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.

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)