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El doceavo día

D and A 2D and A1

This morning we started our day in the primary school with competitive games. I was happy because I was able to contribute to my grade’s win in the potato sack race. Then, all of our group, competed against student the Nicaragüita in a competitive game of tug of war.

We returned to Rafaela’s house for some delicious rice and meat. Not long after lunch, everyone was sprawled out on the floor, taking an afternoon nap. These afternoon naps have become quite a custom.

We were then picked up by the 10th grade class of the Nicaraguita and walked to school. We all sat in the back of our usual classes and took in the language. My grade was having a very interesting debate about feminism but I had some difficulty keeping up with all of the vocab. After recess we competed in another series of games, these were much more difficult to win compared to those of the lower school. We won one game of tug of war but lost every other game.

Afterwards, we went back inside for a party with the 11th grade of the Nicaraguita. They handed out plates with chicken and vegetables and quickly after eating we all danced. All of a sudden Alyssa and I were told to stand and wait in the middle of the room. To our surprise, a live chichero band came in blasting music as a celebration for our  birthdays. We had danced for somewhere around 3 hours switching partners along the way. We were very sad when the party ended and we had to return to our host families for the night.

Yours truly,

Danny and Alyssa 🙂

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Mississippi Day 7

Day 7 GS group dinner

by Julia Wilson ’18

Our day started early at 7:30 because we had to get Kailee and Brendan to the airport. We will miss them this upcoming week. Upon arrival at the airport though, we met Valerie’s brother and he kindly found us a hotel and drove us to our next location: Graceland. Graceland was Elvis Presley’s home and easily one of the strangest places I have ever been. It was a huge concrete complex, similar to an amusement park, but 80% empty. There was however a private bell choir who played songs like the Jurassic Park theme song. I think this made the experience a little weirder but also a little more entertaining. Elvis’s home itself was pretty big but not abnormally sized; the decorations are what made it stand out. There was one room that was all blue and yellow, and another that was floor to ceiling a very detailed pattern. There were also mirrors and carpeting everywhere… even on the ceilings. Later we were picked up by Valerie and Emma, our new week two chaperone, and taken to the Civil Rights Museum. There was a lady standing outside the museum, which had once been a motel and was where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, who had been protesting for over 30 years. Members of our group were curious to find out her arguments for this but Valerie had us go ahead with the tour anyway, as we were meeting Fred Davis, who had walked in protest with MLK and also sat on the stage with MLK on the day of his last speech, waiting to walk the tour with us. The museum itself was very nice and very interesting. It covered the civil rights movement and its history and had 22 different exhibits, each of which was interactive and highly informational and included artifacts and historical photos, letters, and more. After our group got through the museum a few of us still were inside so the rest of us relaxed on the lawn across the street. After the museum we went back to our hotel and were met by a great dinner cooked by Valerie’s brother and his neighbors. It was delicious! At night we went to the mall for about an hour and then came back to hang out before going to bed.

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El Onceavo Día

by Hadley Cohen ’19

Today was the first day of our second week of school. It is starting to hit me that we are leaving soon because the days keep flying by. This morning we had our normal breakfast at 7, of rice and beans, eggs and ham, and mangos. The juice of the day was my favorite, flor de Jamaica. After we had breakfast the first grade class showed up to walk us to class. Jordan and I spent the morning with our preschoolers, drawing, coloring, and playing with playdough. The greeting of hugs every morning has become a part of my daily routine, and I will miss it so much.

After spending the morning with the kids we went to our dance class. In the beginning dance class was really difficult because of the heat, but now we are becoming accustomed to it and it is becoming more fun. We learned the last part of the dance that we will perform on the last day. After dance class we went to lunch], which consisted of macaroni salad, plantain chips, rice, and steak.

Today instead of going to the high school, we went to the albergue of the hospital for children with cancer. At the albergue we played with the kids and painted. We painted the playground and the front of the hospital. This was really sad but happy at the same time. Even though the kids were sick, they were able to still have smiles on their faces and play with us. After the albergue we came back to the house for dinner. Dinner tonight was empanadas, rice, and tomatoes. When I got home after dinner I played with my 1 year old host brother and then passed out from the long day.

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What to Pack for Boarding School

340-Amber Salazar

by Amber Salazar ’19

I have been a boarding school student for 2 years now and it seems like each year I somehow manage to forget to pack something important. I’ve always wished that there was a list of things that I should and shouldn’t pack, but I can never seem to find one that is as handy as I would like it to be, so I am going to make a list of my own. Here are the essentials of packing for boarding school.

  • Pack lots of clothes! While you are packing it may seem like you are bringing way too much, but trust me, you’ll need it. Lately the weather has been unpredictable, so make sure to bring clothes for both warm and cold temperatures.
  • Pack different types of shoes. Sometimes you will need sneakers, if it’s cold out you may want to wear boots, or when it’s hot you might want to wear sandals. It is very convenient to have a variety.
  • Bring decorations! The majority of dorm rooms are very bland, so that you can customize it to your liking. Lots of people hang up lights, posters, pictures; really anything that makes it feel more like home.
  • Remember to bring school supplies. You are going to a boarding SCHOOL, after all. Pencils, pens, notebooks, binders, etc.
  • Toiletries! This is probably the most easily forgotten thing to pack. Since you will be living at school, you will need a toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, etc.
  • Bring food. You will be hungry sometimes! If you want a late-night snack or something small to eat in the middle of the day, it is nice to have something to eat in your room.

Overall, the boarding school experience is AMAZING. When you pack the necessary items, the experience just becomes even better.

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Mississippi

by Alyssa Fread ’18

This morning after a late start, we arrived at the work site to find an enormous pile of dry wall waiting for us to move into the house. Although mildly dangerous, we quickly turned the job into a race, or a more pc name: competitive walk with a winner, with people teaming up in pairs to pretty much run holding enormous rectangles of sheet rock. Even though we all had two people to work with, Lorenzo beat out the competition by a mile and shifted into fourth, out of apparently eighteen, gears and won just working by himself.

During our break Lorenzo led us around for a tour of Tutwiler, where we saw a bunch more homes, the community center, and the funeral home for Emmett Till. It was crazy to see the state of disrepair the funeral home was in, basically one step above falling down, with really only a sign to commemorate the site. If you go around back, you can see the hearse in the garage. One great thing we saw on the tour were the plans to create a really large park. Lorenzo said that within three to four years, the park would be completed with baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and pools, all of which I think would make a huge difference to the community. I would love to check back in four or so years from now and see the finished park and if it’s changed anything for the people of Tutwiler.

After yet another aggressive game of Egyptian Rat-screw, half of our group left to make a grocery run to the Dollar General and the other half stayed behind to play a four on four game of football. Although my team was stacked, with me, Kailee, Lorenzo, and Beau, the other team, Brendon, Jacob, Susie, and Max, somehow managed to beat us out for the win. By the end of the game we were all dead tired, but returned to the work site to finish all of the windows and fiberglass for the walls and ceilings. It was a great feeling. After finishing our work for the day, Sara, one of the nearby homeowners who also had a house built by Habitat for Humanity, offered to have us all tour her home. It was really cool to see what we were working on in relation to the finished product, also she decorated impeccably with a strong burgundy theme that added a very stylish vibe to the house.

We all cleaned up and went to the community center for a pot luck with a bunch of people from the town. The food was fantastic, and although I wouldn’t know because I’m a vegetarian, I was told the fried chicken was to die for. It was really great to meet the families who would be receiving the houses we were working on and made the effort we were putting in all the more meaningful. Overall this was a great day. The more time we spend here the more I don’t want to leave and I can only hope that when we have to move to Clarksdale for our second worksite, we have just as good of a time as we’ve had so far.

 

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Easing Anxiety at GS

251-Khy Zungu

by Khy Zungu ’18

Senior year is stressful for anyone, no matter what school. At George School, academics are extremely important, but so is mental health. As a senior boarder and a prefect, there are certainly many things on my plate, but academics is a priority. When preparing for exams, the campus changes. The air is filled with mystery, anxiety, and confidence. Students walk a little faster from class to class and everyone’s backpacks are slightly heavier. Exams at George School are no joke, however, George School students are known to “over-prepare”.

My freshman year, I was terrified for exams. It was my first year in high school and my first year ever taking so many exams at once. I had seven classes and the way the schedule worked out, I was going to have my hardest exams on the same days. My prefects knew that everyone in the dorm was stressed. They kept their doors open so that anyone could come in and talk if they wanted to. The weekend before exams would be dedicated to studying, having certain quiet hours during which students would be expected to be studying. My dorm parents and prefects came around every hour to check on me and make sure I was okay. I was asked if I needed help more times than I can count, and my dorm parent had an extravagant snack time consisting of monkey bread, chips, and pizza, during the study break.

As a senior, I can say how much effort George School puts into making me feel prepared for not only my exams, but also college, makes me feel extremely comfortable.

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Bonaire

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by Jedd Tam ’18

Today we went back to Washikemba to clean up more trash. It was different from the first time we went because the tropical storm altered the terrain. The dirt road we originally took was blocked. I could tell there was flooding from the storm because there was a large area of flooded dirt with a border of trash. Instead of the trash being concentrated in a dense pile on the beach like the first time, the trash was now spread out over a large area. The trash at Washikemba consists of plastic water bottles, Styrofoam, shoe soles, children’s toys, and more. A lot of the stuff that I find there was still usable at the time of disposal because they made it to the beach in okay condition. Other stuff, on the other hand, crumbled on contact. This is a testament to the long journey the trash has gone through. During that journey, the elements corroded the plastic. While our work was helpful in reducing the amount of trash in the environment, it is far from the solution. More trash will replace the trash we removed. What we need is to change our attitude with consuming resources and disposing trash. When we responsibly dispose of trash, nature can be beautiful again.

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Bonaire

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by Zoe Valdepenas-Mellor ’18

Today at Bachelor Beach we all hung out with the kids from Jong Bonaire as they swam for a couple of hours in the afternoon. At first, I was a little nervous that they would not interact with us and just interact amongst themselves. Nevertheless, after a couple of minutes one kid approached us and started to play Frisbee with us and it was so much fun because suddenly all of us were playing with the kid, and it was so nice to have all of us playing to together. After playing Frisbee died down a little bit, we were inspired to get on each other’s shoulders and do chicken fights with one another. One kid came over, interested in what we were doing, and then another one came over and then another and then all of a sudden we had a whole bunch of kids wanting to get on our shoulders to chicken fight each other and this lasted the rest of the time at the beach. This type of service, simply playing with the kids, made the service not feel like service because it was not manual labor, it was just enjoying the time with children from different places. I learned that even though we all come from different backgrounds and have a slight language barrier we are all able to have fun with one another.

Photo 1a

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Why I Said Yes to GS

2017-02-20-07

Bea, seen here in her Oxford University Sweatshirt, works with another student on the Curious George. 

By Bea Feichtenbiner ‘19

George School is so much more than I thought it would be. In seventh grade, I began thinking about colleges. I know that is early, but I have always been hyper focused on my future. During this time, I wanted to major in English and obsessed with England. I decided that I wanted to go to the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, and I would do anything necessary to get there. I learned of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from a family friend and I looked it up. Only two schools within an hour of my house offered the diploma. I knew this would help me get into my dream school, so I convinced my mom to let me look at them. The first school, Harriton High School in Lower Merion School District, was the closest to my house, but I would have to move to attend school there. George School was the second closest.

Neither my mom nor I felt any harm in applying, so I started the application. I went for a tour in October and I loved it. It just felt right. I finished my application and anxiously awaited a decision. The portal said decisions would be posted at midnight, so I planned to stay up. When the clock hit twelve, I logged in and sure enough, my decision was there. “Congratulations,” I read.

The next morning, I logged on again at 6:30 a.m. “Congratulations,” I read again. I ran upstairs to wake my mom up. She was excited, but we both knew what this meant: we had to decide whether or not I should go.

After I pondered it for a couple of weeks, I convinced myself that I needed to say yes to GS. I made a PowerPoint of pros and cons and presented it to my mom. We accepted the admission a week before it was due.

Then I had to tell my friends and my family. Some were shocked and some were not, but for the most part, everyone supported me. I got many comments about how I was “brave” or “crazy.” I didn’t understand this. Going to George School felt natural, I didn’t need to be brave or crazy. I felt like I belonged. That didn’t stop the butterflies in my stomach when I actually got ready to go though. For the first few hours, I was convinced I hated it. But then it got easier and I made new friends.

I am not going to lie, even now, three months away from my junior year, I sometimes feel like I made a terrible mistake. I miss my family and my friends, I miss my old life. But I don’t really regret it. I have my moments of doubt, but it has been a great opportunity and I am not going to waste it wondering about what might have been. George School is one of the best things to ever happen to me—it has a way of making you belong, no matter who you are.

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France March 10

by Paul

Today was a big day for us as we were going to explore one of the biggest landmarks of Paris and France — the Eiffel Tower. But before we did that, we had to get ready. I woke up feeling well rested for a change (don’t know if i can say the same for my friends), and we all went down for a really good hotel breakfast.

We then were off to the Louvre! It was just about the biggest museum that I had ever seen and if you wanted to see everything that the Louvre had to offer, it would supposedly take one three months day and night to fully explore this wondrous museum. For a few hours, we all walked around together exploring, of course, the Mona Lisa (because what else would you do at the Louvre besides possibly the thousands of other exhibits). We explored Italian paintings, French paintings, some very old and very valuable table settings, and jewelry. We then spent one more half hour to look at these two wonderful open courtyards with some very interesting and strange sculptures. It was an amazing experience, and our day was not even half over!

We set off for some lunch and all of us found this small sandwich shop which combined with a small cafe. We all had a really good lunch with paninis and pasta. We then took the metro (subway) to a Main Street in Paris which ended with L’Arch de triumph (The Arch of Triumph). This monument houses the burial site of a soldier who represents all the soldiers who died during WWI.

Finally we were off for The Eiffel Tower! We got off the metro and were greeted with a wonderful view of The Eiffel Tower and we took a group photo. We walked down towards the Tower and stopped by a merry-go-round which had two tiers. Of course we wanted to ride this, and we did, which was awesome.

Then we walked right up to The Eiffel Tower. It was stunning and was especially elegant when we walked right under it! I was so glad to have seen this as I had learned a lot about this Tower through an 8th grade project, and I finally got to see it in person.

We went back to our hotel for some much needed rest, and we then went back out to have a wonderful dinner of cheeseburgers (very French) and chicken burgers which were much different from American burgers and were amazing! We ended our day with a wonderful view from the top of the Tour Montparnasse, which ended our day with an amazing view of all of Paris and, of course, The Eiffel Tower!

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