Our journey to founding Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST) began in 2008, and along the way there have been partners and champions that have played instrumental roles in the building, shaping, and success of GGAST and Rwanda Girls Initiative (RGI). But no one played a more pivotal role in laying the groundwork and building blocks than our founding Headmaster of the school, Peter Thorp. GGAST would simply not be what it is today without Peter's commitment, heart and expertise to help us create a model all-girls school.
Today, all of us at Rwanda Girls Initiative (RGI) and GGAST, pause to express gratitude to Peter. He moved to Rwanda in May of 2010, with a suitcase full his favorite breakfast cereal, a bottle of scotch and a jar of salsa. Over the next seven months, Peter worked tirelessly to hire and train the faculty and staff, assist with admissions and open the school in January 2011. Not only did he help us implement our lofty vision, but he helped us create a culture of "the sky's the limit"! Peter navigated countless relationships and situations with class and sensitivity, and with humility and honesty when we made mistakes along the way. He joined us in celebration as we watched the first class receive their diplomas in 2013. After 4 ½ years living in Rwanda, in 2014 Peter returned to Seattle as the first Executive Director of RGI.
This year Peter is retiring after a heroic 38-year career as an educator. He can be proud to know the spirit of excellence and rigor that is alive and well at our school, is without a doubt, the legacy that Peter leaves behind.
To honor Peter's passion as an educator, we created The Peter Thorp Award that will be given each year to an outstanding teacher at GGAST. His love for teaching and education has inspired countless students and teachers alike and Peter's legacy will live on in the accomplishments of our students and teachers -both in academics and in their community.
Carrying the torch for RGI is an important responsibility and identifying Peter's successor was a decision that our Board considered thoughtfully. With nine years of extraordinary success under our belts we wanted to continue our momentum, as well as build out our strategic plan that will guide us through the next 25, 50, 100 years.
We are delighted to be welcoming Hillary Carey as the new Executive Director for Rwanda Girls Initiative. In anticipation of this transition, Hillary has spent the past year shadowing Peter; deepening her understanding of the organization's history, operations, needs and aspirations. Prior to joining RGI, Hillary was the CEO of Camp Korey, a non-profit dedicated to providing support to children and families with serious medical conditions. As the first employee of Camp Korey, Hillary helped establish the nonprofit, building out is programming, operations, partnerships, and fundraising. During her time with the organization, Camp Korey served over 19,000 children. We are thrilled to continue to move RGI forward with Hillary in the lead.Please join us in thanking Peter Thorp for his years of tremendous contributions and welcoming Hillary Carey to RGI.