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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.

Sophocles and Shakespeare: the ASC returns to TGS

The Georgetown Shakespeare Festival has delighted students, teachers, and theater-lovers for five years now.  Many years ago, Dr. Gates and Dr. Razzi together planned a field trip to Blackfriars Theater, in Staunton, Virginia, to see Shakespeare performed by the American Shakespeare Center.  Everyone had a great experience and the idea of inviting the American Shakespeare Center to Georgetown was born.

The American Shakespeare Center “does it with the lights on.”  That means that when they perform, stage and seating areas are both illuminated, exactly as in Shakespeare’s day.  The ASC makes a point of observing all of the theatrical conventions of Shakespeare’s day, including actors playing multiple roles in the same play, cross-gender casting, period special effects, no microphones or electronics, plus seating on the stage itself.  They also add in popular music just as Shakespeare did to change the mood or to support the themes of the play. “I loved how they made it relatable to their audience,” said Margaret.

The ASC truck pulled up to the side entrance of the Winyah Auditorium around 3:00 on Thursday, January 31.  Dr. Gates and some students were around to help them load in.  Musical instruments, pieces of the set, large rolling bags of costumes all made their way backstage, then the ASC set to work rehearsing and getting the feel of the Auditorium.

The ASC’s production of Antigone was a stunning performance that brought many members of the audience to tears.  With tragic deaths and heart-wrenching cries of grief, the production was flawless.  Students and teachers from four different schools arrived to watch the show.  Many of them had read the play in class and were eager to see it acted out by professional actors.  “Antigone isn’t my favorite play to read,” said Cathryn, “but they did such a great job with it.  I actually started crying near the end.”

After the play, students from TGS attended a workshop called “Moving through Antigone,” led by Maddie Calais and Constance Swain.  The workshop, which focused on physical movement and staging, proved very popular among the students.  They practiced walking at different styles and speeds, and learned how actors would have moved across the stage in Shakespeare’s time.  Even those who chose not to participate in the workshop enjoyed sitting in the audience and watching.

Saturday’s workshop began at 9:00 and a couple dozen students and faculty, plus some members of the press, had gathered at the foot of the stage.  In preparation for the night’s public performance of the Comedy of Errors, Annabelle Rollison, Topher Embrey, and Ron Roman-Melendez from the ASC were going to teach us how to be twins.  Using mirroring exercises and mimicry, students paired up with each other and began to work.  Different pairs of hats indicated the different pairs of twins.

Every year, Kingfishers look forward to the days when the actors of the ASC are in-house artists at TGS. Naomi, Ethan, and Grayson agreed, “It was lit!” We thank all our sponsors, parents, and supporters in the community for helping bring these wonderful and talented young thespians to Georgetown.

US History Visits Old Gunn

Dr. Simmons’ U.S. history class recently took a trip to Prince Frederick’s Episcopal Chapel, better known to Georgetown residents as “Old Gunn Church.” The ruins of this church represent the final structure to serve as the Episcopal church on the site, with the first church having built in 1721. Over the years the church was a house of worship for historic personages such as South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress Thomas Lynch, South Carolina governor Joseph Alston, and South Carolina governor R.F.W. Allston. A new church was built on the site in 1835, and a third structure began construction in 1859. However, construction was delayed when the Civil War began, and by 1864 the project was stopped altogether due to the war. It was finally finished in 1876, though it was only occasionally used by residents to hold services. Eventually the church fell into a state of disrepair and ruin, and after it burned the church was demolished in 1966, leaving just the bell tower and front wall.

Many people today know it as “Old Gunn Church” because supposedly the contractor for the project, a Mr. Gunn, fell to his death while working on the roof. Since that time the church has been recognized as one of the area’s most haunted landmarks, and the ghost of Mr. Gunn is said to be seen walking around the belfry late on moonlit nights; visitors to the site have reportedly heard ghostly choirs singing and seen ethereal figures moving around the graveyard.

While TGS students didn’t see any ghosts, they did enjoy taking a closer look at a part of the rich history of Georgetown County!

Law Essay Contest Winner

The Honorable Ben Culbertson, winner Isabella Neubauer, and Elise Crosby, local attorney and president of the Georgetown County Bar Association

Our own Isabella was the overall winner in the Georgetown County Bar Association’s Inaugural Essay Contest. The theme of the 2018 competition was the Separation of Powers. “Isabella turned what started off as a paper for US History into a convincingly researched testament to the wisdom of our government,” said Dr. Gates. “It’s reassuring that at least some of our youth are developing a clear-headed understanding of how our legal system and our government work.” Isabella received a scholarship of $500 to continue her studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Secret Santa

On Wednesday, December 12, the entire school gathered around the Christmas tree. Decked out in their most festive gear, students eyed the presents under the tree and tried to figure out which one belonged to each of them. Sitting around the tree, lights shining brightly and everyone’s favorite Christmas songs playing, everyone was excited to see what came next. It was finally time for the annual Secret Santa ceremony. Two weeks before, students had drawn names out of a hat to see who they would buy presents for this year. Now they were eager to give and receive their presents. One by one, they stood up and handed out their gifts. Candy, chocolates, and festive socks were distributed all around, along with a few stranger gifts. “I always love opening up my present from Secret Santa,” Ethan said. “I never know what it’s going to be.”

By Ryleigh