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Shakespeare is Coming… via Louisiana

We are going down to the bayou! An enchanted swamp full of hobgoblins and nymphs awaits us when the American Shakespeare Center’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream hits the stage at the Winyah Auditorium. The Georgetown School is proud to be hosting this amazing troupe of traveling actors in our sixth annual Shakespeare Festival.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Nathan Winkelstein, is one of Shakespeare’s most accessible and popular plays, featuring beloved characters like the oblivious Bottom, feisty Helena, and devilish Puck–all played by the talented young actors of the ASC.

Our students have been getting ready for the performances by reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in their English classes. Miss Grippo and Mrs. Crosby have their middle school students working through a graphic novel version, while the 9th and 10th graders tackled the play in its original version for summer reading with Dr. Simmons. Students have also been checking out the ASC website to see which of our favorite actors are coming back this year.

The ASC preserves the theatrical conventions of Shakespeare’s day: universal lighting, seating on the stage, cross-gender casting, and audience/player interaction. Every year, the ASC wows us with their live music performances, chosen from popular genres that reinforce the themes of the play. This year’s music was inspired by be-bop, bluegrass, and barbershop.

The first performance is a matinee for area English and Drama students on Thursday, January 31, after which Kingfishers will hear a talk by Shakespearian scholar, Dr. Tripthi Pillai of CCU. The second performance, on Saturday, February 1 at 7:00 is open to the public.

For tickets to the February 1 performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or call the school at 520-4359. Tickets are $35 and general admission.

North Island 2019

North Island is a picturesque wilderness located only miles from the shores of Winyah Bay.  Over the years, it has played a significant part in the history of our community.  From the planned (and failed) Spanish colony by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon in 1526, to the abandoned canal project of 1802, the island has always been a central part of South Carolina’s past.

Our seniors took a trip to the island this fall, and they were amazed by what they saw.  The boat pulled up next to an old, rotting dock, where several pieces were missing from the deck.  After climbing up the dock and onto shore, they got their first glimpse of the famous North Island lighthouse: an 85-foot structure made entirely of cut stone and brick.  At the base of the lighthouse is an old Coast Guard base, untouched since it was abandoned in the early 1980s.  After exploring the base, their tour guide, Mr Jim Lee, led students to the top of the lighthouse.

“The view was nice,”  Camille shared, “But the wasps were a bit much.  I don’t like wasps.”  After their time the lighthouse, the group headed back down to ground level.  There, their tour guide Mr Jim pulled out his compass and asked them if they would like to see the ocean.

“Keep up, slowpokes!”  Margaret teased the others as she, Ryleigh, and Mr Jim led the hike through the woods.  Far behind them, the others struggled to avoid thorny branches and dangling palm fronds as they made their way up the slope and across the island.  The hike took some time, but the end result was worth it: the trees gave way to towering dunes, which ended in a steep cliff just above the sandy beach.  After carefully negotiating their way down the slope, they settled down to eat their lunches.

The journey back was just as breathtaking.  From mounds of shells to towering forests of driftwood, the views were perfect.  It was easy to see why Lafayette, when he first landed on the island, called it DeBordieu, which translates to “the borderland of God.”  By the time the group reached the dock, everyone had collected more shells than they could carry.  It was an exciting adventure, and after a long day on the island, they were all ready to head home.  Thank you to Mr Jim and the Tom Yawkey Foundation for giving us this amazing opportunity.

By Ryleigh

Mock Trial

Last Saturday, the middle school Mock Trial team met at the Municipal Center to compete in their regional competition, sponsored by the SC Bar Association.  Team sponsors Dr Gates and local lawyer Liz Attias were there to guide them, but now it was up to the students. They presented their case in a real courtroom, judged by a panel of real-life judges.  The team consisted of Destiny, Matthew, Camper, Stone, J’Marion, Bristol, Corin, Evan, Kipper, and Blake. “It was hard. It was challenging.” Destiny explained. “I messed up one thing, but I think I did pretty well.”

The team won several awards from the competition.  They won the first round, in which their plaintiffs went up against another team’s defense.  Although they lost their own defensive round, the team was pleased with their results. Camper was named the Most Effective Plaintiff, and Fletcher was named Most Effective Witness for their round.  “It was very long and tiring,” Camper admitted. “But in the end, it was a lot of fun!”

By Ryleigh

Robotics Victory

After months of hard work and practice, the middle school Robotics Team was ready to compete in their first competition of the year.  Annika, Morgan, Baryck, Mason, Gracin, Quinn, Bryan, Gabby, and Ay’Shona were excited to show off their skills and explore the world of LEGO robotics. On November 9, the team piled into Mrs Crosby’s car and set off to Ten Oaks Middle School, where the Grand Strand Qualifying Tournament was being held.  This year’s challenge was to create a robot that could help a blind person shop for groceries. “We did good on a lot of things,” Annika recalled, “But our robot was kind of acting up a bit. It was definitely a fun experience.”

The team, which they named the Angry Nerds, took home the Core Values Award.  This highly-coveted award gave them enough points to qualify for the state competition.  Although they did not win anything else, the Angry Nerds had a great time showing off their technical skills and learned a lot about robotics.  The next competition will be held on December 14 at Cane Bay Middle School, and the team is looking forward to it.

By Ryleigh

The Spooky Season

Since the first days of October, the anticipation had been building to celebrate the “spooky season.”  The last day of the month, the day we’ve been waiting for was finally here: Halloween. Disguised as everything from cowboys to ghosts, almost the entire school was dressed to impress for the special day.  “We’re the Spice Girls!” Mrs. Patrick announced, sporting a red apron and a seasoning label along with several of her fellow teachers. Other highlights included a penguin, Wednesday Addams, a turtle, witches, superheros, movie characters, and a pair of middle-schoolers jointly disguised as a horse.

At lunch, teachers and students lined up their cars outside for a Trunk-n-Treat.  As students piled candy (and clementines) into their bags, they chatted about the day and their plans for that night.  Immediately after the Trunk-n-Treat, students showed off their costumes in the annual Halloween parade. “It’s the best holiday,” Ryleigh sighed wistfully. “And I can’t wait to start planning my costume for next year.”  Thanks to student president Margaret and to the entire Student Council for getting the day organized!

By Ryleigh

Oysters in the afternoon

Our hot, humid fall weather broke just in time for the 7th Annual Oyster Roast on November 3.  Sunday afternoon was crisp and sunny—perfect for eating oysters under the big tent in Francis Marion Park.  After weeks of careful preparation by the PTO, everything was ready: tables and chairs set up, plywood delivered, bake sale and silent auction items on display, and Will Ness playing his tunes.

There were also three propane cookers in the parking lot cranking out piles and piles of steaming bivalves!  It was an amazing afternoon full of good food, sunshine, and friendship, all for the benefit of our scholarship fund.

Our leadership in this endeavor was awesome—thank you, Niki Howard, Sandy Martin, and Susie Kaminski.  Thank you, students, for pitching in (even though you didn’t get to keep your tips!) and thank you, parents, for pulling together to make this the most successful Oyster Roast to date. Our gratitude to the Family Justice Center for the use of the tables, chairs, and tents.

MS Math Meet 2019

It’s hard to imagine that students would volunteer to spend their free time doing math, but then again, anything is possible at TGS!  Demand for the Middle School Math Meet was so high that the school had to split up into two teams.  On October 22, the huge group of middle schoolers piled into cars and set off to the Sumpter Civic Center.  They were escorted there by Mrs Crosby, Mrs Craig, and Mr and Mrs Howard.  On the two teams are Morgan, Annika, Camper, Blake, Trey, Destiny, J’Marion, Matthew, Gabby, and Baryck.

“We did all right, actually.”  Camper shared after the event was over.  “And we raided the vending machines.”  She also described meeting new friends from the other teams, although she could not recall their names.  Morgan and Matthew earned the highest scores of their teams, although they did not place in the overall competition.  Regardless, they had a great time and it was a fun learning experience for everyone.

Oyster Roast Sunday!

Front Street is the place to be for oyster-lovers next Sunday afternoon November 3 as The Georgetown School is hosts its 7th Annual Oyster Roast from 2-5:00 in Francis Marion ParkTickets are $25 and include all-you-can-eat oysters, chicken pilau, and hot dogs, along with the mellow sounds of live music by Will Ness.  Soft drinks, beer, and wine will be served (advance tickets include one adult beverage/soft drink). There will be a Silent Auction and bake sale, plus lots of fellowship and fun.  All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund of TGS.  Walk-ups are welcome, or call 843-520-4359 for tickets.

Old Gunn Church

The sun was high as the British Literature class pulled up to Old Gunn Church.  The forest around it was alive with the sounds of nature, but the church itself was silent.  “It’s beautiful.”  Ryleigh realized, staring up at the church.  Moss-patched walls and a still-crumbling bell tower stood high above the trees, looming over the world below. Overgrown grass and weeds grew wild between gravestones.  This church had once stood in stark contrast to the wilderness around it, but now the forest was taking it back.

The church, now a national historical marker, has been a part of Georgetown’s history for generations.  Dr. Simmons lectured the class on the church’s history, explaining that it had been built to serve various plantation owners who lived in the area.  The church fell into disrepair after the American Civil War changed the status quo of the south.  Then, in a mysterious fire during the 1960s, most of the church burned down.  Only the front wall and the bell tower remained, as well as the numerous gravestones still hidden in the weeds behind it.  When asked what caused the fire, Dr. Simmons simply shrugged.  “Nobody knows.  It’s a mystery.”

The fire isn’t the only mystery surrounding Old Gunn Church.  Originally known as Prince Frederick Episcopal Church, it is most famous for its supposed haunting- the ghost of one John Gunn.  Legend has it that Gunn, who worked for the church, fell to his death from the bell tower and now his spirit haunts the grounds.  Fortunately, the British Literature class did not have any encounters with this supposed spirit during their visit to the church.  Visitors are no longer able to enter the church, which is fenced off from the general public, but the students still had a great time peering through the fence to look at the almost-forgotten landmark.  After learning all about the history and legend surrounding the church, and taking plenty of pictures, it was time to head back to school.  “I wish we could have stayed longer.”  Margaret sighed wistfully.  “It’s just so peaceful here.”

By Ryleigh

Volleyball Tri-Match

Immediately after school, members of the TGS volleyball team piled into cars and set off for St Michael’s.  In their first and only tri-match of the season, the Kingfishers were playing Lowcountry and Elizabeth Ann Seton in the same night.  At 3:30, they pulled into the parking lot and got ready to play. “We can win this tonight,” Coach Neubauer told her team before they went inside.  “We almost beat Seton last time we played, and they’ve beaten Lowcountry. If we play as well as we did last time, we have a pretty good chance.”

There were unfortunate setbacks to the night’s events.  First, there was an unscheduled JV game that pushed back the tri-match by almost an hour.  Then, the games were each played 3 out of 5 sets, instead of 2 out of 3 that is typical for tri-matches.  Lowcountry and Seton played each other first, and it was nearly 7:00 by the time TGS stepped out onto the court.

They started out strong, but as the night went on, their energy began to wane.  Lowcountry won all three sets, although TGS was not far behind. By the time they played Seton, the Kingfishers were completely exhausted.  “Come on, guys!” Margaret encouraged her team. “We’re close! We can still win this!” But after co-captain Ryleigh was taken out of the game by illness, the team began to fall behind.  In the end, the Kingfishers left the gym in low spirits having lost every set they had played. Even though they didn’t win, it was good practice for their upcoming games and will be used as a learning experience.