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!

Graduation 2020

On May 29, The Georgetown School hosted its seventh commencement ceremony for our four seniors, faculty, and a few family members and friends. The atmosphere was different, with everyone seated separately in the rows of the Winyah Auditorium, masks covering their faces. But the same joy was there as we celebrated the crowning success of Margaret, Qulex, Camille, and Ryleigh.

Mr. Bonds gave the invocation and then Dr. Gates took the lectern to speak on the challenges that the notion of education is facing today. He affirmed that “our graduates know what a real education looks like.”

Then Margaret gave her salutation. She thanked the teachers and recalled fond memories with each of her classmates. “English is not my best subject,” she said, “But Dr. Simmons turned it into my favorite this past year.”

Ryleigh gave the valediction. She was here when the school began in 2013 and remembers helping to fix up classroom when it was about to open. “They put a paintbrush in my hand,” she said. “I was 11 years old.”

Dr. Gates certified the graduates and called the roll. He talked about each one individually and how their character and achievements had worked to make our school a better place. Instead of shaking Dr. Gates’ hand though, each graduate had to pick up his or her diploma from the table. There was applause and shouting at the end of the ceremony and the seniors headed outside with their families to the courtyard.

Once they were set up along the curb of the courtyard, a long parade of cars carrying TGS students and their families cranked up. One by one, the vehicles stopped to congratulate the Class of 2020. Many were decorated with signs and flags; kids shouted and the drivers blew their horns. It was a noisy and fun celebration of the achievements of the Class of 2020, which hopefully made up a little for the lost time together. “It was a very fun and supportive event,” said one parent, “But I hope we never have to do it again.”

School switches to Distance Learning

We will have school from 8:30-12:30 on Monday, March 16, then close down and switch to “distance learning.” On Monday, students will learn how to use our on line classrooms and take home all necessary books and materials at the end of the day. The building will be closed after 12:30 for the rest of March. All classes will be held on line.

“My Way”: Middle School Valentine’s Day Dance

Love was in the air and there was certainly some crazy dancing at the first ever Middle School Valentine’s Day Dance, held at Kimbel Lodge on February 14. It was hard to tell who was more excited–the parents or the kids–as the young men arrived in coats and ties and the young ladies in dresses and pantsuits with heels. Small gifts of candy, chocolate, plush animals, and flowers were exchanged, then the party began in earnest.

DJ-T. J. played a steady stream of popular music, then switched to “My Way” by Frank Sinatra for the first slow dance. Parents had thoughtfully brought in a table full of delicious food: meat balls, sandwiches, chips and dips, cupcakes, and a red velvet cake in the shape of a heart. The dancing and eating continued until a brief pause when Bristol and J’Marion were crowned Prom Queen and King.

Around 8:30, everyone hit the floor for a final, screaming rendition of “YMCA” before leaving with parents and friends. Thank you to the Dickerson family for creating this such a beautiful occasion and congratulations to Middle School Student Council for taking the lead and making TGS history.

(Photo: Mahi Livain)

Shakespeare 2020 Ends on a High Note

The Georgetown Shakespeare Festival continued on February 1 with an evening performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The turnout was excellent, with over 225 tickets sold. Theatre patrons waited in the hall downstairs for the doors to open, sipping on bubbly and nibbling delicious food provided by our wonderful PTO.  At 7:00, everyone streamed in to find a seat and the music began.  The audience was enthusiastic and appreciative of yet another amazing performance by the ASC.  This was our best crowd so far.

Mrs. Crosby serves Elizabethan desserts to Blake and Kipper as other MS students get their main dish.

Monday morning, February 3, middle school students brought in mysterious platters and bowls for Elizabethan Food Day, storing them on tables and in various refrigerators until lunch.   They had chosen a recipe from Shakespeare’s day to prepare.  At 12:30, the buffet was ready and Mrs. Crosby had all the students explain their offerings.  Here are a few samples from the groaning table: Jai’Den’s meat pies, Evan’s cheese tarte, Morgan’s chicken pie, Mrs. Crosby’s lamb dumplings, Annika’s currant bread, Hannah and Gabby’s hot cross buns, Quinn’s soup, Fletcher’s mini meat pies.  We all tried something new, and it was good.

As Harold (J’Marion) and Gerald (Morgan) recite to Dr. Alison (Camper), the Walrus (Mason) and the Carpenter (Baryk) reflect on the best way to remove sand from a beach. Seven maids with seven mops? (Hannah, Bristol, Ay’Shona, Gabby, Destiny, Stone, Annika)

The rest of the week was spent preparing for our two drama productions, adapted and directed by our wonderful drama coach, Mr. Daniel Bumgardner.

The Young Oysters (Bryan, Gracin, Kipper) realize that they are dinner.

First up on Thursday evening was Tweedle, Mr. Bumgardner’s whimsical staging of poetry from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, performed by the middle school.  The frame story had two elderly brothers in a nursing home entertaining their doctor by reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” In this classic example of Victorian nonsense, a walrus and a carpenter discuss the amount of sand on the beach, then proceed to eat several young oysters who made the mistake of going for a walk with them.  “Our oyster costumes are so cool,” said Kipper. “Mr. B took coat hangers and tee shirts and made them for us.”

Montjoy (Kate) delivers an insulting message from the Dauphin of France to Harry (Manny) as Exeter (Mr. B), a Council Member (Kelsi), and Westmoreland (Ella) look on.

The high school did a short version of Shakespeare’s Henry V, featuring Manny as Harry.  A static arrangement of chairs on the stage suggested a throne room and uneasy cello music highlighted the political crisis facing the young king.  Characters acted at the front of the stage, on intermediate risers, and on the floor of the Auditorium, animating their speeches about war, diplomacy, justice, and courage.  It was a thrilling performance. Congratulations to the cast, backstage people, and technicians for a job well done, and a huge thank-you to Mr. Bumgardner and his helpers for all their hard work.

Scroop (Ella), Cambridge (Kate), and Salisbury (Margaret) beg for mercy when Harry hears of their treachery.
The Daupin (Margaret) argues with Exeter (Mr. B) over Harry’s claim to France.

Now it’s time to put away all the giant Shakespeare posters, props, and scripts until next year.  O Kingfishers, ye are a rare, sweet honey-tongued, well-wishing band of players!

Harry is now King Henry V and our play is done.

Shakespeare Festival Begins!

The American Shakespeare Center blazed into the Winyah Auditorium Thursday, January 30, and completely enchanted us with their rollicking performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  About 300 area students from GMS, MBMS, and Coastal Carolina took their seats as the actors warmed up the house with live music featuring bass fiddle, guitar, saxophone, percussion, and voice.  Eight lucky students got to sit on stage with the actors, a convention from Shakespeare’s day.  With all the lights on, we enjoyed a far-fetched scenario of nobles, fairies, and laborers by actors who were not afraid to get physical.  Puck (Maddie Calais) and Bottom (Topher Embrey) particularly surprised and delighted the crowd with their antics.  “You guys laughed at all the right places,” Maddie told us later.  “You are a great audience.”

At the end of the performance, the whole house stood and gave the ASC a standing ovation.  “I like how they made Shakespeare appealing to kids,” said Stone, who was not expecting the play to be “so modern.”

After the play, students ate pizza on the front lawn with their new friends from GMS and MBMS.  Later, we watched as they all boarded a long line of yellow buses to get back to their schools.  Then we went back into the Auditorium for a talk by Dr. Tripthi Pillai, professor of Early Modern Literature at CCU.  The actors joined us.

Dr. Pillai focused on audience engagement—how the original spectators would have received A Midsummer Night’s Dream and how it continues to engage modern audiences by focusing on urgent issues of class, gender, and the nature of humor. “As a Shakespearean, I am told every day that my work is irrelevant,” she said.  “It is an honor to see all of you relating to Shakespeare.”  She discussed several themes and kept the floor open for student comments. “It was more like a conversation than a lecture,” said Camper.  Camper had raised her hand to answer Dr. Pillai’s question about which marriage in the play was the creepiest.

Dr. Pillai and the actors themselves were very impressed with our students’ familiarity with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thanks to summer reading for the high school and graphic novels for middle school.  Some students were able to shout out lines during the interactive portions of the performance.  Our students all were well-informed about the plot and names of characters.  They asked intelligent questions and gave thoughtful answers when questions were posed.  Dr. Pillau encouraged us at the end.  “You are vibrant with imagination,” she said.  “You should embrace it—make it big!”

After the talk, we sang Happy Birthday to Dr. Pillai and settled down for one of the ASC’s most important workshops: “Embedded Stage Directions in Shakespeare.”  Maddie Calais (Puck/Philostrate) and Alexis Baigue (Peaseblossom/Thisbe) taught us that in Shakespeare’s day, actors had different tasks in preparing for a performance than they would today.  There was no such thing as a director and no such thing as stage directions.  Playwrights would make it clear through dialogue what props, actions and tone were necessary.  Actors interpreted the lines and decided how to stage the play.  Our job was to identify embedded stage directions in a passage from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and act them out.

We are so privileged to be able to work each year with the actors of the ASC. Though the troupe changes from year to year, there are always familiar and welcome faces. Their energy, creativity, and professionalism are amazing. We are also honored to have gotten to know Dr. Pillai, who has promised that next year her CCU students will read the same Shakespeare play as our students so that our English classes can do something fun with hers in 2021.

A Trip to Narnia

Although it was the coldest day of the year so far, Middle Schoolers were lively and excited on the morning of January 21 as everyone from grades 5-8 packed into various SUVs and headed off to Charleston. Their destination was the Dock Street Theater, where they had tickets to Charleston Stage’s production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

First things first, though. Lunching at the downtown Waterfront Park, Kingfishers were chilled and whipped by the wind coming off of Charleston Harbor. Mrs. Crosby very thoughtfully had packed thermoses of hot chocolate for all the kids and chaperons. She turned an outdoor meal into a treat.

Everyone was glad to be snug in their seats at the Dock Street by 11:30, where they were soon drawn into C. S. Lewis’ “classic tale of discovery and adventure” with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

“It wasn’t like the book,” said Blake. “They took out a lot of scenes and put more details into other scenes.” Corrin said it was fun. The students enjoyed the performance, but most agreed with Hayden that “reading the book was better.”

Thank you to Mrs. Crosby for the hot chocolate and for arranging the outing. Thank you to our parent drivers, as well: Ms. Craig, Mr. Paul, Ms. Pat, and Ms. Michele.