In the January 10 Speaker Series, eight recent alums came to share their wisdom about college with our juniors and seniors. They spoke eloquently about how and why they chose their schools, and gave great advice about how to settle in and find friends, and how to organize your time. They answered many student and faculty questions about what worked for them at Tandem and what's working for them in college. We love this annual event as it brings back beloved alums to share their insights and advice about their college selection process and college life. They always provide authentic and heartfelt input. Many thanks to Zeke Weiss (TFS '18, Guilford College), Elie Bashkow (TFS '18, UVA after gap year), Eli Ratzlaff (TFS '16, UVA), Emma Johnson (TFS '19, Kenyon College), Tori Carter-Johnston (TFS '18, Howard University), Kate Dean McKinney (TFS '17, William & Mary), Latrell Winkey (TFS '18, VCU), and Fisher Brodie (TFS '18, Alfred University after gap year) for sharing their time today. This annual Speaker Series is always a favorite.
On January 16, Tandem observed one of several Mosaic Days built into our annual schedule, and each grade spent their time a little differently. Mosaic Days typically focus on alternative learning with the theme of Quaker values and service learning and this one was no different. It was a full day of learning for the whole community.
On this January Mosaic Day, Middle Schoolers together participated in the National Geographic Geography Bee, with 8th grader Charlie Kalnite coming out victorious and ready to represent Tandem at the next levels (first taking an online test to determine if he will advance to state-level competition). Later, Middle Schoolers worked on some unique academic collaborations. For example, 5th graders learned about molas, a traditional textile art made by the Kuna people of Panama. In a joint art-Spanish class taught in both English and Spanish, the students created their own molas out of colored paper. While traditional molas depict geometric designs, the students' artwork featured animals and colorful Kuna-inspired designs. 7th and 8th grade students performed some service work that included singing at a local rehab facility, writing cards to Children's Hospital, prepping for Conservation Lobby Day, and more. Middle Schoolers ended the day with films that shared a theme of racism.
9th graders watched a powerful film about World War I to further their studies on the topic, then enjoyed some mindfulness activities. Sophomores had the UVA Dreamers speakers come to talk with them, watched a film about Charlottesville's Vinegar Hill neighborhood, and spent the afternoon in an interactive budgeting activity. Juniors also heard from the UVA Dreamers, then began work on a Tandem history and archives project focused on our upcoming 50th anniversary. Seniors focused their day on the topic of immigration/ICE, including hearing the story of local Guatemalan asylum seeker Maria, whose church minister has spoken to students at Tandem before. Maria also taught students how to make rellenos de plátano and doblados, made from masa, vegetables and chicken.
Tandem's annual Upper School One Act Play extravaganza will be held January 24-26, featuring student actors in grades 8-12, with one play that features a faculty/staff cast of actors. There is something for everyone - the four plays presented will be:
Candid by Michael Scanlan; directed by Rosalind Werner-Winslow (TFS '21)
13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview by Ian McWethy; directed by Mary Lyman Bias (TFS '02); assistant directed by Abri Roberts-Kedes (TFS '20)
Variations on the Death of Trotsky by David Ives; directed by Lewis Summers (TFS '20)
Father Knows Best: A New Housekeeper (A Radio Play) by Ed James; directed by Perry Medlin (faculty play)
Tandem students are directing or assistant directing three of the plays and an alum is directing one of them as well. Perry Medlin serves as producer for all of the shows, with help from a student stage manager. Performances are Friday and Saturday, January 24 and 25 at 7pm and Sunday, January 26 at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
The second annual Tandem Speaks! event will take place on Friday, March 13 at Piedmont Virginia Community College. This year's featured speaker is John Hunter, a former Tandem parent, a celebrated educator, author and creator of the renowned World Peace Game, which teaches players the work of peace, compromise and collaboration. Here is a link to his popular TEDTalk describing the process. Tickets go on sale online January 31 and will be $35 per person in advance/$40 at the door. Benefactor tickets for $125 will include a pre-event cocktail party with drinks and appetizers. Sponsorship opportunities available. Contact Lauren Coyner for details.
The Middle School held its annual National Geographic Geography Bee on January 16. Each year, thousands of schools in America (the bee is for students in grades 4-8) participate to select a school winner who has the chance to go further and represent their school in the state - and maybe - the national bee. Tandem's competition was tough, but 8th grader Charlie Kalnite persevered to earn the title of champion. 8th grader Jon-Michael Benedict came in second, with 7th grader Maggie Winter in third place. History teacher Tom Spivey served as bee moderator.
Charlie moves forward in the bee competition by taking an online National Geographic test between now and February 7 to see if he qualifies to compete in the state tournament. Virginia's state bee will be held on March 27; the winner of the state bee moves on to the national championship.