The Thinker

Alumni FAQs

Frequently asked questions...

Q: Is there a way to get in touch with one or more of my friends from back in the Program days? We lost touch years ago....

A: If you Register with us, you can then search for your friends using the GPGC Alumni Database.

Q: I want to be more involved in GPGC Alumni Association activities. How can I do that?

A: Just send us a note using the Contact Us page and we will (gratefully!) get back to you ASAP.

Q: I am interested in having my child attend the current GPGC program, how can I get more information?

A: See the current GPGC program website:

Q: I live out of state now, but would still like to have my child attend, is that possible?

A: Yes, see the current GPGC program website for more information:

Reunion FAQs

Q: What is Bilbo Baggins's Birthday Party?

A: Bilbo Baggin's Birthday Party is a traditional Program event held once per summer. As the name suggests, it is basically a birthday party for the legendary hobbit Bilbo Baggins, with refreshments suitable for a birthday party. In addition to the refreshments, there is a reading from The Hobbit, with the book being passed to several different readers. When the party ends, the place in the book is marked, and next year's party begins its reading where the last left off. Because this is a combination birthday party/bedtime story, participants wear bedtime clothing suitable for mixed company (pajamas, robes, modest gowns, etc.) and usually bring pillows, blankets, stuffed animals--whatever they need to stake out a cozy spot on the floor to listen to the story.

Q: How did the tradition of Bilbo Baggins's Birthday Party get started?

A: The year was 1976, and The Guinness Book of Records was a huge fad best-seller. Everyone in my high school was reading it, and dreamed of finding an easy record and breaking it by doing something like eating 100 eggs or jumping rope for 87 hours. GPGC counselor Tony Kushner (class of '70) had already begun planning The World's Largest Risk Game, to be played on the McNeese Quadrangle with real human (giftie) armies. But in the meantime, the weekends had to be filled with fun activities thought up by the counselors. And Tony's next idea was The World's Longest Bedtime Story. The idea was to celebrate Bilbo Baggins's Birthday Party, and read The Hobbit from start to finish. The first BBBP included most of the trappings that it still has today: birthday cake, pajamas and pillows, and reading The Hobbit. In fact, that year, the kids pulled mattresses from empty rooms and made little makeshift beds in the upstairs lounge where the party was held. Sadly, we did not make it through the entire text of The Hobbit. I personally fell asleep somewhere approaching the mountain full of goblins; it's my hazy memory that we made it as far as Chapter 5 before calling it a night. We made it all the way through eventually, though, making a little more progress each summer.

Because Bilbo Baggins's Birthday Party was easy and cheap to throw, counselors kept this tradition alive, though it went on hiatus for a while in the early 90's. It was a perfect filler for the weekend of the Senior Trip, when a dance was not possible (seniors might not want to leave if they would miss a dance), and the other students still needed to be entertained. And it was always a little bit sweet to watch the kids spend one goofy, innocent evening eating cake, listening to stories, and feeling naughty in their PJs and bunny slippers before they all grew up and became surly teenagers.

If you have corrections or additional information for the FAQ, please contact us.