PatChat is your inside view of GA from students' perspective

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mission: GA Resonates With Students

Here at Germantown Academy, we have a long history of great athletes and great swimmers. I am not a competitive swimmer; I swim mainly to stay active. But every time I walk out to the pool I feel motivated to do my best at practice that day. As I swim I am surrounded by millions of pieces of memorabilia. So many people have made so many memories in and around that pool. People have spent their life swimming at GA winning and losing races. Then when they go to college or to another school I wonder if they remember the GA pool. I will leave GA one day and I would like to think I will remember all the memories I made there but I know I won’t. What I will always remember is what GA has taught me. Germantown Academy has taught me to be independent in thought, confident in expression, compassionate in sprit, collaborative in action, and honorable in deed. Those are lessons I will never forget, even beyond the pool.

- Margaret H. '19


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

GA Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Students across all three divisions participated in a day of service.
Monday, January 20, 2014 - MLK Day. While it was a day off for some, it was a day on for others. People of all ages gathered together to give back in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From making blankets to decorating cupcakes, members of our community happily donated gently used clothing, food, toiletries, and most importantly, their time. This day has huge significance, bringing equality amongst us all. Though we may just use it as a day to sleep in and enjoy our time off, many took advantage of the opportunity to give back and show appreciation for MLK's courageous work. Putting aside our acquisitiveness, this day entirely focused on those less fortunate than us. Whether filling a Ziploc bag with rice, or decorating bags to fill with candy, a warm feeling was brought upon the Germantown Academy community, knowing that we made a difference.

- Emmy D. ‘16
Students organize and prepare donations.

Faculty and students collaborated to help serve others.

Friday, January 17, 2014

GA's College Counseling Office Helps Students Find Their Way

We talk all the time about how GA is a College Preparatory School. Sometimes, teachers use this phrase to justify, for example, a large homework assignment. “In college,” they say, “you’ll be independent, on your own! Will you do your work without me telling you to?” This serves as motivation for a lot of students who then complete their homework without complaint.

But, one of the most important parts of GA’s College Prep program is the College Counseling Office. The team, led by Director of College Counseling Ms. Karen Mason, spends the first three-quarters of the school year assisting the senior class throughout their college application process. Then, as soon as every senior has committed to a school, they immediately restart the whole process for the junior class. Their hard work and unrelenting schedule have turned the difficult, drawn-out, menacing college application process into a much more manageable experience for both students and their parents.

It’s a big statement to make, but it’s 100% true: the College Counseling office ensures that each year, every single GA senior gets into a respectable college of their choice. We, as outsiders to the Office, don’t often actually see the counselors’ day-to-day work, which includes reading supplemental essays (usually giving one essay several read-throughs), liaising with college representatives, and even managing the hilarious college counseling twitter account.

The College Counselors are some of the most compassionate and caring faculty members at GA. Despite their heavy workload, they spend a lot of time focusing on us, the students. They check in not only to make sure we have accessed the Common Application website and updated our Naviance accounts, but also to congratulate us on our sports team’s latest win or to ask how our AP class is going. Most importantly, they are just as excited as we are when we happily receive our college acceptance letter.

The Counselors’ excellent work ethic and attitude serve as a great example for the rest of the GA community. Applying to college can be extremely terrifying, but with a GA College Counselor by your side, there’s no way you can go wrong.
- Alli L. '14

Alli was accepted to and will attend New York University in the fall. The College Counseling Office served as a valuable resource during her college search.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Life in Williamsburg, VA

            The seventh grade recently took a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia in an attempt to understand life in Colonial America. The class spent two nights and one full day in Williamsburg. Our time consisted of several tours, free time, and entertaining night actives.

The trip started at 6:45 on Tuesday with the bus ride to Williamsburg. When we arrived, everyone shuffled wearily off the bus and to our first tour. After which we received our rooms and roommates. Now, you must understand in the past weeks there has been a lot of social tension on who put who on their roommate list. Then about three days before our trip, everyone started to get worried about who would be in their room. All in all, it was a big deal. When they started calling out rooms there was so much tension in the air I was worried some heads were going to explode because of the pressure. After the room calling we unpacked and then headed out for dinner at the Golden Corral.

The Golden Corral was an experience on its own. The restaurant is run buffet style, and included a chocolate fountain. After everyone was called for dinner, there was a run on the dessert table. Everyone was trying to give their sweet tooth a field day. Personally I prefer frozen yogurt and the line for that was sparse. After the Golden Corral, we were bussed back to Williamsburg for our first night activity.

The first night activity I enjoyed was an arrangement of stories called “Mammas and Papas.” The main theme was stories slave parents told their children to teach them lessons. This activity had group participation (which is always exciting), after which we walked to the visitor center to have a lesson in African dance. I look very odd when I dance because sometimes I have trouble moving to a beat I have never heard. But I tried nonetheless. It was fairly simple until they asked us to do a rhythm as a group. We were supposed to stomp, slap your thighs, clap then snap. I finally got this rhythm after my friend showed me what I should be doing. Next, we went back to our hotel and got ready for bed. Lights out was ten o’clock but when you are in a room with four girls you are going to end up staying up a little later; we ended up going to bed at midnight.

The trip included various activities aimed at educating students about Colonial America.
The next morning were woken up at six, 45 min before schedule because we all had to shower, after which we headed down to breakfast. At breakfast, everyone looked like zombies, pale faces with circles around their eyes and uncombed hair. Next, we loaded buses and drove to Williamsburg for a guided tour with our history classes. The tour was very interesting; we saw the jail, court house, wig maker, carpentry shop, and blacksmith. Following the tour, I got lunch at the cheese shop and dessert at the candy shop. Then the teachers did something extraordinary: they let us loose and gave us three hours of free time. I spent mine buying souvenirs and taking pictures. I also took a tour of the silversmith house.

The class went back to the hotel room and had time to relax. Dinner that night consisted of soda and pizza but we were all too excited to care. One of our night activities was a scare tour. Everyone was confessing no matter what you said.
“Hey can someone pass the napkin?!”
“No am scared of the dark.” There was so much confusion and energy in the air you could light a match and the room would explode. When we all loaded onto our bus in the center of Williamsburg, we were ushered to our first tour which was a normal tour at night - no surprises. After we split into four small groups, our scary stories tour started. After a sleepless night, the next day we all filed onto our buses and said farewell to Williamsburg and headed for Mt. Vernon.

Seventh graders explore Williamsburg.
At Mt. Vernon, we saw a short film and were given a tour of the grounds, after which we headed to the cafeteria for lunch. Then we all filed onto the buses again and continued to drive home. As we were driving that evening, the world around the bus seemed to fade away as it got darker and darker and for a few moments everything was still. And then all of a sudden there was an uproar and excitement filled the air. The bus turned into GA and everyone was in search of their parents. The bus parked and we all filed off and began to say goodbye to our friends and hello to our families. This is a trip I hope I will not forget and I must say I learned a lot. Not just about Williamsburg but about lasting without my parents for a few days.
-Margaret H. '19

Guided tours showed students the best of Colonial Williamsburg.

Margaret observes a craftsman at work.