Cheatle was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Deborah Lukens, who set bail at $100,000 unsecured, along with the condition that the defendant not have any contact with children other than his own. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Whitemarsh Township Police Chief Christopher P. Ward on Thursday announced the arrest of Michael Cheatle, 37, of Chester Springs, on charges of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor/sexual offenses, corruption of a minor and endangering the welfare of a child. The woman, whose name was not available, and three children in her vehicle suffered minor injuries in the crash, which occurred about 4 p.m., Beaty said.Ballay, of the 2600 block of Swamp Road in Furlong, Bucks County, was driving a 2006 White Honda coupe when it collided with a 2007 Mercury Mountaineer driven by a 47-year-old woman at Sheaff Lane near Williams Road, adjacent to the school, said Whitemarsh Lt. Mike Beaty.Police this morning identified Cole Ballay as the 17-year-old Germantown Academy student who died in in a two-crash in Whitemarsh Township yesterday afternoon.My ears buzzed with the sound of a million different sources, each with a different pitch and tone. The birds sang in perfect rhythm and meter, small lungs struggling to make their songs heard. The crickets’ internal instruments echoed a sweet chirping as their tunes resonated through my propped open window. The man-made noises intruded on natures’ natural symphony. The cars sputtered along the road in each way, their engines churning out roaring acceleration, tightly wound gear shifts, and squealing horns. The distant, distinct rustle of lawn mowers vibrated the sound waves in a rough series of notes, while the clamor of men’s laughter and the playful giggling of children smoothed and sped the beat. All of the magnificence and musical masterpiece of the outside world filtered through the one partially open window of my room, and straight into my ears. Inside my room the breeze whistled, the ruffled sheets were lightly draped over my body, and the springs of my bed creaked and moaned on the wooden frame.
The Earth and all of its wonders surround the human race in a surreal land of marvel and wonder. One of the most emotionally captivating, and majestic sensations man can have is the smell, sound, and sight experienced on the first day of summer. Many times in this overbearing modern world, priorities are shuffled and senses are desensitized due to the lack of time to taken to appreciate nature. The single most tantalizing and rejuvenating experience my senses have encountered came on the first morning of the summer going into my first year of high school. The emotional frenzy which occurred on that summer morning gave me an eye opening experience that presented a new outlook on life and the world around me thus making me the optimistic person I am today.“Soccer player”, is how people usually label me. However, I am more than a generalized label. I am a young man who is intensely devoted and obsessed with the “beautiful game”. I can remember even as a very young child the sensations of running with the ball at my feet and the breeze whipping by my hair and ears. I am older now and those exhilarating memories will hopefully remain with me forever. With many soccer related experiences to come, I will always be mindful of these earliest impressions, and regardless of where soccer takes me in the future, they will forever remain fresh sources of inspiration.However, I must also remind myself that soccer is more than diligence. It is a sport, which I have always enjoyed. Like all games, it involves skill and strategy. This is what makes a game fun. At present, it still is. When I am out on the field, it is as though everything else drifts away. Anger, confusion, frustration, worry and all outside distractions become insignificant. The exhilarating feelings of my youth resurface from memory to present reality. As my senses became more engulfed by nature, my body became awakened, and I rose from my fleeting slumber. Driven to the opening in my window by smell and sound, I looked to the right, and there at eye level was a portal into a new world. Standing up with as much vigor as a bull, I rushed to the opening. My head slid into the propped open space, and a scene was painted before my eyes that I will never forget. The grass seemed greener than ever before. The evergreen trees looked stronger than oxen, and their pine needles were crisp and firm. The garden was flowing with life. The textured plants were as smooth as babies’ bottoms, and the vivid flowers were in blues, reds, yellows, and oranges. The sky was a soft blue, with no clouds in sight. The scene was so clear that Heaven was almost visible. Kneeling there in shock and awe, I came to realize that this was a milestone day for me. My journey into adulthood had begun.As I advance in youth soccer, I appreciate the opportunities that I have had in the past and those future ones, which I must seek and earn. Being chosen for the Region 1, O.D.P. team, the Regional Champions, the Delco Hammerheads, and the Super Y National Camp have widened my horizons. While participating in the regional tournaments and camps, my eyes have been opened to other walks of like, other peoples, their differences from and similarities to me. These events made me realize that others are just as willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. I must continue to work hard and take advantage of opportunities that come my way to achieve my goals. For me soccer is more than a hobby or past time. It is an anti-drug; a way of making new friends; a way of expanding my views and aspects of life, and most importantly, it is the core of my being. When I think about something that I feel passionate about, one word comes to mind, soccer.
“We loved him, and we will forever mourn his loss, a devastating tragedy for our community, his family, his friends, and our world,” a school spokesperson wrote. “We will do everything in our power to carry his memory forward, to honor him as he so truly deserves, and to live our lives well as a tribute to him. Matthew is the embodiment of love, promise, and goodness, and we will never, ever forget him.”Dirienzo-Whitehead was then charged with first and third degree murder as well as possession of an instrument of crime with intent. She remains in custody in Wildwood Crest and is awaiting extradition to return to Montgomery County.
A Montgomery County mother said she strangled her son with her husband’s belt because she didn’t want him to grow up dealing with their family’s financial difficulties, according to investigators.Dirienzo-Whitehead was a real estate agent with an office in Horsham. Her son was a sixth grade student at Germantown Academy, which he attended since kindergarten. School officials described him as an extraordinary child with a bright smile.A responding detective noticed blood and fluids were draining from the boy’s mouth and nose. Investigators later determined the boy had been strangled.Ruth Dirienzo-Whitehead, 50, is accused of killing her son and driving to a Jersey Shore beach where investigators said she left her vehicle in the ocean before walking to a nearby town.
During an interview with investigators, Dirienzo-Whitehead said her son was upset and had been crying throughout the day on Monday due to their family’s financial difficulties, according to the criminal complaint.“[He] was an extraordinary child with a smile as bright as the sun… the embodiment of love, promise, and goodness, and we will never, ever forget him.”