Middle School Experience Days were held September 21-23 this fall and included local activities (no overnights) for all Middle School grades. Experience Days are valued for the learning that comes from experiences that students have together beyond the classroom. Our goals during these three days are to learn a few things, enjoy time together, have fun, and remain safe and healthy. 5th and 6th graders attended a show at the Wayne Theatre, enjoyed time at Sherando Lake, performed local service work and visited Luray Caverns. 7th and 8th graders performed local service work, saw the movie Hidden Figures downtown, walk the Saunders Trail Monticello and toured Monticello, hiked through the Blue Ridge Tunnel, and went to Ridgeview Park. It was a full three days for all of them. Check out some photos here; use this link to view more photos.
Upper School students enjoyed their Experience Week earlier this month. Our seniors started (and most completed!) the Common Application accepted by most colleges and began working on Senior Project proposals. They attended workshops on communication and physical and mental well-being. For fun, they visited Grand Caverns and took on the Cville Escape Rooms.
Juniors spent three days and two nights at a 4H camp in Jamestown. They visited historic Jamestown, explored the local coastline, took on a low ropes course, enjoyed campfires and even got some time at the beach - not to mention some gorgeous sunsets. Wow!
9th and 10th graders spent their time at a remote 4H camp in Appomattox, They learned about birds, snakes, and forests, canoed, learned archery, played volleyball, went on night and sunset hikes, star gazed, and had a great time together.
Check out some Experience Week photos here. Click here for a folder with more photos from all of the Experience Week activities for Upper Schoolers.
5th grade science students, with teach Cindy Cartwright, have been studying plants. This week, they got a visiting guest 'specialist' in Middle School art teacher Julia Sapir. Julia came to give them pointers on drawing the plants they were studying. Check out some of their great work.
5th graders in Carolena Saunders' English class spent time recently working on 'Getting to Know Me' projects to help introduce themselves more fully to their classmates and teachers. The projects included drawings, written text, collages, painting, 3D aspects (like dioramas) and more. What a fun way to express who you are to your new friends, classmates and teachers.
Class of 2021 alums are getting noticed in college...
At George Mason University, sophomore Division 1 cross country runner Mason Love (TFS '21) was just named Rookie of the Week after he and the team ran their first season race, the Spider Alumni Open, at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville last weekend. The men's team came in 4th and Mason finished 14th (18:17.2) in the Men's 6k. Read more about Mason at https://bit.ly/3RPGIf5. See another article on Mason on that page under Related News and watch some race footage and an interview with him under Related Videos.
Up at Skidmore College in New York, sophomore volleyballer Stella Lane (TFS '21) was honored at the Athletics Welcome Back Event as a member of The Thoroughbred Society. She received an academic excellence honor for maintaining a semester GPA higher than 3.67 while playing a sport. Way to go, Badger alums!
We're beyond excited for Tandem Friends alum Adelind Horan (TFS '06), who has a featured ongoing role in the new series The Peripheral, streaming on Prime Video beginning October 21. Presented by the creators of the award-winning Westworld, the series is based on the bestselling sci-fi novel by William Gibson. Adelind plays Billy Ann Baker, best friend of the story's lead character Flynn, in this 'mind-bending' new show. Check out the exciting trailer for The Peripheral (that's Adelind narrating in the beginning) at https://deadline.com/2022/09/the-peripheral-trailer-prime-video-1235110898/ and mark your calendars for October 21st! Learn more about Adelind at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelind_Horan
In her time here at Tandem, Adelind was featured in many Tandem Friends plays and musicals, and her Senior Project was a one-woman docudrama based on interviews with local characters she recreated onstage. She earned kudos for her documentary solo play about mountaintop removal in Appalachia, Cry of the Mountain,played Viv in The Deuce and with fellow Tandem alum Ted Day (TFS '05), created an award-winning web series called The Pioneers. She and Ted are currently writing a pilot based on the Charlottesville characters in The Charlottesvillian, her acclaimed parody Instagram account about local personalities.
Some Middle School scientists are helping Tandem push forward with renewed energy for recycling and composting on campus. Recently all 5th graders and one class of 7th graders spent a class period carefully documenting lunch trash to determine what could be composted or recycled, and what needed to be put in the trash. While some brave souls donned gloves to do the sorting, others documented their findings. 7th graders then compiled the data into percentages and 5th graders created a graph of those totals. This information will be used to help inform and train our community so that we can expand and refine our recycling and composting processes. Stewardship in action!
Math 7 students practiced graphing while getting to know each other by making a “Graph of Me!”. We then made a gallery wall with everyone’s graph and they are now displayed in our classroom.
Algebra students have been working hard on challenging puzzles with a square theme to kick off the year. Photos show them working in making various numbers of squares in groups with strips of paper. Later they worked on magic square puzzles.
Students in Alex Siragy's Engineering and Design course designed and built large trebuchets this spring. Throughout the design and build process, students (all juniors but one) tested their devices outside. They launched balls of all sizes, made adjustments to pouch/sling, payload and counterweights to improve aim and accuracy and increase distance of each launch. It was an amazing process to watch. Finally, during Spring Day activities, the class held a trebuchet launch demonstration and competition for the school. Flat wooden targets were put up at one end of the outdoor basketball court and the devices were set up at the other end. Teams (there were three devices built by teams of students) practiced launching water balloons to make adjustments, then began launching paint-filled balloons at their wooden targets. To the audience's (and team members') delight, every trebuchet functioned well (a first for this class over the years to have 100% success) and some balloons hit the targets with very satisfying splats of color. Check out the photos of this very hands-on Engineering project.
Susan Akkad (TFS ‘81) has been honing her skill for finding important connections between unrelated topics since adolescence. Now, as Senior VP for Estée Lauder’s Local and Cultural Platforms and Corporate Innovation, Akkad uses her expertise to create a more just and inclusive world where all people can be seen as beautiful. Innovation is a hybrid discipline – a mix of strategy, marketing, and product development – and it requires intellectual creativity, flexibility, and tenacity to succeed.
Akkad credits Tandem for nurturing that holistic, interdisciplinary perspective of looking at the world and solving problems. “Having that holistic view is everything for innovation because the job is to connect the dots that other people haven’t connected.”
However, Akkad didn’t always have nurturing and supportive education. “Tandem was sort of a godsend for me – before I went to Tandem, I told my parents I was quitting school. I had a horrible public high school experience and stopped going to school for three months. My parents considered homeschooling but they were both UVA professors, working full time.”
Akkad’s parents also had a strong philosophical commitment to public schools. “They felt like they should be role modeling public schools because what happens when all the parents who have interest take their kids out of public schools is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – so it was a really big deal for them to take me out of public school.”
But Akkad’s parents knew many of the families who sent their kids to Tandem and they had shared values and were “fighting the good fight on social and racial justice issues together,” Akkad explained. So Akkad joined Tandem in 10th grade – at the time, Tandem was unaccredited and there were only 81 people in the entire school (8th-12th). But these potential drawbacks ended up being additional blessings for Akkad and her classmates.
“We all understood the pros and cons of not being accredited,” Akkad explained, “but our teachers didn’t need to have a Masters in education, so they were usually PhD students from UVA. For instance, my English teacher in 11th & 12th grade is now a department chair at Dickinson – so we had amazing teachers.”
“I remember studying the post Russian revolutionary time period at the same time we were reading Babette, at the same time we were looking at outsider art – it was all coming together. So then when I went to Harvard, I took this ‘literature of the outsider’ course and was like, “I already read most of this stuff in 11th grade...”
Graduating from Harvard with a degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Akkad did not expect to find herself in the business world. But her innovative drive and creative mind made her the perfect leader for her multicultural position at Estée Lauder. “Tandem’s interdisciplinary style of teaching continues to really serve me well in my work because things are not compartmentalized.”
“I’ve been at my company 23 years and I’ve been running the Skin of Color Center of Expertise since 2008. We are now expanding into Ageless Beauty which I am incredibly excited about because I think it is such a stereotyped, misunderstood, poorly served, age cohort for women 45+ and honestly our industry has contributed to that so I think it’s our responsibility to unpack and change it. And no, we do not cure cancer with lipstick, but giving people a sense of agency and control while also giving them a sense of joy and pleasure – that matters.”
Akkad’s advice to current students is not to stress over what’s the right subject to study or major in, instead, focus on mastering the ability to learn. “The study of human beings and culture has ended up being the most valuable thing I could have done because I am basically in the beauty anthropology business.”
Akkad is expanding her leadership and impact to include Ageless Innovation: Center for Expertise (“Ageless Beauty” for short). To learn more about Susan Akkad’s innovative marketing diplomacy at Estée Lauder, you can follow her on LinkedIn.
Composer Mara Gibson (TFS ‘90) and poet Rebecca Morgan Frank (TFS ‘87) reconnected as most people do – online. They remembered each other from their Tandem days, but it wasn’t until Gibson attended one of Frank’s book events that they started their creative collaboration.
“I do this a lot with performers; if I find a synergy with somebody, I keep working with that person because it’s so rare when there’s this dialogue between composer and performer,” says Gibson.
Frank had years of experience collaborating with composers, having her prose set to music and working within that shared space. Singers, musicians, or writers were always part of the process in Gibson’s compositions, so the collaboration came naturally to them both.
“For this recent collaboration," Gibson shares, "we worked with two of her poems, which meant two very different things to her than they did to me – and that is art – we all see things differently, and celebrating those differences really allows us to get deeper into what we’re trying to say or figure out.”
Despite the challenges of COVID, Gibson and Frank collaborated over several months and finally debuted Gibson’s composition Galatea’s Dream, featuring poems from Frank’s books Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country and Oh You Robot Saints! You can watch the live performance here and learn more about Mara Gibson here and Rebecca Morgan Frank here.
More About Mara
Mara Gibson (TFS ‘90) has always been drawn to puzzles and visual conundrums. As a composer and professor of composition at Louisiana State University (LSU), Dr. Gibson leads students and audiences alike on the journey of mapping and creating the architecture for sound. In her role as professor, Dr. Gibson offers a creatively challenging curriculum that encompasses multimedia aspects from music theory and history to performance and collaboration.
“There's no formula for teaching composition – if anything, it's about asking questions – it's me leading students to their own answers and that's similar to how we were taught at Tandem.”
In her work as a composer, she celebrates collaboration, creating soundscapes that draw together poetry, painting, and interpretations of space. There’s a synergy to collaboration that drives Dr. Gibson – a dialogue between performer and composer that can only be reached when creating in tandem.
One recent collaboration is with fellow Tandem alumna, author Rebecca Morgan Frank (TFS ‘87), who teaches poetry at Northwestern University. Frank’s poetry has an evocative quality that resonates with Gibson’s composition style. Poems from two of Frank’s books, Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country and Oh You Robot Saints! are set to interpretive music in Gibson’s 2021 composition, Galatea’s Dream.
Galatea’s Dream has an asynchronous quality that is quintessentially Mara Gibson. Sounds masked into distortion, spoken words striated with orchestral notes, ensemble music punctuated by rhythmic breath. Her pieces are always experiential and intellectually rich. The ascending and descending of a painted staircase interpreted through music. The lunar phases of our moon reimagined in auditory form. Each piece is a sculpture of emotion and sensation. Her work is endlessly layered, challenging, and complex.
By challenging herself creatively, her work as a composer feeds her passion for teaching. She discovered her passion for teaching while at Tandem, teaching piano after school, and found that she not only loved it – but that teaching itself is a creative pursuit.
“I’m not the kind of teacher who is teaching in order to do their art on the side or to get health insurance – I’m inspired by my students. I love, love, love teaching. Especially undergraduates because they are so hungry and they haven’t had that moment yet where it all clicks. I help them get there.”
Dr. Gibson is currently working on her next ensemble composition. If you’d like to learn more about Mara Gibson’s work, you can find her athttps://maragibson.com.
More About Rebecca
Rebecca Morgan Frank (TFS ‘87) has used writing as a lifelong practice of paying attention to what sparks her interest. Her research and writing process of “follow the curiosity” has produced four books and brought her teaching positions at such institutions as Brandeis University and Northwestern University.
Within Frank’s writing, there’s the tension of a seasoned observer. Her words form vessels that hold nuance and direct comparisons equally. Read aloud, her words take on new power – the cadence creates connection on and off the page. From the outside, good writing looks easy – but the practical aspects of being an artist have never eluded Frank. Writing takes resilience, and she credits her early years as a ballet dancer for familiarizing her with rejection.
“The thing that you need to succeed in the arts is persistence", says Frank. "And I say this as a longtime teacher, too. You have to be able to keep going and that’s the real division of who ends up succeeding or not – do you give up?”
Even at Tandem, she was always writing in her notebook; it was a habit she never gave up. But it wasn’t until she took a free two-hour poetry workshop that she felt "there is room for the stories I want to tell." That workshop led to an MFA and doctorate in creative writing. Now, Frank is the one teaching people that there is room in the world for their stories.
“My life is enriched by working with writers of all ages. I have students from 18 into their 70s. And working with someone in their 70s who is finally allowing themselves to explore poetry, it’s wonderful – they are having that moment I had in my 20s, and it’s a powerful moment.”
Poetry enriches people’s lives – reading it and writing it. And Frank regularly collaborates with other artists to expand her creative world and share the magic of poetry beyond her readership and students. Her recent collaboration with fellow Tandem alumna, composer Dr. Mara Gibson (TFS ‘90), is called Galatea’s Dream. Currently, Frank is following her curiosity and researching her next book. If you’d like to learn more about Rebecca Morgan Frank’s work, you can find her at www.rebeccamorganfrank.com and @poetmorgan on Twitter and Instagram.
Something you always have in school admissions is a visit day. In the time before the pandemic, prospective Tandem students would spend a full day on campus, sitting in on classes, meeting teachers and staff, and socializing with current students. You’d get a real sense of the community that Tandem is renowned for – plus it was fun and exciting!
But COVID put an end to all that. Once campus tours abruptly ended in March 2020, Tandem Admissions Director and alum Mary Lyman Bias (TFS ‘02) quickly realized she needed a new strategy for showcasing Tandem Friends School to prospective families. “We needed a way to communicate the warmth and depth of our community to prospective students who couldn't visit campus,” Mary explained. And this wasn’t an entirely new problem – over the past few years, more families have relocated to the Charlottesville area for work and wanted to send their children to Tandem but weren’t able to come for an in-person tour before the school year began.
Tandem decided to live stream their 2020 high school graduation for the friends and family who couldn’t attend, and that virtual pivot sparked a solution: High-quality, cinematic videos that give prospective families a feel for the home-like quality of Tandem’s campus and community – and a true sense of what it could feel like to attend.
“One of the first things I did when I started working at Tandem was sit down with our Head of School, Whitney Thompson, and share my goal of working with more alumni. We have so many amazingly talented graduates whose skills tie right back into the school. Once we decided to produce virtual tour videos, we knew we wanted to work with Nite4Nite and fellow alum Eric Stumpf (TFS '08),” Mary explained.
Nite4Nite is a Charlottesville-based film production company owned and operated by Tandem alumni Eric Stumpf (TFS ‘08) and his production partner Marcus Goldbas. Mary, a professional photographer herself, worked directly with Eric and Marcus to produce three multi-dynamic videos that showcase Tandem’s values, student life, and community. “It was a great experience. Tandem is a place that values creativity and it’s easy to make Tandem look beautiful,” said filmmaker Eric Stumpf.
“So far we’ve made two videos for Tandem," Eric shared. "One video is an overview with a little about Tandem's vision, mission, and goals. Another is a cinematic walk through the spaces at Tandem – you see what it's like to walk through the math/science building, the gym, the meditation garden. A third video will focus on student life – following students around from one activity to another, spanning 5th to 12th grade. You get to see the connection between upper and middle school – it’s more nuanced.”
Of course the video production had its own challenges. “It’s hard to visually show community with social distance and masks" Eric added. "Even though you can see it in person, it’s tough to show that connection on film because you can’t see anyone talking or touching. We’re adding warmth with music and voiceover. Showing emotion through a mask is challenging. I’m a photographer myself, and a lot of the time when you look at photos, your eyes immediately go to someone's face. Now with the pandemic, we’ve learned to read each other in new ways. How we look at other people, their environment, their eyes – it’s changed. Now when we are taking photos, we tend towards wider angles – capturing more body language and natural environment.”
“Even with the challenges of COVID, working with Eric and Marcus was so easy and fun,” Mary added, “because they already understood what’s special about Tandem and had great ideas about how to communicate that on film. Especially the drone shots from Carter Mountain, showing Tandem Friends School in the context of the greater Charlottesville community. First you see this tiny, sweet campus, and then you zoom out and you see how close everything else is to us. I know for high schoolers that it's important to see what’s actually around the school. And for families relocating from out of state, it shows them how beautiful Charlottesville is.”
At the end of the day, what these virtual tours really do is help students who will thrive at Tandem, connect with Tandem. “What I’ve experienced as a student at Tandem, a parent at Tandem, and now working at Tandem, is that the kids who thrive at Tandem are the ones who want to be their authentic selves,” said Mary.
The Student Life video is in final production but you can check out the other two videos below:
Learn more about Eric's Nite4Nite business here and Mary’s photography business here. Bonus Alumni Fact
Eric also shared, “Tandem has played a bigger part in my life than I ever expected…I had a crush on a girl when I was in 6th grade, all the way through 12th grade (Courtney Newman, TFS '07); she was a grade ahead of me, and she is now my wife – we reconnected at a Tandem alumni event.” Eric and Courtney worked together on campus recently to film the Class of 2022's graduation.
It was a great year for Tandem Friends varsity athletics! In this first FULL year (due to COVID) of playing in the new Greater Piedmont Athletic Conference (GPAC), you might say we knocked it out of the park. Tandem fielded 26 All-Conference athletes, one Conference Runner of the Year, and two Coach of the Year wins, three school records were broken, and there were three regular season championship teams (and one runner up) and three conference tournament championship teams.
At the state VISAA level, our varsity girls soccer team made it to the state semifinals, three track team members qualified for the state meet and scored in two events, and our varsity girls soccer team included two All-VISSA players. Six of our 18 senior athletes (more than half of the senior class played one or more sports this year) received VISAA Awards of Merit for three-season play during their senior year.
Fall sports brought us winning cross country teams. Both the girls’ and boys’ cross country teams finished the season as GPAC “tournament” champions and the boys team captured the regular season championship as well. Sophomore Charlie K was the GPAC Cross Country Runner of the Year and cross country coach Jason Farr was Coach of the Year twice - as boys coach and as girls coach. First Team All-Conference honors went to runners Theo A, Charlotte C, Charlie K, Erin O, Michael O, Mia P and Murray S. First team honors went to boys soccer players Parker L and Kieran N-W, with Second Team honors going to Jacob C and Patrick J-F. Volleyball player Anna W earned First Team honors while teammates Lilly C and Talia S earned Second Team honors.
Winter sports held some COVID complications that forced our girls team out of competition and pushed the boys team into two crazily busy weeks of games to finish the season. The boys rallied and wound up as regular season runners-up in the conference. First team honors went to DJ W and Tvo G, with Second Team honors going to Jay M, Zephan D and Alden S.
Spring sports brought lots of excitement as our varsity girls soccer team finished the season as tri-regular season champions, then went on to capture the tournament championship. Ranked 5th in the state, they hosted and won a preliminary VISAA state-level game, then lost a tough match in the state quarterfinals. Players Anya B and Mia P earned First Team All-Conference honors, while teammates Tessa D and Emma P earned Second Team honors. Mia (First Team) and Anya (Second Team) also earned All-VISAA state team honors. The excitement continued on the track, where three Tandem runners qualified for the state meet. Lilly B finished 5th and 6th in the state in her 400 and 200-meter runs while Erin O finished 15th in the state in the 3200m. On the LAX field, our team played some amazing matchups as Jacob C received First Team honors and teammates Kieran N-W and Dylan P received Second Team honors.
Tandem varsity athletes and their great seasons were celebrated in an end-of-year gathering organized by Athletic Director Sarana Hyatt. All-Conference and All-State honors were handed out, as well as team conference championship banners that will hang in the gym. PE teacher and volleyball coach Avis Fields was celebrated for her recognition by local sports organization HER Sports as local Coach of the Year. Senior athletes were acknowledged, and six of them, Caroline B, Patrick J-F, Kieran N-W, Erin O, Dylan P, and DJ W, received VISAA Awards of Merit for being three-season athletes this year.
Check out some of the accompanying photos - and join us in cheering on our Badgers!!
On our last day of school, the community gathered on the front lawn to honor senior athletes and the sports successes of the year. Athletic Director Sarana Hyatt called up individual teams that finished the season as regular season or GPAC tourney champions, including varsity girls soccer, varsity cross country, and varsity basketball. Then all of the GPAC All-Conference and VISAA state honored athletes for 2021-2022 were called up and presented their certificates - what a large and talented group. It was amazing to see so many athletes honored, some for multiple seasons of play. All senior athletes were called up and presented with an individual photo collage of their time at Tandem. Some had been multi-sport players for their entire time here. Finally, coach/PE teacher Avis Fields was honored for her recent community recognition as Coach of the Year by local organization HER Sports. It was a great day for Tandem Friends sports - go Badgers!
On Wednesday, June 1, the community met on the front lawn to attend this year's Upper School awards presentation. Click herefor a description of the awards presented; see the list below for this year's honorees:
Rookie of the Year Award - Julian Piccone
Amy Strand Award- Mia Peifer
Community Service Award- Lilly Chinn
Community Consciousness Award - Musa Sarwar
William & Mary Leadership Award - Anna Warren
UVA Leadership Award - Mekhi Hernandez
Duncan Alling Scholar Athlete Award - Devin Malhotra
Sportsperson of the Year Award - Anya Bullock
Sportsperson of the Year Award - DJ Westbrook Jr.
Aslan Mozelle Award - Talia Smith, Art
Science Award - Max Frazee
French Award - Anna Warren
Latin Award - Theo Adams
Spanish Award - Savia Ronchetti
English Award - Talia Smith
History Award - Mika Levine
Math Award - Mekhi Hernandez
Art Award - Theo Adams
Music Award - Jane Trousdale and Michael O'Neill
Advancement Award - Caroline Baylin
Drama Award - Mia Goodbar and Grace Wagner
Head of School's Award - Jacob Camarata
Alumni Award - TBD
Click here to see photos of the awards event. Congratulations to all of our awards recipients.
This year's Experience Days - held on three of the four last days of school - brought some much-needed fun and class bonding through various activities, projects, field trips, and more by grade. Our students and their advisors went many places and did many things, including those of a service or academic nature.
5th and 6th graders visited the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, toured the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and other sites in Richmond, and enjoyed the all-Middle School pool party at ACAC.
7th and 8th graders visited the Downtown Mall for lunch and got a personal screening of the movie Jumanji at The Paramount, took on the climbing walls at a local climbing gym, and enjoyed the all-Middle School pool party at ACAC. 8th graders also enjoyed their lovely annual Dinner Dance on one of the evenings as well.
9th graders spent time at Boar's Head on an engineering challenge project called Domestic Demo, presented their TED Talks on the meaning of life and held their Ted Talk Premiere Party, spent a day playing games on campus including a murder mystery that featured math teacher Trefor as the dead Earl, took on an escape room, and spent an afternoon at Fry's Spring Beach Club.
10th graders worked through some college programming that included a mock admissions panel, did service projects on campus, played games, watched Raised/Razed (a documentary about urban renewal and Vinegar Hill), took on the Boar's Head orienteering course and Domestic Demo programs, and created artworks at Pikasso Swig.
11th graders spent a day at Lake Sherando hiking and journaling, spent a day at UVA to begin preparing for research and senior projects that included an alumni panel with recent Tandem grads at UVA and other nearby colleges, and took on the Poplar Ridge ropes and bouldering courses.
12th graders performed service work for Habitat for Humanity and the Habitat Store, visited baby goats, spent a day together at King's Dominion, and practiced for graduation before settling in to their Faculty/Senior Appreciation Dinner.
It made for a busy few days with lots of busses coming and going, repeated looks at the weather forecast, and lots of relaxed-looking smiles. Check out Middle School Experience Week photos here. Check out Upper School Experience Week photos here.
Casey Reed's Neuroscience students have been learning about the functions of various structures of the human brain. They were assigned a project to help them learn about these brain functions by considering how a celebrity/friend/pet/family member of their choice might use each part of their brain in daily life. They created posters to illustrate the locations of the brain structures as well as an image to represent when that part might be active for their selected 'person.' Some of their projects are really creative and interesting - check out the photos on the right.
In math class with Janet Webster, 6th graders used their math and design skills to create 'tiny tiny houses' on graph paper, keeping everything in size perspective. Check out some of their great creations.
9th graders working with History teacher Melissa Winder and English teacher Robert Schuster completed and presented TED Talks on 'what is the meaning of life?' Each student pondered the question and wrote about what they considered the meaning of life to be, then they took their scripts and turned them into well-produced videos. Along the way they got to visit local filmmaking hub Light House Studio, where they really put the finishing touches on their professional-looking talks. They presented their finished videos to classmates and teachers, held a Premiere Party, and every video left the audience cheering. What do 9th graders think the meaning of life is? Some of their answers included: Acceptance, Being Yourself, Pursuing Knowledge, Living in the Moment, Having Fun and Trying New Things, Altruism, Doing What Makes You Happy, Prosocial Behavior, Family Relationships, The Process of Finding the Meaning of Life, Dogs, Exercise, Creativity, Perseverance, and Building a Legacy. With thanks to the students who agreed to let us share their work, here are a few examples - click on the link to view their TED Talks:
5th graders with science teacher Cindy Cartwright spent the last weeks of school studying human anatomy and creating some splendid Body Books that contain their drawings and outlines of each body system. They even got a visit from Dr. Brett Kurpiel, a Department of Pathology resident at UVA Hospital, who came to talk about the brain and other organs, and brought some very cool and carefully preserved organ samples, mostly of brain cross sections, that were especially fascinating and provided a sense of organ size and function. Check out some examples of their amazing Body Books work here.
6th graders, with Cindy Cartwright as their World Religions teacher, have spent time learning about world religions this spring - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. They each picked someone associated with a specific religion and did a little research. Then each created a slide of info for a presentation called Letting Their Life Speak. Click here to view some of that final project - pretty amazing work.
Middle School drama brought its last production of the year to life for the entire Middle School - Cafe 007 Part 3, directed by Middle School drama teacher Edwina Herring. 7th graders have arts in trimesters, so the grade was divided into three groups this year. Each group then wrote their own original skits, added music or dance, and shared their version of Cafe 007, long used as the title for these 7th grade original performances. This part 3 was filled with great performances; one skit even made fun of a classic theatre game they all play. Check out some photos from the show.
Other Middle School drama students had some end-of-year fun creating their own commercials and using a giant TV prop from a previous production of Willy Wonka as a backdrop. Check out some of those photos as well.
For a full photo slideshow of Cafe 007 and some class fun, click here. Congratulations to our Middle Schoolers on a great year of drama productions!
In Richmond today two of our Tandem runners competed in the VISAA State Championship Track Meet to amazing results. Junior Lilly B came in 5th in the state in the 400m, setting a personal record with a time of 1:04.84, and came in 6th in the state in the 200m with a time of 28.46. These times earned her All-VISAA Track Team honors in both events. Senior Erin O came in 15th in the state in the 3200m (five spots above where she was seeded!) with a time of 14:22.58. Tandem runners were accompanied by coaches Melissa Winder and Mary Lyman Bias, and Athletic Director Sarana Hyatt. What an amazing day on the track in Richmond! Go Badgers!!
Senior soccer player Anya B, who helped lead the Tandem girls team to a 5th in state ranking and a conference championship, was featured as the Daily Progress Spotlighted Athlete. Check out a great article about Anya and the team here.
Sonia Brandon's Spanish 1 students presented their final skits in class today. Each student was asked to research a different Spanish-speaking country, and then they were asked to write and present skits based on what they learned about their country. The class learned about tortillas from Spain, handball played in Uruguay, and pupusas in El Salvador, among many other interesting cultural tidbits.
A team of twelve Upper School scientists recently competed in the regional Science Olympiad competition, mentored by US science teacher Alex Siragy, who reported their success, explained the scoring process and handed out medals during Morning Meeting. Teams earn points for events they compete in - our team competed in two thirds of the events. Teams are penalized for events they do not compete in. Tandem's team scored in the middle of all competitors despite not competing in all events, right below Charlottesville High School. Specific medal-winning results included:
3rd place in the Detector Builder event: Mekhi H and Devin M
3rd place in the Ping Pong Parachute event: Cora M
5th place in Code Busters (Ciphers) event: Josie F, Emi M and Mekhi H
6th place in Trajectory: Jacob C and Dylan P
Congratulations to our great Science Olympiad team!!
Trebuchet launch will happen to CT on Monday bball ct. office hours today
Back in March we shared that 6th grade students of Christina Davis and Janet Webster had been busy opening their minds and their hearts. While reading the book Refugee, they studied refugee stories and sponsored a collection drive of items needed by our local International Rescue Committee. While hearing about the refugee crisis brought on by Russia's attack on Ukraine, students decided to hold a bake sale to raise money ($353!) for the World Central Kitchen, an aid organization founded by chefs that had set up mobile kitchens at multiple locations where Ukraine refugees are arriving. During that exact time period, a Tandem staff member had a family member, Dan, who was in Poland volunteering for World Central Kitchen and sharing online posts and videos of the experience that were shared with the class. Some of his videos included tours of the facility they were building, footage of volunteers preparing food in giant pots (one of which could feed over 1000 people), or scenes of refugees arriving at the nearby train station. He was excited to know that 6th graders back in the US were holding a bake sale to support the group and they were fascinated to be following his efforts at the same time. Fast forward to this week - Dan was in town for a visit and came to speak to the 6th graders during Community Time to share about his powerful experience volunteering for a week with World Central Kitchen in Przemysl, Poland. He spoke sincerely about the difference one person can make and answered great questions from the students. It was a great completion to a story that went full circle.
Seniors in Tucker Winter's AP Literature class spent a sunny class period this week (now that their AP exam has been completed) celebrating the written word with chalk. Students wrote favorite quotes from books they read in AP Lit class all around campus on the sidewalks and roadways. It makes for some great reading as you stroll about campus. Check out more photos of the quotes here.
Sonia Brandon's Spanish 3 students had the opportunity to talk to una invitada misteriosa (mystery guest) recently. Thanks to the initiative of Happy World Foundation, one class was paired up with a volunteer from Argentina and the other from Costa Rica. The objective of the activity was for the students to connect on a Google Meet and ask the mystery guest a number of questions in Spanish to try to guess which Spanish-speaking country they were from. After successfully guessing, the volunteers talked briefly about life in their country and students could ask questions to learn more. One of the goals of the Happy World Foundation is to "help students preview their misconceptions about other cultures, dispel any stereotypes, and fight bigotry and prejudice with anti-bias education." The photos show happy connections being made.
Casey Reed's Forensics class (seniors) had a fascinating visitor this week. Dr. Brett Kurpiel, a Department of Pathology resident at UVA Hospital (also the spouse of music teacher/medical coordinator Cam Pampus), came to speak about the field of medical pathology. Forensics students are wrapping up the year with a unit on Death Investigations and Autopsies (learning about how investigators can determine cause and time of death). Brett talked about his professional experience performing medical autopsies, his knowledge about specifically forensic-based autopsies, taught them about internal anatomy, and answered a lot of questions about what it is like to work in the field.
Our Class of 2022's college acceptances and decisions are listed below - school names in bold have a senior committed to attending; numbers in parentheses indicate multiple acceptances. Congratulations Class of 2022.
Agnes Scott College
Appalachian State University
Arizona State University
College of Charleston (2)
Christopher Newport University
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Denver
East Carolina University (2)
Emory & Henry College
University of Florida
George Mason University (4)
University of Georgia (2 accepted/1 attending)
James Madison University (7 accepted/4 attending)
Mary Baldwin University
University of Mary Washington (5 accepted/1 attending )
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
University of Miami
University of Michigan-Flint
Mount Holyoke College
New College of Florida
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Pennsylvania State University (3 accepted)
Piedmont Virginia Community College (4 accepted/4 attending)
University of Richmond
University of San Francisco
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of South Carolina
Southern Methodist University
Temple University (2 accepted/1 attending)
Temple University School of Nursing
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (3)
Tufts University (2 accepted/1 attending)
University of Vermont (2)
Virginia Commonwealth University (6 accepted/2 attending)
Virginia Commonwealth University (Engineering)
Virginia Commonwealth University (Nursing)
Virginia Commonwealth University (School of the Arts)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (4 accepted/1 attending)
University of Virginia (5 accepted/1 attending)
University of Washington
College of William & Mary (2 accepted/1 attending)
We can't thank the Parent Community enough for the amazing Teacher Appreciation Week generosity shared with faculty and staff. Breakfast, snacks, full lunches - there was an amazing feast every day to enjoy. One grateful teacher shared the following: "Getting treats each day for a whole week is really surprising and really special. Not only has it been helpful to have to work less on making breakfasts and lunches, but it has also been nice to have the camaraderie of bumping into coworkers I don't often see as we grab our treats. If you can just somehow pass along my gratitude to all of the parents who have worked so hard this week, I'd really appreciate it!" Another added: "Yesterday’s lunch was DELICIOUS!! So, exciting to have so many wheat-free choices!!" Many, many thanks to all who donated food, cooked, set up or cleaned up, or made a donation online. Extra big thanks to the dynamic organizing team of Katina Wilberger, Julie Bowersett, Sarah Bedford and Laura Douglas.
Juniors in Tucker Winter's American Literature class enjoyed a culminating experience to their study of Tim O'Brien's Vietnam war remembrance The Things They Carried. Former Tandem parent Toan Nguyen came to share his perspective and experiences as a child in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Toan has shared generously with our students in the past during their reading of O'Brien's book and is co-founder of the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC), a nonprofit organization that provides individuals in the Charlottesville area — particularly those who come from low-income households and lack college degrees — with training, mentorship and loans to launch their own businesses.
This year, once again, the pandemic prevented us from being able to host an on-campus Grandparent's Day. Instead, students were offered the opportunity to create and send a card of their own design to grandparents or special older friends. Some even included photos for the grandparents. Students in both the Upper and Middle Schools participated during Community Time. Philanthropy Director Laura Douglas assembled all of the paper, cards, envelopes, stickers, markers, etc. Students addressed and sealed the cards themselves and were given stamps as well. It was a fun project that made everyone feel good. We all look forward to being able to host our grandparents and special older friends on campus again - it's one of our favorite days of the year! Check out some photos of students working on their cards.
The 9th grade World Literature I classes, with Robert Schuster as their teacher, performed staged readings of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1, i.e., the assassination of Julius Caesar by the conspiring Senators. Students had approximately 20 minutes to plan out their scenes and then perform them for their classmates. Students were asked to consider the blocking, tone, and pacing of the scene and how these things provide characterization that isn't explicitly explained in the text. Students were pretty excited to just hit each other with 'swords'! Check out photos of their scenes.
Tandem Upper Schoolers have been accepted into some great competitive summer academic and arts programs. Congratulations to these students for the following acceptances:
Mika L - Virginia Summer Residential Governor’s School for Humanities (Radford University)
Phia S-J - Virginia Governor's World Language Academies - Latin
Musa - Virginia Governor's World Language Academies - Spanish Alternate
Talia S - Virginia Summer Residential Governor’s School for Visual & Performing Arts (Radford University)
Mika L, Grace W and Larissa F - National Institute of American History & Democracy (NIAHD) Pre-College Program in American History at College of William & Mary
Theo A - University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design Pre-College Summer Studio (with scholarship)
Mika L - Christopher Newport University Summer Humanities Institute
We look forward to hearing about these summer adventures into academics, world languages and the arts.
Two Middle School artists - Sofia S. (8th) and Zella L. (7th) - were accepted into the competitive Reflections Art Governor's School program for the summer of 2022. Sofia will be representing TFS for the 2nd year in a row. Congratulations to them as well.
5th graders have been studying the human body with Cindy Cartwright, and in particular, epidermis. This week they measured the total inches of skin on a second 5th grader, Alex, for Epidermis Wrap #2. Remarkably, their measurements on two different 5th graders only came out 8 square inches different from one another. 5th and 6th graders today participated in a Battle of the Books with teachers Janet Webster and Christina Davis. The battle was a trivia contest based on a list of ten books (at varying levels of difficulty) they could read. Finally, in observance of Earth Day, students wrote down ideas on ways they could take action in their own lives to help the planet. They are well on their way to becoming terrific world citizens!
5th grader Madeline R-S has won the Village School's Jambalaya "Fragments of the Future" short story contest. The Jambalaya literary journal is published annually, featuring talented writers in the city, county, public, or private schools in the Charlottesville area. Girls in 4th through 8th grades are invited to submit original stories; Madeline won in the grades 4-5 category. Each year contestants' stories have to include a particular line somewhere in their writing. Madeline chose to write a poetic narrative short story titled You Were Just Here.
The 2022 Jambalaya awards ceremony will be held at New Dominion Bookstore on May 20, from 2:30 - 4:00 pm. You can read Madeline's short story here.
The Tandem Friends Class of 2022 presented their Senior Projects to the Upper School community during Community Time and to parents and guests at a Senior Project Night capstone event on campus. A major project has been required of every graduating senior at Tandem Friends since the school’s inception in 1970. Current seniors select a hands-on area of interest – either something completely new to them or an area to further develop. This experiential project includes a detailed journal, regular meetings with technical and faculty advisors, an oral presentation to the community, and a detailed written research paper/synopsis of the project. The Class of 2022 showed great perseverance, resilience, and optimism in their work, which included topics from learning ballet to audio engineering. One project presentation even ended with a faulty member getting a haircut from a senior. Here is a link to the list of the Class of 2022's project topics. Congratulations to all of our seniors for their hard work and mastery, and to our faculty advisors for their dedication to this annual rite of passage that never fails to impress. Check out more photos of presentations as well as photos from Senior Project Night here.
Sonia Brandon's Spanish 1 students (8th and 9th graders) presented projects today that they have been working on over the last few weeks. Students were asked to dig a little into their genealogy. Then, in the target language of Spanish, they created a family tree and described in detail several family members, including themselves. Here are a few of them presenting their final work.
This week our student-led Tandem Earth group hosted three Earth Day-related events during lunch. On Wednesday, students could create campus beautifying chalk art and painted rocks for placement around campus. On Thursday, students planted wildflowers in beds near the Main Building. On Friday, Tandem Earth held a clothing swap/thrifting event out front by the guest parking lot. For every piece of clothing people brought to swap, they could take one piece of clothing. Check out some photos of these fun events.
7th graders in Carolyn Warhaftig's English class had a powerful assignment called Day of Absence. Knowing that African Americans are still largely underrepresented in history books and in the narrative in general, their goal was to change that by imagining what American History and the U.S. would look like without the contributions of African Americans. Using a list of over 50 topic subjects, students chose a person and set out to create a one-pager of information that included background/biographical information, the person's major contributions (why should we know their name?), the impact of their contributions (what would life be like without this person’s contributions?), and a visual depiction of their topic person using images and/or word art. Their amazing and detailed works adorned the Math/Science lobby all spring - see their work in the shared photos.
Cindy Cartwright and her energetic and inquisitive 5th grade scientists keep busy with a wide variety of hands-on projects. This week, they began monitoring Tandem's bluebird boxes. Former Middle School science teacher Christine Putnam introduced this type of study to them before Spring Break, and this week they began checking campus boxes for blue eggs, which have been located on nests. Stay tuned for more bluebird details. This week they also launched their study of the human body with an epidermis experiment - "Approximately how much skin does Henry have?" They employed a lot of newspaper and one cooperative human body - Henry - to begin their calculations. More details to come. Check out photos from both studies.
Tandem Friends Upper School Latin students earned some great results on the 2022 National Latin Exam. Two students were gold medal winners who also received a Summa cum laude ("with highest praise") certificate - Phia S-J (Latin 4) and Adam K (Latin 4); Josie F (Latin 4) was a silver medal winner who also received a Maxima cum laude ("with very great praise") certificate; Mika L (Latin 4), Willow K (Latin 3), and Emma P (Latin 3) were Magna cum laude ("with great praise") certificate winners; and, Theo A (AP Latin) was a Cum laude ("with praise") certificate winner. Congratulations, Latin scholars!
Senior Harper T took on Sports Management for her Senior Project study and mastery. This week, she asked Middle School Director Todd Love if she could host a 'field day' of games for 5th and 6th graders as one of her culminating projects. Todd said yes, and on a warm Wednesday afternoon, more than thirty 5th and 6th graders found themselves down on the field enjoying team competitions such as three-legged races, egg/spoon carry, minefield (partner activity where one guides a 'blind' partner around obstacles), sprinting and more. There were lots of competitive team voices and a real spirit of fun followed by a cool treat. Harper was assisted by some fellow seniors and the 5th and 6th graders really enjoyed the games.
Tandem sophomores completed the final stage of their Sophomore Seminar academic rite of passage with a Sophomore Seminar Capstone event. The community was invited to come and hear about their research, and each sophomore set up an information station complete with display, then answered questions from anyone in attendance who stopped by to chat.
Sophomores presented their research projects to their classmates during classes in the late spring weeks. Students spent second semester researching and writing a 15+ page academic paper on a subject of their choosing. After completing their papers, which include detailed footnotes and bibliographies, each presented in person to their classmates; topics/papers are argumentative, so students had to make some sort of defensible argument about their topic. They provided some really interesting insights into their topics and displayed their academic maturity over the course of the semester. Well done, sophomores! Check out a list of their impressive and interesting topics below.
Pros and cons of professional sports team ownership
Cultural beliefs and media representations of haunted houses
The human brain's emotional response to music
Effects and dangers of teen social media use
Changes in music theory over time
History and developing popularity of skateboarding as a sport
How personality types affect the formation of friendships
Development of modern psychiatry
Environmental and social problems in the rock climbing community
Importance of physical therapy and athletic training
Football regulations and rules in response to CTE
Are serial killers born or made by their environments?
Stylistic changes in contemporary stage musicals
Scientific and metaphysical function of dreams
Bereavement and strategies for dealing with it
History and appeal of anime
Teen relationship abuse and prevention
History of hip-hop
Compensation for college athletes
Problems with the American criminal justice and prison system
Media portrayal and misrepresentation of serial killers
Effects of China's "One Child" policy
Hacking skill as a cybersecurity measure
Portrayal of women in hip-hop
Placebo, nocebo, and the power of the human brain
Development and effectiveness of historical close-combat weaponry
Effects of fashion influencers on teen mental health and body image
Antibiotics, overprescription, and dangers of antibiotic resistance
Characterization and appeal of heroes and villains in media
Scientific ethics in the wake of the Milgram Prison Experiment
Efficacy and widespread use of Caesarean section for childbirth
Effectiveness and impact of Russian mafia
Development and effect of 20th-century war photography
We’re very proud of Tandem Friends senior Iris Susen, this year's Tandem Friends School nominee for The Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship Award, who was recently awarded an $18,000 scholarship from The Emily Couric Leadership Forum. The eleven local leadership award finalists (one from each local high school) were honored in person and online on April 11 and in the press.
Iris joined Tandem in 11th grade, and has become an active and enthusiastic leader in academics and athletics. Iris has served as co-editor of our student newspaper, a member of our cross country and track teams, an active actor and Drama Club member here and in the local community, a Student Senate leader, a local on Meals on Wheels volunteer and camp counselor, an avid a capella singer and arranger, and so much more. Congratulations, Iris!
Check out a video shared by The Emily Couric Leadership Forum featuring Iris here. Learn more about each nominee here.
The Emily Couric Leadership Forum "established the Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship to be awarded annually to a senior girl attending any high school in Charlottesville or Albemarle. The goal is to acknowledge and encourage young women in leadership roles in government and the community. Each school is asked to nominate a senior girl who demonstrates leadership in her school and the community. A selection committee comprised of community leaders interviews the nominees and makes the final selection."
The Emily Couric Leadership Forum itself honors the memory of State Senator Emily Couric, who modeled a strong commitment to learning and service. Her many contributions to the community encouraged all women to "adopt an active role in government, public issues, and policy debates affecting their communities, and to inspire young women to pursue activities which will enable them to become effective leaders." The group has awarded over $1M to young women since the scholarships began in 2001, and awarded $150,000 for this 2022 year.
7th and 8th grade English teacher Carolyn Warhaftig brought back the March Madness vocabulary competition to 7th and 8th grades again this year. Using teams of two, the pairs move through the brackets like in basketball. The way they play it is similar to "Heads Up" - a vocabulary word from the class list of over 60 words is shown and one partner on a team has to define it and get the other partner to guess it. The most correct words in a minute wins. Teams play several rounds to get to the Final Four; those championship rounds were held this week during Community Time. Other students serve as timekeepers, scorekeepers, and facilitators to keep the championship round moving smoothly. After a lively couple of rounds, the champion teams for each grade were declared. Congratulations, word wizards!
6th grade students of Christina Davis have been busy opening their minds and their hearts of late. While reading the book Refugee, they studied refugee stories and sponsored a collection drive of items needed by our local International Rescue Committee. Their efforts yielded a great response. While hearing about the refugee crisis brought on by Russia's attack on Ukraine, students decided to hold a bake sale to raise money for the World Central Kitchen, an aid organization founded by chefs that has set up mobile kitchens at multiple locations where Ukraine refugees are arriving. These mobile kitchens have already served over one million meals there. 6th graders baked a huge array of delicious treats and yesterday made $353 for World Central Kitchen at their sale. Wow! In science class, these students dissected owl pellets, identified the bones, and will be looking at the transfer of energy between trophic levels. Check out some photos from these projects.
Tandem's 9th and 10th grade history students have once again accepted the annual extra credit creative challenge by teacher Melissa Winder to create a diorama depicting a famous historical event using marshmallow Peeps, an Easter candy favorite. Some students even work the name Peeps into the titles of their creative works. This is the sixth annual 'Peeping into History' project - we always look forward to these colorful and fun history tableaux. Check some out!
In Senior Composition class this week, teacher Tucker Winter battled the rain doldrums to wake up students with a round of 'Novel JENGA.' Each tile had a number on it that corresponds to a question about the book they are reading, Like Water for Elephants. As they pulled a tile, students answered the question that matched the tile they pulled and discussed it.
5th grade scientists continue researching and working on both their Journey North tulip project, and their meter stick shadow project. With their tulip project, 12 of the 20 bulbs they planted on November 18 have emerged at varying heights. Check out the latest Journey North post photo about Tandem's project. Students continue collecting data on the length of a meter stick's shadow throughout the year. Their newest project was a study of cells - check out some of their great projects in the photos!
9th graders in Robert Schuster's class are completing their Poetry Translation Projects! Basically, students in the 9th grade had to find a poem written in a language other than English (and which they didn't read in class) and then attempt to translate it into English without looking at, listening to, or reading any extant English translations. They were encouraged to choose a poem written in the world language they are studying. Their goal was to produce a product that was simultaneously faithful to the original work's content and style as possible, intelligible to English readers, and beautiful to listen to aloud—obviously, this was a difficult task because these things are often in conflict with each other. They were allowed to enlist the help of friends, teachers, parents, or anyone else who could help them with interpretation and translation, and in the end, they read both the original versions and their translations to each other over a multi-class celebration of poetry! The translations will be printed out and put up on billboards in the Math/Science building (most likely) so that others can read them.
AP Literature students of Tucker Winter were recently given a pretty cool assignment based on the first part of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, a novel that depicts pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the invasion by Europeans during the late 19th century. Students were asked to design a one-page creation that shared the following:
The book's title and author.
Images, symbols and words that capture the character of Okonkwo and his values, strengths and flaws.
Three (or more) proverbs that reveal specific beliefs or values of the Igbo people and include visuals that go with them, including why you chose them and what you think they mean.
A decorated page border that reflects an understanding of the society.
A visual timeline of the year’s events in Umuofia - including all festivals and celebrations and encompassing the whole year.
A list of the things (physical as well as values) the Igbo value in their society and drawings to support those.
Two to three quotes from the first section of the novel that are significant to the work as a whole.
Tandem is proud to announce that Middle School Latin teacher Meg Davis has been named our 2022 recipient of a Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching. Meg began teaching at Tandem in 2018 and brings a contagious energy, compassion, humor and excellence to her work teaching Latin to Middle Schoolers. She makes it fun and accessible! "Meg makes the children want to learn by communicating to them—clearly and unequivocally—that she cares. She believes in her students so strongly that they inevitably start believing in themselves. She is very smart, very kind and has a huge heart," read a nomination. Also, "I don’t know how she does what she does so well. My child has grown in ways I don’t think he ever would have if Meg was not his teacher."
Golden Apple Awards are presented each year by sponsor Richard L. Nunley (Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry) to honor outstanding teachers in our community's schools. The awards are presented to teachers from both public and private schools (VAIS members) in Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville. One winner is selected from each school, based upon parent and student nominations, which were solicited via form all winter. In addition to receiving a Golden Apple, each recipient also earns a grant of $500, which can be used for classroom materials or to support professional development. Golden Apple Award recipients will be honored in a ceremony (online or possibly in person) on May 19. Congratulations, Meg!
Students in Tucker Winter's Senior Composition class met this week with LaVahn Hoh, UVA Professor of Emeritus, Circus History. LaVahn talked with the students about the History of the Circus with an emphasis on Depression Era circus trains in the 1930s as part of their introduction to the novel, Water for Elephants, by Sarah Gruen. He and his wife, M.F. Hoh, regaled the students for a full hour with his stories from his many years of teaching at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey clown college. He talked about the time he was able to ride an elephant in the Spec parade, and about his good friend who was the human cannonball. He addressed his views on Cirque du Soleil and talked a bit about animal rights and the circus. LaVahn shared tons of old photographs during this wonderful class. He also gave everyone in the class an old circus program to keep, which the kids really loved.
Our Badger varsity boys basketball team completed a great season this weekend. The Greater Piedmont Athletic Conference announced All-Conference honors during the GPAC tournament, and five Tandem players were named. Congratulations to the following Badger student athletes for their fine play this season:
Tvo G. - First Team All Conference
DJ W. - First Team All Conference
Zephan D. - Second Team All Conference
Jay M. - Second Team All Conference
Alden S. - Second Team All Conference
Congratulations to the entire team, and to coaches Sam and Stanley, on a remarkable season. The last few weeks were a real test of endurance and playing skills, and every person gave it their best winning seven straight games in three weeks! Go Badgers!
6th grade students are currently reading Refugee by Alan Gratz. The book is told from the points of view of three refugee children who hail from three different countries during three different times in history. Josef and his family flee Nazi Germany in 1938; Isabel and her family flee Cuba in 1994; and Mahmoud and his family flee Syria in 2015. Although each tale is unique, there are similar ethical questions of empathy and personal responsibility woven throughout each story- What obligation do we have to help strangers born into circumstances less fortunate than our own? Is choosing to "mind our own business" synonymous with silently condoning the behavior that led to people becoming refugees? Teacher Christina Davis shares that, "The kids have really amazed me at how thoughtful and insightful their opinions are. The story is a great one, however, it is also heart wrenching. Although the main characters in the book are fictional, many of the events from the book did actually take place. My question to them will ultimately be - Is discussing painful events from history necessary to ensure that they are not repeated in the future?" 6th grade Civics teacher Cindy Cartwright is also using Refugee with the students in World Religions as a springboard to introduce Judaism.
Students will continue reading the book after Mid-Winter Break and will also be holding a drive for the International Rescue Committee. Stay tuned for details about what and how you can donate to their IRC drive.
Middle School History teacher Brandon Perry was a featured guest in an educational podcast last week. It is called Stronger Together, a video podcast hosted by Dr. Matthew X. Joseph and focused on the importance of connections and collaboration within education. Brandon's episode particularly focuses on the ultimate message of connection - between teachers and students and between teachers and teachers. It also touches on how Brandon is becoming a digitally connected educator, and a better classroom teacher because of that. Check it out here (season 1 episode 9).
We're proud to share that Tandem Friends coach and Middle School PE teacher Avis Fields was named Coach of the Year in the HER Inaugural Sports Awards. HER SPORTS hosted these awards (held in honor of National Girls and Women’s Sport Day) to acknowledge the accomplishments of local female athletes and coaches in Charlottesville and surrounding counties; winners were announced on February 5. Locally, Avis coaches JV Volleyball at Tandem Friends, HER Sports Club Volleyball, and Vision Sports Club volleyball. She is a certified Hip-Hop Step instructor. She coached Junior Olympic 16U and 18U volleyball teams in Charlotte, NC and assistant coached a D-I volleyball team at Winston-Salem University. She is also a recipient of a local Golden Apple teaching award. Avis brings an empowering positivity and compassion to her coaching and teaching. Congratulations, Avis, on this well-deserved award!
7th and 8th grade scientists have been investigating the difference between science and pseudoscience. Teacher Anne Deane shared, "We reviewed the standards and methods of science, and learned to identify a number of logical fallacies (false cause, appeal to nature, bandwagon, cherry-picking, etc). Students then researched a sketchy pseudoscientific claim, such as Bigfoot, ESP, or Flat Earth, and debunked it. Although some of the claims were ridiculous (and our search histories may never recover), we have learned a lot about how to separate valid claims from shiny nonsense."
8th graders in Carolyn Warhaftig's English class have been reading Elie Wiesel's Night and learning about the Holocaust. They welcomed Linda Ferguson to their Community Time on Friday. Linda is a longtime Charlottesville resident whose mother, Eva Dreikurs Ferguson, is a Holocaust survivor. Linda's mother left Austria when she was 9 years old. Sadly, Eva's father and grandparents were unable to escape and perished in the concentration camps. Linda shared her mother's story with our 8th graders, who found it both compelling and sad and asked many questions.
Six Upper Schoolers are representing Tandem at this year's 2022 Quaker Youth Leadership Conference (held February 3-5), an annual gathering which connects students from Quaker schools all over the world. This year's conference is being held both in person at Friends Central School in Philadelphia, and virtually for those schools that want to participate from afar. Tandem's virtual student delegation includes seniors Sophie P and Caroline B, juniors Mia P, Anna W, Talia S and Lilly C, and sophomore Julian P; teacher Jason Farr is their faculty sponsor. Tandem students will be together at Tandem as they participate virtually through Saturday.
This year's theme, "Window Into My World: Seeking Equity through Stories," will ask participants to think about "the importance of storytelling in our lives, and how stories can help us understand ourselves and others better." Tandem participants will join in virtual getting to know you activities, workshops about stories and storytelling with presenters who use storytelling in various ways throughout their professional and personal lives, daily Meeting for Worship, a storytelling panel, keynote speaker Ron Norsworthy, virtual affinity spaces, a talent show, student-led workshops, and much more. QYLC presenters include documentary filmmaker/photographer Natasha Cohen Carroll; artist and educator Dwight Dunston of Lion's Story; narrative expressionist artist and writer Jesse White; and Karen Campbell, a teacher and administrator at Penn Charter School who is also a part of Lion's Story.
Tandem students always 'return' from QYLC fueled with ideas and information that will help inspire and guide our community.
Five Tandem Upper Schoolers (four sophomores and one junior - all members of the Tandem Earth group) spent February 1st participating in Conservation Lobby Day, something our Tandem Earth students have done for many years. The students are working in partnership with Virginia Conservation Network to talk (virtually) to their state senators and delegates about environmental bills that are currently circulating through the state house and senate. Some of the topics of the bills the students are lobbying for include: Clean Energy (solar-ready roofing), Wildlife Corridor protection, Greenhouse Gas Regulation, Environmental Literacy (education in schools about environmental issues), and protecting indigenous land in Virginia. They participated in four online meetings to lend their voices and insights, and when they weren't busy with these online meetings, they were working as a committee to plan Earth Day and other Tandem Earth plans for the year. Thank you to Emi M, Zoe J, Josie F, Mika L, Kaia C, and science teacher Casey for your passionate stewardship.
5th graders have been testing the 'bridges' they designed in their third engineering challenge with teacher Cindy Cartwright, the Platform Bridge Challenge. Pairs of engineers worked together to create a paper bridge that would span the distance between two stacks of, what else, National Geographic magazines. Testing was accomplished by placing individual pennies on each bridge to see how many the structure could hold before collapsing.
Tandem junior Theo Adams, also a talented artist, has more reasons than the rest of us to like snow. Theo was chosen by local author Flora Reser Wyatt to illustrate her children’s book Let it Snow! Theo created 35 illustrations for the book using ink and watercolor on paper. He worked on many of the illustrations during an independent art class last semester.
Check out some of his wonderful illustrations. Congratulations on becoming a published artist, Theo!
Our ever-inquisitive and creative 5th grade scientists, led by teacher Cindy Cartwright, started the semester with a couple of engineering challenges. Challenge #1 was the Tallest Tree Challenge. Students worked in pairs mostly to create the tallest self-standing structure they could out of newspaper and tape. Their goal was to create the tallest such structure and to find out the answers to some basic design questions: What shape is the strongest? What forces are at work in any structure? What role does the base of a structure play?
In the Tree Challenge, students had to design a 3-D tree that could stand up, creating it out of a file folder. The goal was to create a tree that could withstand a gentle wind (made by fanning the tree with a file folder).
Tenth graders spent a day this week at UVA launching into their Sophomore Seminars. For the next three months, they will each dive into deep learning about their chosen topics, developing their skills as researchers, writers, and presenters. On Wednesday, they were able to spend the day learning about the UVA library system, touring both the databases and the physical spaces, and gathering sources for their upcoming research. They were chaperoned by teachers on the 9/10 team who will support them throughout their research process in the coming months.
Tandem juniors are studying F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby with teacher Tucker Winter. This week students participated in a House Hunters: Great Gatsby Edition activity where they used current Zillow listings located near the New York setting of the book to choose the "Best" house for characters Nick, Gatsby, Tom & Daisy, and Myrtle & George. Students had five actual listings for each person's house from which to choose, and they had to write a statement for each justifying their choices based on their understanding of each character in the novel from their reading. There were some pretty fascinating houses to choose from.