Author Archives: GeorgeSchoolVoices

Weekend Boarder Life

2017-02-13-25

Students build a snowman during a weekend winter snowstorm.

by Bea Feicenbiner ’19

As a boarding student, sometimes I am left wondering what I can do on weekends. Every weekend has a theme, but some have more activities than others. Weekends like Harvest Weekend and Student Council Weekend are jam packed with things to do. All of the weekends can be fun for the students, but some, like Alumni Weekend, have less activities than others.

Of course, my roommate is always there and I have friends in my dorm. On weekends, more often than not, I have a friend sleepover in my room or I sleep in hers. I can walk into Newtown to get some ice cream or go to Starbucks. Sometimes we will walk over to the shopping center across the street and get lunch before running errands to Giant or Rite Aid. Newtown Book and Record has a great variety of entertainment if I need something new. There is a lot to do around town on the weekends.

My personal favorite weekend is Student Council Weekend. SAGE, another club I am a part of, also has a weekend. We do fun activities that include bonding opportunities with members of the community that otherwise you might not have met. Harvest Weekend is super fun, especially for boarders. Day students are invited too, but for domestic boarders who do not get to spend as much time with their family. Carving pumpkins and making buttercream brings people together. For international students, the Harvest Weekend activities might be the first time they are experiencing these things. Other weekends are club affiliated. Umoja Weekend and Footbag Weekend happened not long ago and they both included events that were fun for the whole campus.

There are other things to do instead of weekend activities and day trips to Newtown. The Deans’ office is always open to hang out in and the SAGE room is open Friday and Saturday too. During the warmer months, there is four-square on Red Square and during the colder months, you can borrow sleds from the Deans’ Office and sled down South Lawn. If you’re looking for a quiet place to study, the library is open on both Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes dorm parents and prefects will host activities, like tea parties or clothing swaps.

No matter what the weekend is, there is plenty to do, so you should not worry about being bored.

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Sky Reviews

May 15 2017

May 15

May 16 2017

May 16

May 17 2017

May 17

May 18 2017

May 18

May 19 2017

May 19

by Joey Cifelli ’19

May 15, 2017

This must be one of the best gradients we have had this year. Both in the drastic change of color, and smoothness of the transition. Often you will see nice color variation, but with shaky movement between those colors. Or a more subtle gradient with frictionless spreads but similar colors. Today we are fortunate enough to have it all. The blue begins almost as a white at the very bottom, which then gracefully completes the journey into a rich royal blue. Any trace of distortion is neatly covered by precise cloud placement. Excellent. 9.6/10

May 16, 2017

Today’s sky reminds me of a Bob Ross painting. I am sure a few of our readers remember Bob gently telling us how to make textured puffs of cloud, which he would then lightly blend back and forth, back and forth. It is really a shame that Bob is not with us anymore. I am sure he would appreciate this playground of wispy cotton tendrils in the sky (especially with them being titanium white). Those two streaks near the bottom left may seem like blemishes at first, but of course they are not. After all, we do not make mistakes here, only happy little accidents. 9.2/10

May 17, 2017

I had already taken today’s photo when I stumbled upon this scene. It is just the coolest thing ever, so I was compelled to go with this scene instead. Is this not a dragon breathing fire onto the cool waters of the sky? It totally is, which makes this sky one of the best realist scenes we have had this year. Unfortunately, we cannot view the entire head, but the mouth clearly opens out from the right; there is even a nice little crest on the upper jaw. And that fire manifesting across the entire stage compliments the idea of the dragon perfectly. Top reptile. 8.9/10

May 18, 2017

We have a unique cloud formation today; I do not think I have ever seen anything quite like it. There are not any identifiable shapes presenting themselves, nor any sort of particular texture. It is a stretch, but I can make out a crude steam train from this jumble. The stack puffing out of the top is what made me think of it, but the whole formation also slopes away at a smooth angle, like trains do. Well, that is my take on it. Hope you all had an otherwise interesting day in this blistering heat. 7.3/10

May 19, 2017

Another haphazard sky today, folks, though this one feels less crowded. The spattering of clouds across the light blue is reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting, if with less color. The lowest grouping has small clouds trailing behind the leader, which makes for a classic archipelago formation. This whole sky seems like a map, really. All the shapes contain the right coasts and are of a close size. They all surround a basin in the center, perhaps that could be this land’s ocean. Cartographers out there take note, these do not come around often. 8.6/10

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My Summer Plans

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Bea and her sisters on a 2012 vacation in Hawaii. 

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

Summer starts in just nineteen school days (twenty-six days total) and the Class of 2017 graduates in two weeks. As the school year comes to a close, it is time to start thinking about what I am going to do this summer. Now that AP exams are done, I just have the SAT subject tests on June 3rd and then Term 3 exams the week of June 5th to 8th. My sophomore year is almost over.

Of course, the last day of school will be both filled with sadness and excitement. Sadness because I will not see some of my friends for the whole two months of summer. That is the hardest part of being friends with international students. They are too far away for me to visit them. My roommate is from Beijing and I know that it is going to be weird not seeing her every day until September 3 when we move back.

The last day is also going to be exciting because I have so many exciting plans this summer. The first week or two are going to be pretty boring. I am going to be running all over the place trying to make up for not seeing my family and friends. Then I start driving lessons. I turned sixteen in October, but I think I have driven a grand total of five hours since then. I am also self-studying Spanish 3 this summer, so I will be meeting with my tutor pretty often as well. The real excitement does not start until June 29.

I love traveling, and this summer my family is going to Greece. We leave at the end of June and will not be back in the states until July 12. We are going to see the Parthenon, visit Delphi, and tour museums and the city of Athens for a couple days before heading to Santorini. As a Latin student, I have been reading and translating myths surrounding the ancient history of these places. Next year, I have to write a paper on the classical time period of the Greeks and Romans. After a couple days history, everyone will be ready for a break. We are heading to Santorini for almost a week before heading back to Athens to fly home.

When I get back from Greece, I will have to resume my Spanish studies. But then I am enrolled in a summer camp called Camp Neuro where I will have the opportunity to learn a ton about neurology, which I am considering to be my major. I even get to dissect a pig’s brain! After Camp Neuro, I have another summer program for neurology, but this one is through the National Student Leaders Conference. I am headed to DC for nine days to stay at American University and participate in labs and lectures.

My family always makes a trip up to Traverse City, Michigan to visit my grandma at the end of the summer. While the twelve-hour car trip is not fantastic, snorkeling in Mickey Lake and sailing on Long Lake will be. If I get lucky, we might even head over to Lake Michigan for a day trip.

Once I come home from Michigan, I will have to start packing for school. I still have one more trip though. One of my friends at home has a beach house in Ocean City and my family will probably stay with them for a few days. Of course, I will have to be studying Spanish as well.

After I go to the beach, the summer is pretty much over. I will be studying for my Spanish placement test, finishing up the summer work I am going to be assigned, and packing up everything I want for my junior year. It is definitely going to be a busy summer, but it will also be fun… if everything goes according to plan!

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Sky Reviews

May 8 2017

May 8

May 9 2017

May 9

May 10 2017

May 10

May 11 2017

May 11

May 12 2017

May 12

by Joey Cifelli ’19

May 8, 2017

Continental plates colliding. The raw mechanisms of the Earth at their most base form. Grinding, mashing, twisting and churning they fulfill the purpose placed upon them. That is what we are dealing with here today. Three clouds of massive proportion are about to converge upon each other, resulting in what can only be described as a larger cloud. I am urging all of you to find a safe place to reside during this monumental event. It has become too dangerous for me to keep observing this phenomenon; protect yourselves and good luck. 9.3/10

May 9, 2017

Two main elements are the focus of this sky: symmetry and the wave. Those two clouds in the rising left are near perfect mirror images of each other. They evoke the image of a pair of wings; even their placement above the remaining scattered skystuffs is reminiscent of a bird in flight. The wave begins in the background of the wings, though it becomes more prominent further south. Defined edges lead to brushed wisps, which lazily lag behind until becoming flush with the blue. 8.4/10

May 10, 2017

Today’s sky reminds me of Albert Camu’s 1947 novel The Plague, in which a mysterious disease descends upon the fictional city of Oran. Fortunately, we only have these clouds settling down on our campus, though they too are mysterious. A brave band of clear sky is the only thing stopping the mass of clouds from completely enveloping our view. Perhaps it will survive, and tomorrow will be a brighter day. 7.7/10

May 11, 2017

Well that is what I get for being optimistic. Gray skies have now taken control of the entire celestial sphere, leaving us with a bleak monotone. There is a silver lining to this, however, which is that I managed to get a helicopter in the shot. I did not even notice until I started writing, but that tiny speck in the northeast quadrant is unmistakable. Zoom in on it and you can even see the pilot. What a pleasant gift on this dreary day. 7.9/10

May 12, 2017

Same gray color today, but much more texture. The slight turmoil within the clouds gives them the appearance of cotton balls, which is always satisfying to look at. Light coming in from above washes over the top and center, eventually trickling down to the treetops. The sides and those two mounds remain darker, acting as banks to the river of illumination. This is proof that colorless skies do not always have to be boring. 8.2/10

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Georgestock

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Students gather in Marshall Center where Georgestock was held due to inclement weather.

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

Coming to George School next weekend is Georgestock. As Paris Parker ’17 wrote in a recent email to the school, “LMW + outdoors + Hallowell + sunset + food= Georgestock. Woodstock + George School – all the questionable stuff= Georgestock. Tunes + jams= a dope addition to footbag club weekend.” No one is exactly sure what Georgestock will be. It’s the first year anyone has done it. There will be music, fun activities, fundraisings, and a smattering of other activities on May 13, 2017 from 5:30-10:30 on Hallowell Porch and South Lawn. The leaders of Footbag Club, along with Goldfish and Java, invite everyone and expect people to have a great time.

Footbag Club is hosting Georgestock. Footbag Club is a newly formed club led by Andrew Arth ’19, Thomas Kumar ’17, Julian Lindenmaier ’18, Alec Palmiotti ’17, Sundar Pratt ’17, and Charles Ryan ’17. A select group of twenty-five or thirty members get together ­­­­once a week to play hacky sack and hang out. Georgestock was created in combination with Paris Parker and the rest of Goldfish and Java, as it is a live music event.

Goldfish and Java are responsible for some of the most entertaining events on campus, including Live Music Weekend and Spring Fling. For the first time, they are hosting yet another outdoor music performance. The main organizers are Paris, Alec, and Sydney Johnson ’17, with help from Sundar, Thomas, and Caleigh Hoffman ’18. So far, about 9-15 groups have signed up, but more are expected in the next couple of days. There also will be a special appearance from the band Liz De Lise.

Everyone who wants to perform just fills out a form to let Paris know what music and instruments are needed and they are on the set list. Paris has sent out a few emails with the form and there are more to come. He also carries a few with him so people can get them directly from him.

“GS Alumni Ethan Carpene had the idea, but so did GS alumni Justin Daniel Becker,” Paris said. “Sadly, it was never realized and now we have resurrected the corpse of this idea and tried to make it a reality.”

While people listen to their peers perform and enjoy all the other activities Footbag Club have, people can also sign up to fundraise. Coordinated by Sydney, clubs, classes, and whoever else wants to can sign up to raise money for any cause by selling food, clothing, or other items. When asked to describe Georgestock, Paris replied, “Imagine a scene where George School students are sprawled across South Lawn on (provided) blankets listening to dank tunes while eating food and watching the sun set. The moon rises and the party continues. It supports George School arts and artists. It seeks to return GS to its organic, outdoors roots while also providing a bumpin’ time. There is which bonds communities more than music, food, and carefree moments.”

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Sky Reviews May 1-5

May 1 2017

May 1

May 2 2017

May 2

May 3 2017

May 3

May 4 2017

May 4

May 5 2017

May 5

by Joey Cifelli ’19

May 1, 2017

This picture makes me feel slightly woozy. The lighting is fine, but that giant pillar coming across on the diagonal freaks me out a bit. It is like a derailed steam train barreling right for us. The trees are just specks now, the ash gently swirling around our flaming trainwreck. There is something to be said about the beauty of a chugging and puffing steamer against the stark night, even if it is a long cloud in the middle of the day. 7.2/10

May 2, 2017

Today’s sky has to be one of the best we have had this year. I can only show one photo, but I must have taken at least fifteen throughout the day. The light in this is just amazing. Each minuscule bit of cloud is given so much depth because of the shadowing. We have a smooth gradient running in the background, which pops out the clouds even more so. The large formation in the West covers has a cutout in the center, allowing all those crumbs to share the spotlight. I am impressed. 10/10

May 3, 2017

Excellent use of framing and negative space today. Sometimes the clouds can smother the blue, and then it becomes flat and boring. The blue has a lot of room to breathe today though, so kudos. The clouds and the background subtly direct the eye towards the center top of the image, where the sun’s brilliant rays shine down like heavenly candles. Something to note is that the picture appears to be taken from the perspective of someone lying down. I was standing up when I got this shot, but it is a neat effect regardless. 9.1/10

May 4, 2017

This is definitely on the more bizarre end of the astral spectrum. It certainly is intriguing though, I will give it that. The clouds give me the image of a massive fish skeleton. The long spines are numerous, and they condense near the bottom to form the backbone. Unfortunately the head and tail are out of frame, but I imagine that they too elicit an aura of large aquatic-ness. I wonder what killed this creature. Maybe it was an asteroid, like with our dinosaurs. Or maybe Orion did it, that fish slaying jerk. 8.6/10

May 5, 2017

The gray clouds are gray. They swirl around like cotton candy in a cotton candy machine. Poetry in motion, and yet a still frame. The lights are the darkest object in this photo. The clouds are not the lightest or the darkest things in this photo, they are gray. 7.4/10

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“Be Authentic”

Dana

Dana Falsetti ’11 during assembly.

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

Lots of college students have no clue what they want to do with their life. They wander aimlessly from class to class, stressed but not overly worried for their future. They commit to multiple majors before choosing a career. Dana Falsetti ’11, a plus-sized yoga teacher and Instagram blogger, was one of these students.

During her college years, Dana thought she wanted to be a lawyer. Little did she know, her calling was something else entirely. Now, instead of practicing law, she travels the world teaching inclusive yoga. Recently, she has been to Arkansas, Denver, Seattle, and Thailand. She is only twenty-three, yet she seems to have a world of knowledge.

“Growing up,” Dana said during a recent George School assembly presentation, “my life was defined by the numbers on the scale.” Dana struggled with her weight all throughout childhood. In her sophomore year of college, she lost over a hundred pounds. She expected to feel happier, prouder, and better. However, this was when she hit her lowest of lows. The expectation she had was shattered. She felt the same as before she lost the weight, just lighter.

It was the summer after her sophomore year when she started yoga, on a spur of the moment decision. A studio near her house was offering classes for the summer for a relatively low price and she just went to check it out. She expected it to be easy, but her expectations were again shattered. Not only did she struggle immensely in the class, but she blamed it on her weight. She hated the class, but she went back again anyway because she “had something to prove to myself.”

After taking yoga classes all summer, Dana started an Instagram account that now has over 280,000 followers.

Instagram now calls Dana a public figure, while Buzzfeed wrote an article called “19 Badass Instagrammers Who Prove Yoga Bodies Come in All Shapes And Sizes” that featured her. She has been on the cover of Om Yoga Magazine, she was nominated for a 2017 Shorty Awards for Excellence in Social Media (Health & Wellness), and she has a combined social media following of over half a million.

Her Instagram documents her life as a yoga teacher, body activist, and empowered woman with captions that read like journal entries. Each one promotes body positivity, confidence, and strength.

Social media has been a favorite of trolls and haters since its creation, but Dana does not worry about this. She ignores the comments against her by simply not caring about those opinions. She is happy with who she is and her goal is to help others be as happy as her.

So her best advice? “Be authentic.”

 

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Open Doors and Closed Minds: The Problems the Heteronormativity Task Force Addresses

2017-03-20-45

Eden enjoying a snow day during February 2017.

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

Imagine having a best friend opposite in gender to you. Your friend is a boarder but you are a day student. This friend has recently received traumatic news and just wants to lie in bed. You know they need and want to talk to you, but something is stopping you. And it has nothing to do with either you or your friend. Rather, it is George School’s visitation policy. You and your friend are not the same gender and, since the visitation policy is so limited, they cannot spend time in your room. Not even with the door open. What do you do?

That is the question that the Heteronormativity Task Force has been trying to answer.

Heteronormativity. Let us break this word into its two parts. Hetero means “other,” as in opposite gender couples, and “normativity” means what is expected. Together, in respect to sexuality, the word means the normalization of heterosexual relationships. The use of this word has become more prevalent with the rise of the LGBTQ+ movement.

George School, never behind in the area of social progress, began to recognize this term and its effect on the campus and community. Since then, a task force has been created in order to equally normalize all the different sexualities. Every Sunday, about ten people meet to discuss areas where they see heteronormativity on campus and how to change heteronormative policies. Led by Eden McEwen ‘17, the group works hard to brainstorm solutions to all sorts of heteronormative behavior and policies.

The task force was created last year as an initiative by Sam Balka ’16 through Student Council. To date, there are three Student Council Representatives on the task force, along with two returning members who are also on Student Council.

According to Eden, “The Heteronormativity Task Force was created by Student Council to address concerns from the community about the safety and integration of LGBTQ students in the dorms and in the classroom. Last year the task force took strides towards its goals to identify specific places in George School where there are heterosexist biases, to help create a clear LGBTQ policy regarding students in the dorms, and to raise overall conversation in residential and academic life about the preceding issues. The main goal of the task force is to develop a policy for queer students in the dorms that will make George School an overall safer place.”

Some issues the task force is addressing this year are dorm visitation policies and the inclusivity of the curriculum.

The current dorm visitation policy requires that doors must remain open to discourage sexual activity and limit the possibility of pregnancy and the breaking of a major school rule (no sex on campus). Upperclassmen and women are allowed to have members of the opposite gender in their rooms, but, even then, the visitation times are limited. This system conveys a lack of trust to the students and puts those who are friends with someone of the opposite gender in an awkward position.

As for the task force’s focus on curriculum, the English curriculum has little queer literature and the history department tiptoes around major events in the queer community. Additionally, the health curriculum seems to move too fast to properly address different sexualities, orientations, and genders. The Heteronormativity Task Force would like to come up with ways of addressing these issues and, even more importantly, creating a more inclusive and safe space for LGBTQ+ youth.

Next year, the task force will be open to more members of the community without an application process. Additionally, it has been working on outreach lately, collaborating with Open Doors to get a better feel for what changes the community wants to see.

If you have any questions or concerns about heteronormativity, the task force, or life at George School in general, feel free to approach any member  of the task force. Members include Eden, Brooke Angle ’18, Duffy ’18, Samaya Mayes ’18, Ben McCormick ’18, Ben McCormick ’18, Will Street ’18, Kat Stein ‘18,  Jacob Hoopes ’19, Kalani Chen-Hayes ’20, Sidney Gibson ’20, and me, Bea Feichtenbiner ’19.

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Sky Reviews April 24-28

April 24 2017

April 24

April 25 2017

April 25

April 26 2017

April 26

April 27 2017

April 27

April 28 2017

April 28

by Joey Cifelli ’19

April 24, 2017

Today’s color hex is 79818A for all you pigment geeks out there. We have sure been seeing a lot of it lately, hopefully that will change soon. I have done some reading up on sky omens, and apparently gray skies signify nervousness. That is understandable, with AP exams coming up. Maybe some bluer skies will come soon after. Let us be thankful that this is not a red sky though. If you are a sailor, you will know what I am talking about. Those things are just the worst, bringing in horrible winds and tides. No thank you. 6.2/10

April 25, 2017

Well, nothing has changed since yesterday, which leads me to believe that we may have angered some sort of weather deity. According to Xhosa mythology, Xu is the supreme god of creation, and the weather. In Norse, it is the god Freyr, and Zeus in Greek. If anyone has been performing some sort of mythical incantation or ancient spell, that is probably the cause of this bland weather. Please stop angering the gods, whoever is doing this. Let us hope tomorrow brings more pleasing skies. 5.2/10

April 26, 2017

Honestly this is just ridiculous at this point. The sky seems unwilling to change face, even after three days of incessant nagging. This is eerily close to being a Groundhog Day situation, where we experience the same day over and over again. I do not remember what Bill Murray does to free himself from the cycle, but anyone who does know is welcome to tell me. I do not think we can take much more of this. 4.2/10

April 27, 2017

Well well well…the gray sky plague is finally showing a few chinks in its armor. We still have majority control by the gray, but there is definitely some blue noticeable in the upper left and right corners. Could this be a signal for a much greater change in the future? Hopefully so. Of course, this could also just be a fake-out, and nothing will change. I prefer to think of these blue whispers as a scouting team, readying for the vanguard to arrive. Tune in tomorrow to see the final results! 5.2/10

April 28, 2017

At Last! 10/10

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Sky Reviews April 17-21

by Joey Cifelli ’19

April 17 2017

April 17

April 18 2017

April 18

Copy of April 19 2017

April 19

Copy of April 20 2017

April 20

Copy of April 21 2017

April 21

April 17, 2017

The clouds look airbrushed today, which may or may not be a fault of the camera. Some galactic graffiti artist may have decided to tag our blue marble today. Not a very creative tag to use, but hey, to each his own. It is possible that space people have different tastes than we do; this could be on the cutting edge of the bland cloud industry. Avant Garde street art aside, this sky poses a problem. If a rogue artist did this to our planet, I would hate to see what the street cleaners have in store. 7.7/10

April 18, 2017

Today’s sky is impressively empty. A vast wasteland silently hanging over our heads, saying nothing, because anything else would be too much. Not even a plane dared to cross this celestial desert. Despite its looming endlessness, the sky has a certain stark beauty to it. We are so used to the small shifts and changes that we see up high, that it is startling when all we can see is one tone. Startling in a good way though, like when a strange looking meal actually tastes delicious. “Oh, that’s quite good after all.” (tilt your screen up to see the night) 9.2/10

April 19, 2017

Lots of great skyscapes today. For the record, they were all better than the one shown here. I picked this because the cloud on the left kind of looks like Great Britain. The lower half does, at least. Scotland is looking pretty shriveled up right now. If you believe in sky-based omens, perhaps this would be a bad time to invest in Scottish interests. I did not realize it at the time, but the cloud to the right of Great Britain is a massive Ireland. Expect a huge increase in Ireland’s industry, or some very strange geologic activity around the British Isles. 6.4/10

April 20, 2017

Good use of negative space here. I am looking at the left side clouds, where the blue between the layers gives off the illusion that they are stacked on top of one another. The layers of cloud get smaller as they rise, too, so that they form a mountain. Alternatively, those cloud layers could be a shore to the gentle river flowing across Northeast. I have just noticed the speck of tree branch in the upper right corner. There were not any trees around me when I took this photo, so I have no idea where that could have come from. Maybe it is still there. 8.8/10

April 21, 2017

Bland, gray, and boring. Just another soupy mess. 5.5/10

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