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Thursday, February 26, 2015

MUN's the Word in Chicago

Armed with knee-length winter coats, heads stuffed with research on current global issues and suitcases stuffed with Western business attire, twenty five Model United Nations students along with faculty advisors Mr. Moyer and Ms. Fraser traveled to MUNUC XXVII, the Model UN conference at the University of Chicago, to engage in four days of scintillating international relations debate.

After school on Wednesday, February 4th, we flew from Philly to Chicago O’Hare, arriving at our hotel, the Palmer House Hilton, in time for a late dinner (which, in Chicagoan jargon translates to take-out Chicago-style pizza from Lou Malnati’s, or so the nice man on the train told us). We devoured close to a dozen marinara and meat lover’s pies, retreating into food comas after the exhausting afternoon of travel.

Thursday morning, Mr. Moyer arranged for us to visit the Art Institute of Chicago Museum near Millennium Park, and we oo-ed and ah-ed our way through real Seurat’s and Hopper’s and the iconic American Gothic after taking ‘selfies’ of our reflections in ‘the Bean’ (a.k.a. Cloud Gate). I went with ten or so other students to grab a delicious lunch at Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi (real mushroom ramen!) and then ice skate in Millennium Park (where we met our first fellow MUN-ers, delegates from Michigan).
A snowy selfie in "the Bean."

The conference of 2,500 students began that evening with the Opening Ceremonies and addresses from Ms. Michele A. Rasmussen, Dean of Students at UChicago, and Dr. Nabeel Khoury, Associate Professor of Middle East and North African Studies at Northwestern University. Now dressed in our dresses and blazers and khakis and stockings, we all went to our different rooms for our first session of committee. Twenty two of us were Sudanese, advocating in committees such as UN Water and UNICEF in the best interests of Sudan. 
The SCAP hard at work.
I was fortunate enough to serve on a historic committee, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), where our undergrad chair was General MacArthur, and I was Mr. Patrick Shaw, British Commonwealth Representative on the Allied Council for Japan; we were charged with restructuring Japan during the Allied Occupation in the wake of World War II. During the course of the conference, we battled through assassinations, the beginning of the Korean War, biological warfare, and Emperor Hirohito’s brutal murder. Because SCAP was a crisis committee, we (the delegates) not only discussed directives that issued for land reform or new infrastructure, but we also got to use our individual influence to act during crises. I befriended the delegate sitting next to me, and we worked together to find the communist moles in SCAP and hold an evil scientist hostage in jail – it was a blast!
Claudia, Ms. Fraser, Mr. Moyer, and fellow seniors at the Conference.
On Friday, my role was changed from Mr. Shaw after SCAP broke from the Allied Council for Japan, and I assumed the title Chief of Staff – and, with it, control over all the staff sections of SCAP. At the conclusion of the conference, we soon found out that another friend of mine, the Chief Engineer, was a communist affiliate undermining all of SCAP’s initiatives! At MUNUC, I had to navigate a historical crisis within a room of secrets, and I was engaged in the excitement of SCAP through all 20 hours of committee. Even though I did MUN since 10th grade, I learned so much more about how to collaborate with others and affect meaningful change.
More sights in the Windy City.

In between committee sessions, we explored Chicago – eating an awesome brunch at Wildberry Pancakes and CafĂ© and ordering in late-night burgers and milkshakes from Rudy’s. On Saturday night, we shared a delicious team dinner at Flat Top Grill, a Chipotle-esque DIY wok bowl restaurant.
MUNers ride Chicago's famous "L."

Sunday at noon, after Closing Ceremonies, we bid Chicago a bittersweet adieu and headed back home to the east coast. All-in-all, it was an unforgettable trip!

~ Claudia M. ‘15

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leading Man Recounts Performance Weekend

Performing in the Germantown Academy Middle School production of The Music Man was truly an incredible experience! It was exciting to act and sing with other Middle School students as we went through three spectacular shows. The show was not so much about me as it was everyone else including the rest of the cast, stage crew, the musicians, and the directors Mrs. Rominger and Mrs. Donches. Everyone brought their focus and concentration to the table to ensure that the musical would be as fantastic as it possibly could be. The Friday night show was sold out and left every audience member in awe of our performance.
Vinit as Harold Hill.

The production The Music Man was probably one of the strongest shows the GA Middle School has ever produced. As the main character Harold Hill, I had the amazing experience of learning complex songs, duets, and solos while acting as a charlatan in the year 1912. The Music Man was probably one of the most interesting musicals I have ever taken part in so far. The cast and I have worked very hard memorizing our lines, dance numbers, and stage movement. And all of our persistence led to three shows where each and every time, the audience left in amazement at what they had seen.

The cast and orchestra during a number from The Music Man.
The reason I have grown such a passion for the arts is mainly because of GA. I feel that I have the opportunity to express myself in whichever interest I have here. Our theatre art programs really give everyone the opportunity to express themselves in the arts. With the fall play and winter musical, GA really lets kids express their desire for acting, singing, and even a bit of dancing! And as I go into the GA Upper School next year, I know I’ll join the Drama and Improv club, The Belfry, in order to further pursue my interest in the arts.

~Vinit J. ‘19
The cast and crew receive warm applause after a show.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

All That Jazz

Last Wednesday, Germantown Academys jazz bands went on their annual trip to Rowan University. The Lower School, Sixth Grade, Middle School, and Upper School Jazz Bands packed up the buses with their instruments in the morning, and set off to Glassboro, New Jersey. Once we arrived, we listened to other bands perform and heard their critiques by Rowans legendary staff. The Lower School Band performed first under the direction of Mr. Correnti and Mr. Kallend. The Rowan professionals were blown away by the young musicians. After they were given some advice, the Sixth Grade Band performed. They played songs ranging from jazz classics to Bruno Mars. Once again, the Rowan staff was very impressed. 

We then took a quick lunch break and went to the on-site clinic. One of the teachers shared with us some of the tips he learned over the years and taught us some exercises that will make us better musicians.
The Sixth Grade Jazz Band performs at Rowan University.

At the end of the day, the Middle School and Upper School Jazz Bands performed under the direction of Mr. Horner. Both bands played extremely well. Yet again, the Rowan staff was impressed by the performances. The staff went over our songs with us and gave us some advice to make us even better.

Before we left, the Rowan staff once again told us who amazed they were by the number and quality of musicians at GA. Germantown Academys jazz bands will be performing this Saturday night at the annual Jazz Cabaret. Come out and hear some of the amazing musicians at GA.
~ James R. '15

Editors's note: You can find out more information about GA's annual Jazz Cabaret here. We look forward to seeing you at this free event Saturday, February 21st at 6:45 PM.

UPDATE: The Jazz Cabaret has been postponed to Sunday, February 22nd at 3 PM.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mock Trial Heads to Courthouse

Over the course of the last five months, the members of Mock Trial have worked extensively on preparing themselves for court. The case at hand revolved around the crucial aspect of first degree murder and whether a college honor society pledge master was responsible for purposely causing the death of a young, promising pledge student. In order to fully comprehend the details of the case, we organized ourselves into two groups. The first group consisted of three lawyers and three witnesses that represented the prosecution, meaning that this group of students argued for the conviction of the defendant. The second group of students was also composed of three lawyers and three witnesses. However, they served as the defense; they argued in favor of the defendant.

The first day of competition.
Both groups worked together to create expertly written cross and direct examinations. A cross examination is a series of yes or no questions inquired by the lawyer and delivered to the witness. The purpose of this questioning is to highlight imperative details of the case, which help to support the case of either the prosecution or defense. However, a direct examination is a questioning of a witness by the party that called him or her to trial and asks for more in depth answers. The Mock Trial team also spent copious amounts of time constructing opening and closing statements. An opening statement is a significant aspect of the trial because it is the ideal time to shed light on the strengths of that party’s case. A closing statement is also important to the verdict of the case because it is the only chance a respective party is allowed to reiterate their ideals and evidence regarding the case at hand. Following the creation of these documents the squad was only left with memorizing and rehearing their material.

On the day of the prosecution trial, the Mock Trial team entered the Montgomery County Courthouse looking fierce and ready to compete, wearing their best Western business attire and holding their leather notebooks.
Intimidation is a part of Mock Trial at the Bucks County Courthouse.
After a slight delay, the trial began well into the evening hours. I was one of the lawyers for the case in addition to Nancy C. ‘15 and Catie C. ’17, while the witnesses were Nichelle H. ‘15, Abby K. ’17, and Sarah G. ’16. Expert timekeepers Peyton W. ‘16 and Ashley S. ‘16 also aided the team. Although the opposing team representing the defense presented their arguments and evidence well, GA’s own prosecution were outstanding in their first ever actual trial. As a result of strong opening and closing statements, as well as excellent direct and cross examinations and flawless memorization, GA’s Mock Trial members were able to prevail by earning a verdict of guilty, winning the case! The team was also praised by the judge and jury for their excellence throughout.

One week later, we arrived at Montgomery County Courthouse yet again, this time with our defense members. The lawyers for the defense were Nichelle, Peyton, and Catie. The witnesses were Sarah, Ashley, and Abby. After a brilliantly fought case on behalf of the defense, the verdict agreed upon was ultimately guilty. However GA’s Mock Trial team only lost by two points on the scoring sheet! Although slightly disappointed, proud of this year’s work and looking forward to next year’s case!

~ Julia S. ‘18

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Day in the Life of GA's Ski Club

The bell rings at the end of the school on a frigid winter Thursday. The members of the Ski Club flock to the vans outside the building, lugging their skis, snowboards, and boots into the trunks. An hour of travel later, and everyone’s shredding powder down the famous slopes of Bear Creek. Everyone’s having fun, through powder or ice, while those at home sadly write their essays and read their Odyssey’s. After a dinner break of chocolate-drizzled waffles, greasy cheeseburgers, hot chocolate, and laughter, we all bravely head back out into the freezing January air. As a newbie in the school, I had an unexpected time of my life flying down the slopes and chatting on the ski lift with the older, more experienced students. It’s the last run of the night, and we all have a race to the bottom of the trail with me, of course, coming in last. 
Hannah plots the most treacherous and thrilling course down the mountain.
Barely making it back in time to the lodge, we pack up our things, run outside, load the skis and snowboards into the vans, and are on our way back to school. Not much happens on the trip back, seeing how most people are asleep, and sooner or later, we reach GA and disperse to our cars after our goodbyes. Ah, yes, another successful day in the life of Germantown Academy’s beloved Ski Club.

~ Hannah S. ‘18
Members of the Ski Club after a few runs.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Superfans Carry GA to Inter-Ac Threepeat

There are few times in GA sports that are as exciting as the games that take place on GA/PC Day. However, the boys’ basketball game this past Friday was definitely one of those times. When I entered the battlefield which is Episcopal’s basketball court, I was met with an unfortunate sight: the GA student section was miniscule and tipoff was three minutes away. My body shivered with fright. The three minutes passed. It was about to be tipoff and the bleachers were still empty. That’s when it happened, the greatest sight of my life… herds of GA students poured into the gym. I felt the energy surge through my body. It was game time.
GA's Superfans made the trip to Episcopal for the de facto championship game.

The first half was a slow one. Both teams played tough defense as the student sections of each school had a battle of their own. It was 25-21 when the second quarter ended, giving GA only a four point cushion. After a quick one-on-one match between an Episcopal student and yours truly, the show was back on.

GA came out firing at the start of the second half with senior Tim Guers leading the charge. The super fans roared louder as the lead increased. Slowly but surely, everyone could feel Episcopal beginning to eat GA’s dust. Episcopal’s fans grew quieter and GA’s only grew louder. Eventually, with one and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Episcopal, down over twenty points, raised the white flag as they subbed out all of their starters. The official buzzer went off, players shook hands, and GA students charged onto the court, screaming with joy. GA did it… they had won the Inter-Ac for the third year in a row!
Players revel with their classmates after securing the Inter-Ac title.

Celebrations continued for days after and the halls are still filled with chatter about moments of the game, but I see something different in the eyes of the players. I see joy, but I also see determination. They know they still have one task to complete before they can declare this a perfect season… they have to win states. Everyone, including the players, know its not going to be easy, but we also know they’ve got what it takes. Come this Friday, GA will be Inter-Ac and state champs. GO GA!

~ Gideon S. ‘15
Editor's note: The GA boys' basketball team begins its quest for a second state title in three years tomorrow, February 13th when it hosts Solebury School at 7PM. Find out more about the team here. Come join the Superfans in the Big Gym.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mini Assemblies Shake Up Upper School's Schedule

Day 2, 2nd period. I can guarantee that everyone in the Upper School knows that it is the assembly period. I always look forward to the assembly because we normally have amazing speakers, talent show performances, or something along the lines of a magician act. GA began a tradition 3 years ago of having Mini Assemblies once a year, taking up the assembly period. These are assemblies put together by teachers or students wanting to participate. 
Emmy and friends enjoy their Mini Assembly with Mr. Preston.
From "Pancakes with Preston" to "Knitting with Ms. Kennedy", a variety of activities are available to choose for this hour-long period. This year, I was on the committee for organizing Mini Assemblies. I spent about 4 hours after school working with 6 other SGA [Student Government Association] members to organize the student body into various assemblies based on their top ten rankings chosen the week prior during Advisory. The Mini Assembly period, for me at least, was a great opportunity to just relax and have fun with a group of people who I don't typically spend my time with on a more personal basis, considering each grouping only had around 15 people. 
Students take part in Dr. Rabuck's ever popular "Harry Potter" Quiz Bowl.
Mini Assemblies are a great way for not only me as an individual, but also for the GA community as a whole to have closely acquainted interactions and opportunities to step out of comfort zones, being in an assembly that may not have been one's first choice.

~ Emmy D. ‘16

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Patriots Geaux to New Orleans!

Traveling to New Orleans with the girls’ basketball team to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Basketball Classic was amazing. When we weren't out on the courts, the team did lots of fun things together. Having only one game each day gave us tons of extra time to bond as a team and explore New Orleans.
The team watches action during its first game in New Orleans.
We got a chance to walk around the French Quarter for a while and check out all the cool shops and galleries. The streets were full of artwork, musicians, and dancers that put on a good show for us as we walked around. We were able to try out some of the food, including beignets, which were delicious and everyone's favorite. Team captain Olivia G.’s family was generous enough to plan a big dinner on one of our game nights. We played a game to find out a bunch of new things about each other, ate some amazing food, and bonded as a team.
Alexa goes up for two.
On the courts, we played our best. We fought a tough game the first night but lost to an amazing team. We pulled out, winning in the other two games, 79-30 and 57-30, and we played great. Erin L. made an insane half-court shot at the end of another tough game racking up more points for the win. By the end of the weekend, we came out with a record of 2-1. It's great that we could come out as a new team and win a couple of games.  The whole trip was an overall great experience.
A pregame braid always gets the team going.
Getting a chance to get out and play with a great group of girls was tons of fun and spending time with the teammates, who have become my best friends since the trip, was a time that I will never forget. I can't wait until we go back next year!

~ Alexa N. ‘18