PatChat is your inside view of GA from students' perspective

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Finally Arrives for Softball

As I arrived at the fieldhouse for my first GA softball practice, I was excited to meet the girls and coaches. Everyone was very welcoming and offered great advice to help me improve. Each day we go in the batting cage, the coaches help me adjust my grip or stance to increase the power in my swing. On the field running situational plays, teammates and coaches explain where you should be and what you should be doing. Whether you have played on a travel softball team since you were a little kid or you have never picked up a softball or bat before, GA softball has a spot for you.
Soggy early season weather hasn't keep the softball team from working hard.
The coaches constantly go out of their way to help you improve as an individual and be part of the team. The best thing about coming to this new team is that they treat you like family and go out of their way to help you develop as a softball player.

~ JT S. '18

Interdivisional Fun with KTK

As soon as Mr. Samson, my AP Psychology teacher, told us that our class was going to work with the PreK students and 1st graders, I was immediately enthused. Being a senior, I've put a lot of thought into what I want to do with my future studies and endeavors. My plan for right now is to major in psychology and eventually work with children in some form or another, so the opportunity that our class was presented with was very exciting, to me especially. The day finally came when we made our walk down memory lane, through the Lower School, to one of the science rooms, which used to be my old music room. All of the seniors sat down approximately two to a table as we awaited our little PreK students to come. As they arrived, they entered with timid smiles and a hidden excitement that slowly began to come out. We performed two main experiments with them, one having to do with various amounts of water and the other with amounts of money.

In the water experiment, the seniors poured green liquid into two beakers. Our little PreK partners helped us decide when the amounts of liquid in the two different beakers were exactly even. Then we took one beaker and poured it into a skinnier and taller beaker.
Lower School students take their turn measuring liquid in different sized beakers.
We asked the students if there was still the same amount of liquid in each, and they believed that the one poured into the skinner/taller beaker looked like it had a greater amount because it was visually taller. The 1st graders, however, knew that the amount of liquid didn't in fact change; it just looked like a different amount because of the shape of the new beaker. To begin the money experiment, the seniors lined up two rows of 5 quarters. We then took one of the rows and spread out the coins a little bit. The PreK students said that the row that was spread out had more money, whereas the 1st grade students said that there was still the same amount of money, we just physically moved one row.

The experiments proved to be challenging.
We examined the developmental stages that these students are experiencing, which was very interesting! We also asked our student buddies to draw a picture of a person. The PreK students were using lots of colors and being more free-spirited. On the other hand, the 1st graders liked to outline the shape of the body in black before they began to fill it in with any colors. The observations we made allowed us to create real life connections between what we read in the textbook and what we experienced in this environment.

PreK students hard at work.
Having gone to GA since PreK, I have always appreciated and cherished the times that I got to work with older students (and now younger students). I still remember when I was a PreK student I had a middle school buddy named Katie Martin who had Ms. Glendinning as a teacher. I had the best time with Katie. I also remember when the KTK - Kids Teaching Kids- program allowed me to work with high schoolers on science experiments when I was just in Kindergarten. All these different experiences with other GA students helped turn my school world into a cohesive, community-based, and meaningful experience.

~Kaela G. '15

Monday, March 16, 2015

Alums Share Entrepreneurial Spirit

In-class field trips occur frequently at GA.  The teachers and faculty love to bring in outside expertise to expand on what we have learned in class.  This past Wednesday, Ms. Russomagno organized an in-class field trip involving all the students enrolled in Economics, Entrepreneurship & Branding, Personal Finance, and The New Community Project electives, as well as a few art classes. We spent the day listening to two GA alumni, Patrick FitzGerald '93 and Mason Wartman '06.  Patrick started many companies including the very successful company Recyclebank and teaches at Wharton School of Business at Penn. Mason left his career on Wall Street to start a pizza place named Rosa's that charges $1 per slice, and for every slice sold, he gives a free slice to someone in need. He has received national attention for his undertaking and was recently on Ellen. Also, there was a panel that consisted of two speakers, Krista Emmett '98 and Rich Podulka '95. Krista started a boutique public and marketing agency based out of Doylestown called Streamline6. Rich owned restaurants and bars in New York and Philadelphia before starting a construction company.
The panelists with Gaby Russomagno, Director of Innovation & Special Programs and Heather Durkin, Director of Alumni Relations after speaking with Upper School students.

The opportunity to speak with GA alumni in the business world was incredible. I learned so much by listening to all the obstacles that each of them overcame to get to where they are now. Each alumnus’s experience seemed to have sparked from his or her experiences at GA. Rich even mentioned he wished he had a class similar to the Entrepreneurship class taught by Ms. Russomagno so that he could have learned earlier on that owning and running a business was his passion.
Patrick FitzGerald addresses classes in the Honickman Auditorium.
Patrick followed by saying he didn’t even know what entrepreneurship was in high school, but still his experiences at GA paved the way to his success. Being able to listen to the triumphs of people who not too long ago were sitting in my seat was very inspiring. If I took away anything from the panel, it was to keep trying even when you fail. A powerful lesson that each of us should take with us.

~Julia P. '15

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Margaret H's Day On

At exactly 12:25 I excused myself from class. I did a quick costume change into fancy clothes for the Montgomery County Science Research Competition and headed out to the vans. As we filed into the van, all I could think about was the forty minute ride to Ursinus Collage. As I entered the building, a nervous energy hit me like a piercing wind. This was the moment that I had been preparing for. All
Margaret's 8th grade science class helped prepare her for MCSRC.
my hours spent on Science Fair might actually mean something after today. But with that being said, the only way I could have an outcome from my work is if I play my cards right until the very end. This meant staying calm and following the directions I was given.

As I made my way past various projects, I began to feel uneasy and found myself doubting whether I even have a chance looking at all of the other boards. But as I make it to my station I begin to feel more at ease, the pictures and graphs gave me a calming sense of familiarity in this crazy place full of bustling students. Then, when I was done with the finishing touches I started to observe the people around me. On my right, there was a girl who did a fascinating project on the durability of nail polish. To my left, there was a boy who seemed to be in deep conversation with his left-hand neighbor. So with four hours to go and not much to do, I struck up a conversation with the girl to my right.
Students' various projects on display inside Ursinus College's Floy Lewis Field House.
It wasn’t long before that judges began to wander around listening to everyone’s projects. When they finally made it to me, I stood up and shook all their hands, told them my name, then started on my monologue about my project. My experiment was in the category of chemistry. The purpose was to determine what brand of yeast and what type of sweetener affected the rising of dough the most. This speech went on for about three to five minutes and then questions ensued. The questions asked ranged from the chemical make up of honey to which bread tasted the best. The judging was done quite strategically. There were two groups of three judges who I believe talked to every chemistry project in my row. Then if they liked your project, there were more judges who came around and talked to you about your project. I received interest from one group of judges and two judges who were working alone. As the judges were finishing up they handed out pamphlets with everyone’s name, school, project number, and information about where to see the results from judging. Then we cleaned up, grabbed all of our project pieces, and headed home. Well, not quite.
That evening the entire 8th grade had an introductory meeting to attend for our transition to the Upper School. My mom picked me up from Ursinus, which I was quite thankful for.  We went home where I had another quick costume change, ate a little dinner, and then headed back to GA. When I arrived, I found my friends and we all piled into our seats as the meeting began. Despite my tired state, the presentation by various members of the Upper School community made me quite excited about my journey ahead. Learning about all the classes, clubs, and activities I could participate in made me want to leave the 8th grade immediately. But apparently, that is against the rules so I’ll have to finish this year. As the meeting came to a close, I found myself using my friend’s shoulder as a nice place to rest. Soon everyone had all filed out of the Honickman Auditorium and headed to their cars. As we walked to the car, I couldn’t help but talk my mothers ear off with things I wanted to do in Upper School but as soon as we made it home I was definitely ready to sleep after a long day.

~ Margaret H. ‘19
Margaret will move from the Alter Middle School (l) to the McNeil Upper School (r) with her classmates in September.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bonjour, Barnes Foundation!

Madame Test's AP French Language and Culture students at the Barnes Foundation.
With all of us snuggled up in the Durango, Madame Test drove us down to the Barnes Foundation in Philly. There are 6 of us, including myself, in AP French this year. We’ve been studying the language and culture on top of studying for the upcoming AP exam. We each recently researched 2 French artists, so Madame Test was kind enough to take us outside the classroom for a field trip to experience some of the artwork we studied firsthand. We arrived at the Barnes Foundation and were greeted by Marshall, the man who served as our tour guide and excellent source of information. He sported a chic French beret, amusing us all as he occasionally spoke some French with us. Marshall displayed his admiration for the French artwork when he consistently tried to get into the head of Albert C. Barnes, founder of his namesake foundation, attempting to figure out what he was thinking. He explained to us his observations of a wall of artwork, discussing why Barnes arranged them as he had; he explained the details of one artist’s painting; he explained the uses of line, color, light, and space in several pieces. With all of this, we only made it to 2 of the rooms within the Foundation! But we all appreciated the time Marshall took because we learned a lot about a few dozen paintings, instead of a little bit of everything.
Stylishly attired Marshall with the class.

When our time ran out with Marshall, we said our “au revoirs” and walked several blocks to make our way to what ended up being an amazing lunch at Parc. I personally had never been before, and every single dish looked amazing. I ordered the Chicken Club sandwich, which was a great decision. We ordered some ‘pommes frites’ for the table and shared fun stories with each other. Going on this adventure with my class was one of the things I will definitely remember about senior year. We all started together (except for one friend who joined us freshman year) as little sixth graders and made our way to Honors French by 7th grade. Ever since, we have remained a tight knit group and I have always looked forward to going to class. The six of us have made so many memories over the years, and I will always remember our many “blagues”, meaning jokes. We have had the privilege of working with both Monsieur David and Madame Test for 2 years, and I don’t want our French class to end. It has been 7 years in the making, and I cherish trips like the one to the Barnes Foundation because it provides an opportunity to spend quality time with my classmates and my teacher.

~ Kaela G. ‘15