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!

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!

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.

March 4, 2020: Rayekeisha Freeman

“The more I see, the more I know this is my calling,” Ms. Rayekeisha Freeman affirmed at Open Forum on March 4, 2020. Ms. Freeman came to speak to the TGS students about her work at the Department of Social Services, DSS. She attended Lowcountry Prep and was taught by some of our staff today. Ms. Freeman then transferred to Waccamaw High School and then graduated from Hampton University.

As a child she was molested, her father was on crack, and her mother was a single parent. She constantly wondered why she had to experience these horrible things but “trusted the process.” In her senior year at Hampton University her life began to go downhill. She partied more, fell in love, and became pregnant all in the same year. She was left at a crossroads and decided to change her whole life plan. At Hampton University she had majored in Biology, planning to become a doctor. After her own experiences, she decided to switch to social work. Once she left school she worked at a psychiatric hospital for adults and then moved back to South Carolina.

Ms. Freeman’s presentation was on all aspects on the DSS. She jokingly said that her job (Child Protective Services) was known as “baby snatching.” Ms. Freeman began with an ice breaker: she had students stand next to a line and, if the question she asked applied to them, then they were to cross it. She asked questions like “Are you male or female?” and “Do you know anyone with a drug addiction?” She also educated the students on Foster Care, out-of-home safety, and what makes a case. She talked on all case indications of physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and contributing to delinquencies. She ended with a quote from the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11, which explained her saying “trust the process.”

She opened the floor to questions and was excited to see so many hands raised. One student asked her, “What was your hardest case?” She answered with a story about three girls (ages 7, 5, and 2) who had been molested. Another student asked if depictions of child abuse in media are often realistic. She explained that it depends on the movie or show, but usually the abuse is realistic while the ease with which parents get back their kids is not. She feels that she has to be an advocate for these children and look out for them. Thanks to Ms. Rayekeisha Freeman for speaking at Open Forum. The students learned a lot and were thoroughly engaged.

By Margaret

February 19, 2020: Dedric Bonds

Mr. Dedric Bonds, one of our own beloved teachers, came to speak to us about a part of South Carolina’s history.  He is currently publishing a book on the subject, and was delighted by the chance to share it with us. The subject in question is the life of Joseph H. Rainey, a Georgetown local who made history when he was elected to the Senate.

Mr Rainey was born to former slaves.  His father was a barber, and Rainey learned the trade from him.  Little is known about his early life, but in the 1850s he travelled to Philadelphia, where he met his future wife Susan.  The two of them returned to South Carolina, where Rainey continued his work as a barber. However, during the Civil War he was recruited to serve the Confederate Army.  As soon as they got the chance, he and his family escaped the war on a boat bound for Bermuda, where they would live for many years.

After the war was over, Rainey and his family returned to South Carolina.  He began to get involved in politics, representing the Republican party first at local levels and then for the state.  In 1870, he became the first African-American ever elected to the United States Senate. While serving as Senator, he supported many influential bills, such as the Anti-KKK Act.  Eventually he returned to Georgetown, where he died and was buried in the “Baptist Cemetery.” To this day, his grave has not been found. Although his name has been largely forgotten, Joseph H. Rainey made history and should always be remembered for his accomplishments. Thank you, Mr Bonds, for enlightening us on this fascinating period of history.

By Ryleigh

February 26, 2020: Tom Carter

Today, we Kingfishers had four special visitors at Open Forum. Tom Carter, founder of the nonprofit All4Paws, spoke to us, accompanied by his director of volunteering Allison, volunteer Ms. Sandy Martin, and a nine-week old-puppy named Astrid. Mr. Carter explained that the mission of All4Paws is to rescue cats and dogs from being euthanized and find them a home. All4Paws is a no kill shelter that was founded seven and a half years ago and is located in Murrells Inlet.  It takes in unwanted dogs and cats to spay and neuter them and give them forever homes. Mr. Carter said that having dogs and cats spayed and neutered is a good idea because there are not enough homes for all the kittens and puppies that are born each year. Mr. Carter mentioned the six values at the core of All4Paws: compassion, excellence, responsibility, respect, learning, and customer. 

“Compassion is sympathy in action,” Mr. Carter said, pointing out that merely feeling sorry for animals does them no good. He said that excellence “is to do the right thing the right way.” The 28 full time staff and hundreds of volunteers at All4Paws must take their responsibility seriously. Animals need respect, but so do people. In school, Mr. Carter didn’t learn about animals, but over time he “learned to learn,” and has helped almost 15,000 animals. His final hope is for the customers of All4Paws—he hopes someone will invent a kit so that people can spay or neuter animals without having to bring them to a clinic. 

Then Mr. Carter turned the talk over to Allison, his director of volunteers. She explained how the volunteering process works (on their website), and when they need volunteers. One of the opportunities Allison shared with us was called Tales for Tails. This is a program where people can come to help socialize the animals by reading to them. Volunteers do valuable work, she said, because socializing the animals helps the animals stay healthier, happier, and get adopted faster. Allison gave us jars to collect money for All4Paws.  At the end of their talk, students got to form a line to pet Astrid, a shepherd-mix puppy as she lay sleeping in Ms. Sandy’s arms. Thank you, Mr. Carter, Allison, Ms. Sandy, and Astrid for your visit. 

By Rebecca

“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)

February 12: Bill Duncan

Bill Duncan opened his speech today by telling us about Benjamin Franklin.  “He signed the Declaration of Independence.” He told students. “His face is on the $100 bill.”  However, that wasn’t all he did. Mr Duncan explained that Franklin was an inventor, and a very successful one at that.  He created his first prototype at age 11, and continued inventing throughout his life. “He was something I like to call a ‘lifelong learner,’” Mr Duncan explained.  Franklin was especially good at taking other people’s inventions and figuring out how to make them better.

“Franklin never tried to monetize his inventions.”  Mr Duncan told us. “That’s incredibly magnanimous, but I went a different way.”  After serving as a lawyer for 31 years, Mr Duncan discovered his passion for inventing.  Right now, he holds more than 30 patents. He showed us one of his inventions, the Instant Wall Planter.  It is a picture frame designed to hold plants rather than photographs. Although the idea has been around for a long time, Dr Duncan came up with a way to make the process almost instantaneous, whereas before it had taken 12 weeks to root the plants.  He told students that he wants to “make stuff that will make the world a better place.”

By Ryleigh

January 30, 2020: Dr. Tripthi Pillai

Dr. Tripthi Pillai was our featured speaker for the 6th annual Georgetown Shakespeare Festival on January 30, after the matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the American Shakespeare Center, which she attended with several of her students from CCU.  She spoke on audience engagement with Shakespeare and involved our students, faculty, and some of the ASC actors in a consideration of how gender, class, and humor work in this play.

“The play doesn’t start with love,” she pointed out.  “The dad wants his daughter dead.” In Shakespeare’s time, women were valued while they could produce offspring and a father could force his daughter into an arranged marriage (Hermia/Demetrious) or women could be captured in war and forced to marry (Hippolyta/Theseus). By the end of this play, though, even some men were “forced” into marriage by magic or witchcraft. 

The play features three “classes”: the noble Athenians, the Faeries, and the Rude Mechanicals.  Dr. Pillai told us that in Shakespeare’s time, fairies were not cute—they were “monstrous and destructive.” Since they could not have children, they stole children from people (the Boy is neither Oberon’s nor Titania’s child). The Mechanicals are lower-class laborers, whom Shakespeare identifies strongly with poets, playwrights, and artists.  Bottom and his band put on a terrible performance of Pyramis and Thisbe, which still somehow emotionally moves Titania and the others. Bottom’s “profound speech” when he wakes up from his “dream” of being a king makes us identify with poets and poor people, with anyone whose dream has been snatched away.  We laugh at Bottom, but at the same time we feel his loss.

“Laughter is not the same as joy,” said Dr. Pillai. “Laughter has a cruel side.” But humor in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is always tempered by audience engagement.  When characters are silenced, whether it be through laughter or violence, Shakespeare always gives their voice to another and we hear it again.  Dr. Pillai got the students to talk about which characters had engaged them emotionally and students came up with a variety of characters and reasons.  Fletcher liked the Duke of Athens. “He makes a bad thing seem chill,” he said.

“It is an honor to see all of you relating to Shakespeare,” Dr. Pillai told us.  She complimented our students on their understanding and mastery of the play and encouraged us to keep working. “You all are vibrant with imagination—you should definitely embrace it.  Make it big!” she concluded.