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ASC Loads In!

They arrived in two vans and a 24-foot moving van around 4:15 on the afternoon of January 29. The American Shakespeare Center’s previous performance was in Durham, NC, so they had had about a five-hour journey. Dr. Gates, T. J., Rebecca, and Ethan were at the ready when the van pulled up to the side of the Winyah Auditorium and actors got out and released the ramp.

Inside the van was a treasure-trove of mysterious objects, large and small: tool boxes, garment bags full of various costumes, architectural beams and pillars to create structures on the stage. Our student volunteers helped carry stuff into the Auditorium. “Hands on!” meant the object was ready to be carried down the ramp and handed up onto the stage.

“Thank you for having us back,” said Thomas Coppola, tour manager. “We are glad to be here!” This is Thomas’ sixth visit to Georgetown with the ASC. The talented troupe is presenting A Midsummer Night’s Dream tomorrow morning to about 300 area middle and high school students. Many of these students have never seen a professional-quality theatrical production and they are in for a treat!

January 22, 2020: Hannah Grippo

Today we welcomed Hannah Grippo, our 5th and 6th grade teacher, to Open Forum. Miss Grippo shared her experiences teaching English in South Korea from 2015-2017. Miss Grippo has a long-time interest in South Korea. “My family is made up of first generation immigrants from South Korea.” She said. She also minored in Asian Studies at CCU.

Miss Grippo found that life and education are very different than in the US. All of the food was spicy, except for the chips, which were oddly sweet. She would sometimes have to wear goggles and a mask because of pollution from China. She was functionally illiterate because she could not read or write Korean. The education system was perhaps the most different of all.

Miss Grippo’s ESL students ranged in age from 4-14. They attended school year-round with up to 12-hour school days. She was filmed as she taught every day because Korean parents are very included in their children’s education. She taught in English with no Korean translator and had to come up with ways to communicate with the children. For example, some of her students were very interested in dinosaurs, so she brought dinosaur toys to class and used them to engage the students. A lot of the children were looking forward to being parents, so she brought in baby dolls and taught them how to hold babies.

Although she spent a lot of her time teaching the students, Miss Grippo also found other ways to engage in Korean life. She learned how to make Kimchi, a traditional Korean food made from spicy cabbage. She learned all about King Sejong, who invented the language of Korean, and how to honor the living and the dead on Chuseok. On weekends, Miss Grippo volunteered to help teach North Korean refugees. “How do you build trust across cultures?” she asked the students. “I know it sounds mushy, but the answer is love.”

Math Meet 2019

“Are you excited?” Margaret asked, practically bouncing in her seat.  “I’m excited!”  It was the morning of the SCISA Math Meet, and the team met at school bright and early for the big day.  Margaret, Ryleigh, Kate, Rebecca, and Fisher all piled into Mrs Crosby’s truck, along with chaperone Dr Gates.  They set off for the Sumter County Civic Center, although they ran into trouble along the way.  Navigating road closures and dirt roads riddled with potholes, they made it just in time.

The Math Meet is composed of two parts: the written test and the speed round.  On the written tests, students had one hour to complete a set of 50 questions.  Ranging in subject from logarithmic equations to geometry to calculus, the questions were designed to challenge students and really make them think.  After the test, the TGS team enjoyed a game of cards while they ate their lunches, and then it was time for the speed round.

Each student had to answer five questions, with only one minute to solve each one.  Calculators were not permitted in the speed round, adding another layer of difficulty.  It was a tough competition.  Ryleigh scored the highest out of the team, but everyone did their best and had a great time.  Although they didn’t win any awards, the Kingfishers were all smiles when they left.  “It was a long day,” Ryleigh shared after the competition, “but I think we did pretty good.”

By Ryleigh

A Trip to Narnia

Although it was the coldest day of the year so far, Middle Schoolers were lively and excited on the morning of January 21 as everyone from grades 5-8 packed into various SUVs and headed off to Charleston. Their destination was the Dock Street Theater, where they had tickets to Charleston Stage’s production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

First things first, though. Lunching at the downtown Waterfront Park, Kingfishers were chilled and whipped by the wind coming off of Charleston Harbor. Mrs. Crosby very thoughtfully had packed thermoses of hot chocolate for all the kids and chaperons. She turned an outdoor meal into a treat.

Everyone was glad to be snug in their seats at the Dock Street by 11:30, where they were soon drawn into C. S. Lewis’ “classic tale of discovery and adventure” with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

“It wasn’t like the book,” said Blake. “They took out a lot of scenes and put more details into other scenes.” Corrin said it was fun. The students enjoyed the performance, but most agreed with Hayden that “reading the book was better.”

Thank you to Mrs. Crosby for the hot chocolate and for arranging the outing. Thank you to our parent drivers, as well: Ms. Craig, Mr. Paul, Ms. Pat, and Ms. Michele.

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.

Basketball Begins!

In their first games of the season, Girls’ Varsity and Boys’ Junior Varsity Basketball went up against the Knights of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on January 7 out at the Tara Hall.  Up first were the boys, who held their own despite their youth and inexperience.  J’Marion led the scoring.  “I was so proud of Kipper when he realized that he could really get something done out there,” said Qulex, who serves as assistant coach to Coach Gates.  “The most impressive thing was the number of times they forced turnovers on defense,” said Coach Gates.  “We were ahead with that stat.”

Next up were the girls, led by Coach Ken Wright.  They put up a good fight but came up short, letting the other team make several easy lay-ups and get ahead.  Under the basket, Margaret led the scoring and yelled at the girls to stay focused.  “My favorite part of the whole game was when Emily scored her three-pointer from the corner,” she said.  “Did y’all see her face?”

The Kingfisher girls face off against the Lady Marlins on January 9 at Lowcountry.

January 8, 2020: Dr. Gary Gates

Our own Dr, Gates spoke at Open Forum this week about the purpose of homework.  “Just between you and me,” he said, “I want you to realize why we teachers assign homework.” 

He began by telling us what homework is not: it is not a punishment, it is not a way to use up time, it is not even ultimately a way of getting permanent knowledge into your head.  “You read and take notes on math concepts you may never use again as an adult,” he said. “But learning specific information is not the final goal of homework.” 

Dr. Gates explained that the work teachers assign is intended to help students learn how to learn and learn how to pay attention for longer periods of time.  “These are the skills that will help you later in life,” he said.  Dr. Gates has analyzed his students’ scores on standardized testing over the past 20 years and the data shows an extremely strong correlation between students who do their work and those who improve their scores the most on standardized testing.  Moral of the story?  Doing your homework is good for you—now and for the rest of your life.

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

12/11 Dr. Till J. J. Hanebuth

Dr Till J. J. Hanebuth works in the Geosystems Research Lab at Coastal Carolina University. He came to speak with our school about his research into coastal management. “We want to control our coastline,” he told the students. “What we build is stationary, while the coastlines change.” In an attempt to preserve our coastlines, there have been several beach nourishment projects. These involve scooping sand from the bottom of the ocean and transporting it to the beach to replace sand that has been washed away. However, this is not always the best solution. Apart from being very expensive, it can be very damaging to the ocean environment, and it is getting harder and harder to find areas with the right kind of sand. Beach nourishment is also not permanent, so it must be repeated again and again.

Dr Hanebuth’s most recent project revolves around Georgetown Harbor. In 1950, developers decided to create a “shortcut” into the harbor, cutting through the land to create what is now Goat Island. This made the harbor more accessible to boats, which was a great boost for the local economy. However, this shortcut changed the water currents in the bay, and over time the bottom of the harbor filled up with silt. It became so shallow that many ships could no longer enter the harbor. To fix this, the city has been forced to dredge the harbor repeatedly to allow ships to enter. Dredging is incredibly expensive and does not work as a long-term solution. Dr. Hanebuth’s job is to research the currents in the harbor and come up with a way to counteract this problem.

Dr. Hanebuth created a computer program that would simulate the tides and the currents in the harbor so that he could test potential solutions. The obvious solution would be to close off the shortcut, but Dr. Hanebuth’s research shows that this could have disastrous effects. With nowhere else for the water to go, it would flow through the harbor too quickly and wash away boats and docks, as well as potentially causing flooding. Another idea was to place two giant underwater “hairdryers” at the entrance to the harbor to direct water flow and wash away the silt. Right now, the most promising solution appears to be blocking off part of the shortcut, creating an increased flow in the harbor without the full force that would come from completely closing it.

“I am used to working with scientists,” Dr. Hanebuth told us. “But now I am working with city managers.” It remains to be seen how Georgetown will resolve the problem of its lost harbor, but Dr. Hanebuth’s research and computer models provide much-needed information to help Georgetown make a sensible plan of action.

12/04 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