Jan 31, 2023 |

Gravitas Chronicles Vol. 2

By Sean Riley

Gloria Hoskins Hand Sketch

Jan 2023

Cover Art by Gloria Hoskins

To download the pdf of this issue, click here: Gravitas Chronicles, Vol. 2.

Rekindling a Flame

By Ifra Ishaq

High school is a crucial period in a student’s life, laying the foundation for their future academic and career aspirations. However, this period can also be incredibly stressful, with students facing mounting pressure to excel academically, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain social relationships. As a result, many students experience burnout, which can harm their mental and physical well-being. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It is characterized by cynicism, detachment, and a lack of personal accomplishment.

One of the essential steps in preventing burnout is acknowledging it is a real problem. Unfortunately, many students may not realize that they are experiencing burnout and may try to push through it, leading to further deterioration of their health.

Once burnout is acknowledged, Students can take several steps to prevent it from occurring. One of the most important is to prioritize self-care. Students should be encouraged to take care of their physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and engaging in activities they enjoy.

Additionally, students should be taught practical time management skills to balance their school work, extracurricular activities, and leisure time in a healthy way. Another critical step in preventing burnout is learning to say no. Many students feel the need to take on a lot of responsibilities to appear successful and well-rounded. However, this can lead to feelings of overwhelm and exhausted. People experiencing burnout should always have a support system and avoid pushing people away when they need them most.

In conclusion, burnout is a growing concern among high school students. However, by prioritizing self-care, effective time management, setting boundaries, and creating a supportive environment, students can avoid burnout and focus on achieving their academic and career aspirations.

Student Leadership Councils

Students at Gravitas develop their character and leadership skills by working on realistic projects. With a broad community of peers that have a same goal and collaborate on initiatives, they work on significant projects. From project conception to project completion, students will work on projects under the supervision of faculty mentors.

This year, we will have four student leadership councils devoted to four different aspects of school life:

1. Activities and Community Service Council

  • Plan student activities
  • Help organize community-wide service initiatives like the MLK Day of
  • service and others
  • Promote and showcase community service amongst our students
  • Help create house competitions

2. Admissions & Communications Council

  • Serve as a buddy to students participating in class visit days
  • Participate as a student representative on Virtual Open House panels
  • Spotlight student achievements to the outside world
  • Athletics blog
  • Performing arts blog
  • Faculty spotlight interviews
  • Student spotlight interviews

3. Chapel and Character Formation Council

  • Help plan and lead chapel services
  • Help review, give feedback on, and create videos for the character
  • formation program lessons
  • Motivate peer participation in chapel and character formation program
  • Help spread the word about the Character Formation Program

4. Academics Council

  • Set up peer tutoring and mentorship program
  • Look for opportunities to serve students outside Gravitas through tutoring
  • and teaching
  • Plan guest lecture/interview series with students as interviewers
  • Run student-led mini courses
  • Write Academics, Passion Academies, and Arts blog posts
  • Share study skills, tips on how to excel in each Gravitas class, advice on
  • how to be an excelled online learner with peers

Students will select their leadership councils in January and begin work on these projects immediately. Starting in 2023-2024, Gravitas will add student leaders, prefects, to lead these councils.

Arts Spotlight

Glen Choi

“Music was ironically my least favorite subject because I found it repetitive. That all changed once I started learning about music production at the age of 10. The fact that I could express my imagination through music was so intriguing, and I found out that this was the field I truly loved. “




Talya Thomas

“I love dancing because it makes me feel free, and I can just forget about myself and fall into another character.”






Anya Nikonorova

“I was inspired by old paintings and decided to make a collage with clippings from old paintings.”

Gloria Hoskins

“This piece is about appreciating nature, and respecting the earth, and everything in it.”






Athletics Spotlight

“Basketball is a way for me to clear my head, and blow off steam. I always find myself more productive after playing basketball. When I’m on the court, nothing else matters.” – Ifra Ishaq







“My brother and I love competing and training for tennis. Not only do we play a lot of tournaments throughout, but we also spend countless hours during the week training. Due to this, my brother and I spend much of our time in Belgrade, Serbia. This is a great opportunity for us as we can train for 4-5 hours throughout the day and still make classes in the afternoon and evening. Also, We have used this opportunity to learn more about Serbian culture and other people throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe. With Serbia, we can work tirelessly for tennis and spend time learning about other people’s lifestyle. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity that Gravitas has given us. With Gravitas, we can pursue academic excellence alongside our tennis dreams. ” – Daniel & Will Cowan

” I was introduced to baseball at four years old and I’ve loved it ever since. This sport has affected my life in so many different ways. Baseball is my sport and I hope one day I can make it a career.” – Isaiah Gibbs






The Importance of Female Empowerment

by Talya Thomas

Hello Gravitas Community! My name is Talya Thomas;

I’m fourteen years old and a freshman. I’m starting a club called Future Female Leaders. The aim of this club is to empower women and learn about leadership. I wanted to create this club because I wanted to give the women of this school a place to empower each other and give us the opportunity to learn valuable skills about leadership. Please contact me at talya.thomas@sbs.org if you would like to join the club!

Empowerment, by definition, is people having power and control over their own lives. Unfortunately, this has not also been a given for women. Women have had to fight hard to gain this simple control over their lives, and while we have made progress, the need for women’s empowerment still remains. As a society, we heavily lack women in leadership and STEM roles. Women only make up 35% of senior leadership positions, unlike men, who make up 65%. Also, only 26% of STEM core degrees are held by female graduates, and only 24% of women make up the STEM workforce. This is concerning because if all young girls see are men in these roles, they will begin to believe that it is the norm for women to be excluded from these activities. When we start to empower women to be in leadership roles or be in STEM, we are breaking the stereotypes and gender norms, and by doing so, more and more women will see that it is okay and normal to pursue these roles. Unfortunately, due to sexism, when a woman is assertive or shows signs of being a leader, she is often looked down upon and called bossy or annoying. We need to break this stereotype because it pushes women farther away from leadership roles because they see it as a bad thing. This is the opposite of empowerment. Female empowerment is needed to move forward in our society, and without it, we are stunting the potential of what our society could become.

Your History

by Joseph Choi

Though the benefits of the Gravitas program outweigh the downside, one inevitable problem arises from being an online school: Unlike in-person learning, where you continuously have physical contact, online schools make it difficult to connect constantly physically. Physical connections are well intact with emotional connections, contributing to being easier to create personal relationships. So, when it’s difficult for physical connections, it is easy for us not to develop personal relationships.

We can’t teleport through screens and physically meet each other and have personal relationships, so I wanted to create opportunities that can, without breaking dimensions, have personal connections that are on par. Physical contact may be gone from the table, but we still have emotional connections. Like how people laugh or cry while watching TV shows or movies, I believe we can teleport our emotions through screens and develop emotional connections that will develop personal relationships as time passes.

There will always be valuable lessons or moments of awakening that shaped you and therefore made moments that you treasure deeply in your hearts. In “Your History,” we want to hear about those meaningful moments. One of the best ways for emotional connection is by opening your heart to tell others your personal stories that you believe to be valuable. With the “Your History” club, we can create emotional connections, bringing you to come and open your doors for others to listen to your stories or testimonies.

By doing so, our emotions will teleport through our screens and enable us to have an emotional connection that will, even if we are physically all over the world, allow us to have personal relationships that will deepen as the club ages. Naming the club “Your History” may be daunting as it may seem to require you to share moments grand in scale. However, as memories are full of little things, don’t feel pressured to share something radical and monumental. What we want isn’t a grand scale, but rather stories you feel valuable: what you think is treasurable can be tiny. It will take courage to share your priceless treasures with others. However, if you do, it will undoubtedly create deeper personal relationships, deepening the Gravitas community and, as the club ages, allowing the online community to have such depth that I believe most other online schools can’t completely replicate.

If you are interested in sharing your faith journey or a meaningful story that contains avaluable lesson you treasure in “Your History” with your peers, fill in our form to get started. And for more info or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at joseph.choi@sbs.org. Thank you.

Student Spotlights

 Maksym Danylenko, Grade 8, Lviv, Ukraine

What is one achievement you are proud of?

“I used to do martial arts. I did Judo in Italy and I came first place in a tournament. I’m really proud of that. I enjoy martial arts”.

What do you do when you’re having a hard time with school?

“I go for a walk with my best friend. I find that it helps me clear my head and we talk and get everything off our chest. “


Yan Starodubets, Grade 11, Kyiv, Ukraine

What is one achievement you are proud of?

“I was in 1 in 24 students in all of Ukraine for my Chemistry research in the JAS research competition. I won a prize, and I’m proud of it because I put tons of effort and worked on it for two years.”

What are some fond traditions you have?

“On January 19th, we dive into iced water. We do it to honor Christianity because decades ago, people in Ukraine jumped into an icy river to declare they are Christians. “

Gloria Hoskins. Grade 11, Maine, USA

How do you like to spend your free time?

“I like to create a lot. I really like creating art, it’s kind of an outlet for me. Whether it be drawing or painting, or just spending time outside, which I think fuels my creativity.”

What do you wish to accomplish with Gravitas?

“Gravitas has a wide range of resources and opportunities that they provide for students. I feel like I just want to find where I fit. The college prep is nice to have because it’s a base to build off.”

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