Drama teacher Lydia Horan shares what this semester's 6th graders worked on in Drama class: "This semester the 6th grade wrote their own original fairy tales and monologues. They became the “Masked Players” and with masks on, simple costumes and set pieces, both 6th grade classes performed and video recorded their theatrical pieces as a group. As I watched them write, rehearse and record, I was struck by their creativity, their teamwork and their courage to “put themselves out there.” Clearly, the 6th grade has had a challenging year and I feel like the fairy tale theme allowed them to express themselves in a unique way - exploring death, loss, anger and camaraderie in a safe and playful space. I allowed them free reign to create whimsical stories and play with pretend swords - and many of their pieces seem to not only channel Grimm’s fairy tales, Aesop’s fables and other folktales, but also Greek tragedies, Sondheim’s Into the Woods, and Sci-Fi Fantasy shows. Their work even included a re-enactment of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I think exploring the world of fairy tales (whether silly or dark) gave the students agency, created catharsis and brought them light. They were at ease with each other and the material and loved putting on the costumes and pretending. I’ve really enjoyed working with this compassionate, prolific, fun and generous group of students! I will miss teaching them!"
Check out the videos of their original fairy tales here.
Check out their original fairy tale monologues here.
Tandem counselor and alum Monica Johnson (TFS '04) competes in strongwoman events on a national level and recently won her professional level debut event - the Iron Warrior Pro/Am in Huntington, Indiana. Monica came in first place in the heavyweight category - she's on the right in the photo.
Here are some of her impressive event stats - wow!:
- Max Axle press, 215 lbs - Car DL for reps in a minute, 18 - Keg Press 175 lbs reps in a minute, 3 in 30 seconds - 90 lb per hand farmers for 150 with 2 turns, 31 seconds - Max stone over bar, 285 lbs (so close to getting 302 over)
The Upper School held Student Senate elections this week, with each candidate giving a speech in the morning to share their experience and goals if elected. Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Upper School Student Senate members elected:
President: Anya Bullock, 12th
Vice-President: Dylan Peifer, 12th
Secretary: Grace Wagner, 11th
Treasurer: Iris Susan, 12th
Communications: Charlie Kalnite, 10th
Many thanks to this year's hard-working Student Senate officers as well, who accomplished many great things despite COVID.
On Wednesday, June 4, the community met on the front lawn to attend this year's Upper School awards presentation. Click here for a description of the awards presented; see the list below for this year's honorees:
Rookie of the Year Award - Devin Malhotra
Amy Strand Award- Sophie Passino
Community Service Award- Caroline Baylin
Community Consciousness Award - Madeline Caduff
William & Mary Leadership Award - Anya Bullock
UVA Leadership Award - Iris Susen
Duncan Alling Scholar Athlete Award - Kieran Nardi-White
Upper School art teacher Lou Haney is participating as an artist in the local Art on Fire program with the Bridge/C'ville Mural Project. They have partnered with Albemarle County and Diantha McKeel (supervisor) to put together this project to paint local fire hydrants - check out some details at https://charlottesvillemuralproject.org/art-on-fire/. Two of Lou's Tandem students, Julian and Maya, visited her on site to watch and help with her work, a great opportunity to see the importance of art and community working together. A local news crew also visited - check out the story here. Artist Rayne McPhee painted the bee hive hydrant.
6th graders Henry Camarata and Roland Jennings opened up a lemonade and ice cream stand at lunch one day this week and were able to raise $131 for Safe Water, an organization that is trying to stop acid rain. Roland and Henry researched acid rain in class and each prepared slideshows about acid rain. This is Henry's Acid Rain presentation and this is Roland's Acid Rain presentation. Their passion to make a difference made for some happy people at lunch and raised a nice sume for Safe Water. Well done, Henry and Roland!
In drama this year, 7th graders in three different groups have put together digital skits and videos for episodes of their own original material in Cafe 007. Group 3 recently shared their work in Spring Cafe 007. Group 3's material was created, filmed and edited in online classroom Meets, and individually at home, and then pieced together to form episodes. They created six episodes of Spring Cafe 007! Middle School drama teacher Lydia Horan works with her creative students to make it happen.
Group 3 Spring Cafe 007 writers and performers are: Caitlin Alberts, John Ballenger, Amya Brown, Richard Crisler, Beatrice Gaines, Hunter Johnston, Misha Kolomeisky, Kavi Masters, Owen Royster, Sophia Saunier, and Ty Shelton.
Tandem Friends 8th grade Theatre Lab students enjoyed hearing from one final performing artist this semester, TV/film/theatre actor DaJuan Johnson, who joined them online for a class. The students watched some of his work ahead of time and prepared questions to learn more about his experience as an actor. Students wanted to know about DaJuan's training, experiences on shows and sets, coaching other actors, the differences between TV and stage work, his writing and directing projects and more. He answered their questions with honesty, passion and humor. His best advice to actors was to 'master the art of letting go.'
DaJuan Johnson is an actor and director known for his work on Bosch, Grey's Anatomy (for which he received an Emmy nomination - https://vimeo.com/332383475) and Marvel's Agent Carter. He guest starred on Netflix's Narcos as well as many other shows, including Brooklyn 99, Bones, Prime Suspect and CSI, among others. He has acted in theatre and film as well as TV and has been a director, writer and a life coach for actors. Fun fact and Tandem connection - DaJuan has been good friends since college with the mother of 8th grader Naia.
On May 25, Tandem Friends hosted a Senior Sports Signing/Commitment Event honoring a record number of student athletes signing to play college sports in a single year at Tandem Friends School! Four of our seniors and their families gathered for the signing, as well as students who gathered on the front lawn to watch during lunch. Congratulations to Mason Love (George Mason University, D1 cross country and track), Julia Dailey (Connecticut College, D3 volleyball), Ford Scott (Washington and Lee University, D3 basketball), and Sophie Farr (Vassar College, D3 cross country and track). We're so proud of their academic and athletic successes and wish them the best of luck in this next chapter.
Check out a lengthy Daily Progress article that features each student's thoughts on what it means to them to move on to college-level play. And check out the photos as well.
Our 5th graders, who have taken over and planted our dry pond area, took on every gardener's challenge this week - how to water the plants when there is no nearby water source. Several inventive young gardeners designed some creative ways to get the much-needed (especially lately) water down to the dry pond, including backpack delivery systems, localized water catchers, and more. They also experimented this week with air pressure, learning how air can displace water in a fun and wet outdoor experiment.
6th graders had a busy week raising money and collecting needed items for others. The week began with a bake sale, with 100% of the profits going to Giving Green and 4ocean. They baked and sold an amazing array of cookies, cupcakes, rice krispie treats, brownies, and more. In the end, they raised over $100 to donate to Giving Green and 4ocean, two causes dear to their hearts because of all of the learning they have done about ocean life and climate change.
This year in world geography class the 6th graders learned about the many challenges faced by refugees throughout the world. Moved by the spirit of giving, they collected personal hygiene and cleaning products to donate to the local branch of the International Rescue Committee.
Many thanks to everyone who helped them do for others!
Just as T.S Eliot took the naming of cats seriously, Tandem students and faculty have been helping Heidi Passino of Dragon Hill Farm name her baby goats (the ones that have been visiting us on campus all spring). Heidi invited all to participate in the naming of the twelve baby goats by making it a contest. For each goat, there is a contest form emailed to students and faculty that includes a photo of the goat (photos taken by Mary Lyman Bias, our Director of Admissions), the names of the goat's parents, goat's gender, and anything else deemed important. Heidi and her goat naming cohort then choose a winner - each winner receives cookies and each goat gets a unique and creative game. The naming will continue over the final weeks of school until all goats are named.
The winners so far (check photos to see if you agree with the winning names):
Goat #1 - The Great Goatsby - named by Rose Ryan-Byrne (8th) Goat #2 - Vincent Van Goat - named by London Pryor-Williams (8th) Goat #3 - Acorn - named by Caroline Kohr (9th) Goat #4 - Milli - named by teacher Perry Medlin Goat #5 - Vanilli - named by teacher Perry Medlin Goat #6 - Motley Moo - named by Admissions Director Mary Lyman Bias Goat #7 - Zygoat - named by Larissa Foster (9th) Goat #8 - Munch - named by Jack Johnson (6th) Goat #9 - Scape Goat by Marley Boston (8th) Goat #10 - Butterbum by Murray Susen (8th) Goat #11 - Goat-Meal by Luca Ball (9th) Goat #12 - Puck - by teacher Lydia Horan
Congratulations to our winning namers! And thanks to Heidi for the fun naming game.
6th grade drama students have been working on 'fractured fairy tale' versions this semester. They have rewritten well-known fairy tales with their own unique twists, then rehearsed them, costumed them and filmed them. These completed videos will be shared with the community once they are edited by teacher Lydia Horan, who has been working with the students on these creations.
Students have also taken on a fairy tale character individually and written a monologue for that character to perform. During lunch recently, they got to put on costumes, grab their props, and perform their monologues live and in person for students and faculty during lunch. Each took a turn at the microphone (sanitized between uses) to share their memorized monologue. We heard from Jack in the Beanstalk, Little Red, Shrek, Alice in Wonderland, the Wolf, and so many more. The audience sat distant and numerous speakers amplified the fairy tale characters so all could hear. One student even performed virtually. What a lunchtime treat for everyone! Watch for videos of their fairy tale rewrites soon! Check out the photos in this post or see a full slideshow here.
Tandem runners had a strong showing at the Mint Springs Trail 5K on May 8. Senior Mason Love came in first overall out of a field of 200 people in various age groups. Sophomore Michael O'Neill came in third overall. Senior Sophie Farr finished second in her age group and set a big personal record on that course. According to coach Jason Farr, 'This is a tough course and these kids crushed it!' Additionally, Mason Love ran unattached (no school team competitions this year due to COVID) at the recent Ragged Mountain Cup and made it into the top 15. Congratulations to Tandem runners for making the very best of a challenging year. Good luck to Mason and Sophie, who will be running for George Mason University and Vassar College, respectively, next year!
As our 9th and 10th grade Integrated Science students puzzle over the question 'what is life?,' they have had some great guest speakers help them uncover many facts, including diseases that can end life. Last week, Dr. Kristi Ward, a radiation oncologist at UVA, came to speak about cancer and radiation treatments.
This week, students were spellbound by Dr. Brett Kurpiel, a Department of Pathology 1st-year resident at UVA Hospital (also the spouse of music teacher/medical coordinator Cam Pampus), who talked about the field of medical pathology. Dr. Kurpiel outlined his educational background and his life as a resident in the Department of Pathology, where one of his duties is performing autopsies to both determine medical cause of death and perform research. He talked about major causes of death, and then walked the students through a typical autopsy (including some very cool photos of internal organs). He explained the process and the reasons for performing autopsies in a straightforward way, emphasizing the peace of mind the results can bring grieving family members. Students asked some great questions throughout.
At the end of his talk, Dr. Kurpiel showed some carefully preserved human organ samples that were especially fascinating, as they provided a sense of organ size and some showed clear examples of disease (lung cancer, arteriosclerosis, etc.). The size of an adult uterus (so small!) was of particular interest. Students who wanted a closeup look put on gloves and bravely examined his samples themselves at the end of the class. Dr. Kurpiel plans to stay in the field and become a pediatric pathologist, and you can be sure he will be asked back as a speaker again.
Tandem sophomores completed an academic rite of passage last week as they presented their Sophomore Seminar research projects. Students spent second semester researching and writing a 15+ page academic paper on a subject of their choosing. The students really knew their material. After completing their papers, which include detailed footnotes and bibliographies, each presented in person to their classmates. 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.
The Role of the Internet in the Democratization of the Arts
The Sneaker Industry
Are Athlete Protests Effective in Bringing About Change?
The History of Basketball
U.S. Destabilization of Leftist Governments in the Global South
The Benefits of Your Well-being by Neurotransmitters vs. Drugs
Social Impact of Undocumented Immigration in the Community
The Ethical Considerations of Artificial Intelligence
The Evolution in Rap Music
Flotation and Sensory Deprivation as Anxiolytic Treatment
The Psychology of an Athlete
Fishing Regulations and their Effect on Ecosystems (Striped Bass)
The Age of the Renaissance through the Lens of Humanism
Societal Response to Sexual Assault Survivors in Society
ROTC and its Effects on College Performance vs. Enlistment
Historical Events Influence on Women's Fashion
Specialization vs. Diversification in Youth Sports
Why Women are Beginning to Dominate the US Olympic Teams
Why Do We Dream?
Landback: Advancing Justice for Indigenous Peoples in the United States
Objectification of Women/Children in Japan
Why Companies/Corporations should Invest in Renewable Energy
Mindfulness and Meditation and their Effects on athletes
Simulation Theory—How Likely, and How it would Affect our Lives
What does the Future have in Store for Moore’s Law?
Safety and Environmental Pros and Cons of Different Transportation Methods
Mehmed II and the Fall of Constantinople: Leadership Ability
Toxic Masculinity: Nature or Nurture?
Systemic Problems in Female Athletics
Popularity of Videogames and its Relation to Advancements in Graphics
Our ever inquisitive 5th grade scientists, while busy planting and weeding the dry pond area on campus, have also been monitoring the bluebird houses located all around the school this spring (we are part of an official bluebird trail). This means they checked nests regularly and have been recording all of their findings in a blog. Two weeks ago, they were joined online by retired Middle School science teacher Christine Putnam, who was very informative about the bluebirds on campus. Check out their hypotheses, discoveries and photos here. It's a great read!
Tandem tutor Heidi Passino has been busy on her Dragon Hill Farm in Fluvanna County helping to bring baby goats and lambs into the world. Fortunately for us, she loves to share these bundles of cuteness with the Tandem community. On a sunny day this week, Heidi brought about ten baby goats, most about 2-3 weeks old, to Tandem for the day so that students could enjoy them between classes and during break and lunch (seniors even got to bottle feed them). Heidi raises Nigerian Dwarf goats, the smallest breed of dairy goats (originally from West Africa) as well as Shetland sheep, and for many years has hosted Tandem students in our most popular Emphasis - goat farming. She cheerfully shares her young offspring with us on campus for Spring Day, Mother's Day Music Festival, and other outdoor gatherings each spring. They are a much-anticipated addition enjoyed by students and adults on campus as well. Thanks to Heidi and Dragon Hill Farm for bringing back the baby goats!
Tandem Friends Latin students in grades 8-12 earned great results on the 2021 National Latin Exam. Eight students were gold medal winners who also received a Summa cum laude ("with highest praise") certificate -
Phia Steinitz-Jackson (Latin 3), Adam Kohr (Latin 3), Josie Fischman (Latin 3), Olivia Bowers (AP Latin), Willow Kittlesen (Latin 2), Emma Peifer (Latin 2), Aila Whitworth (Latin 2) and Marley Boston (Latin 2); five students were silver medal winners who also received a Maxima cum laude ("with very great praise") certificate -
Mika Levine (Latin 3), Iris Susen (Latin Independent Study), Sophie Stevenson (AP Latin), Maggie Winter (Latin 2) and Orro Bowers (Latin 2); Riley Butley (Latin 2) was a Magna cum laude ("with great praise") certificate winner and Sophie Farr (AP Latin) was a Cum laude ("with praise") certificate winner. That's over 70% of our upper level Latin students receiving National Latin Exam awards - praeclarus, Tandem Latin students and Latin teacher Tim Brannelly!
8th grade Musical Theatre students from this fall's class worked on filming themselves in scenes from the beloved musical Beauty and the Beast, which allowed multiple students to play the same roles in different versions of the same scenes. Costumes and props sometimes headed home for scene recording. The individual scenes were then edited together, with some background visuals and sounds added to enhance the video experience.
Lydia Horan's 8th grade Theatre Lab students came up with a delicious challenge for themselves just before Spring Break - to design and create cakes based on a play/musical. The entries ranged from Alice in Wonderland to Wicked. Students baked and decorated their creations, photographed them, then shared them with their families for a delicious celebration of theatre. Students wanted it to be a competition, so Middle School faculty and administrators voted on their favorite - students even asked visiting online guest artist Lindsay Northen, a member of Broadway's Wicked cast, to choose her favorite. Click here to see a video of their creations and decide your own favorite. Then read on to see who won and who made which cake.
The winning creation was Hairspray Cake by Ollie Kircher (he receives an Amazon gift card)! The runner up was Mary Poppins Cake by Izzy Goodbar and coming in third place was Mamma Mia! Cake by Chloe Baylin. While these were the winners, every cake received votes. The other cakes in the competition were: Phantom of the Opera Cake by Riley Butler; American Revolution Cake by William Van Der Werf; Alice in Wonderland Cake by Maggie Winter; and, The Wicked Cake by Naia Downs-Reeve.
With the completion of their recent plate tectonics and earthquake unit, 6th grade science students built earthquake-resistant structures this week. They also built their own shake tables to test their prototypes. The students applied what they had learned about three types of substructures that engineers commonly use: shear walls, cross beams, and gussets. The challenge was on as the student groups all tried to build the highest building that could successfully withstand 10 seconds on the shake table. They also had the opportunity to purchase more materials for their structure by trying their luck with the “Wheel of Chance.” Each outcome on the wheel was different, and students were required to perform a cost benefit analysis, simulating decisions that engineers must make when trying to build a safe, affordable structure.
8th grade Theatre Lab class students enjoyed hearing from their third guest performing artist, Broadway actress Lindsay Northen, who joined them online for a class this week. Lindsay has played in the Broadway cast of Wicked as an understudy for Glinda, as well as appearing nightly in the ensemble, for thirteen years. She talked to the students about life as a Broadway actress and the path she took to get there, other ways to work as an actress and singer, and interesting things that happen onstage and off. She provided wise and sometimes humorous responses to all of the student's questions, which were plentiful and covered a wide range of topics, and was very 'Popular' with the students. Fun fact and Tandem connection - Middle School drama teacher Lydia Horan performed with Lindsay twice at the Heritage Theatre Festival at UVA in past years, in the musicals Grease and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.
Lindsay has also appeared in many TV shows, including recent roles in New Amsterdam on NBC (Nurse McCarthy) and Tales of the City on Netflix. She will be appearing in Season 6 of The Americans and Season 1 of The Last O.G. opposite Tracy Morgan and has done TV commercials for Publix, Breyers, Direct TV, Canon, TimeWarner, Pillsbury, Fedex and others. She is married to a fellow Broadway actor - Jared Bradshaw - and they have a 6-year old daughter named Georgia, who also answered a couple of questions for our students ("what's it like to have two parents who are broadway actresses?").
Before Spring Break, students in Spanish 4 & 5 participated in a virtual cooking class where they prepared pan con tomate or “bread with tomato”. This popular dish is a staple in Spanish cuisine and consists simply of bread, tomato, salt, garlic, and olive oil. It is a fixture in the world of tapas (small plates usually enjoyed at a bar in the afternoon amongst friends). It also marks the beginning of an epic sandwich or snack with the option to add toppings like a fried egg or Iberian ham. The recipe uses simple wholesome ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. The class was taught exclusively in Spanish and provided an opportunity for students to practice informal commands and learn unique vocabulary. 9th & 10th grade students who were not able to engage in the cook-along were tasked with creating an English transcript of the recipe. Food photo courtesy of Jolie Maness.
Hungry for more? Check out the transcript below provided by Akari Hernandez.
Pan con tomate
You will need two knives, a grater, a fork, a bowl, one tomato (we used Roma), salt (a bit grainier, less fine), olive oil, one clove of garlic, and bread. Usually for this recipe people use white bread rather than whole or something of the sort.
Step 1: Cut the bread into slices, we’ll start with two. Toast the bread in the toaster.
Step 2: Slice your first tomato in half. Placing your grater atop your bowl, grate the first half of your tomato on the side with the biggest holes. Use your palm to avoid cutting your fingers. Grate until all that is left is the skin of the tomato. You can throw out the skin.
Step 3: Take your clove of garlic and cut it in half. Scrape your garlic across your toasted bread slices. Add your grated tomato flesh to your garlic-covered bread. You can also add the juice if you like tomatoes a lot. Spread the tomato around the bread. Add salt to your liking. Put your bread on a plate and add olive oil to your liking.
We’re very proud of Tandem Friends senior Sophie Farr, the 2021 Tandem Friends School nominee for The Emily Couric Leadership Scholarship Award, who was recently awarded a $7,000 scholarship from The Emily Couric Leadership Forum. The ten local leadership award finalists (one from each local high school) were honored online on April 14 and in the press and the final winners announced.
Sophie has been at Tandem since 5th grade, an ever-present leader in academics and athletics. She will be attending Vassar College this fall, where she will also run cross country and track for the school. Here’s what the Leadership Forum’s website shares about her: “Sophie most admires leaders who prioritize teamwork. She has exercised her own ability to collaborate in many roles at Tandem, among them, leader of Friends Council, the Latin Club, and captain of the Cross Country and Track & Field Team. Sophie has competed in the Science Olympiad and Model United Nations and belongs to Tandem’s Feminist Club and Diversity Council. She was awarded Tandem’s Head of School Award as the junior who has contributed the most to the school’s academics, service and extracurriculars. Both Sophie’s confidence and her love of the outdoors have been bolstered by her experience with Outward Bound. She has worked with others to create the Environmental Advocacy Committee which held a Youth Summit to exchange ideas about sustainability. Sophie looks forward to her love of learning, and her interest in environmentalism and science influencing her future endeavors.” Congratulations, Sophie!
Read more about each nominee here. Check out a video shared by The Emily Couric Leadership Forum featuring this year’s nominees 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 $106,000 for this 2021 year.
In drama this year, 7th graders in three different groups are putting together digital skits and videos for episodes of their own original material in Cafe 007. Group 2 recently shared their work in Winter Cafe 007 (Group 1 completed theirs in November). Group 2's material was created, filmed and edited in online classroom Meets, and individually at home, and then pieced together to form episodes. They created five episodes of Winter Cafe 007! Middle School drama teacher Lydia Horan works with her creative students to make it happen.
Group 2 Winter Cafe 007 writers and performers are: Sophie Alberts, Kendal Asplin, Ty Bias, Griffin Bullock, Eli Carter, Christiana Crisler, Kai Davies, Oscar Davies, Lola Glbraith, Hudson Lawrence, Jack Murphy and Owen Serton.
Last fall, our 5th graders studied tulips through the Journey North Project, planting bulbs according to the Journey North parameters for their Northern Hemisphere experiment. They dissected and labeled bulbs, each student designed a planting experiment in which they changed only one constant, then they planted their experiment bulbs under the maple tree on the quad!
The tulips they planted last fall are coming up and results being documented. Journey North has now updated their tulip map to include our 5th graders' post (see screenshot photo)! You can find their post (test your map skills to find our pinpoint) at: https://maps.journeynorth.org/map/?map=tulips-bloomed&year=2021. Each 5th grader has also written twice to a "Tulip Pal," a student from another school that is participating in the Journey North tulip study, in a joint English-Geography-Science-Math project!
5th graders continue to plant seeds for the dry pond project. Some teams worked to plant seeds in pots and trays while another set up seeds for cold, moist stratification. 5th graders are also putting their final touches on, and naming, their 2D average 5th grader. It's been a busy, science-filled spring. Check out the photos of all of these projects!
6th grade mathematicians are working on their 2D average 6th grader, learning to take average measurements to the thousandth of a meter! They have been working in pairs to share potential measurement strategies.
6th grade Civics students presented their different strategies to inform constituents in the 5th District of Virginia about current legislation they want to see passed! Lucy created a "Lucy-sized" poster complete with loads of information, a letter to Representative Bob Good, a petition, and a small 3D (paper) shark fin that everyone should look for on campus after Spring Break! Robert created an impressive video news spotlight (in front of the Lincoln Memorial?), promoting H.R. 848: GREEN Act of 2021. These 6th graders are becoming active, passionate citizens!
7th and 8th grade English teacher Carolyn Warhaftig livened up vocabulary study this spring by running a March Madness kind of vocab competition. Students in all classes volunteered to enter the tournament (about 10 students per class in both 7th and 8th grades entered). The game they played is similar to "Heads Up" - a vocabulary word from the class list 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 played about 3 rounds to get to the Final Four, with the championship rounds held on April 1. Assistance from class timekeepers (Sydni, Cullen, Destiny, Kendal A), scorekeepers (Marley, Orro, Taylor, Lola), and facilitators (Riley, Rose, Eli M, Joseph) kept the championship round moving smoothly. The Final Four pairings were as follows:
Grade 7 Final Four:
Mya + Scott vs. Sophie A + Avery
Fia + Ty vs. Griffin + Jack
Grade 8 Final Four:
Izzy + Max vs. Maggie + Chloe
Kendall + Murray vs. Linwood + Gabe
After a lively couple of rounds, the champion teams for each grade were declared - 7th grade champs were Sophie A. and Avery; 8th grade champs were Maggie and Chloe. Congratulations, word wizards!
Tandem's 9th and 10th grade history students accepted the annual 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 fifth annual 'Peeping into History' project - we always look forward to these colorful and fun history tableaux. Check some out!
In late March, the Class of 2021 presented their Senior Projects on campus in person, and via Zoom, so that friends and family members could share the story of each individual Senior Project journey. A major project has been required of every graduating senior at Tandem Friends since the school’s inception in 1970. The current major project components include a detailed journal, regular meetings with technical and faculty advisors, an oral presentation of results to the community, and a detailed written research paper/synopsis of the project.
We were certainly amazed by the remarkable achievements of the Class of 2021 and the qualities of perseverance, resilience, and optimism reflected in their work. Here is a link to their varied and impressive topics, which ranged from astrophotography and KPop dancing to wabi sabi creamics and learning Russian. Congratulations to all of our seniors for their hard work and mastery, and to Senior Project leader Barbara Studholme and our faculty advisors for their dedication to this annual rite of passage that never fails to impress. Check out more photos of this year's Senior Project presentations here.
During one of their on-campus Friday sessions together, 9th graders enjoyed a fun project on a spring-like day that was both science-related and promoted team building. Working in small groups or pairs, students were given a soapy bubble solution, then had to create bubble 'wands' out of straws. Why bubbles? Science teachers Jocelyn and Alex used the project as an intro to cell membranes because bubbles are excellent models of membranes as they behave in many similar ways. The team-building aspect came in challenges to make the bubbles produced do different things, like: create the biggest free-floating bubble, cut a bubble in half without popping it, or push your finger through the bubble and back out without popping it. Check out some fun photos of this hands-on activity.
This semester, our 9th and 10th graders are tackling the biggest of all questions: "What is the meaning of life?" This theme weaves through their Integrated Science, World History and World Literature classes as they examine the meanings of life, love and death through all three lenses. They just finished the “What is life?” unit. In science class, they explored the characteristics of life, investigated the connection between form and function, and unpacked the molecules of food and cellular respiration. In English they explored expressions of life, liveliness, livelihood, and what it means to "truly live", through poetry, fiction, and short stories. History class focused on the quest for power (empires!) as the driving force behind our understanding of life, love and death.
Now they seek to answer the "What is love?" component of the question. Science class will focus on the neurobiology behind emotions, hormones, neurotransmitters, how memories are made, emotion/memory connection, cell transportation, and more. (One project will be to create a dating profile of a hormone to determine who it attracts.) In English, they are reading the short story collection Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and a selection of love poetry from ancient times to modernity, including works from Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Margaret Atwood, Sappho, William Shakespeare, and John Donne. History classes will continue their study of empires and the pursuit of power, and students will write love letters between two historical figures (with entertaining pairings - think Genghis Khan and pretty much anyone).
The semester will conclude with a look at the death component of the eternal question "What is the meaning of life?" Whew! Big ideas...we can't wait to hear their answers.
This week, 5th graders began marking out the regions of the dry pond for each planting design team, but there were some boundary disputes. Thankfully, Henry Adam's plan for the distribution of team areas passed with a unanimous round of 'Yeas"!. All of this is part of the 5th grade's newest science project to determine, grow and plant the dry pond located to the right of our entrance with native plants. (Dry ponds, also called 'dry extended detention basins', are stormwater control ponds used to capture storm runoff and contain it temporarily.) Our 5th graders have tested the soil for water retention and texture. They have also determined the amount of sunlight different areas receive, and verified the size of the dry pond, then each team will develop a planting design for their area of the dry pond. They recently planted in the dry pond for the first time - 50 liatris corms (perennials also known as blazing stars) so far with more going in after the rains. Excitement continues about this project that teaches, improves a natural area, and helps control stormwater.
This week, Lydia Horan's 8th Grade Theatre Lab students were visited virtually by Demetia Hopkins, professional actress and dancer, the second presenter in their guest artists lineup. Demetia is a performing artist and dance educator based in New York City and Central Virginia. She made her Broadway debut in the 2019 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma. One of Dance Magazine's 'Top 25 to Watch,' and cited one of '26 Black Female Choreographers and Dancers You Should Know,' Hopkins shared her training and performance background and stories with the students, talking about motivation, passion, inspiration, and life as a touring dancer and Broadway show member in NYC. Students asked great questions such as: Can you describe a typical evening getting ready for a show? What's the craziest thing that's happened backstage? Do you get stage fright and how do you deal with it? What's the hardest thing you've had to deal with? Demetia answered with honesty, grace and a real passion for performing and teaching. The students loved getting to watch video of some of Demetia's performances as well.
Demetia's early dance training was from nearby Orange School of Performing Arts (OSPA) under the direction of her uncle, Ricardo Porter. (She also took Musical Theatre classes from and appeared in shows directed by our own Lydia Horan, who taught at OSPA for many years.) She graduated with honors from the Ailey/Fordham University BFA program in 2009 while a member of the Ailey II company. In 2010, she joined the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, spending a six-year tenure touring and performing pieces by prestigious world choreographers, including Alvin Ailey's signature solo piece, Cry. Other credits include the film Hal King and the opening number for the Save Birdland concert in NYC. She was a member of Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel and has performed with the Francesca Harper Project, Project-Inc., Mimi Garrard and Dianne McIntyre. She is proud to be the Co-Artistic Director at Orange School of Performing Arts.
Valentine's Day at Tandem Friends has always been full of creative and wacky ways to celebrate, led by seniors. Dressed in Valentine's Day finery, these Cupids annually raise money for class activities by delivering ordered valentines, candy, flowers, dances and even musical serenades to community members. The fun usually begins at Morning Meeting with a few very public deliveries and continues through the day. This year, our seniors did not let COVID or our Mid-Winter Break stop the annual tradition. They delivered serenades virtually during online classes one day and picked two Thursdays later in the month to deliver candygrams and flowers ordered by students, parents and faculty. We so admire the spirit, creative thinking and tenacity that went into rethinking another Tandem tradition. Thanks and congratulations to Sophie Farr, Leah Gunnoe and the rest of the Class of 2021 for organizing and orchestrating the Valentine's Day fun.
This fall the 8th grade theatre class (made up of 20 students) decided to split into two groups, working on two separate projects. One group created their own material called Crazy 8's Cabaret (films, monologues, poetry, and comedy skits), along with dancing with the other group in the Beauty and the Beast Jr. number "Be Our Guest." (The other half of the class worked on recording the Broadway Jr. version of Beauty and the Beast, which is still in the editing phase and will be released later in the spring.) Congrats to the Crazy 8's crew for their hard work and creativity in designing a virtual show!
Check out their work by clicking on the episode links below:
As part of their classes this semester, students in Lydia Horan's 8th grade Theatre Lab will be joined by special guest artists who are working in the performing arts and will talk about their work, their path, and their inspirations. This week, they enjoyed their first special virtual guest artist, once a Tandem Middle Schooler herself. Sonya Hayden, who attended Middle School at Tandem as a member of the Class of 2011 (she played Queen Agravain in the 8th grade production of Once Upon a Mattress), joined the class virtually from NYC to talk about her work as a composer, playwright, and lyricist.
Sonya talked about her college experience composing music and working on every aspect of theatre. She answered questions about mentors and inspiration (you can bet Lydia was on that list as a major influence), and then explained how she decided to focus on being a composer, lyricist and playwright. She shared a recent project created as part of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop; paired with a composer, she had to write musical numbers for a show based on a film or book. They chose Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries, then created three songs, with Sonya as lyricist. At the project's end, they filmed their songs being performed. Sonia shared that project video with the class - click here to enjoy her Princess Diaries numbers - which our students really enjoyed. What a gift for a former Tandem theatre student to return and share her thoughts, experiences and advice!
Sonya's work has appeared at local and international venues and she is a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, the Dramatists Guild, and ASCAP and is being mentored by Broadway Music Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell in Maestra’s mentorship program. She was previously a member of The Workshop Theatre’s selective writers’ intensive, the Princeton University Triangle Club Writers Workshop, for which she contributed music and lyrics for three full-length musicals, and Traverse Theatre Young Writers in Scotland. Sonya has an MSc in Playwriting from the University of Edinburgh and an A.B. in Music (Theatre minor) from Princeton University.
Thanks to Sonya for sharing her time and talents. Once a Tandemite, always a Tandemite! The next guest artist will be Demetia Hopkins, professional actress (recently in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma) and dancer (former member of Alvin Ailey company).
Three Upper Schoolers - Sophie Farr, Caroline Baylin and Lilly Chinn - are representing Tandem at this year's all-virtual Quaker Youth Leadership Conference (held February 4-6), which connects students from Quaker schools all over the world. Jason Farr is their teacher 'chaperone'. We will be eager to hear what they gain from this year's conference, whose theme is Staying Proximate, Staying Progressive, Staying Positive. QYLC participants bond through workshops, discussions, service, meeting for worship, and other group activitites.
In drama this year, 7th graders are putting together digital skits and videos for episodes of their own original material in Cafe 007. Group 1 completed their drama class in November. Material was created, filmed and edited in online classroom Meets, and individually at home, and then pieced together to form episodes. They created five episodes of Cafe 007! Middle School drama teacher Lydia Horan has enjoyed the creativity and perseverance of these young writers/performers/filmmakers! Click on the links below to watch Group 1's episodes:
Cafe 007 Group 1 includes the flooowing students: Delaney Boston, Scott Carmichael, Joseph Engle, Anisha Frelich, Destiny Johnson, Avery Lothamer, Elijah Muehlman, Taylor Raines, Gabriel Simon, Fia Smith, Brendan Spaeder, Melisa Usmonova.
*Group 2 is currently working on creating their episodes of Cafe 007 and Group 3 will begin work on their Cafe 007 starting in March. And still to come: the 8th grade recorded presentation of Crazy 8's Cabaret and later in the spring the 8th grade recorded production of Beauty and the Beast, as well as the 6th grade's recorded Foolish Fairy Tales!
"This year," says Middle School Drama teacher Lydia Horan, "TFS 5th graders created digital versions of scenes from Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. The students chose the settings, themes and characters they wanted to play in the various scenes. They rehearsed in class and recorded themselves at home using their Chromebook cameras. Some scenes are repeated with different themes and different actors playing the roles. The Cast: Henry Adams, Journey Boston, Nate Brown, Claire Dodson, Alexander Edwards, Miles Gosse, Henry Lawrence, Maude Leback, Tamittica Paulovich, Brendan Shiraishi, Vivi Tuerk, and Finn Walden. Congratulations to the 5th grade for their persistence, creativity, self-motivation and hard work in performing Shakespeare remotely, and using technology to bring scenes and characters from Midsummer to life!"
Use the links below to access the video scenes on the portal - or, from within the parent portal, click on News, then Featured Content - and enjoy watching these delightful and impressive scenes.
5th graders are studying mold in a cool bread experiment. The moldy bread in the photo shows one student's second mold experiment (along with findings on how to overlay a grid to scale). Aside from one slice of bread, no other slices of their "Texas Toast" have grown mold. 5th graders have determined that the cold may limit the growth, but preservatives in the bread play a bigger role in limiting mold growth on bread rubbed around a bathroom, on a computer keyboard or on the floor. Every student set up the same conditions for day-old bakery bread. While this bread has grown plenty of mold, everyone still feels more comfortable eating bread with fewer preservatives right now.
Update: Our intrepid 5th grade scientists continued with their mold study for another week. While only one piece of Texas Toast has grown mold over the last three weeks (preservatives!), their cheese bread began to seriously decompose. Before saying goodbye to the decomposing cheese bread, fifth graders calculated the area of the surface covered in mold as well as identified the types of mold. Great scientific practice.
6th grade Civics students researched new items in President Biden's Oval Office to determine what symbolism they hold for our country. Using their researched facts, as well as the big ideas they developed, students filled in an Oval Office BINGO card. Here's a look at Robert's card.
Students in the Engineering: Structures and Machines course taught by Alex Siragy have begun semester 2 with their trebuchet project, where the challenge is to use a trebuchet or catapult to launch a raw egg as far as possible without breaking the egg. The students must design and build something to carry and protect the egg as it is being catapulted. Check out some photos of one in the pre-trebuchet testing phase, with a little help from Jason Farr, who dropped it.
Tandem Friends recently earned the College Board's AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for "expanding young women’s access to AP Computer Science Principles (CSP)." 1,119 schools were acknowledged for working towards equal gender representation in 2019-20 and Tandem is one of only 831 schools to receive this award - click here to see a list of schools receiving this award in 2020. The AP honor recognizes Tandem's engagement of more female students in computer science. According to the College Board's award letter, "New research shows that female students who take AP computer science are more likely to major in computer science in college compared with matched peers. Through your leadership in diversifying computer science education, you’re preparing your female students for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future and giving them the opportunity to help solve some of society's most challenging problems." Well done Tandem and AP Computer Science teacher Maria Morrell.
On Thursday, January 21, Tandem junior Madeline Caduff and 9th graders Kaia Caduff, Charlie Kalnite, Josie Fischman and Emi Murphy participated in Virginia's legislative process by taking part in Lobby Day with the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN). Laura Allen, Tandem's Philanthropy Director and a local environmental activist who advises their student group Student Movement Against Climate Change (SMACC), guided the students in researching environmental issues related to bills that would be under debate in the House and Senate during this legislative session. Each student was able to attend two meetings, one with their local delegate and one with the office of Senator Creigh Deeds, where they got the chance to speak on the importance of the bill that they had selected and researched. The group is grateful to VCN for arranging these meetings and for creating this rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the creation of statewide public policy. Even over Zoom, it was an immersive experience that brought civics lessons to life with real-world applications.
On Wednesday, January 20, Tandem Friends students in grades 7-12 participated online in a special inauguration program hosted by the Friends Council on Education. Entitled History Behind Us, History Ahead of Us - This Moment in Time, the pre-inauguration programming featured commentary by Dr. Rodney Glasgow, Head of School at Sandy Springs Friends School in Maryland. Close to 1000 Friends School educators and students joined Glasgow as he reflected on the end of the previous four years and the beginning of the next four years. Glasgow's remarks, which he called 'looking back to look forward,' were followed by the livestream watching of the inauguration together. After the ceremony, there was time for worship and reflection.
Students on campus watched in small groups with their advisors, and students who were remote could join in from home with the link. It was an exciting moment in history to share together and enthusisam was high. There was even an impromptu inauguration parade on campus by some of the students. What a great opportunity to participate in and reflect together on history in the making on so many levels as we watched democracy and the peaceful transition of power in action.
Our 5th graders, with science teacher Cindy Cartwright, took a virtual field trip with the Smithsonian, where these young scientists learned about plankton. They uncovered many of plankton's super powers that help them create 70% of the oxygen we breathe. They performed fungus experiments, and the Super Plankton pictures and stories that resulted from the virtual field trip are being compiled. Check out their online work, as well as pictures by Nate and Tamittica.
6th grade science students, with teacher Christina Davis, have been learning about energy, forces, and motion. They completed a Phet virtual simulation by visiting a "virtual skate park" yesterday. They were asked to see how changing the mass of the skateboarder, or the height at which she begins her descent, affected potential and kinetic energy. At the end, the students needed to design their own skate park. They will revisit their park next week and see how adding friction into the mix affects things. Students submitted screenshots of their skateparks and findings, such as the one by Caden seen here.
Tandem celebrates a young scientist! Congratulations to senior Leah Gunnoe, who worked with a UVA graduate student in a UVA science lab, and researched and co-authored a paper for a national science journal that was published this month. Here's what she had to say about the research and the publication:
"In the summer of 2019, I conducted research in the Dr. James Landers Biomicrofluidics Lab at the University of Virginia under the mentorship of graduate student Renna Nouwari, and we worked on two projects: fabrication of a rapid malaria detection chip for on-ground military teams funded by the Department of Defense and fabrication of a reusable separation channel for microchip electrophoresis out of cost-effective plastic materials. In the summer of 2020, I co-authored a review paper titled Microchip Electrophoresis for Fluorescence-Based Measurement of Polynucleic Acids: Recent Developments, which was accepted for review and then published in the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry."
Leah has been an active member and two-year leader of our Science Olympiad team, earning medals as follows: second place in Mission Possible (2018−2019), third place in Forensics (2019−2020), fourth place in Forensics (2018−2019). Leah was chosen to participate in both the Virginia Space Coast Grant Virginia Space Coast Scholars (2019) and Virginia Earth Systems Science Scholars (2020). She spent the summers of 2019 and 2020 doing research at UVA under graduate student Renna Nouwairi.
You can read the lengthy and impressive article from Analytical Chemistry, which was published this month, here. Check out photos of Leah at work in the lab. We're very proud of her impressive work!
Tandem Friends seniors are busily working on their Senior Projects, set for completion and presentation in mid to late March. The Senior Project is a year-long, independent study project in which each senior explores in detail and masters a self-chosen subject area. The process includes formal research, an extensive journal and synopsis, and a formal, individual presentation to the Senior Project Committee, as well as a presentation to the community. Many students choose projects that balance the stresses of senior year. An approved and completed Senior Project is required of each senior. This year's impressive list of senior project topics can be found here.
We were grateful for the generosity of alumni willing to share their time and wisdom with our current students on January 8. The College Panel is an annual event of 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's was our first-ever virtual panel). Sometimes they share what it's like to go to college far from home. Some talk about college level sports. Some chose small schools and some are attending large universities. We even had our first medical school student this year. From what it's like to live in a dorm to how they made the leap from high school classes to college lectures, they have stories to tell about what life has been like for them after Tandem. Thanks to our wonderful alumni panel members: Gillian Gardiner (TFS '12), 2nd year at VCU School of Medicine; Eliza Gaston (TFS '16), sophomore at NYU; Noah Tinsley (TFS '18), junior at UVA; Julia Calland (TFS '18), junior at UVA; Maya Goldstein (TFS '19), sophomore at Rollins College; Charlie Kennedy (TFS '19), sophomore at U Colorado/Boulder; Dean Lockley (TFS' 20), freshman at Longwood University; and, Meridith Frazee (TFS '20), freshman at Sewanee: The University of the South.