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!

Dr. Ben Carson at the Winyah Auditorium

DSC_0218National politics made a show in Georgetown on Friday, May 8, when newly-announced Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson chose the Winyah Auditorium as the venue for one of his very first campaign speeches. Organized by the Georgetown County Federated Republican Women’s Club, the event attracted a overflowing house and Kingfishers were on hand to help. At the ready in our uniforms, we moved chairs, hung signs, directed traffic, ushered in people with tickets and guarded the doors to the reception in the Es’Dorn Room afterwards.

Before Dr. Carson arrived, Kingfisher journalism students took pictures and circulated, talking to the attendees. Adam (no last name) is a proponent of private enterprise who was asked by Dr. Carson to follow his campaign and sell his buttons and tee shirts all over the country. Former Georgetown mayor Linwood Wilson told us he thought Dr. Carson was serious about running for president–he wasn’t just doing it to raise his ratings on Fox News. Many people tried to get in, even though they hadn’t preregistered. Nathan and Zach, who were ushers, had to actively block them at the door. “Yes, I have a ticket but I don’t want to show you right now,” said one lady as she tried to push past. TV and news media had special permission to use the balcony and Kingfishers watched the event from the balcony’s double doors.

Dr. Carson’s speech drew applause from the crowd on points such as businesses making money, a tax holiday to bring American money back from overseas, lower corporate tax rates, a flat or fair tax for individuals, support for Israel, reduction of the number of government employees, help for veterans and more money for our military in the war against Islamic extremists and maintaining the Constitution.

Great Blue Ridge Adventure 2015

WP_20150428_013On Tuesday morning, April 28, Kingfishers gathered in the school parking lot to load four rental vans and two Gates-mobiles with camping gear, snacks and their sense of adventure. Most of us didn’t know exactly where we were going.  Just after Columbia, students began to realize something was afoot as we pulled off the highway into Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens. Students enjoyed feeding the giraffes and admiring their eyelashes (Sara even kissed one!) but the meerkats stole the show, popping up and running back and forth in the cutest manner imaginable. “Those elephants need some lotion,” remarked Sarah G., observing their wrinkly skin. With a final farewell to the penguins, we headed west on I-26.

DSC_1646Around 4:00 we arrived at Clemson University (where Mrs. Patrick’s kids attended) and enjoyed a nice walk around the campus and a snack in the cafeteria. After we left Clemson, somehow the word had gotten out that we would be staying in yurts for the night. What is a yurt? For a Tibetan nomad, a yurt is an animal-skin-covered frame, but for us it was a little bit nicer—spacious, clean and quiet tents that we found when we arrived at Wildwater Adventure in Long Creek, S.C. around 6:00. The kids unpacked coolers full of food, rolled out their sleeping bags and set up for the evening. After a meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers, we gathered around the bonfire for songs led by Nathan, Zach and Sarah E., stories told by Jonathan and Camille, and an anti-rain dance performed by Top.

The next morning the air was filled with the smell of frying bacon. When breakfast was DSC_1652cleaned up and everyone was packed, we headed up the hill to the Wildwater Center to check in for our adventures. First, the high school got ready for whitewater rafting. After struggling into our wet suits, we went to the shed and gathered our life vests, helmets, and paddles. A few kids were nervous at first but by the end of the day they were glad they went. Savanna screamed the most and Dr. Gates fell out. We all plunged into the water and shot Bull Sluice with great abandon. Charles had the biggest grin on his face!

In the meantime, the middle school students were putting on harnesses and getting ready DSC_1677to do the high ropes course and the climbing wall. The guides taught us to ask permission from our climbing buddy before moving a tether. One by one students scrambled up the net on a pole about 30 ft. high and began to maneuver themselves carefully around the course. Johnathan, Wilfredo and Camille were champs who conquered their fears and completed the ropes course for the first time, but even the more experienced kids wereIMG_0551 terrified up there. “My leg was shaking and my harness got looser,” said Ryleigh. “Yeah, but we had to do it, otherwise we would have looked dumb,” said Grayson. The climbing wall was less intense but just as fun. When you got to the top, you could ring the bell. Middle School went out to lunch in Clayton, Georgia, and saw a coyote on the way back to Wildwater.

We arrived at the Asheville Downtown Inn and Suites around 5:00. After we stood in theDSC_0048 parking lot for what seemed like an eternity, Dr. Gates finally came out and distributed the keys. We put our luggage in the rooms and took a walk to have dinner at a hipster restaurant called Farm Burger right down Patton Avenue. The after-dinner walk around Asheville revealed many things that we wouldn’t see on an average day in Georgetown, such as a hookah bar and a park with a weekly drum circle. We also got the opportunity to perform on one of the open stages downtown.  The students were very creative: some sang, told stories, or did a dance, and others made jokes. After laughing at one another, we walked back to the hotel and it was lights out!

DSC_0001The students and teachers enjoyed breakfast together at the hotel (they let us make our own waffles). The students were told to put on their uniform shirts and load up in the vans. When we arrived at the Biltmore House a little later, the students were so surprised and excited; they couldn’t wait to get inside! As we began to walk around the house we got separated. We roamed around, some people taking longer to look at certain rooms or things than others. When we all had completed the inside tour, we gathered back up to walk around the Biltmore Botanical Gardens. There was a cello player in one of the greenhouses, making beautiful DSC_0019music. After the long, hot walk to the Bass Pond, we headed back to the hotel to take a break. On the way, we ate at Mela, an Indian buffet, where Mrs. Crosby loved the spicy spinach and the kids tried mostly chicken. At the hotel, we were given the option of swimming in the outdoor pool or shopping around downtown Asheville. Dr. Gates and Dr. Razzi took a group of students to the Mast General Store while Mme Gates stayed at the hotel to watch some of the students go swimming in the 50-degree weather. Dr. Neubauer, Camille, Ryleigh, and Bronwen went out shopping on their own, including going to the pet store. Later, we gathered in the lobby, expecting to go to a baseball game. But since it was raining and chilly, we took a vote and decided to go see a sneak preview of Avengers: Age of Ultron instead. The students had a blast and were so excited that they got to be one of the first crowds to see the new movie!

DSC_0051When we woke up Friday morning, it was time to pack our things. We ate one last waffle, put all of our gear in the vans, and headed home. On the way back, we had one stop left to make: the N.C. Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A craftsman named Bob Collison was turning wood to make bowls which his wife would paint and we watched him a long time. We then toured the gallery upstairs. “We totally have to buy a loom this summer,” said Avery and Isabella.  Since it was getting to be a pretty day outside, we had the option of DSC_0061taking a hike with Dr. Gates from a trail head at the Center or painting with Mrs. Patrick. Students enjoyed doing both activities. After we finished up at the Center, we piled into our vans and the final stop was Georgetown! The students and teachers had a great time and can’t wait until our trip next year. “Ten out of ten, let’s do it again,” said Top.

by Meredith Owens and Top Lee


Prom 2015: The Roaring Twenties

DSC_1519 DSC_1535 DSC_1560Decked out in gold, black and white, Willbrook Plantation Club was completely transformed into the perfect venue for Prom 2015! Students and their dates walked a red carpet through an arch into the world of gangsters, speakeasies and chocolate fountains. “We always have too much food,” said Dr. Razzi as the guests enjoyed chicken nuggets, sliders and fresh fruit with flowing chocolate. The girls kicked off their high heels to dance and everyone kept dancing, even when it was time to go home. Langston won a prize for his highly decorated role on the dance floor just before Sara and Duncan were crowned Prom Queen and King of 2015. April 25 was a magical night to remember forever.

Thanks to the Class of 2016 (Zach, Nathan and Langston) for putting together a great party with the awesome support of parents Vicki Breidemeier, Susan and David Cyr, Joe and Barb Exum, Rhonda and Tim Morris, plus Laura Lee, who graciously arranged the venue. Thank you, Dr. Razzi and Melissa Bigner, for making sure everything went smoothly and continuing the tradition.