Dr. Gates, along with several faculty members, was part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Spirit-Filled Ambassadors for Christ ministry in Andrews. TGS was invited to set up a booth as an opportunity to tell the attendees about our school. It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday, July 27, in the friendly town of Andrews. We met some very nice folks and ate some delicious food. Mr. Jim Dumm, long-time director of Tara Hall, was also on hand with members of his board to publicize our new partner school, The Tara Academy. Thank you to Dr. Deshawn Rouse and Mrs. Debra Rouse for including us in this day of fun and celebration!
The Georgetown School will be partnering with Tara Hall to start a new school for 3rd and 4th graders out in the county. Located on Tara Hall’s beautiful 11-acre campus on Black Mingo Creek, the new school will serve families from Andrews, Hemingway, and Johnsonville, as well as Georgetown. This outreach is a new and expanding mission for Tara Hall, which has a 50-year history of helping educate young people from Georgetown and nearby counties. Third- and fourth-graders who are educated at The Tara Academy will be ready for fifth grade at TGS and Tara Hall is giving TGS access to its impressive facilities: a river dock, playing fields, a full gymnasium, and forest trails. We are very excited about this new opportunity!
The last day of school finally arrived and it was time to look back over a year of achievement and growth. Dr. Gates welcomed the crowd of students, families, and friends, then talked about several new scientific studies on why IQ scores have been declining since 2006. One theory is that having smart phones has decreased our attention spans, made it harder for us to learn material, and distracted us from being fully present in class, for example. Dr. Gates pointed out that students at our school have never lived in an era without smart phones and challenged us to learn to curb any bad effects they might be having on classroom learning.
Then our wonderful students were recognized for their amazing achievements in 2018-2019 in science, SCISA events, sports, the arts and more. At the end, teachers took turns presenting the six TGS awards to Grayson (Senior Speech), Ryleigh (Academics), Margaret (Service), Naomi (Athletic/Extra-curricular), Manny (Art), and Qulex (Kingfisher).
Filled with anticipation and excitement, a large crowd of family and friends, students and faculty gathered in the Winyah Auditorium on May 24 for the 6th Commencement Exercises of The Georgetown School of Arts & Sciences.
Father Richard C. Wilson of Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church gave the invocation, followed by a warm welcome to the crowd and Class of 2019 by Joyce Gates, president of the Board of Directors of the school.
Salutatorian Grayson, who has attended TGS since the sixth grade, thanked his teachers and friends for a great experience together in the classroom, on the field, and even on stage. “If you asked my ninth-grade self if I would play the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz in three years, I would have laughed,” Grayson said. “But now I’m grateful that I decided to step out of my comfort zone. Everyone here has a chance to do that.” He ended his address with a tribute to his mother, Barbara Sossamon, saying, “She is my number one fan—she is the best.”
Brynn, valedictorian, evoked her community service, her internship with St. Frances, and her time leading a group on the school trip as highlights of her time at TGS. “One thing I love about the learning community is the relationship between teacher and student,” she said. “When you are a student at TGS, you are in a place where you can have personal conversations and connections with your teachers, but they still are strict enough to make you to do your work and behave.” Brynn concluded by thanking her grandparents Paul and Patricia Parsley for always pushing her to do her best.
Sarah Exum of the TGS Class of 2015 and a 2019 graduate of the University of Indiana gave the graduation address, sharing wisdom that she received from her grandmother about the “three bones” that are necessary for success: a “wish bone” for dreaming big dreams, a “back bone” for standing up for what is right, and a “funny bone” for keeping life in perspective and not taking yourself too seriously.
Finally Dr. Gary Gates called the roll of graduates, who came forward to receive their diplomas and stand beside him. The crowd saw a mixture of emotion on their faces and tears in their eyes. Dr. Gates thanked each graduate for his or her special contribution to the culture of the school and congratulated them on their fine achievement.
The crowd rushed down to congratulate the newly graduated students and celebrate with a reception in the hall. The Class of 2019 is composed of Brynn (University of S. C.), Grayson (Coastal Carolina University), Cathryn (Flagler University), and (Xavier University).
Congratulations to Morgan and J’Marion for placing 1st and 2nd place for The Georgetown School in the 2019 Georgetown Soil and Water Conservation District Essay Contest. The essay contest is open to all sixth-graders in Georgetown County and features cash prizes of $50 for each first-place winner and $25 to each second-place winner in all eligible schools.
All TGS sixth-graders participated in the contest, writing a 400-500-word essay on the many ways we depend on soil for our existence and why it is so important not to “treat it like dirt.” The sixth-graders studied the role soil plays in giving us healthy food and clean water in Science class with Dr. Neubauer, then worked on their essays in Language Arts with Mrs. Crosby. We are very proud of Morgan and J’Marion for their achievement!
The Horry-Georgetown Counties Twentieth Annual Juried Art Exhibition is currently on display at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum until May 26. Works in a dazzling array of media by local high school students have been chosen to hang on the second floor. The show is sponsored by Sandy Hubbard and Thomas Logan.
Manny’s painting “Sunflowers” was selected for inclusion in the show. At the opening ceremony on April 28, she was congratulated by the show’s sponsors Hubbard and Logan plus Mrs. Patrick and Dr. Gates. Manny’s whole family was there to support her as well and it was a lovely occasion.
“We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!” On Thursday, April 18, the TGS drama class presented their second annual school musical at the Winyah Auditorium. This year, they sang their way through two performances of the Wizard of Oz, earning themselves thunderous applause and a standing ovation from a very appreciative audience of friends, families, and students from other schools.
The show starred Cathryn as Dorothy, Grayson as the Scarecrow, Kate as the Tin Man, Ethan as the Cowardly Lion, Kendall as the good witch Glinda, and Rachel as the Wicked Witch. Almost the entire school from fifth to twelfth grade was involved in some way, including a huge cast of actors, a handful of backstage hands and stage managers, and a group of tech students to control the lights and sound.
In the morning, they presented their play to a group of students from Kensington Elementary and Georgetown High School, who were amazed by the experience. That evening, a huge crowd of parents and other visitors saw the second performance. “It was amazing,” Margaret complimented the cast after the show. “Everything came together so well.” With catchy tunes, familiar characters, and hand-painted sets, every part of the night was a success. The audience was in awe at the performance, marveling at speedy costume changes and powerful vocals. “I absolutely loved it,” Ms Yorky shared. “I had no idea so many of them could sing. It was so much better than last year.”
After the evening performance, Dorothy (Cathryn) thanked Ms. Josie, Mrs. Lina, Ms. Mahi, and Mr. William for their role in making the musical a success. Then Ms. Josie took the mic to tell her cast and crew that she loved them and was very proud of the excellent performances.
It was time for Caesar to go.
Sixth and seventh grade Language Arts students assembled on the front lawn to perform the death scene from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The senators dressed in togas and carried various fake swords and knives. As each senator stabbed Caesar (J’Marion), he or she tossed a small cup of real fake blood onto his toga. But somehow a little blood got onto other people’s togas.
Other main actors in the outdoor performance included Brutus (Morgan), Marc Anthony (Camper), and Cassius (Trey). Casca (Annika) got to stab Caesar first.
The next day, Mrs. Crosby was despairing of her bed sheets. “I got most of the blood out,” she said. “But one toga is still soaking.”
TGS had a competitive boys’ tennis team this spring which included several girls. Coached by Dr. Gates, the team practiced in the afternoons down on the brand-new courts at East Bay Park and the West End courts. They played a total of four matches against Elizabeth Anne Seton Academy (Myrtle Beach) and Palmetto Christian Academy (Charleston).
“It was a great season,” said Coach Gates. “Everyone improved tremendously and almost everyone eventually won a match. Our two seniors Grayson and Zachary won their final doubles match, which was really nice.”
Although the team did not win any tournies overall, the season was a valuable learning experience for the Kingfishers. Four team members had never played tennis competitively before, including Qulex, who won his final match.
Grayson, Zachary, and Naomi were named to the SCISA All-Region Team.
Qulex and Margaret planned a senior night for the team after the final match against EAS on April 25. “Qulex delivered a beautiful speech about how we are teammates and brothers,” said Zachary. “I almost got tears in my eyes.” He and Grayson, the two senior honorees, received baskets of candy with a tennis theme.
2019 TGS Tennis Team players included Jesse Deluca, Qulex Dickerson, Naomi Higgins, Manny Marcantoni, Rebecca Kaminski, Grayson Sossamon, and Zachary Wesolowski.
On Friday, April 12th, Dr. Laura Gates, Mr. Bonds, and Dr. Simmons took the American History students on a trip to visit the islands that make up the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center, located about twelve miles south of Georgetown. This area is a real treasure trove of undeveloped land– teeming with wildlife, and brimming over with history that is just now starting to be understood.
Armed with rain gear, bug spray, lunches and water, students and teachers got caught in a sudden shower as they were awaiting the boat to cross over to Cat Island. No one’s spirits were dampened, though, because soon our host, Education and Outreach Coordinator Jim Lee arrived with the boat to welcome us and ferry us over.
Jim Lee gave us an overview of the property and how it has changed over the years, using two aerial maps which were made about 80 years apart. He explained that offshore currents, weather phenomena such as hurricanes, and the existence of the Jetties have caused the striking differences in the shape/elevation of the islands. Jim Lee also took time to learn our names and to find out what we were interested in seeing. Most people were curious about the history but several wanted to see wildlife. “I hope I can see a bobcat,” said Grayson. Others expressed interest in the roseate spoonbills and buntings.
Jamie Dozier, manager of the Yawkey Center, came in to greet us and to say that he was keeping a close eye on the radar because more rain showers were predicted. We found out that Jim Lee would be our driver and guide. Everyone got on the mini-bus with him to explore different areas of historical interest on the 24,000-acre property. It was an all-day proposition and we barely scratched the surface.
Because few of these areas are accessible by vehicle, students and teachers would disembark and walk to sites of interest. We reached the first historical site after walking through beautiful ferns for about half a mile. “Smithfield” is the long-abandoned site of a former sawmill and base of operations for the Army Corps of Engineers. Students photographed rusted heavy equipment used to move logs out of the ICW site and mill them. They also poked their heads and yelled into a concrete cistern which used to trap water for the steam engines.
Next, we went on to the Cat Island earthworks, the site of forts during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and most recently during the Civil War. These were huge mounds of dirt created by enslaved people which are covered in vegetation now. The view over Winyah Bay was stunning. TGS students were treated to a walk through and on top of the massive earthworks as Jim Lee read from letters written in 1861 by a soldier named John Beaty who was stationed at the fort.
The group later visited the site of Tom Yawkey’s former residence and “playhouse,” a building filled with memorabilia from the Yawkey’s lives and adventures, as well as mementoes of his days as owner of the Boston Red Sox. Tom Yawkey was an incredible philanthropist (his foundation gave away $500,000,000 last year to various charities in Boston and Georgetown; it pays the costs of keeping the Yawkey Center open). “Tom Yawkey’s motto was simple,” said Jim Lee. “’Do good, be quiet, and don’t expect thanks.’”
TGS students ended the day with a visit to the South Island beach, across the bay from the North Island lighthouse. Some students skipped shells into the wavelets, while others sat on a palmetto log to chat some more with Jim Lee, who told us he would be happy to take us anywhere on the property in the future. On our way back to the boat, Jim Lee emphasized that Tom Yawkey intended his center to be used for three purposes: conservation, research, and education. We are eager to be a part of that.
TGS faculty and students are already planning a boat excursion to North Island next fall, as well as another trip to South Island in the spring. As Jamie Dozier, manager of the Yawkey Center said, we have probably seen less that 10% of the sites of historic interest located on the property. Without a doubt, these trips will remain a regular part of our experiential learning at TGS! And we still have to see that bobcat!