PatChat is your inside view of GA from students' perspective

Monday, February 29, 2016

Singing Patriots Hit the Road

Editor's note: GA's Singing Patriots and Singing Patriots Select choirs recently took local and regional trips. Below, PatChat writer Vinit J. '19 recaps his experiences.

I, along with Singing Patriots Select, had the wonderful opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the Sixers-Hawks game on January 7th at the Wells Fargo Center! It was such a mind-blowing thing for me to do, partially because it was my first time going to a basketball game!

                               The Singing Patriots Select at Wells Fargo Center.

I had butterflies in my stomach from on the way to the arena to after we left! It was so cool to be able to go down to the court level and just see the players in their shootaround. After rehearsing in the tunnel several times, we were lead onto the court to sing. It was cool to be up close with the players, even though I did not get to say hello to them. When singing the National Anthem, it felt pretty fascinating to have light shine only on us while everywhere else was pitch black, pin-drop silence as we sang. I heard a roaring applause when we finished, and that may have been the coolest feeling to ever experience! I was then able to witness my first ever live basketball game, and I wondered why I had not gone to one sooner!

Singing the National Anthem at my first basketball game was one of the coolest things I have ever done! It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity!


Earlier this month, the Singing Patriots and I took a thrilling trip to New York City.

On our first night, we got to see the musical Finding Neverland. It was based around the author of the story Peter Pan and how he based the story off of people he knew in real life. The show was powerful yet moving and that has to have been one of the best musicals I have seen so far! I especially loved the number “Circus of Your Mind” and the ending number of the first act, “Stronger”.

The next day, we got to do a musical dance workshop with one of the actors/choreographers of Finding Neverland, probably the coolest thing to ever do as a fan of Broadway! We first sang one of the musical numbers, “Believe”, several times before having to memorize it. Then came the exciting part - dancing. Although a bit tricky at first, we got it down pretty quickly, and it was amazing just to do it as a group! It was a moment to mess up, laugh with one another, and have a good time.
At the workshop after seeing Finding Neverland.

Then came the highlight of the entire of trip. I can still vividly picture what it was like inside the magnificent Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, one of the 5 largest church buildings worldwide.
The Singing Patriot inside the Cathedral.
Just gazing at the architecture was breathtaking. The choir had the opportunity to sing inside the cathedral, and it was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever partaken in my life so far! As I sung amidst the choir, I noticed that I could not hear the voices of others who were singing behind me, even though they were singing at the same volume as they always would. And when we paused after singing a note, the reverb of our voices would last a good 5 seconds. Had the Cathedral not been surrounded by tons of snow, the reverb would last 9 seconds! The choir and I were stunned by the beauties the cathedral withheld.

The view from One World Trade Center.

After that, we got to have a bird’s eye view as we viewed the city on top of the One World Trade Center. I could have stayed up there forever! It’s not every day you get to stand on top of the tallest building in NYC. It was thrilling to stand right next to a window and look straight down! Something cool happened when the sun was just about to set on the horizon; people took time-lapses on their phones so that when they replayed them, they’d see a full sunset! I cherished every moment up there. This trip was a very great experience for us Singing Patriots and will not be something we will forget anytime soon!

~ Vinit J. '19

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

KTK in the BCI

Kids Teaching Kids (KTK) is a science program in which kindergarten and PreK students conduct fun science experiments with Upper Schoolers who volunteer during their lunch period. As a tenth grader, this is my second year volunteering in this program and it has been a rewarding experience. This year, KTK was moved from the Chemistry lab to the Maker Space in the Beard Center for Innovation (BCI). This very interactive and hands-on space helps to enrich learning. It is also very spacious, which allows for better connection and interaction with the Lower Schoolers.
JT and her peers work closely with Lower School students in the Beard Center for Innovation.
Teachers of Upper School and Middle School students bring their classes to work on projects in the BCI. As KTK students walk through the BCI to the Maker Space, they observe these working classes as well as the many different project displays. By introducing the BCI to the KTK students at a young age, they will be more comfortable using the BCI when they get older. Through this entire school integration of the BCI, these students are able to see what they will learn as they get older. This new space fosters inclusion for everyone and is a welcoming learning environment. I have enjoyed the transition into the BCI and look forward to many future students’ successful and prosperous learning. Overall, the BCI is a comfortable space for all to learn and grow.

~ JT S. ‘18

Friday, February 5, 2016

First Timer On the Right Track

The scene in Staten Island.

At GA, everyone is given the opportunity, and highly encouraged, to try something new. Since I am a big sports enthusiast, (or athletic) I decided to try winter track this year. The team was very welcoming and as a result I have made a ton of new friends who are in grades other than my own. It has been an absolutely great experience so far and I am very excited for these last few weeks of the season. Track is a great way to not only get in shape but also learn how to properly run and improve your times. The coaches tailor your workouts to train you so you can compete to your full potential. Although running is seen as mainly a "solo" sport, the GA team environment encourages you to do your best.

Going into my first meet, I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily, I had all of my teammates with me to guide me through and cheer me on during my event of the meet. All of the nerves quickly left my body once I heard the shot of the gun. I didn't place in the top 10 overall, but I did end up getting 1st in my heat.

In January I participated in the Ocean Breeze Freedom Games in Staten Island, New York. As I walked in, I was amazed by the brand new, expansive, and breathtaking facility. Stepping onto the track, I felt the same nerves during my first meet re-enter my body. I competed in two relay events, so having my friends around me boosted my confidence. After receiving the baton for my leg of the relay, I just kept telling myself to say relaxed and focus on my form. I could hear all of my teammates cheering for me after I finished my 200 in 30 seconds and handed off the baton to our anchor. We ended up coming in first in our heat and fifth overall.
JT and her teammates after their strong performance.

I am fortunate to receive this rewarding and fulling experience thanks to the promotion of trying something new at GA. I highly recommend trying things out of your comfort zone at GA, because you never know what hidden talents you may have. I am thankful with gratitude to have this opportunity and be part of such a phenomenal school and team.

- JT S. ‘18

Model UN Back in Action

In late December, I, 2 teachers and 12 other students went down to Temple for a Model UN conference. The conference was hosted by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, and was simulating an emergency Global Counterterrorism Forum. Our goal was to work with students from around 20 other schools to come up with short term and long term policies.
Model UN delegates at Temple University.

Every delegate was given a country, region, and stakeholder group (military/intelligence, NGO, multinational cooperation, or diplomacy) to represent. For example, I represented Saudi Arabia in the Middle East confronting military/intelligence. With other students assigned to those same three roles we all worked together to create our policy recommendations. At the end of the day a panel of three experts listened to our presentations and then picked the best regions presentation, which happened to be the Middle East.
Madison makes a point during deliberations.

I thought the day was extremely interesting and I actually had a lot of fun doing the research leading up to it. Since you had to be so familiar with your country and their situation, you had to do research on many different levels. During the day, we would vote on different proposed policies and actually got into a few debates about why certain countries opposed certain ideas. Overall, I had a really interesting and eye-opening experience and I can’t wait to get more involved with Model UN.

-Madison P. ‘18

Editor's note: The GA Model UN will head north to take part in this weekend's Model UN conference at Boston University.