Cuba Day 1

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by Maddie Keith ’19

If I was asked to choose today, word to describe today, I don’t think I could find one to encapsulate sll of the emotions, encounters, or adventures that we’ve had today.

Our day started at 2am, technically our second day of travel, as we met the before to travel to the airport. After a night filled with Apples to Apples and countless Vine references, us girls found it difficult to get up. Eventually, everybody met downstairs and we headed to check our bags, where we waited for what seemed like forever. All of us, delusional as we were, managed to make it through security with just enough time to walk right on to our plane. It was fairly empty, so obviously we all moved around to keep each other company. Ahmed, Aaron, and I played different card games, one of which Aaron taught us from China. Also, on this particular flight because it was so early, we got to watch the sun rise.

During our layover in Miami, we had some free time so we grabbed a quick breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then just chilled, recharged for our next flight. Within the last thirty minutes before we started to board, I noticed people starting to say their “final goodbyes,” meaning that this was the last time that we would be connected to wifi or even have service at all for the next two weeks. This seemed to be the hardest hurdle to overcome, but once we were up in the air, there was no turning back.

The flight from Miami to Holguin was short and sweet. Besides some minor turbulence, we landed in Cuba with ease. Getting off of the plane and breathing in the hot Cuban air for the first time was an experience I will never forget. With no social media to post on, I found it amusing we all still wanted to document the moment we first stepped foot in Cuba. Alice brought out her disposable camera while Miranda and I recorded videos of us just screaming and spinning around, taking in the foreign landscape.

Then, we had our first bit of an issue, which was pleasantly surprising given how far we had come. Courtney’s suitcase did not make it to Cuba with us. After doing all we could and filling out a lost baggage complaint, we all got on the bus and headed on our approximately 30 minute drive to the church where we are staying. While arriving, I couldn’t help but stare out the window the whole time. I have never seen or visited a place like this in my whole life, so I was completely taken aback by Cuba’s astonishing beauty and unique personalities that scatter the streets.

Arriving at the church, we were greeted by many friendly faces, one of which was Carlos, a tall, dark skinned man. with kind eyes and a warm smile. We were shown to the boys room first, then taken upstairs to where the girls would be staying. Set up much like a typical overnight camp style cabin, we all immediately fell in love.

After taking time to settle in, we had our first group meal at the church, which consisted of a spread of rice, beans, a turkey and veggie mix, fried plantains, mango, and guava. I honestly could not have been happier to sit down and have a quality meal after the seemingly endless day of travel that we had just endured.

Stomachs full, we all changed into cooler clothing, and split up into different “service” groups for the day. Aaron, Eric, and Ahmed went and filled up the water bottles for members for the community that get their filtered water from the church. While Ike and the girls met in the little annex of the church to begin to prepare our song for service. Needless to say, the song will be needing a lot more work. More updates to come.

An hour or so passed, and all of the sudden BOOM. thunder, lightning, pouring rain. The boys quickly returned and we hid out in the annex. We used that time to begin learning our dance piece for service as well. A young man named Leo helped us out, and with little, but some initial resistance, we began learning our way through a piece dedicated to fathers. that will also need work as well, but it is moving in the right direction.

We ended our first day in Cuba with a family dinner of pasta and cookies. Even more delicious than lunch. Stomachs full once again, and tired as ever, we decided to call it a night and meet for our daily worship sharing. Oh, I almost forgot to mention our new friend Jesus! He is a five year old boy whose mom lives in the church, and after dinner, Angie, Miranda, Alice, and I all played with him. It was amazing to see how even with a language barrier, kids are still silly, fun-loving , little balls of energy.

Bed time for everyone was super early tonight, as needed. Tomorrow is our first full day of working in Holguin and we are going to need to catch up on as much sleep as possible.

We all miss home a little. but cannot wait to see what adventures Cuba has in store for us

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Arizona Day 1

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by Charlie ’19

Over the past four days, we’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the kids in Kayenta. We’ve helped them in their classes, through lunch and recess, and getting on the busses to go home. Today we organized a field day for their last day of summer school. There were many relays, games, and a water station so that they could cool down and keep hydrated. They seemed to really enjoy playing with us and I loved cheering them on when the succeeded (especially when they were afraid to make mistakes. They are not only adorable, but their unabashed excitement and friendliness has warmed our hearts. There were some tears today when we had to leave (from both us and them), but a few of us made plans to be pen-pals in the upcoming year.

Fiona, Mitch, and I have been staying with Lena, who helped organize our trip and works at the school. She has been so caring and warm towards us, and her very young and incredibly cute granddaughter comes in almost every night to make sure that we are ok and that we know to take our shoes off. Although we haven’t spent much time there, we all got a chance to talk with her and she told us about her parents.

We also have visited and hiked in various parts of the reservation, including Canyon de Chelly and along the toes (rocks shaped like toes just outside of Kayenta). We visited Monument Valley and purchased traditional jewelry and ornaments. It’s been incredible to be so immersed in the Navajo culture and experience the kindness of everyone here. It’s saddening that we don’t get to spend more time here, but we are excited to continue with our journey to Page and Flagstaff.

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Rwanda Day 3

Rwanda3

by Liam Bernard ’19 

We had a very fun and productive day today. As usual we started with breakfast at the Friends Peace Garden, the last we would have there for the next two days, and then headed to Children’s Peace Library in Kigali for our last work day there. Being the last day there, we had to bring our book and computer donations with us. Among those were soccer balls for the children – something that would come in handy when they swarmed us later in the morning. At the library we did our final touch ups on the wall art and lettering on the outside walls, and then moved furniture and cleaned the floor inside again. As we were working outside for the most part today, we were greeted by many curious children as they watched us paint. We didn’t have much time to work once they came though as we were distracted playing soccer with them with the new balls we brought, and all of the piggy back and shoulder rides they begged for. Once we had finished eating lunch, we headed back to finish cleaning up and then jumped on the bus to Musanze. The ride was so beautiful. We enjoyed the picturesque landscape outside of Kigali, with views of lush hills and trees. We saw another side of Rwanda that seemed untouched, unlike the densely populated city of Kigali. Once we arrived and checked into the new hotel we had dinner together to finish off the day on a high note. I am looking forward to the golden monkey hike we have scheduled tomorrow, and the possibility that we may see gorillas while we are there.

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Rwanda Day 2

Rwanda1

by Polly Lodge

Muraho (hello) from Rwanda! We are having a terrific experience. We’ve spent three days painting a children’s library and soon we will push off to Musanze. Our donations of books and laptops were well received. The children at the school are super energized with our presence and we play hard during the daily breaks in the school day. Accommodations have been simple but sufficient. There’s lukewarm running water. Food has been varied, but lots of fruit and the local Shish kabob last night was delicious. Clean drinking water is always available. Tomorrow will be an early morning to see the rare Golden Monkeys followed by a visit to a cultural village for drumming, dancing, and local food. Kids are in good spirits, engaged in the work, and learning to work as a group. (Almost) everyone is healthy. Please don’t worry; we will reach out to a parent if someone is ill. So far we have only suffered minor diarrhea for one child.

See photos here.

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Rwanda Day 1

Rwanda

by Camille Drury ’19

At 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 9th, I woke up with my suitcase ready. All of us traveling to Rwanda met at Drayron Circle hoping to leave at 5:45a.m. The drive to JFK airport was long and sweaty and to no surprise the 12 hour flight to Doha, Qatar, was also long. From Doha we traveled 6 hours to Uganda, and then 30 minutes to Rwanda. This is my first time out of the United States and the journey to Rwanda was nothing if not tiring, but something on the plane rides forbid me to sleep.

I was excited and nervous to go to a place I had never been and more importantly, to meet new faces and cultures I would never experience back home. When we all arrived in Rwanda we were Flores by the beauty presented in front of us and the immense friendship that was extended to us by everyone. When taking the van to the Peace Garden were we are sleeping, I realized how peaceful the city is and even more, how silent  it can be in the hills were we are staying. Today completed our first work day of the trip, were we went to the Peace Center Library for Children to paint the walls and clean the new computer room. I enjoyed painting and found myself not thinking of it as work, especially when all the children came out of class to play. All of us on the trip were swarmed by children, running, laughing, high-fiving, and even saying “I love you!” We had never seen children so full of life such as they were, and they had never seen teenagers such as us. Deciding to partake in the service trip was daunting, as the history invites preconceived assumptions or opinions about both the country and the people. However, it takes an unfathomable amount of love, courage, and strength to look beyond hate, and that is exactly what this country has done.

See more from Rwanda on Instagram!

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Cuba 2018

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by | June 11, 2018 · 10:55 am

A Comprehensive Guide to GS Food

Michelle Tyson '18

by Michelle Tyson ’18

Let’s be honest: the two biggest priorities of any self-respecting teenager is sleep and food. I know that before coming to George School as a boarder, I spent many a restless night wondering about food at boarding school. Would I be a starved, grey-eyed young Oliver Twist holding up a ceramic bowl, begging for oatmeal gruel? (No.) However–I admit, I was the pickiest eater imaginable. But as I write this, I’m forking Greek-style lamb ragout with sweet potato mac-n-cheese into my mouth. Chock full of ground lamb, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, feta cheese: all things I abhorred before coming to George School. I can tell you with full confidence that you will leave George School liking twice as many foods as when you came in.

Some tips about the dining hall here: don’t enter with a backpack. Move quickly. Don’t drop plates, (you will garner a loud applause from everyone around you.) Dispense ice before you pour your drink. And most importantly: EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!

George School dining is multifaceted. Meals feature international flavors, and are varied day by day. I suggest eyeing our daily menus for a preview. In addition to meals, you will see on-order omelet stations, fruit smoothie stations, crepe bars, gourmet organic fusions of classic dishes, waffle makers, fresh-squeezed orange juice presses, sushi bars, the panini press, fruit bars, ice cream stations, pizza days, taco days, noodle bowl days, the ever-present dinner stir fry station, et cetera ad infinitum. And, just so you are in the know, every dorm is equipped with a kitchen. Communal cooking is a bonding experience not foreign to boarders.

For even more options, we have Bettye’s and the Bookstore on campus. Bettye’s sells typical cafe/bistro fare, from popcorn chicken and paninis to apple crisp and fresh banana bread. The bookstore, on the other hand, offers grab-and-go snacks and drinks. Throughout campus, there are vending machines available. Across the street from GS (3 minute walk) is a Giant, Rite-Aid, Pizza Hut, and Subway. Further off in Newtown, (15 minute walk) there are many more food options, including a Starbucks where I have spent many hours talking about life with my advisor, Terry Culleton. My recommendations are Osaka, Sandwich Club, Newton’s, and the iconic Zebra-Striped Whale for ice cream.

In short, George School food is not only good, it is ever-improving. Kitchen staff field recommendations from anyone. And if there is a dish you will miss while you’re away from home, tell the chef. I can’t promise it will taste exactly like how your mother made it. But I can promise that GS dining staff will hit the mark pretty darn close.

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Exam Week Stress–how to deal

103-Greg Levy

by Greg Levy ’18

Exam Week: two words that strike fear into the hearts of students all over the world. At George School, these words hold a similar domain, but fret not! While exams are very important and should definitely be taken seriously, they’re by no means “the worst”.

Organization is key to a lower stress exam week (let’s be real, stress will be there regardless). To keep yourself from being overwhelmed, you’ll need to use your time wisely, and make specific study goals along the way, i.e. doing half of your math review worksheet on Saturday and the other half on Sunday or reviewing a different Act of Hamlet each night. Spreading out your studying can also help make sure your brain doesn’t get overworked in a specific area; if you study all your math at once, you may become burnt out and not be up to continuing your studies.

It’s also really important to utilize Study Weekend to the fullest, as it’s the weekend leading into exam week and, as such, you’ll have no homework other than to study. Be strategic about how you approach your subjects, and make sure you’re sufficiently prepared for any review sessions your teachers may be holding. And definitely remember that you can study during the week as well! If your science class doesn’t have a review session and the exam is on Wednesday, you don’t need to cram all your studying into Study Weekend itself- that time would likely be better spent on a different topic.

During the week, there are also tons of different avenues you can pursue for relieving stress. There’s of course still time to relax with friends and cleanse yourself of the excess of stress that’s likely built up. My personal favorite part of the week- yes, I do have a favorite part of exam week that isn’t the end of it- is lunchtime when therapy dogs are brought in. Amanda Acutt, our school counselor, helps bring in 4-5 dogs per afternoon that are there for us to pet, rub, and scratch. And this happens during all three exam weeks for most of the individual days, so you get your full share of adorable dogs.

Exam week is a mountain to overcome, but it’s no Everest (maybe a K2 though).

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Art, Art, Art

349-Maisy Cadwallader

by Maisy Cadwallader ’20

I love the arts. Everything from sculpture to the theater to doodling on paper. Back in my hometown my school offered one art class every year where we would learn the basics. I would learn the same color wheels every year and to be honest it got a bit boring and I was ready to try something new. My main interest was painting and drawing and when I was about 11 years old my Dad renovated the computer room into an art room and I would sit at the art table for hours on end. At the end of the day I would go to bed covered in paint and glue, but still get up the next day and start again.

Coming from a school that didn’t have a wide variety and perspective on arts I was excited to see the list George School had to offer. I looked up and down the list for the painting and drawing box and immediately checked it off as my number one!

In class the first day when my teacher mentioned that the year would be about learning the basics of art and how to apply them, I fell into grump. I didn’t want to learn them again! As the year went by I noticed that we weren’t only being taught them but also how to use them, not just what they were. Painting and drawing quickly became my favorite class and I looked forward to it every day. The projects got more and more complex and interesting and creativity was welcomed. As a result of a great first year in the class I decided I would take it again.

This year has been even better. Since we have the skills needed to create a piece of thoughtful work we are doing more projects that let us decide the story it tells. We just started a new collage project that incorporates pictures and paint. To do this we are to use one figure, one scenery and, one object. With just this as the base for the project I am interested in seeing what I come up with! So far painting and drawing has never ceased to surprise me and teach me new things. I am happy to say I still love the arts!

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An Unexpected Opportunity

fernando

by Fernando Rojas ’18

I never knew much about the prospect of opportunities while living in the area of Bristol, Pennsylvania. Chances came by rarely, so you barely heard about anyone living in riches or having the opportunity to do something drastic with their life. It was expected that most kids would just go to my local public school, Harry S. Truman, and I was content with that idea. Well, up until 8th grade. When I first received news of my acceptance to George School, I distinctly remember sitting in my room eating a bag of Cheetos. It came as shock but I was neither nervous nor excited of the news. I simply did not know what to think, but besides of the fact that it was the commencement of a new chapter in my life. Eventually, the last day of middle school happened. It was one of the toughest days I ever faced because I was leaving friends I knew since age 5 and we did not know what our relationship would look like.

Now, it has been about 4 years since that day. Thankfully, I have kept in contact with a large majority of my friends back home. Currently, I am now a senior at George School and I have loved every single moment of it. There is nothing I would change for this experience. I have met tons of unique individuals who strive for nothing but success in their lives. Ultimately, I now have a total of three families. One of course being with my brothers, sister, and parents, and the other two being with the friends I love from both schools- Harry S. Truman and George School.

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