50th Anniversary

50 Fridays

During our 50th Anniversary, we have been sharing photos of the people, places and activities that make Tandem so special.  Check out the 50 Fridays posts on Facebook and Instagram each Friday or see the stories below.


2021

  • Yearlong 50th Celebration

    This 50th Friday, we're celebrating the end of our 50th year! Despite the challenges of COVID, Tandem continued to thrive, adapting teaching and learning methods as needed and figuring out new ways to reconfigure Tandem traditions. We celebrated our 50th all year, with many unique and interesting online events, including an entire October weekend of reconnecting with alums, past faculty, and even the Tandem ghosts. If you missed any of them, you can check out the video recordings on our 50th Anniversary website page - https://www.tandemfs.org/50th-anniversary And please save the date of October 9, 2021 for one final 50th celebration on campus. We can't wait to gather our community on campus once more.
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  • Spring Traditions Remain Despite COVID

    This 50th Friday, we're happy to report that not even COVID can eliminate some Tandem spring traditions - we have just learned to adapt. This week, our Upper Schoolers managed to hold a lovely outside Spring Fling event, carefully planned and executed by the Student Senate. Our seniors pulled off a Senior Skip Day and a Senior Prank Day, complete with some fun tricks that involved lots of yellow string everywhere and a giant slip and slide on the front lawn. You can't stop the spring energy and traditions at Tandem Friends! Got a great spring memory from your time at Tandem? 
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  • More Fun Archive Photos

    As we get ready to graduate another class of amazing students, and as we enjoy another beautiful spring on our lovely campus, it's a great time for another blast from the past with photos shared by former teacher Letty Macdonald (era 1979-1987). Here are some more that showcase fun times at Tandem. Please share a story if you were there!
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  • New Building Project on Campus

    Tandem moved to its lovely current location back in 1972 after two years in a small house near Pantops. There were plenty of minor modifications required to convert the former house and grounds into a school. A decade later, a Middle School was added and the white Middle School Building was constructed. In 1995, an ambitious physical plant expansion was undertaken that included the Community Hall, the Gym/Field House, and the Math Science building. Since then, things have stayed pretty much the same, aside from some additional acreage donated to bring our campus area up to 30 acres. We’re delighted to be well on the way to completing a covered pavilion space - our first new building project on campus in twenty years! The pavilion will be located directly behind the Community Hall building, accessible to the quad. It will include 1700 square feet of open dining/assembly area in addition to bathrooms and a small storage area. As shown in the architect’s depiction, it will be open on three sides with large garage-style doors to allow flow between the cafe and the quad and to maintain access to the outdoors and the feeling of community. (If you’ve eaten lunch on the Tandem campus, you might recall crowding around a few outdoor tables, or having to make a run for it to a building lobby or the Senior Lounge on a rainy day.) We've had lots of big earth-moving equipment on campus, and the foundation should be poured soon. When the pavilion is not used for lunch, it will provide a much-needed large gathering space for a division, grade, or class, and serve as a staging space for events like the community picnic and Mother’s Day Music Festival. This year we have learned the importance of having large and open spaces; with physical distancing still an important COVID mitigation, we expect the pavilion to be used as a large classroom as well. Keep up with pavilion construction progress--link in our bio.  Anyone have campus construction stories or photos to share? 
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  • Appreciating our Teachers

    Over the past 50 years, Tandem has had some truly amazing teachers. Looking back at familiar faces, it is easy to see the profound impact each of them had on our lives and on our school. Today, you have the opportunity to show a special teacher how much you appreciate the role they played in your life. Send them a special note and make a gift to the Tandem Friends Fund in their honor. 
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  • Tandem Grows Writers

    This 50th Friday, we're honoring Tandem writers and the many ways Tandem helps students find their voices. From 5th grade mastery projects and Sophomore Seminars to creative writing assignments and our culminating Senior Projects, Tandem graduates learn how to turn a phrase to make themselves heard - eloquently, honestly, and powerfully. Last weekend, as part of our 50th celebration, we hosted the online Life of a Writer event, a panel discussion featuring professional alum authors Nathalie Heyward, TFS ‘76 (pen name Nin Andrews); Rebecca Morgan Frank, TFS ‘87; Meredith Cole, TFS ‘88; and current parent author Marc Boston. Moderated by Peter Gaines, Tandem's Upper School Director and a poet himself, the event provided some great insight into writing, inspirations, challenges, and so much more. If you missed the online event, use this link to watch a recording of it: https://vimeo.com/542790196. It's a great reminder of why it's so important to teach young people to find and use their voices. #50Friday #Tandem50
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  • Tandem Teaches Stewardship of the Earth

    Happy day after Earth Day, which makes us reflect on Tandem and stewardship this 50th Friday. From its very beginning, Tandem has fostered a close relationship with nature for students through Blue Ridge Day, environmental programs, wilderness trips and outdoor education, robust recycling and composting, campus cleanup, and service projects related to stewardship of the earth. Students are encouraged to use their voices to lobby for environmental causes. Our beautiful campus inspires our community to be good stewards with each sweep of the broom or weed pulled - did your time at Tandem foster a love for the earth?
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  • Tandem Runners Going Places

    Organized sports at Tandem Friends started small in the 1970s but our athletic program has grown into a thriving, competitive one. This 50th Friday, we are focusing on running. Our cross country and track teams were the latest to develop, not so old yet but growing in both reputation and size. What started as smaller cross country teams at the Middle and Upper School levels grew to include indoor and outdoor track teams, giving us a thriving three-season co-ed running program that takes up a lot of field space warming up. This year, senior Mason Love became a  Division 1 college athlete - signing with George Mason University's  running program. Mason was an All-State runner, ran a second in the state in the 1600m and 3200m races and was Conference Runner of the Year for two seasons. Teammate Sophie Farr will be running cross country and track for Vassar College in the fall, and there are other alums who have gone on to run at the college level as well. Our teams have consistently placed well at both the state and conference level - including a 2019 state championship in the boys 4x800. And current XC coach Jason Farr was Conference Coach of the Year in 2018. Tandem runners are going places - inside or outside, in any kind of weather, and across any terrain!
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  • Tandem Photo Archives Part 4 - 1979-1987

    It's been Spring Break this week (another great school tradition!), a perfect time for another blast from the past with photos shared by former teacher Letty Macdonald (era 1979-1987). Here are some that showcase her math classes and so much more, including a 1986 faculty pic. We will continue to share Letty's photo treats along the way - and please share a story if you were there!
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  • Senior Projects - Major Rite of Passage at Tandem

    A major project has been required of every graduating senior at Tandem Friends since the school’s inception in 1970. This 50th Friday, we look back at Senior Projects and celebrate the Class of 2021's recent completion of this rite of passage. For many years, Senior Projects were basic research papers only. Faculty members decades ago recognized that many students learn best with their hands, voice, vision, spirit, or coordination - and the project as we know it today was born. The major components - a detailed journal, regular meetings with technical and faculty advisors, an oral presentation of results to the community, detailed written research/synopsis of the project - remain. Projects topics vary wildly - learning a foreign language, playing a musical instrument, building a canoe, earning a pilot's license, diver or EMT certification, training to run a marathon, learning to weld - with mastery of a passion the ultimate goal. Check out some projects over the years, then take a look at what this year's Class of 2021 mastered - https://bit.ly/3cAVV1R! They amazed us with their results. What was your Senior Project topic? Do you still use what you learned?
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  • Tandem Photo Archives Part 3 - 1979-1987

    It's time for another warm, spring blast from the past with more photos shared by former teacher Letty Macdonald (era 1979-1987). Here are some that showcase classes, 80's fashion, and Tandem fun. We will be sharing more of Letty's photo treats along the way - and please share a story if you were there!
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  • Let Your Life Speak Panel Discussion

    This 50th Friday, we're thinking about our amazing alumni and the many ways they 'let their lives speak.' Back in October, as part of our 50th celebration, we hosted the online event Let Your Life Speak: A panel discussion with alums Alison Hormel Webb '74, Eleanor Bedford '86, Mark Slezak '96, Hannah Firdyiwek '08, and Ti Ames '13 about activism in action and lived values moderated by Tandem's former Director of Spiritual Life and past parent, Janet Hatfield Legro. If you missed it, use this link to watch it: https://bit.ly/30WJI0Y. It's powerful, inspirational, and will make you proud of the people our alums become. If you didn't have a chance to watch it back in October, put it on your list.
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  • Spring on Campus

    Spring is definitely arriving on campus at Tandem, as evidenced by the abundance of crocuses, nearly flowering daffodils, lacrosse equipment, singing and swooping bluebirds, buds on trees on the mountain and along our nature trail, greening grass, and general lightness of spirits. Remember spring at Tandem? We're all overjoyed to soak in much-needed vitamin D at lunch, and during breaks, outdoor meetings and classes. Yesterday, we were even serenaded during lunch with a lovely musical duet. Soon there will be azaleas, lilacs, redbuds and dogwood. The Tandem campus vibe seems to return with the appearance of spring. This 50th Friday, here are some spring campus photos - nature, not people - to take you back to Tandem's natural beauty. Got one to share?
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  • Tandem Photo Archives Part 2 - 1979-1987

    This 50th Friday we are sharing more great new photo finds given to us by Letty Macdonald, who taught at Tandem from 1979 to 1987. Last week's post created some fun alumni chatter, so here are more that showcase classes, sports, some early Middle Schoolers, cooking, 80's dresses, and more outdoor fun. Check out some of Letty's photo gems - we will be sharing more of them again later - and please give us some back story if you were there!
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  • Tandem Photo Archives - 1979-1987

    This 50th Friday we are showcasing some great new photo finds, shared with us by beloved former math teacher Letty McDonald, who taught at Tandem from 1979 to 1987. We're grateful she took the time to scan and share these photos she took of her own classes and other Tandem activities during those years. Her pictures taught us things we never knew, including: Tandem used to play softball...Spring Day was held at Chris Greene Lake more than once...there used to be some sort of formal outdoors...and so much more. Thanks, Letty, who kindly shared that she is "grateful to all the students and colleagues who made encounters and friendships so meaningful and memorable to me in my life then and now - so many happy recollections of students, parents, faculty, and Beverly Johnson in the main office!" Check out some of Letty's photo gems - you can bet we will be sharing more of them in the weeks to come - and tell us a story if you were at Tandem during those years.
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  • Tandem Lucky to have Co-Founder Here in Town

    This 50th Friday, we're feeling thankful that Tandem co-founder John Howard and his wife Elizabeth, and Cynthia Alling, wife of late co-founder Duncan Alling, live in Charlottesville and remain active and supportive Tandem community members. What a gift to hear from them regularly that Tandem remains the school they set out to create, to have John come out and speak to our students about their vision for Tandem, as he has did most recently last year, or check in periodically with current Tandem leadership. This year, as part of our 50th celebration, John and current Head of School Whitney Thompson filmed a conversation they had, moderated by current Upper School Director Peter Gaines, called Tandem Past, Present and Future - use this link to watch it: https://bit.ly/3pCg4HT. It's a fascinating, funny, and sweet reflection on this school we love, and if you didn't have a chance to watch it back in October, put it in your video queue to enjoy.
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  • Tandem Celebrates Valentine's Day Uniquely

    There's nothing like Valentine's Day at Tandem Friends! This 50th Friday looks back at some of the creative and wacky ways our seniors have served as Cupids to deliver ordered valentines, candy, flowers, dances and even musical serenades to community members. We have no idea when the tradition started, but for many years, seniors have organized the ordering of Valentine's Day items, then dressed up and delivered them throughout the school day to unsuspecting recipients, starting with a very public delivery or two during Morning Meeting. It's always fun and full of surprises. Got a favorite Valentine's Day memory of delivering or receiving a valentine?
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  • The Midsummer Show Must Go On

    This 50th Friday, we're celebrating the fact that the show must go on as we look back with great fondness on the many years of 5th grade/Middle School productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream. They have been set in many locations and time periods (the '50s, ancient Greece, under the sea, at the North Pole, in outer space, and so many more). We're not exactly sure how many there have been (we have photos going back to 1999 - check out a slideshow of cast photos here), but do know that Lydia Horan just directed this year's 5th grade in her 20th straight year of MSND. Not to be foiled by COVID, the 5th graders created digital versions of scenes from the play, choosing the settings, themes and characters they wanted to play in the various scenes, rehearsing in class and recording themselves at home using their Chromebook cameras. Then, fairies worked to use video technology to edit footage into nine different episodes. Here's one scene to enjoy - Titania and Oberon (in the Land of Puppies)! Got a favorite Midsummer memory to share? Who did you play? Where was yours set?
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  • Snow Always Popular on Campus

    With the possibility of snow this weekend, and so many in our community voicing a desire for just one good snowfall this year, this 50th Fridays post showcases snow at Tandem. While Tom O'Connor upheld a strict ban on throwing snowballs (ever get caught by Tom?), there were lots of fun ways for students to interact with snow on campus. While students eagerly anticipate snow days at home, they have also always loved our beautiful campus when it is magically blanketed in snow (remember that instant joy when you came out after a class and it was snowing?). From creative snowman creation to sledding on the hills along the field, student (and adult) joy in snow is always real. Got a favorite snow on campus memory?
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  • Tandem Students Learn History Hands-On

    This 50th Friday seems like a good time to reflect on Tandem's commitment to learning history in the moment and through student hands-on involvement. Tandem has always encouraged interest in politics and debate through real and mock elections, stressing the importance of participating in the democratic process, stopping to observe and learn from big moments at home and in the world (our schedule is never too set in stone that we can't pause to reflect and learn), and letting students explore history hands-on by taking them to places of historic importance like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C to honor the roots of democracy. Got a favorite history learning memory?
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  • Tandem and Animals

    This week for 50th Fridays, let's talk about Tandem and animals. Let's face it, we have a long history of loving animals and sharing our campus space with them. From classroom pets, bluebird houses and animal service projects, to local woods denizens who sometimes find a way in, to Senior Projects with animals, to horses and household pets, to neighboring farm animals who escape to campus, to Tandem chickens, to our love/hate relationship with the geese on the fields, and, most recently, baby goats (who have become regular visitors), animals feel welcome here. Check out some animal pics from over the years, and share a favorite animal on campus story. Then share your response to this question recently asked of students (the rather obvious results shared in a word art graphic): If Tandem were an animal, what animal would we be?
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  • Annual Alumni College Panel Always Enjoyable

    This 50th Friday, we are grateful to our alumni for sharing their stories and gifts with Tandem students over the years. Today we held our College Panel, an annual event for almost 20 years that brings current alumni college students in to share wisdom and answer questions about their college experience with our Upper Schoolers (this year it was held online). Many alums participate in our Speaker Series events, sharing their job expertise, community service dedication, or personal narratives with our students and faculty. Others have spoken to specific classes, helped with Emphasis Week, and so much more. Check out some photos of Tandem alums sharing with our students - and if you're an alum who would like to give back to current students that way, email us at alumninews@tandemfs.org. 
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