Monday, May 23, 2011

Congratulations CHORUS!

On Friday May 20, 2011 the Garrison Forest Middle School Chorus went to a competition at Hershey Park. (To read more about our trip, read Sophie’s blog from last week). Our group of 39 students had been preparing for months, and when the day arrived we were all very nervous. We left school at 8:00 am so that we could arrive in time to sing our songs at Hershey. 

The selections we sang that day included When I Close My Eyes, our warm-up song, and our two judged ieces, Round Rolling Moon and Dirait-on. Dirait-on was a very hard piece to learn because it is listed as a High School choir piece in the state of Maryland. We sang these selections in a church that was just a couple miles from Hershey, so after we had sung we left for the park. 

"Round Rolling Moon" ; Music in Our Parks Competition in Hershey, PA. 5.20.11

"Dairot-an"; Music in Our Parks Competition in Hershey, PA. 5.20.11
Our Choral Director, Mrs. Flynn, was telling us how great we did on the ride from the Church to Hershey. In the past she has be a choral judge and she told us that if she had been judge us she would have given us superior. At first we didn’t believe her. We thought she was just saying that because she was our director, but little did we know that she was telling the truth.
After we sang and realized we had done our best, we were excited to be able to enjoy hours of fun in Hershey Park. We split up into groups and got to walk around the park by ourselves. We got to do many fun things including rides, rollercoasters, and 4-D movies. We also got to stock up on Candy and Goodies when some of the chorus got to go on a trip to Hershey World.
After all of the fun was over it was time to head to the Hershey arena for the awards ceremony. When we heard that the women’s choir awards were going to be announced we became quite eager. After we didn’t win second place in the women’s division we thought we had no chance. Then they announced the 1st place women’s choir and the school that won was us! We were overjoyed and very excited. 

We were glad we had won after all. We thought we were very lucky to win that award but the really prize came when the Garrison Forest Middle School Choir won best overall chorus including women, men’s, mixed, and treble choirs. 

On the bus ride back we were all very proud but the person who we owe it all to is our director, Mrs. Flynn. We would’ve never come this far with this much confidence without her. At the end of the day we were proud to be representing Garrison Forest School and hope we can do this well in years to come!
-- Text by Emily Oleisky (Class of 2016); Videos and photos courtesy of Mrs. Mary Stewart and Mrs. Rachel Herlein

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Arts Gala Videos

We hope everyone enjoyed the Spring Arts Gala last night! Here are the videos screened during the Digital Thinking and Art section:

Seventh Grade students in Digital Thinking II learned Photoshop CS5 during Quarter 3. Each team had to choose a theme, research photographs from the 1980s and earlier, and then create a project that fluidly combined all of the photos. Most of the images you will now see are made up of between 6 and 25 images.

Inspired by the Walter Wick exhibit at the Walter Museum in Baltimore, MD, the Sixth Graders created Stop Action videos. The sets were created in Art class. In Digital Thinking I, the girls wrote the screenplays, photographed, composed music, and edited it all together in Final Cut Express. The videos contained over 300 images and more than 40 audio clips.

"The Tale of the Two Twincesses" -- Long, long ago in a land of Kings and Queens, two princesses were born. As Castle rule stated, there could only be one princess, so one child was taken away. Will the princess ever be reunited? (by Ali B., Maggie B., and Kayla B., class of 2017)

"It's Not All About the Looks" -- A group of friends receive a visit from a strange stranger who attempts to teach them an important lesson. (by Channing C. and Colby Y., Class of 2017)

Behind the Scenes - The Making of Stop Action Videos

Mrs. Stewart assisting Hannah D. with Fire
This whole project started in December of 2010, when the Sixth Grade took a trip to the Walters Art Museum. We saw a whole exhibit on Walter Wick, and saw his amazing scenes built for his books’ photographs. We were thunder-struck by how awesome they were! When we returned to school after winter break, we started building and designing scenes in Art. Our group was assigned Medieval Exterior, so we built a castle and a winter scene. It took a long time, and a lot of paint, but we finished by Spring Break.

Once we finished making our sets, it was time to start writing our stories, we used a few Digital Thinking classes to brainstorm and write our story’s plot. Then, we wrote a script for our story. Once we had our plot planned out, we needed to bring in toy characters to be in our videos. Then, we started shooting. This was a very long process, because for every second we had to take about 7 photographs. It was important that we kept the camera in the same position to avoid a choppy video.  At first it seemed impossible to shoot a stop action movie, but everyone worked so hard, and did it really well. 

Editing in Final Cut Express

Once we had all of our pictures, it took a long time to get them all organized in the S:Drive. There were so many pictures, and many weren’t organized. After hard work to get them all in the right places, we could finally start to import them in to Final Cut Express on the iMac computers. We grouped them together by scene, and then we added voiceovers. We decided which characters each of us would act as, and then we began recording. Since we were all working in the same room together, to ensure that no background noises were in our recordings, we called, “Quiet on the Set!” It took a while to record, but it was really fun. 

Adding Voice-Overs and Sound Effects

Fun facts about the Stop Action Movies, Sets, and the Process!

  • Our scenes are made mostly out of trash.
  • It takes around 7 photographs to make 1 second of film
  • When finished editing you can have as much as 5 tracks playing at once.
  • It took ½ a school year to create 3 minutes of film.
  • The most popular set-building materials are legos, cardboard boxes, tubes and fake grass.

-- Text by Ali B. and Maggie B. (Class of 2017); Photos & Videos by Diana Gross

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Performing for the Newly Accepted Students, 5/10/11
Isabella Z. and Kara F. at Rehearsal

 Since I have been in Middle School, the chorus has always done some amazing performances.  Whether it was rocking out to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, or singing a song from Camp Rock, the chorus always seems to impress. This year I decided to join because I wanted to be a part of the group.
Jenny Y. and Sakinah R. at Rehearsal
This year so far, we have sung songs such as ‘Round Rolling Moon’, ‘When I Close my Eyes’, and ‘Waka Waka’. We have performed in places such as Morning Meeting, the Arts Galas, the Upper School Winter Recital, and many more. Chorus has been a great learning experience for me.  It has taught me much more about singing than I had known. Although we practice for only twenty minutes a week, we are able to get a lot accomplished.
This year, Mrs. Flynn has organized for us to be in a competition at Hershey Park!  We will be performing against schools from all over Maryland this Friday, 20th. Even though I hope we win, I know that our chorus will be respectful and polite to whomever the winner may be. Still, I hope we come back with a trophy! Wish us luck!

-- Text and Photos by Sophie Polovoy (Class of 2016)


As most people in the Middle School at Garrison Forest School knows, we have clubs. One of the clubs is cheerleading! A new club made by students, two students to be exact Emma A. and Jamie G., they have worked so hard to make this club and now it is finally here. The cheerleading club includes girls from each grade:
 8th grade: Miana M, Lexi H, Ashley B, Amanda C, Ali G
7th grade: Emma A (captain), Jamie G (co-captain), Erica D, Nylah A, Ayanna D, Ashlei C, Princess G.
6th grade: Eryn F, Colby y, Augusta W, Jaida M, and Lindsey L.
Even though it is the end of the school year the cheer leading club has done so much: play days, morning meetings and the talent show! 

The talent show was probably the best in my opinion even though only Emma A, Jamie G, Erica D, Princess G, and Eryn F participated in it. We are happy with the people we had and we had 1 person who was not in the club: Bella Z. Even though she was not in the club we had room for one more. The talent show was a week away, so we made one cheer and one dance all in just five days! We met several times during lunch, study halls, help sessions, advisory or at someone’s house! The song we chose to do the dance on is “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga, and I think the dance actually goes with the song. We luckily finished the dance and cheer in time for the talent show. Even though we didn’t win the Talent Show, we won in our hearts because we had fun and making the dance and performing. I hope you will have fun and take some time to watch our dance/cheer in the video below.
Text and Photos by Erica Downing (Class of 2016); Video by Hallie Angelo (Class of 2016)

Friday, May 13, 2011

SNEAK PEEK! Decorating for Tonight's Courtyard Dance!

 The Seventh Grade has been assigned to decorate for the Eighth Grade Courtyard dance tonight: Friday May, 13th. The theme colors for this dance are pink and gold. Parents brought decorations such as balloons, streamers, and festive string for us to put up. There are also gold lights to hang up and put around things. The parents also brought food for the dance. We are wrapping the streamers around the poles. Also some students have created a couple balloon arches that look very well made. 
The Eighth Graders got dismissed around two o'clock to get ready for their dance. Many of the Eighth Graders are getting their hair, nails, and make up done while we set up the dance. We hope they love the decorations!    
-- Text and Photos by Isabel D. and Katie P. (Class of 2016)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Baby Chick is Born!

On Friday, Mrs. Meyers received four new eggs from Mr. Clark at Carriage House Farms. When I came in on Monday morning, I found a surprise. One of the chicks had already hatched! We put it into the new brooder we received where it began chirping and hopping around excitedly. We have not yet named it, nor do we know whether it is a girl or a boy. Check out the video to see the new baby chick, and check back for more updates on the other baby chicks that are sure to hatch soon!

- text and video by Kara F. (Class of 2016)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Riding to Success! The Interscholastic Equestrian Association Nationals

On April 28th our IEA riding team went down to Prince George Equestrian Center for Interscholastic Equestrian Association Nationals Competition. We were the two riders who made it to Nationals from the Middle School. The Upper School qualified as a team and some of the riders qualified individually. Everyone was very excited!

Jackie: This was my first time going and qualifying for Nationals. I was very excited to show against people from near and far. I was a little nervous going into the ring for my course, but my nerves eventually went away. The course had a lot of tight turns and bending lines. It was challenging and fun!  I ended up getting fourth place out of 19 riders. Nationals was a very fun experience and I can’t wait to do it again.

Gabi: I got very lucky at my first Nationals: I drew a Garrison Forest horse. I was in group A: it had ten girls in it, and group B had nine. They announced the eight out of nineteen finalists. I was the second number to be called for callbacks. About an hour and a half later they had my callbacks. There were eight girls total in my class. Finally came the award ceremony. They started from eight and went up to first. Finally, there were four girls left. Then the announcer said, “In fourth place number 236, Miss. Gabi S.” I went up and took a picture with the head of IEA. I was very proud of myself. To read more about the Garrison's team performance, visit the Garrison Forest School website.
-- Text by Gabi S. and Jackie W. (Class of 2016); photos by M. Sorrentino

Garrison's Middle School's GOT TALENT!

 Seventh Graders Singing "Mr. Postman" 
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!  This video can only be displayed on this URL.)

Near the end of every year, the Middle School hosts a Talent Show for the students and faculty. Every year there is such a wide variety of acts, but this year there were so many cool and unique acts!
Student Leaders as Harry Potter characters.
There were singing performances, dancing performances, cheerleading, robotics, acting, and more! This year’s talent show had some of the best acts by far! Cammie’s favorite thing about the Talent Show is “All the students and faculty come together to cheer on everybody and everybody is so supportive.” Ashlei’s favorite thing about the Talent Show is “Everyone gets to show their talent that some people may not have known about.” Evie’s favorite thing about the Talent Show is “All the cool acts! No act is exactly the same.”

Will Sarah Share?!
 Also, before the Talent Show we have some sort of fundraiser to raise money for an organization.  This year, the Sixth Grade held a raffle for a Movie Night Basket and a five pound chocolate bar. This year Sarah S. won the chocolate bar and Eryn F. won the Movie Night Basket. On top of that, the Sixth Graders sold bags of candy for one dollar. All the money went towards an organization called The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids. OrchKids supplies schools in Baltimore, Maryland with instruments, and also teaches the children how to play music. We thought that it was great how we benefited an organization that teaches children the importance of the Arts when we are doing the same thing in a way. After the Talent Show we had raised $200.00 for OrchKids!
We can’t wait for next year’s Talent Show!
Text by Cammie G. and Evie G. (Class of 2016); Video by Hallie A.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welcome to Our World, Baby Chick!

On April 10th, 2011 Mrs. Meyers received an egg from Carriage House Farms in Stevenson, MD.  Today, May 5th, 2011, the egg hatched, revealing a beautiful baby chick. We were all very excited.  It started hatching at around twelve pm, during a seventh grade science class. No one could focus and we didn’t get very much work done because we were waiting for it to hatch. Two hours later, at one pm, the chick finally finished hatching. Everyone was crowded around the table, wanting to catch a glimpse. Kara F., Erica D., and I caught the entire hatching on a Flip camera and my iPhone 4. Take a look! 

-- text and photo by Lauren T.; video footage by Lauren T., Kara F., and Erica D. (Class of 2016)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So You Think Your Robot Can DANCE?

On April 16th, 2011 I attended the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Robotics Challenge. The challenge is open to middle school and high school students.  This year’s competition consisted of 5 categories--Petite Slalom, Mystery Course, Search and Destroy, Innovative Use, and Robot Dance. Each category was very different yet equally challenging.  

I competed in the Search and Destroy and the Robot Dance challenges. My robot detected four tumors in 47 seconds, which resulted in second place. For Robot Dance, I choreographed two robots to dance to the Cha Cha Slide.  The robots danced well and the audience was very impressed.  I was awarded with grand prize in this category. Visit the website for the complete list of 2011 winners.
The day was challenging, rewarding, and fun at the same time. The JHU Robotics Challenge expanded my experience in the field of robotics. I learned a new programming language and improved my engineering strategies. I also found ways to apply mathematics to solve problems I encountered. At the end of the day, I was able to take a tour of the Johns Hopkins campus and the Engineering Research Center.  At the JHU mock operating room, I had the opportunity to control the DaVinci surgical robot. I learned that grad students are integrating webcams with the DaVinci surgical system. They are also trying to integrate Xbox 360’s Kinect with the DaVinci system.  This will expand the system’s gesture base to include the hands and arms. I also operated a robot that was used for spinal surgery. This system incorporated software for haptic sensation. I enjoyed this competition a lot and highly recommend it to those who want to expand their knowledge in the math and science discipline.

-- Text and Photos by Jackie M. (Class of 2016) ; Video via