Kamp Kingfisher Kudos

Middle schoolers attended the first-ever Kamp Kingfisher on Thursday, October 29. At Kamp Kingfisher, class takes place outside! Mrs. Crosby, dressed in hiking boots and cargo shorts, taught math on the sidewalk to students who worked their problems on their individual whiteboards.  Ms. Grippo’s fifth-graders also did math and Language Arts out under a convenient oak. Dr. Neubauer’s Life Science class occupied the front lawn to carve pumpkins and decorate the portico for Halloween. 

Mme Gates’ Latin II students re-enacted a naval race from one of their stories using carboard boats with bamboo masts. Physical Science left their circuit work to go on a Halloween walk with Mr. Patrick. Everyone had a grand time.

A sudden rain shower at lunch forced the postponement of a giant game of Sharks and Minnows involving tiny water squirters. But the fun didn’t stop. Mrs. Crosby’s Language Arts class made a “campfire” outside and read their spooky tales out loud to each other. Then they got to eat individually wrapped s’mores. Everyone was worn out by the end of the day.

Thank you, Mrs. Crosby, for organizing such a fun day for Middle School!

North Island Lighthouse Visit

On Friday, October 23, Dr. Simmons led the intrepid eleventh grade American History class on a field trip to historic North Island in Winyah Bay.  After meeting at school, everyone drove separately down South Island Ferry Landing to catch the boat over to the barrier island.  The guides for the trip were Jim Lee and Jamie Dozier of DNR. 

Jim and Jamie very ably navigated the DNR boat over to the pier on North Island, then led the group to the top of the lighthouse (120 spiraling steps).  According to local historian Elizabeth Huntsinger, the North Island Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in S. C. (Interestingly enough, it was the last to be automated). From the top of the lighthouse, Kingfishers could see the entrance to Winyah Bay between North and South Islands.

After climbing up in the lighthouse and enjoying its splendid panorama, the group crossed the island to get to beach, where they ate lunch.  They packed up and walked back to pier.  By 2:30, they were back on the mainland hot, sandy, and thrilled with their adventure.  Georgetown used to be the third largest port on the east coast of the U.S. and the kids got a real birds-eye view of how shipping traffic used to enter our port.

Kingfishers Enjoy the Water

Dr. Neubauer’s determination to take our students on a real field trip paid off on October 20.  Kids from fifth to seventh grades had the opportunity to go for a ride on SC-DNR’s educational vessel Discovery.  As in years past, they got to observe wildlife and birds along the Waccamaw River and they also got to examine and measure all the fish the staff pulled up in the net.  

When the good ship Discovery dropped the Kingfishers back off at Land’s End, everyone walked downtown to the S. C. Maritime Museum for lunch and a visit to their Water/Ways exhibit.  This traveling presentation “explores the centrality of water in our lives, including its practical role in agriculture and economic planning, and its impact on culture and spirituality.”  The exhibit is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute in collaboration with state humanities councils.

By the time the kids had walked back to school just before sixth period, they were pretty tired.  “I can’t believe we have to go back to class,” said one.  “We walked five miles!”

Thank you, Dr. Neubauer and Ms. Grippo, for figuring out the logistical challenge of taking our kids off campus and keeping them safe and socially distanced at the same time. We are always happy to be on the water and walking the streets of Georgetown.

Pileau To Go, Please!

Mysterious items began to appear in the downstairs hall of the school this week, as preparation for our first-ever Pileau To Go fund-raiser got underway: stacks of containers, bags of bread, wrapped slices of pound cake, and more.  By Thursday, everything was almost ready to fill orders for more than 600 orders of pileau that our Kingfishers had presold for $8 a plate.

On Friday September 25, a truck pulled up on the front lawn, holding several giant pots of steaming homemade chicken pileau.  The Baker family are the local expert at preparing this quintessentially Southern dish and they went all out for us.  The smell was delightful and the taste was even better! Thank you, Mike, Ashley and the whole clan, for sharing your cooking skills and for working so hard to make this fund-raiser a success.

Kingfisher Crew Co-Captains Sandy Martin and Mahi Livain worked tirelessly.  They spent hours organizing the work force and supplies, making sure everything was ready for pick-up day.  Kingfishers responded generously, buying plates, preparing sides, and dishing up the food.  Congratulations to all for a job well done with amazing sales to help our Scholarship Fund!

“The Pileau To Go fund-raiser was successful on all fronts, raising money for our school and involving a large number of our families in a cooperative effort,” said Dr. Gates. “It generated contacts and interest and goodwill in the community.”

Thank you, Kingfisher Crew!  Go Kingfishers!

Surveying Prince George Cemetery

DSC_0631TGS students began an interesting service project in June: helping Patti Burns conduct a survey of all the graves in Prince George Cemetery. The work will be part of a large, ongoing project sponsored by Georgetown County Library to put a photograph and transcription of every grave marker in the county on line for historians, genealogists and families to use.

The students record data about the shape of the marker, its style and its current condition.  Then they write down its inscription. Many of the grave inscriptions in Prince George Cemetery are quite worn down (some date from the 1700s), so Patti taught everyone to use thin tin foil to make a rubbing to make them stand out and become more legible.

Here is an example of an inscription about a mother from the 1800s: “Truly did she possess that Christian charity which suffereth long and is kind, for being left a widow under very trying circumstances she not only maintained her four children, but her house was ever the home of the friendless and orphan, for she stretched out her hand to the poor, yea, she reached forth her hand to the needy. Ever will her children rise up and call her blessed.”

Awards Day 2015

DSC_0477Proud parents, grandparents and friends, plus students in uniform who had just finished exams, gathered in the Es’Dorn Room, ready to celebrate the end of the year. Our second Awards Day got underway with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by student body president Sarah Exum. Next, Dr. Gates mentioned all the awards from SCISA (and other entities of which faculty were aware) that TGS students had garnered during 2014-2015.

Then Dr. Razzi present the school awards: Sports and Athletic Award–Savanna Morris, Service Award–Top Lee, Arts Award–Nathan Gates, Academic Award–Isabella Neubauer, and Kingfisher Award–Lochlyn Hejl. “Lochlyn actually doesn’t have to wear the kingfisher costume,” Dr. Razzi noted.

Mrs. Judy Sweitzer took a few moments to bid everyone farewell as she stepped down from her administrative position. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her as a volunteer.


Dr. Gates closed the ceremony by presenting all the students who received academic
honors this year (93 or above in every class or an overall average of 95).

Commencement 2015

Sarah marches in to Pomp and CircumstanceThe Georgetown School of Arts and Sciences held its second commencement ceremony on the evening of Friday May 29, in the Es’Dorn Room of the historic Winyah Auditorium. Sarah Alexandra Exum, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Exum of Pawleys Island, graduated with academic honors  She will attend Indiana University in the fall to study pre-med.

Father Pat Stenson of Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church gave the invocation, then Dr. Gary Gates, Head of School, and Mrs. Joyce Gates, President of the Board of Directors, welcomed students, parents, faculty and guests to the joyous occasion.

Sarah Exum then addressed the crowd of sixty people, talking about her decision to take aFaculty enjoy Sarah's valediction chance in her junior year on a brand-new school.  She thanked the faculty and expressed her love and appreciation for her fellow students.  “I know it’s weird, but I actually liked coming to school,” she said, “I feel very well-prepared for my future at Indiana.”

JGreen gift to TGSDr. Laura Gates then spoke about a painting by nationally-known artist Jonathan Green on display in the Es’Dorn Room.  Green recently made this study of three floating balloons in a blue sky for The Georgetown School during the first annual Georgetown Gullah Festival.   His gift was unveiled at the school’s Awards Ceremony earlier the same day.  “This painting makes me think of our graduates,” Gates said, noting that students, like balloons, must eventually be released from safety and protection and allowed to fly free.  She encouraged Sarah to follow Green’s practice of re-imagining reality to create a better world.

It was all smiles and tears as Sarah prepared to come forward to receive her diploma.  Dr. Gary Gates praised her for her initiative and sense of responsibility over the years.  “Besides her academic achievements, Sarah of her own volition organized our first volleyball team,” he noted, counseling Sarah to make time for herself at college, “When people find out how good you are at everything, they are going to want to put all the responsibility on you.”Sarah receives her diploma from Dr. Gates as President of the Board Joyce Gates looks on

After Sarah received her diploma with handshakes, hugs, and applause all around, everyone enjoyed a reception to celebrate her fine achievement. Thank you, Lisa Haas and the PTO for the delicious food–what a great finish to a fantastic year!

River Day 2015

WP_20150522_023   WP_20150522_008Thanks to the gracious hospitality of Dr. Tom and Mrs. Lane Crosby, we once again spent the afternoon out on Black River, relaxing after 6th and 5th period exams in the morning on May 22. Students quickly packed their snacks, life vests and towels into a long cortege of vehicles headed north on 701. We turned onto Brown’s Ferry Road and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the Crosby’s lovely home. The weather could not have been more perfect; students jumped right into kayaking, swimming, dock-sitting, hammock-swinging, volleyball, badminton, and sliding. There were three motor boats (thank you, Tom and Joe Crosby and Rhonda and Tim Morris!) for kids who wanted to try tubing, knee-boarding, or wake-boarding.

All afternoon, students were on the move: they paused only to eat large quantities of chips,WP_20150522_038 cheese balls and watermelon, then started the next water or land sport. Faculty were more sedate. Dr. Gates paddled around on his back, Mrs. Patrick, Mme Gates and Senora Yorky took a long boat ride while Dr. Razzi and Mr. Patrick kept on their button-down shirts in the safety of the gazebo. Only Dr. Neubauer accepted the knee-board challenge! Amazingly, we still had room around 6:oo for freshly grilled hot-dogs, hamburgers and veggie-burgers with a side of fresh strawberries (thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Crosby and great job grilling, Dr. Razzi and Dr. Gates!).


The Crosby’s deck was a scene of utter destruction afterwards, but we managed to dole out all the open food to students to take home, put away the rest, and sort out everyone’s personal possessions (including a frantic last-minute search for Wilson the volleyball). Everyone thanked the Crosby’s for their amazing hospitality and all the careful planning that went in to making this such a great day, then made the journey back to the school parking lot. We Kingfishers were replete, tired and happy after our day together on Black River!

Sports Banquet 2015 at Hog Heaven

DSC_0442Kingfishers gathered at Hog Heaven on Sunday, May 17, to enjoy plates of barbecue, fried chicken and sides and to celebrate the sports teams of 2014-2015.  Coach Gates coached track, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, boys soccer, and sailing while Mr. Patrick coached tennis. “There are no bench sitters in our sports program,” Coach Gates said.  He also told the TGS families that the accreditation team for SCISA was very impressed that we had a a soccer team–they then found out we had six other sports besides! Sarah Exum was commended for her Regional All-Star award and Sarah Green for being the first TGS athlete to place in a SCISA competition (Track, 2014). All the athletes received awesome TGS caps, and MVP and Coach’s Award were given, respectively, to: Volleyball: Lizzy Culliton/Lochlyn Hejl; Girls Basketball: Savanna Morris/Elizabeth Exum; Boys Basketball: Grayson Sossamon/Josh Haas; Boys Soccer: Nathan Gates/Joe Skerman; Sailing: Savanna Morris/Isabella Neubauer; Tennis: Douglas DeVito/Lochlyn Hejl. Congratulations to all the players!

DSC_0384  DSC_0435  DSC_0378Thank you to the PTO’s Lisa Haas and Rhonda Morris,who took the lead in organizing this great event and getting together the hats and awards, and to Hog Heaven owner Greg Eaddy and his wonderful and accommodating staff! What a great close to a fun and challenging year!

St. Frances Cat Room Makeover

DSC_0126Where do the kitties of St. Frances Animal Center turn when they need their room decorated? To the Middle School art students of The Georgetown School, of course! Dressed in old tee shirts and carrying paint brushes, paints and their design for the murals, kids from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades went with Mrs. Patrick, Dr. Neubauer and Mrs. Crosby to the shelter on Friday, May 8. They spent the day painting brightly-colored cats on the walls. “We were able to make a really good start on this project,” Mrs. Patrick reported while seventh-grader Camille declared, “It was a good day’s work!” The students fulfilled 6 of their 15 required community service hours that day. The St. Frances Animal Center was created in 1983 by a group of community members who were concerned about our area’s homeless dogs and cats.  The shelter’s website boasts 76 adoptions just this month!