Garrison Forest School
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Garrison Forest School: Empowering tomorrow’s female leaders

Today, we’re seeing an increasing number of female representation in C-suite and leadership roles that men typically dominate. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki represent just a handful of exemplary women at the helm of major organisations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who earned her PhD in quantum chemistry — is recognised as an influential leader in Europe. Finnish politician Sanna Marin became the world’s youngest serving prime minister at the age of 34. Kamala Harris became the US’ first female vice president earlier this year.

While women still have a long way to go in shattering the proverbial glass ceiling, for today’s young girls, breaking new frontiers begins with having a platform to find their voices, being able to take pride in their unique personality, spirit and character, and having the right support — be it in school to their extracurricular activities — to let their talents shine.

These are just some of the values that Garrison Forest School (GFS) — an independent girls’ school — embodies. GFS prides itself on empowering students to achieve their full potential through their supportive learning environment, as echoed by Jessica Zhang from Shanghai, China, who says: “Going to an all-girls school gives me the opportunity to speak up, as the environment is more supportive than a co-ed school.”

The Class of 2023 student adds, “I used to be afraid to use my voice, but at Garrison, I was able to find it. My teachers encourage me to speak out and share my opinions.”

GFS moulds confident and creative graduates through their challenging academic programme that helps each girl find her unique path to success. Their curriculum also develops students’ character and life skills, which, collectively, prepares them to succeed in university life and beyond.

Engage in world-class research projects

One of GFS’ main attractions is its Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) programme –– a groundbreaking partnership between the school and Johns Hopkins University. This collaboration puts talented students in Hopkins’ research labs two afternoons a week for around 15 weeks.

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The WISE programme is an opportunity for students to dive into STEM and test their mettle in a real lab as a real contributor. Source: Garrison Forest School

Under the programme, students are paired with a Hopkins mentor –– a professor or graduate student –– for the semester. It provides students with a platform to take a deep dive into STEM and test their mettle in a real lab.

Helen “Ellie” Blue can attest to this. She interned at the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health (CAH) through the WISE programme. She learned about common adolescent health issues by reviewing data from evidence-based teen pregnancy programmes. With her newfound knowledge, she plans to analyse data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and identify similarities and differences between students in Baltimore City and around Maryland.

Another student, Madison Haywood, agreed with the benefits of learning to work as a contributing member of a research team. “I really enjoy having a mentor because they’re so knowledgeable in their topic,” she enthused. “They easily explain and are always making sure I understand.” During the programme, Haywood focused on glycoengineering for cancer. She did this alongside Vrinda Dharmarha, a graduate student mentor.

A platform for students to build lifelong passions

Learning at GFS promises to be deeply engaging and wonderfully challenging. Their Lower School curriculum uses the 110-acre campus for outdoor learning, encourages confidence in public speaking, and incorporates project-based learning. The Middle School curriculum is just as vibrant, with an interdisciplinary approach that spans technology, visual and performing arts, and design thinking, while building leadership and research skills.

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Through athletic excellence, GFS aims to provide its girls with numerous opportunities to compete and develop. Source: Garrison Forest School

Students spend their last few years at GFS preparing for university life and beyond in the Upper School curriculum. Here, faculty members encourage and support students through a challenging programme that offers many opportunities for leadership, independent inquiry and interdisciplinary projects.

There are also expert college counsellors to guide students in gaining admissions to the college of their dreams. The residential experience at GFS — which is open to students in grades eight to 12 — also prioritises character development, global competency, and wellness.

“Res Life at Garrison has the best community and fun weekend activities,” shares Molly White, a student from Poolesville, Maryland. “The students get to be a part of choosing what we do, and we have so much fun, especially on the bus rides when we can sing together at the top of our lungs.”

It’s not just all work and no play at GFS. Students also have ample opportunities to compete and develop a strong sense of integrity, self-esteem, cooperation, and sportsmanship outside the classroom. The school is home to over 48 teams in 16 varsity sports. They have a dance programme, a nationally recognised riding programme, and are the only girls’ school in the US to offer a polo programme.

If you’re eager to learn more about the various elements that are empowering young women to reach their potential, get to know the Garrison Forest School community here.

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