12/03 Dr Andrea Bergstrom

Dr Andrea Bergstrom, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, came to speak to our school about social media.  She got her PhD in communications at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011.  Since then, she has been a researcher at CCU studying media and its effect on human behavior.  In the world of the internet, she warned students, there are three key points to remember: safety, privacy, and thinking critically.

Internet safety is more than just not meeting with strangers.  You should never give anyone your username or password, even if they’re your friend, because you never know what they could do with it.  “If somebody sends a mean message from your account, you can get in trouble for it.”  She warned students, sharing with them the story of a college student who was expelled after a friend used his account for nefarious purposes.  She also said that giving away any information about yourself- whether it’s your full name, your address, or even just a blurry picture- can lead to people tracking you down.  Even if you think you’re being careful, small clues can add up until someone knows exactly who you are and where you live.

Once you post something online, it never goes away.  “You don’t control your information anymore.” Dr Bergstrom explained.  “Even if you delete it, you never know who’s taken a screenshot.”  She warned students that their future depends on what they post online; from college admissions boards to potential employers, everyone has the power to do a background check.  As a general rule, she advised that “if you wouldn’t want your parents to see it, you shouldn’t post it.”

“Have you ever looked something up or liked a post, and then the next day you see an ad for that exact same thing?”  She asked the students, and almost everyone nodded.  “You’re like, ‘whoah, it’s magic!’  Nope, it’s capitalism.”  She explained how websites, such as Facebook and Instagram, can share your search history with potential advertisers.  If you buy something that’s been advertised to you, such as from a sponsored post, you never know who is benefiting from your money.  Despite her warnings, Dr Bergstrom acknowledged that the internet can be a very useful tool- so long as you’re careful.

By Ryleigh

11/13 – Judy Sweitzer

“We all have a gift to give,” said Mrs. Judy Sweitzer, who came to tell us about her recent mission trip to Guatemala.  Mrs. Sweitzer’s gift was spending two weeks helping with medical and dental problems in the small village of Zapato, an annual visit sponsored by her church, Pawleys Island Christian.

Mrs. Sweitzer told us that life in Guatemala is hard.  The country has seen explosive population growth—400% in the past fifty years.  About half of Guatemalans don’t have clean water and 57% live below the poverty line on $2 a day.  One in fifteen children dies before age five; children who survive most likely will not attend school, with the result that 60% of Guatemalans cannot read.

Mrs. Sweitzer and her team spend most of their time dealing with a stream of villagers who do not have access to dental care.  The dentists administered local anesthesia and pulled teeth; Mrs. Sweitzer sterilized instruments, applied fluoride to children’s teeth, and passed out toothbrushes, “Can you imagine if you had an infected tooth and the dentist was only around once in the fall?” she asked us.

The dental team had time to enjoy Guatemala’s rich culture and landscape.  Mrs. Sweitzer explained that Zapato is close to an active volcano called Fuego, which rumbled, sent up smoke, and even gushed some lava while they were there.  “It was pretty amazing,” she said.  Mrs. Sweitzer encouraged us to give of ourselves to help others.  “You will be more enriched by the experience than the people you give to,” she promised.

By Fisher

Prom 2019

After months of anticipation, prom night was finally here.  Almost the entire high school gathered in Hobcaw’s Kimbel Lodge to celebrate and dance the night away.  The theme this year was Enchanted Forest, and students were in awe of how well the juniors had pulled it off.  Hanging vines and flowers surrounded the dance floor, while strings of light cast a golden glow over the room.  “We put so much work into this.”  Margaret said.  “It looks just like I imagined it, but better.”

Margaret, Ryleigh, Qulex, and Camille put in countless hours of hard work planning and preparing.  They used fundraisers such as movie nights, hot chocolate, and Gatorade sales to raise over $1200 for prom.  This allowed them to rent a new venue, purchase hundreds of dollars of fake flowers and decorations, and hire the school’s first-ever DJ and official photographer.

Before prom, everyone went out to dinner with their friends.  As usual, this ran late, causing half of the guests to arrive twenty minutes later than scheduled.  The night culminated in the coronation of Zach and Cathryn as Prom King and Queen, who were then forced into an awkward slow dance.  Of course, the party didn’t stop when prom was over.  Immediately after cleanup, almost everyone drove up to Surfside to go bowling.  They didn’t leave the bowling alley until well after 1:00 in the morning, when they headed to friends’ houses to spend the night.  “I’m surprised so many people showed up.”  Manny commented at the bowling alley.  “I was expecting just five or six people, but it looks like everybody is here.”

The night was a smashing success.  “Best party I’ve ever been to,”  Ethan declared, as he tried and failed to dance.  Other students shared similar sentiments.  “It’s easily the best prom our school has ever had,”  Brynn agreed with him, while Rebecca said that it was “absolutely beautiful.”  One thing is certain: next year’s juniors will have a lot to live up to.

Drama Preparations

The glorious chaos in the Winyah Auditorium can mean only one thing: TGS drama students are getting ready for the big day. On April 18, we will present The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. There will be two performances: one at 10:00 am for area schools and a second at 7:00 pm for the general public. We are getting excited !

There will be an Open House for interested families before the performance, starting at 5:30. Those who attend the Open House will receive free admission to The Wizard of Oz.

OneWorld Trip

The world is getting smaller! Everyone can share a Coke and a smile, and everyone has heard of a certain major city due west of Georgetown via Columbia and Athens. But there was still mystery in the air when all the kids from grades 6-12 gathered outside of the school on Tuesday morning, March 26, eagerly awaiting their school trip.  Everyone exchanged their ideas and theories as to where they were headed and what they would be doing there.  Some students guessed Tennessee, while others had been fooled by Dr Gates and thought it was Alabama or Florida.  Only a handful of students knew the true answer: they were headed to Atlanta, Georgia.

The bus stopped in Columbia. TGS alumni Nathan, Zach, and Doug gave a walking tour of USC.  They shared stories of their time on campus, and gave some advice to future college students.  The group also ran into Elizabeth and Jackson. After the tour, students visited the Columbia Zoo.  They were challenged to find the animal that came from the farthest away, which led to large crowds at the kangaroo and koala exhibits.  Afterwards, they were off again, this time to Athens, where they had dinner at a dining hall in the University of Georgia.  “This is the best dining hall at the university,”  Dr Gates told students.  “They’ve got everything.”

After an early breakfast and swim time, they drove to Atlanta.  There, they visited the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, where they read about his life, visited the church where he used to preach, and paid their respects at his tomb.  After a picnic lunch, they were off to the World of Coke, where they saw exhibits about the history of the product and got to sample different coke products from around the world.  While some were very popular– including a fruity Coke from Europe and a cucumber-infused Sprite from Russia–the real favorites were the less enjoyable flavors.  Students delighted in tricking their friends and classmates into tasting Chinese Sour Plum, which Dr Gates described as “burnt barbecue,” and European Beverly, which tasted like expired cough syrup.  After their short time at World of Coke, they were off to the CNN building.  Unfortunately, they missed their tour, but still had a good time exploring the bottom floor and looking at all of the shops.  For dinner, Dr Gates introduced the students to a  Mediterranean food called shawarma, which everyone enjoyed.  While the food was delicious, the drinks were less popular.  “What in the world is a Yogurt Drink?” students asked each other, before tasting it and immediately regretting it.  Brynn described it as “salty buttermilk,” and then went on to try the mint-flavored variation, which she said was even worse.

Students woke up bright and early on the third day, spending several hours at the Atlanta Aquarium.  They saw belugas, pirañas, penguins, and more.  Some students even got to see a dolphin show.  After a lunch at the CNN building, they visited the High Museum of Art, where they saw a wide variety of art.  “I love the Greek statues and the landscapes,”  Kendall said.  “I like art that looks realistic.”  Other students preferred the modern art, which included a grotesque tapestry of broken dolls, a green chicken-shaped rocking horse, and other creative displays.  They enjoyed dinner at a classic Atlanta restaurant, Varsity, where they had burgers and fries.  “It’s not bad,” Emily decided as she ate her onion rings, “but it’s not really worth waiting in that line.”

OneWorld was a fantastic trip.  Several students described it as their favorite trip yet, and everyone had a great time.  Despite a few interesting moments–the slightly terrifying homeless man who asked Dr Gates for drugs, the crowded MARTA trains, and the hotel breakfast that kept running out of food–it was a lot of fun.  When it came time to drive back home and return to everyday life, students were reluctant to go.  “This has been so much fun,”  Rebecca commented.  “I’m already looking forward to next year.”

By Ryleigh

Lit Meet 2019

On Wednesday, March 6, students from TGS attended the SCISA Literary Meet.  Grayson, Margaret, Ryleigh, Qulex, Kate, and Eli represented the high school.  Ella, Hayden, Kendall, Kelsey, J’marion, Trey, and Isaac represented the middle school.  At the meet, they participated in various literary competitions.  In Oral Interpretation, students recited either dramatic or humorous monologues.  In Extemporaneous Speaking, they wrote speeches about important topics of the modern day, such as Trump’s wall or the anti-vax movement.  In the Essay Writing competition, students had an hour to write an essay about their choice of five topics, ranging from government-funded space travel to illegal immigration.  In Poetry Recitation, students memorized and presented their favorite poems to the judges.

In the high school boys Essay Writing competition, Grayson took home the trophy.  Following in the footsteps of TGS alumni Isabella, Chris, and Top, he won first place.  In Extemporaneous Speaking, Ella won second place out of the middle school girls. Although none of the other TGS students won awards, they all did a fantastic job and had a great time at the Literary Meet.  “It’s not about winning.”  Dr Simmons, the high school chaperone, encouraged the students.  “It’s about doing the best you can.”

By Ryleigh

School Science Fair 2019

By March 3, all the boards were standing patiently in the elevator hall, waiting to be unfolded on tables downstairs at the 2019 Science Fair. Dr. Neubauer and her students had already dealt with many crises: seeds that refused to grow, experiments that had to be added or repeated, kids who stayed up all night typing their results, and more. Finally, after months of preparation or procrastination, the big day was here.

All of Dr. Neubauer’s science students were dressed up and ready to talk by 8:45 when the judges arrived. This year’s judges were Mrs. Sue Simmons, Mr. Alex Neary, and Mr. Frank Johnson. They circulated and talked to the kids for about an hour, then withdrew to deliberate.

Dr. Neubauer announced their decision at lunch: runners-up were Camper and Stone for their projects on oil in the environment and the chemical make-up of different brands of water, respectively. The winners were Rebecca and Morgan. Rebecca studied the efficacy of phone apps at measuring water turbidity. Morgan built a computer from a kit and measured its speed against all the computers at his house.

“It was a lot of pressure to get everything done on time,” said Camper. Annika concurred, but said the experience overall was good. The runners-up and winners will head to Charleston for the Lowcountry Science and Engineering Fair on April 9. Congratulations to all and especially to Dr. Neubauer!

Generous Elks!

For the second year in a row, the Murrells Inlet Elks’ Lodge #2797 awarded the Robotics Team of The Georgetown School with a $1500 Anniversary Grant from the Elks National Foundation. 

Secretary Larry Cook, CEO David Dailey, grants coordinator Bill Carman, and Exalted Ruler Dave Hanson of Elks’ Lodge #2797 presented the check to the Angry Nerds in a short ceremony on February 13.  “We saw a need and wanted to help out,” said Secretary Cook as he handed over the check to Lane Crosby, sponsor of the team.  As the students and faculty applauded, Crosby expressed her deep appreciation.  “This grant means so much in a small school like ours,” she said.  “I don’t know how we could have participated in First Lego League without the support of the Elks.”

The Elks grant will be used to buy equipment and pay for competitions.  Go Nerds!

Charleston Field Trip

Grades 8-12 enjoyed a field trip to Charleston last Wednesday.  In the morning, students toured the American College of Building Arts, where they reunited with former TGS professor Dr Razzi, who is now the Chief Academic Officer at ACBA.  He showed students around the college, including various workshops and a library of rare books.  One of the workshops featured America’s only six-sided iron forge, and another contained a second floor made entirely of wood, with no nails holding it in place.  “We do everything the way it would have been done when Charleston was founded,”  Dr Razzi explained to the group.  “We make it by hand.”

After their tour, students hurried to the Dock Street Theater, where they watched a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  The play featured an autistic teenager who discovers secrets about his father and runs away to find his mother, whom he had believed to be dead.  It was written by Simon Stephens based on a novel by Mark Haddon, and was performed by the Dock Street Players.  Students and teachers praised the set design, the lighting, and the acting of the lead character.  “The way they used the flashing lights really gave the audience insight into what it’s like to be autistic,”  Dr Neubauer said.  “It was just really good.”

By Ryleigh

Spirit Week!

Spirit Week is a tradition that is gaining traction with the energy and dedication of the Class of 2020.  Juniors decide on a dress-up theme for each day of the week and kids use their imagination and talent to come up with different outfits. 

Monday this year was Many people dressed up on Monday, which was Meme/Vine Day. We spotted the Wal-Mart Yodeling Kid (Cathryn) and Stop You Made Me Drop My Croissant (Margaret) but you had to be in the know to recognize most of the jokes.  Tuesday was Tacky Day.  From mismatched socks and shoes to old tee shirts to plaid shorts and shirts, Kingfishers really got into looking tacky.  There were even pink-flesh-colored patterned tights and a high pony-tail built on a cup.  Camper raided her grandmother’s closet for a colorful blouse while Ethan raided his dad’s dresser drawer for a wrinkly rayon Hawaiian shirt.  “I think it came from Wal-Mart,” he said.  Pajama Day is a perennial favorite and it fell on Wednesday this year.  Students headed to their morning classes dressed more colorfully than usual, scuffing along in their bedroom shoes, clutching teddy bears and coffee mugs.  Thursday’s theme (Dress Up for Valentine’s) caused some controversy.  Apparently, Kingfishers are ambivalent about the idea of wearing skirts and ties. But lots of people did dress up and lots more wore red or pink in honor of the day.  Jesse looked especially debonair in his vest, tie, and fedora. 

Spirit Day on Friday turned the school into an array of kids and teachers in blue, gray, and maroon tee-shirts with giant kingfishers on the back.  Thanks to the first years for organizing such a fun week.