New Culver Girls Academy students will complete an important rite of passage when they are formally inducted into CGA during the Crest Ceremony at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25. The Crest Ceremony is the culmination of the new girls’ orientation to Culver. During the ceremony, qualifying new girls will receive the Crest patch on their blazers.
Parents of new CGA students are invited to attend. The ceremony will be conducted at the Lay Dining Center.
Irena Balzekas ’10, who is now a research associate at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, will be the featured speaker. As a neurobiology research associate, Balzekas is investigating the possible influence the inflammation of nerve tissue during childhood has in the development of temporal lobe epilepsy. Prior to her work at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Balzekas was a research assistant at McGill University in Montreal, where she studied the interaction between probiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Balzekas received her bachelor’s degree from McGill in 2014. She majored in physiology and minored in Arabic language. She did her internship at Vyautus Mangus University and Vilnius Republic University Hospital during the summer of 2012.
Girls entering CGA begin their leadership training in the dorm under the prefect system. The prefect system incorporates a committee structure that parallels democratic government organizations to provide girls with many opportunities to exercise their voice and practice leadership skills. The leadership education starts during a girl’s first days at Culver, when the emphasis is placed on “learning to follow.”
From day one, they will have duties and responsibilities within the dorm. New girls also take Culver’s leadership and orientation classes, and meet weekly with their dorm’s honor representative to learn more about CGA and Culver’s practices, values, and traditions. After they have demonstrated an understanding of the varying roles within the school community, as well as a respect for Culver’s practices, expectations, and traditions, the new girls are invited to the Crest Ceremony.