Parent Perspectives: Grayson Gillespie Butterfield ’84
Last week, I watched my daughter Virginia ’25 transform into Max in the Kindergarten class production of “Where the Wild Things Are.” I was in awe of the sheer poise and confidence with which she and her whole class took to the stage, reciting their lines, performing some pretty complex choreography and singing songs like “Wild Thing”, “Days of the Week” and “These are the Months of the Year.” Seeing my five year old perform with such joy and grace in front of a standing-room-only audience made my heart want to burst. It also gave me pause to reflect, once again, on my years performing on that very same stage.
Pictured: Grayson Butterfield ’84 with her brother Scott Gillespie ’87 (left), Dorothy Sullenberger ’84 (right) and Sarah Sullenberger Deigl ’88 (the little bird at front) being photographed by Grayson’s mom Catherine Gillespie after an all-school Christmas performance circa 1979
You see, I graduated from Grymes in the class of ‘84 (and my brothers John and Scott were class of ‘81 and ’87), and every year we participated in class plays, holiday performances and Declamation Days. So, five years ago, when my now-fourth grader Nora ‘21 was to start Junior Kindergarten, I walked into DuPont Gym on Back To School Night and was overwhelmed by the symmetry of it all. That moment marked the beginning of my new journey at Grymes not as a student, or an alumna, but as a parent.
Still, five years later, when I enter the gym for one of my daughters’ performances, vivid childhood memories come rushing back: the nervousness and confidence, the excitement and fear. Today, however, those feelings are overlaid with anticipation and concern for my girls, now in the spotlight. Having faith in the safety and support of the Grymes community helps calm my nerves. I also know that through these performances my girls are laying a foundation of unshakeable confidence, just like they did for me. It can still be nerve wracking, but every time they perform I can see their light shine brighter. Grymes understands the importance of these moments and makes room for them in their busy school day for the whole school to attend and celebrate. Each time Nora or Virginia takes the stage, it never fails to take my breath away and fill me with gratitude.
Our Grymes journey is far from over and I am excited to watch my girls continue to blossom as members of this wonderful community for years to come. We have many class plays ahead of us, many more Grymes milestones – and certainly many more moments like last week’s to come for me. I’ll savor them, butterflies and all.