Becky and the WCA King’s Players put on an excellent performance of The Importance of Being Earnest this evening. As in previous years, I took a few pictures before, during, and after the show. This was taken just before the doors opened this evening to let in the enthusiastic audience. If you know the story, they you know how funny it is. If you don’t, then you should take a look at one of the movie adaptations made over the years. I haven’t actually seen the recent one, but the 1952 version is quite good. Every year we get the final high school performance of another batch of seniors and like most years, it will be sad to not have them available next year. At the same time, of course, it would be more sad if they didn’t graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives.
The Importance of Being Earnest
President Lincoln For A Day
It’s that time of year again. Way back in November I ran into the kindergarten teacher from Dorothy’s old school and she asked me if I was up for coming to her class in February as Abe Lincoln. As you can probably guess from the accompanying photo, I said yes. This was taken as I got to work in the morning, using my cell phone camera.
I don’t often post photos of myself, partly because I don’t take very many and partly as a public service to you, my loyal readers. There are much nicer things to look at than my visage.
I don’t really make a particularly good Lincoln. I’m not anywhere near tall enough and my build is much too heavy. But this is for kindergarteners, remember. They aren’t terribly demanding and to them, even I am tall. It helps that their teacher is fairly small, also, so in comparison, I’m tall. The top hat and the beard are really all it takes. The first question I got from them was, “Are you the real Abraham Lincoln?”
Cathy and I went to WCA this evening for the fall Society meeting. I got there a little early, which gave me some time to walk around and take a few pictures. It was a bit dark and unfortunately there wasn’t enough wind to get really good pictures of the flags flying out front, but that didn’t stop me from trying. On the far left is the Washington Christian Academy flag. Then we have the United States flag, which I’m guessing most people recognize. The Bethel World Outreach flag is next, followed by Uganda (with red, yellow and black stripes), Mexico (green, white, and red, just like Italy, but with a seal in the white section), and Sri Lanka (green and orange bars and then a yellow lion on a red field, with the lion holding a sword). To the left and not in this picture are flags from Puerto Rico, Grenada, and Zimbabwe.
Seniors At The Prom
I had the pleasure of taking pictures at another WCA prom today. The students all looked fabulous and it was fun watching them enjoy themselves, socializing, eating dinner, and of course, dancing. I had my photo booth set up just outside the main room, in the lobby, and took quite a few couple and group pictures. I’m happy to say all my equipment worked as designed and I got some pretty decent pictures. I took group pictures of each of the four high school classes, most of which were too big to fit in front of the backdrop, but that’s not really the end of the world. Of course, while the entire high school is invited to the prom (one consequence of it being a small school), the dance is really for the seniors.
There are only 17 of them this year, the smallest graduating class in a while and probably for a while (there are 39 freshmen this year). Here are two pictures of 16 of the 17 seniors. From left to right, the guys are: Justin, Sean, Matt, Russell, Nate, Bryan, James, and Gunther. And the girls, also from left to right: Peace, Maddie, Jessie, Olivia, Crystal, Karol, BeEmnet, and Afiya. The 17th senior, Steven, wasn’t at prom, although I have no idea why. Thanks, Maddie, for giving me the list of names. I’d hate to get any wrong. I don’t really know this class as well as I’ve known the last four or five. Being at their prom was still quite fun.
The Cast and Crew
The last performance of Washington Christian Academy’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was at noon today so I spent much of the day there, taking an occasional picture. Actually, including the dress rehearsal on Wednesday (so, four performances), I took a total of 2,399 pictures. Of course some of those are not all that great and a few are simply black (no flash). But the pictures during the performances—which were without flash and with the camera on a tripod—mostly turned out reasonably well and I’m happy enough with the results. I think it’s safe to say they got their money’s worth out of me, in any case.
Oberon – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Night two of the three show run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (or, as we call it, Judah in Tights) at Washington Christian Academy was a success and I was there again, enjoying the show and taking a few pictures, as is my wont. In addition to taking pictures during the show, I took some before, as well, while the actors and actresses were getting into costume and makeup. When they are ready, they hang about, talking and laughing, occasionally singing, and generally having a good time.
Judah, who plays Oberon, the King of the Fairies, was up on the boxes that make up most of the stage set. During the performance he’s up there a fair amount and at one point jumps off, his cape filling with air as he descends. During the show I’m not using flash, of course, so the 1/80 or 1/100 second exposure isn’t fast enough to stop the action and although I got the picture, it’s fairly blurred. So, before the show this evening I asked him to do it for me and was ready with my flash. This is the result. It still isn’t as sharp as I’d like, but motion is like that.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Opening night of Washington Christian Academy’s King’s Players performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream went very well. The student actors and actresses performed wonderfully, spoke clearly and loudly, and the audience responded with laughter. In this picture, Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck, is dripping the juice of the love-in-idleness flower into sleeping Lysander’s eyes. As Oberon, the King of the Fairies said of this flower,
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
When he wakes up, well, I don’t want to give it away on the off chance that you didn’t pay attention when you read it in high school. Let’s just say that things go awry.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
If you are looking for something to do tonight, tomorrow evening or Saturday at noon, I can recommend coming to see Washington Christian Academy’s King’s Players’ presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This photo was taken during their dress rehearsal so the fairies don’t have their makeup on. I’ll post another tomorrow from opening night. In this picture (I’m assuming you know the story, at least a little), Titania, the queen of the fairies, has fallen in love with Nick Bottom who has had his head turned into that of an ass by the impish fairy Robin Goodfellow (a.k.a. Puck). Titania and Bottom are surrounded by her attendants (from left to right) Mustardseed, Cobweb, Moth, and Peaseblossom.
Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.
Oberon, King Of The Fairies
The Washington Christian Academy high school theater production this year is to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream (by Bill Shakespeare). I spent a few hours today taking portraits of all the students involved (with the exception of one who was out sick). They didn’t have their costumes yet, but some had makeup put on for the first time today. As you can see, Judah is one such actor. He plays the part of Oberon, feuding with Titania over the fate of a changeling boy.
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.
As you probably know, he concocts a potion made from the flower ‘Love-in-idleness’ (the wild pansy, Viola tricolor) to make her fall in love with the first creature she sees upon waking. As is usual in such a play, particularly when the Bard of Avon is involved, things get complicated. If you want to know how it all ends, you’ll have to come next week. Show times are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon. Contact WCA for information on tickets.
Ropes and Pulleys
It’s that time of year again, the time when the second graders at WCA learn about simple machines. I’ve posted pictures three times in the past, although we didn’t get to do it last year. There’s a new second grade teacher at the school but she was willing to put herself in her students’ hands, literally. Each one was able to lift of off the chair, using six pulleys and a length of rope. This is not only something the students can go home talking about. I have a feeling she’ll be telling the story, as well.
WCA History Night
There are many things I love about Washington Christian Academy. Among my favorite things they do it History Night. Every year the elementary school puts on a show. Each class represents a culture and period in history in story and song. We haven’t been every year but this has been a part of our lives for many years and it always brings me back to Dorothy’s elementary school days. This is Collyn, first grade teacher and sometime Egyptian queen, in her classroom, which has been transformed into the inside of a pyramid, decorated with the life sized self-portraits of her students. We still have Dorothy’s from first grade.
Dorothy graduated 20 months ago (it is truly amazing how fast time flies) but we still think of and refer to WCA as ‘our school.’ I have kept up at least some of my involvement, visiting a few of the elementary school classrooms from time to time to help with a particular lesson (and another of those is coming up next week). When we can we also go to the school functions such as the Christmas Bazaar, Banquet, and (in the spring) the Auction. This evening we went to the WCA Society meeting. The Society is the highest governing authority over the school and elects the Board of Directors and adopts the annual budget.
We were not able to go to the meeting in late September because we were in Massachusetts. The winter meeting was postponed because of the little snow storm we had here a couple weeks ago. It was postponed to this evening and we were thankfully able to go. It’s good to get an official update on the state of the school as well as to talk with other parents and some faculty and staff.
We don’t know James very well, because he came to the school as we were leaving, but he has been the head of school for (I believe) just under a year now. It was nice to hear from him, particularly his perspective on the school, present and future, and to hear their plans for moving forward.
Charlotte and Cathy
It was nice to be at the WCA Banquet this evening. Without having a child at the school, it is all too easy to lose touch with people we really enjoy, so we were glad to take this opportunity to keep our friendships alive. One person we didn’t particularly expect to see what Charlotte. Her youngest is a senior and was going to a different school but transferred back to WCA, so she was at the banquet. As you can see, the photo of Charlotte and Cathy was fairly expertly photobombed by Charlotte’s husband, Andy.
Dorothy graduated last year, of course, so we didn’t really have any need to participate in the graduation process this year. However, a lot of Dorothy’s friends, many of whom are also the children of our friends, were graduating today. I took a few pictures at the reception back at the school after the ceremony. My favorite photo opportunity, and I think I speak for many, is the traditional throwing of the mortarboards. I took a sequence of eight pictures as the graduates exuberantly threw their hats into the air and turned it into this animated image. Although it would have been slightly better if the camera had been on a tripod, I managed to keep relatively still between shots so the background only moves a little.
Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates!
Kristin, Porter, and Peter
After two days were I posted pictures touting the Washington Christian Academy play, I hesitated to post a third. On the other hand, I took over 1,000 more photos today before and during the two performances and I didn’t have a lot of time for much other photography. I took a few of the baseball and softball teams loading mulch in their annual mulch sale but the bulk of the day was spent at the Olney Theatre.
This picture was the last one I took at the theatre before heading to the cast party (to take more pictures, of course). It is of our good friends, Kristin, Porter, and Peter. Porter, a senior, has been a part of the theatre program at WCA throughout high school and will be sorely missed next year. His parents are justly proud.
WCA King’s Players
Do you know any of these folks? If so, you really should come out and see them perform Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House tomorrow (Saturday). There are shows at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. and tickets will be available at the door.
Are you a fan of Vonnegut? I’m not sure that I am but that’s partly, I think, because I had to read some of his work in school. I know having to read something is supposed to get you over the reluctance to read it so that you are free to discover that you like it after all. For some it may have the opposite effect. It isn’t an insurmountable obstacle and I have come to appreciate Vonnegut but it takes more effort than with something I chose to read on my own.
Welcome to the Monkey House
If you don’t have any plans either this evening at 8:00, tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 or tomorrow evening at 7:00, consider coming out to the Olney Theatre for the Washington Christian Academy King’s Players presentation of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories (dramatized by Christopher Sergel), Welcome to the Monkey House.
I was here taking pictures at the dress rehearsal yesterday and really enjoyed myself. It’s a little bit funny and a little bit social commentary. Overall, it’s an evening of thought provoking entertainment, wonderfully provided by some very talented youngsters.
One of my favorite things at WCA is the lower school’s History Night. Each of the six classes from kindergarten through fifth represent a culture and people from the period in history which they study. Kindergarten is native America; first grade, the children seen in this picture, ancient Egypt; second grade, China; third grade, the Vikings; fourth grade, the middle ages; and fifth, colonial America. I was asked to come take pictures and I got quite a few good images (which makes it hard to pick just one representative sample).
We’re quite fond of our school. Of course, it isn’t technically our school any more, in the sense that we don’t have a child attending. In another way, though, it still is our school. It’s a non-profit owned by a society of parents and friends of the school and we are happy to remain members of the society. This evening was the winter society meeting, having been postponed from last week due to snow.
We like many things about the school but high on the list has to be the people. Both parents, faculty, and staff. We enjoy seeing them when we can and this was a good opportunity. It was also good to get caught up on all the doings, as there are some doings right now. But for me, connecting with people is still very high on my list. This is Angie, my favorite kindergarten teacher. She isn’t teaching this year but is still working part time. She is planning to have me come in to do a quick walk-through of the solar system with the fifth grade. It’s also almost time for Mr. Lincoln to visit the kindergarten. So good to see her and hear how life is treating her (pretty well).
Maleficent Visits School
I went to the school this morning to take a few pictures of the fourth grade class. The yearbook folks wanted some candid shots of the students for the yearbook. They have been practicing a short play for History Night and we spent a little while in Founder’s Hall while they ran through that.
While we were there, the students from one of the other grades walked through, following this somewhat evil looking woman. Not being an expert on the Disney bestiary I was not entirely sure who she is. I got a quick photo of her and later, after consulting Peterson’s Field Guide to Mythical Creatures of This and Other Worlds I decided she must be Maleficent, the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil who cursed the Princess Aurora. Do you remember her? She pricked her finger on a spindle. She would have died had it not been for the aid of Merryweather, who was able to soften the curse. Instead she slept until a kiss from her true love woke her.
Anyway, it was quite an surprising creature to see at school and I’m not entirely sure what she would have been doing there. Someone said something about spirit week and I suppose she came for the festivities or perhaps to do something wicked while blending in with the students dressed in costumes.
WCA Play Auditions
Want to do something that will make you gray before your time? Try directing a high school play. It starts early, with the auditions. There is never the perfect cast for a play, especially when you are at a smallish school with fewer actors and potential actors than you need. It’s made worse by the competition with sports, which pulls some of the most promising out of contention. Then, oddly enough, the students have their own ideas about which part they should have, often without regard to whether they really could pull it off. As you can see, Becky (second from the left) is already starting to feel it, and the auditions had only just started. It’s going to be a long time until April.
Jared and Justin
Do you know Jared and Justin? They are sons number three and four of five (and children four and five of six) of Carey and Marilyn. If you have known Carey for any length of time, you have probably seen this look (on Jared, on the left). I knew that Jared looked more like his father than any of his siblings but I didn’t realize until I saw this exactly how much he looked like him, not just in looks but in manner. It’s a bit uncanny.
Even though Dorothy has graduated, we still feel a strong connection to WCA. We have a lot of friends there and still know quite a few students. This afternoon (in the about 100°F heat) WCA had its annual family picnic. We weren’t exactly invited but we brought a side dish and I took pictures, which will be available to the yearbook team, so I think it’s alright. Anyway, we had a nice time visiting with friends. Sometimes getting students to pose for pictures is easy, sometimes, not so much. This group had to be cajoled but in the end, they posed very nicely. I had my back to the building and couldn’t get far enough away to get them all in one shot, so this is actually two pictures, stitched together. Turned out quite well, I think.
I could post quite a few pictures for today but I’m going to limit myself to two. I took over 500, including multiple photos of each of Dorothy’s 21 classmates walking across the stage. I considered posting one of Dorothy receiving her diploma from Mr. Chamberlain or of Mr. Hawes moving her tassle from the right to the left of her mortarboard, but in the end I decided I’d post this one, of Dorothy and one of her two grandmas (who were both there).
After the graduation ceremony, we all went back to the school for a reception. The graduates came down the central staircase in the school (to live trumpet music), and they went out in front of the school for the traditional “hat throw.” I decided to go with a a wide angle lens shooting from near the ground, and I’m pretty happy with what I got.
Dorothy is a good student and we are very proud of her achievement. In some ways, celebrating high school graduation is a little like celebrating mile three in a marathon. Everyone is glad glad you made it this far, but you aren’t really nearing the finish line yet. On the other hand, the amount of growth between Kindergarten and 12th grade, at least for Dorothy and most of her friends, has been substantial. Well done!
Senior Thesis Presentations
I took 65 pictures today but most of them are of individuals and I always have a hard time picking one picture out of a collection like that. Often I’ll make a point to take pictures in the garden on days like this, so I’ll have an alternative. Today, I didn’t.
Each senior at WCA is required to write a 12 to 15 page thesis on some topic of controversy, secure a short internship related to it in some way, and give a 10 to 12 minute presentation of their thesis to a panel of teachers, who then ask questions of the student. The top three presentations are given a second time to a different panel of teachers and the top one is selected. Today was presentation day. These three girls, Lauren, Toksie, and Dorothy, were the three to move on to the second round. The first picture I took of them, they were all frowning, because they didn’t really want to go through it again, but they all did really well.
Congratulations to all three, but especially to Toksie, who was given the well deserved honor of first place.
We Are The Champions
It was a very busy day today. Dorothy had her test for Advanced Placement European History from noon to four. Then she had to get to the Mount Vernon Campus of The George Washington University (at Foxhall Road and Whitehaven Parkway, in Northwest D.C.). Cathy and I came from work, getting there as the teams were finishing warming up, so we were able to see the entire championship game. The game went well, from our perspective, and our WCA Wildcats won 9 to 5. Here is the team with their championship banner. For us, the day was a long way from over. We drove from the game to Richmond, dropped Dorothy off at about 11:00 PM, and then drove home, getting in just before 1:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
I was able to get to only one of Dorothy’s softball games this year (so far) but when I did, I got some pictures. I took pictures of all the girls who batted but of course, a lot of those are not worth much. I have to decide to fire the shutter before I can tell if the batter is even going to swing, much less whether the pitch will be anywhere near the plate. Getting the batter actually hitting the ball is even more hit or miss (if you’ll pardon the expression). I only got a few pictures of the girls fielding, because the other team didn’t get many hits. I was able to capture some action at the plate, however, when one girl beat the throw and got in under the tag.
Joseph and Dorothy
It’s prom time again and of course, this is Dorothy’s senior year, so it’s “her” prom. This picture is of Dorothy with her friend, Joseph.
As you might expect, I took a few more pictures, both here, with Dorothy and Joseph as well as Cat and Lee, who came here before they all left for Scott’s house. Then, at Scott’s house I took a lot more of the larger group of mostly seniors who gathered there before they left for dinner.
While they were having dinner at Lauren’s family’s country club, Cathy, Diana, and I had dinner at Urban BBQ. I dropped the ladies off at home and went to the prom location to take pictures for a little while. I had been invited to do that and given permission by Dorothy to stay for the first hour. I actually overstayed my time by a little, but considering that there were only three students there for the first half hour, I didn’t feel like I broke the spirit of the law.
A Boy and His Bee
I believe that this is either Bombus pensylvanicus (the American Bumble Bee) or Bombus auricomus (the Black-and-gold Bumble Bee). Either way, it was a friendly sort of fellow. My assumption is that this was a male, because the males cannot sting, and this one was not even trying. He didn’t seem able to fly, really, either. He seems determined to get up into Judah’s hair, and he had to be moved back onto Judah’s nose a few times.
Those of you freaked out by the thought of a bee walking on your face, I understand, believe me. But most insects, even bees, are really not all that dangerous. Some, like some hornets and wasps, need to be avoided or at the very least not aggravated. Taking pictures of them, though, is usually safe enough if you don’t move too quickly and don’t try to touch them (like Judah was clearly doing here).
This evening was opening night of Dead Man’s Chest, performed by Washington Christian Academy’s King’s Players on the historic stage at the Olney Theatre. Everything went wonderfully and a good time was had by all (at least everyone I spoke to). Dorothy played the part of Zora, one of the three somewhat bumbling “pirates.” They did the “all for one” type salute a few times but I particularly like this one because Dorothy is holding a frying pan instead of her sword.
It’s Play Week at Dorothy’s school and since she has a part, it’s a busy time for her and the rest of the cast and crew. Starting today, they have their practices in the Olney Theatre, where the play will be performed on Friday and Saturday. In this picture, Becky (our fearless director) and Cat relax over dinner after running through the entire play. After dinner, they went through Act 2 again. At this point in the process, it’s usually a nail-biting experience, as it doesn’t seem possible that things will come together in time. This year, things seem to be going pretty well and they are, perhaps, a bit ahead of where they are most years. Much less hectic.
It’s that time of year again. One of my very favorite days of the year. It’s the day I visit the second grade class and demonstrate a few simple machines. You remember those, right? Levers, pulleys, inclined planes? Yes. For the previous two visits, see Monday, April 16, 2012 and Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
As you probably know by now, if you have been following my posts for any length of time, the highlight of the day, by far, is the opportunity the second grade students have to pick up their teacher. She’s not exactly heavy to begin with. But second graders are not really big enough to pick her up, or certainly not easily, anyway. With the strength multiplying “magic” of pulleys (and a stout rope), it takes only 20% of her weight to lift her off the ground.
Thanks you, Collyn, for letting me have such fun with your class. You’re a real sport.
Oh, and by the way, happy anniversary, Collyn and Keith!
There was a banquet, award ceremony, and dance this evening at the school. During the award ceremony, the two emcees, Joseph and Justin, performed for the audience. While Justin played the piano, Joseph did an interpretive dance. At least that’s what they called it. I won’t comment on what I think they were interpreting. They were actually quite funny and a good time was had by most.
As I think I mentioned, I had a vendor table at the WCA Christmas Bazaar today. It’s something I look forward to every year and I had a great time. Of course, many of the people that I saw are old friends but I usually meet a few new people or get to know some that I’ve only just met recently. I sold a fair number of cards and prints and enjoyed all the visiting. Thank you to everyone who stopped by. Dorothy took this picture of me, so I could show you my display. Nothing fancy, of course, because I’m not really a fancy person.
After work I met Cathy and Dorothy at the school. Cathy had reserved a space for me for the Christmas Bazaar and Craft Sale tomorrow and when I got there they were working on sorting and pricing things for the Attic Treasures, basically a huge garage sale, in the gym. I brought in some things for my table and will bring the rest in tomorrow. Then I went to the gym and took pictures of people getting ready. These are some candles that I thought would make a colorful picture.
This evening I took Dorothy and four of her classmates to Johns Hopkins University to hear Ravi Zacharias speak. For those not familiar with the name, Dr. Zacharias is a Christian apologist and defender of traditional evangelicalism. Rather than simply copy his bio here, I’ll link to it on the RZIM web site. He was speaking this evening on the topic of “The Problem of Suffering and the Goodness of God.” We got there about a half hour before the program started and were fortunate to get seats, much less seats all together. It was a good talk and worth the effort. Of course, you can also hear him online or on the radio without driving to Baltimore. Still, it’s nice once in a while to actually see and hear people speak in person.
The annual WCA Banquet was this evening and we had a great time visiting with friends. Dorothy played piano and provided vocal accompanyment (along with Peace, Karol, and Maggie) for Olivia who did a great job singing for us. One thing that’s difficult when Dorothy is performing is that I want to get both still photographs, because that’s what I do, and video, because a recording is so nice. I can’t do both at the same time. Well, I can take a still photo while the video is recording but it will drop about a second from the video, which is annoying. I could also use frames from the video as still images. In this case, I took the photograph as they are just about to start playing and then switched over to video quickly and recorded the song.
Solomon Visits Kindergarten
Today, our bird Solomon visited Angie’s kindergarten class for the second time (the first time was on Septermber 25, 2012). This year we got a little bolder and the children each got to pet him on the head. He’s a little shy and you have to approach him in just the right way or he screeches at you, but they were all very good, being quiet and moving slowly. We also took a class picture with all the children, Angie, and Solomon.
Dorothy and Nicole
The school science department has a fundraiser each year at Cheeburger Cheeburger in Olney. Naturally, I took a few pictures, including this one of Dorothy and Nicole. My wide angle lens does funny things with heads when they are near the edges of pictures but this one isn’t as noticeably distorted as some. Naturally, a good time was had by all. My peanut butter and Heath bar milkshake was awesome (as always).
Dorothy’s Last First Day of School
As Dorothy moves into her senior year of high school, this will be a year of lasts. Today was her last first day of school. She does plan to go to college, but that’s different. Eleven years ago I took the picture on the left, as Dorothy started first grade at the Fourth Presbyterian School. On the right is from today, starting her senior year at Washington Christian Academy. Quite a change in such a short time.
Our second graduation of the day was at Dorothy’s school, Washington Christian Academy. Because it’s a relatively small school, and because Dorothy is only one year behind these folks, we know most of the graduating class. Rather than post a picture of any one or even any small group of them, I figure I should post something with everyone in it, even if you cannot see their faces. For those of you who follow me via Facebook, I’ll be posting a few pictures there when I get the chance, but for now, here’s a celebratory moment.
Congratulations to Edna, Danielle, Michelle, Michael, Jeff, Reed, Carrie, Jessica, Greg, Rebekah, Libby, Abigail, Erin, Hannah, Madison, Rachael, Lidia, Jake, Lauren, Alex, Connor, Nick, Joe, Jason, Lauren, Dillon, Toni, Amanda, Tyler, Kyle, and Justin.
Ellis Island Experience
Every year the second grade class at our school learns about immigration in the early part of the 20th century. The culmination of their lessons on this is their half-day Ellis Island Experience. They spend most of the morning in a hot, dark, and cramped ship (made of desks in their classroom with the heat turned on). There are various activities during that time but I’m not a part of that so don’t know exactly what. Each student has been given an identity and the history of an immigrant. They are dressed for their roles and have bags with all their earthly belongings.
At about 11:00 AM they arrive at “Ellis Island” and have to face first the medical inspector and then the immigration officer (that’s me). If they are found well enough by the medical inspector and if everything else is in order, they are allowed to enter the united states. In this case the quota for immigrants from Ireland had already been reached and I had to send the Flanagan family home to Ireland. The three boys in the class were not happy about not being able to enter America and they learned first hand why Ellis Island is sometimes known as the Island of Tears.
This photo is the class (including the boys) back on the boat after they were all done, “coming to america.”
Misty Mountain Song
I little short of two weeks ago, the Music Guild at school performed at an event at the school. Dorothy sang three songs in that performance. The first two were sung solo but the third as as part of a group. They sang The Misty Mountain Song from The Hobbit.
The group was asked to sing it again this evening at the middle school band concert, as representatives of the Music Guild. Six of the seven from their first performance were there and are in today’s photograph. From left they are Justin, Judah, Maggie, Michelle, Dorothy, and Lee.
They were practicing in the stairwell and the might have done better to have the audience come into the stairwell to hear them perform. The reverberations from the hard masonry walls produced a very impressive sound. I recorded them once in the stairs and as well as their performance in the auditorium. I think the former was better than the later.
I was listening to various version of the song on YouTube and can recommend this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiYDUEu3i8.
Ready For the Prom
Dorothy’s school prom was this evening and she was part of a group that went together. Because we have a nice wood in our neighborhood, we decided to go take some pictures there. This is one of a couple bridges we went over and I took quite a few pictures of the kids on and under it. This picture in particular is a favorite of mine, mostly because of the hijinks of Joseph, who is on the left, and also in the middle, and finally again on the right. Fun times.
From left to right: Joseph, Cat, Michelle, Dorothy, Porter, Joseph, Hannah, Maggie, Elijah, and Joseph.
The Princess Who Had No Name
We spent the better part of the day at the Olney Theatre today, leaving home at about 11:00 AM and not getting home again after the cast party until after midnight. The two performances of The Princess Who Had No Name, by Brian Taylor, went very well and without any drama. Well, there was drama, but only the intended drama.
This is the cast and a nicer bunch of kids would be hard to find. Sure, they can be loud and the can certainly be silly. All in all, I enjoyed my afternoon with them. That’s not to say (1,600+ photos later) I wasn’t glad when it was over.
The WCA play is this Friday and Saturday. This week they are practicing at the theatre all week so I came a little early to pick up Dorothy. This is the cast and crew gathered on the stage for some general instruction and comments before they called it a day.
I’m posting this a bit late, after the performances have actually happened, so I won’t bother to invite you to the show. If you came, you know how much fun it was. If you didn’t, you’ll want to plan on being there next year for whatever they get up to.
Touring The Solar System
I visited the school again today, this time to take the fifth graders out on a tour of the inner solar system. We started out by walking to the sun (don’t worry, we didn’t burn up because we went at night).
The sun, in our scale model, is an orange disc about 54.5 inches in diameter, scaled down from it’s actual size of 1.39 million kilometers (our scale is just over 1 billion to 1). You can see the sun in this picture on side of the gym building. This picture was taken after we traveled the equivalent of 150 million kilometers (489 feet in our scale model) to the earth. Of course, there wasn’t room in our model for all of us to stand on the earth, which is only a half inch in diameter at this scale. Nevertheless, we had a good time and who knows, some of the students may have actually learned something.
It was my day to come visit the second grade today with a few simple machines. We started off with a little teeter-totter and I showed them how, by moving the fulcrum closer to one end, you can multiply the force supplied. One of the second graders was able to life me off of the ground. Then they each pulled a nail out of a board with a big crow bar. They agreed that it was a lot easier than trying to pull them out by hand. We talked about the threads on a screw and I showed them how threads can be cut but I’m not sure how much they got out of that part. We might skip that next year in favor of an inclined plane (a.k.a. a ramp) and a wedge.
The most fun, as always, was when the students hoisted their teacher up into the air using a block and tackle (pulleys and a rope). A few of them were close to being too light even with their weight being multiplied, but they were all able to get her up to about head height. After they were done, I handed the rope to Collyn and she pulled herself up into the ceiling, which they thought was wonderful. Hopefully they won’t forget the day they picked up their teacher.
Collyn reminded me of the quote of the day, when Jaynna said, “I can’t wait to grow up and be a teacher so that I can do this too!” Perfect.
No teachers were harmed in the making of this photograph.
Dorothy and Friends
I was at the school today to set up for a demo in second grade tomorrow. Dorothy had play practice until 5:00 so I went to take a few pictures of that and then was out in the hall taking pictures of some of the students as they waited for a part of they play in which they were needed. This is, from left to right, Michael, Lauren, Hannah, Dorothy, Garrett, Abigail, Rachael, and Justin. Note that Garret has Abigail on his back and then Rachel on Abigail’s back.
Collyn and Keith
I freely admit that I have a lot of favorite people. That’s because I know so many wonderful folks that I can’t leave many off the list. Cathy and I were at the school for the benefit auction this evening and as you would expect I took one or two pictures. I got a few that are pretty good but looking through them with Cathy and Dorothy it was unanimous that this was the best. What a cute couple they are. It’s hard to believe it’s already been nearly three years since they got married. I’m glad to say that they are still one of the cutest couples around.
Abe Visits Kindergarten
First off, I didn’t take this picture. I know these are supposed to be pictures I’ve taken but I thought everyone might like to see this anyway. It was taken with my camera, anyway (thanks, Tracey). The kindergarten teacher at our school asked me if I’d be willing to come to her class and talk about one of the presidents. She didn’t specifically ask me to dress up as one but I decided I would, especially when I was allowed to be Abe Lincoln.
As you can see, I’ve altered my facial hair a bit for this visit. That has freaked Dorothy out a bit. She says I should never do that again. Anyway, I also had to color my beard because, although he was a little bit older than me he didn’t have too much grey in his and mine is mostly grey at this point. Obviously I’m not tall enough or thin enough to really look like Lincoln, but given that I couldn’t easily change those features, I think I make a pretty respectable Honest Abe (or Amish Abe, as Dorothy calls me).
Every year we have a dance for the parents and other adults affiliated with the school. Dances are not really our thing but it is a fund raiser for the junior class and Dorothy is a junior this year. Fred Astaire I’m not but for those interested, Cathy and I did dance. I took pictures, as well. It’s always hard to pick one picture from an evening like this. Some of the best pictures are often of people I don’t know that well. This one is nice. It’s Dorothy and five of her classmates.
At WCA they have something they call X-Day. It is one day in the third quarter where classes of various kinds are offered. These are things not generally available as part of their regular curriculum but that some students might find interesting. This year, there were classes in cooking, ballroom dancing, cake decorating, and making digital collages. There was a boot camp that was quite popular. Groups of students went to Luray Caverns, the Gettysburg Battlefield, and hiked the Billy Goat Trail below Great Falls. One group went to a local hospital and had literal front row seats (standing, actually) to various surgical procedures from knee to cardiac. I was asked if I could teach an introductory course in computer programming and had twelve students sign up.
The day went pretty well. I introduced programming at a very basic level, talking about concepts common to all languages including variables, operators, and control structures. We talked about syntax and how it varies from language to language. The students wrote some short programs to get a feel for how things work. None of them are ready to go to work as programmers at this point but they left with a decent foundation on which to build, if they so desire. And I had a fun time getting to know a few (potential) future computer scientists.
WCA At Night
We were at the school for a Society meeting this evening. As we were leaving I put the camera on the top of the van and took a few pictures. I like this one the best, partly because a car drove through the picture, producing the red light lines part of the way around the circle.
The three green lights in the middle are artifacts from the bright lights on the front of the building around the door. The gray area in the bottom left is the roof of the car.
Today was the Christmas bazaar at Dorothy’s school. I didn’t spend a lot of time taking pictures because I had a table and was selling them, instead. I’ve done that before and had quite varied success. I’d have to go back and check but I think this was my best year so far. That was due at least partly to my excellent location (thanks, Cathy).
Over the course of the last few weeks I went through all the pictures I’ve taken in the last year or so and pulled out some that I thought people would like. I made cards and matted 5×7 inch prints of them. If anyone wants an 8×10, naturally I can do that. I still had cards and matted 5×7 and 8×10 inch prints of older pictures, of course. I had questions from two different people about making larger prints of a few, so you never know.
The first of these, Maggie and Hannah horsing around, was taken from behind my table. Cathy manned the booth for a little while to let me get out and take a few pictures. That’s when I got the second of them, of Marilyn, not exactly horsing around, but…
I also took a couple pictures of Maggie (from the first picture) with Marilyn’s palomino, named Diamond. I’ll post one of those along with a few other pictures from the day on Facebook.
Angie and Solomon
Sadly this is six days late for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Anyway, Solomon paid a visit to Angie’s kindergarten class today. They are learning about pets and how to take care of them. If I was going to help, it was either Solomon or a fish. He did very well. He didn’t freak out and no one got bit, which is good. After all the kids were gone Angie posed with him on her shoulder, which I thought was pretty brave. They look good together. Avast, me hearties!
National Honor Society
Dorothy was one of ten students inducted into the National Honor Society today. Naturally we were proud of her. Here is a picture of all ten with the one returning student who was inducted last year. Well done, ladies.
Voices in the Tempest
The Music Guild performed the songs from their recently released CD this evening. That includes Dorothy playing and singing her song, Voices in the Tempest, with Lizzie, Carrie, and Ben singing harmony, Paul and Lexi on guitar and Alex on Drums. They did a wonderful job and Dorothy sounded as good as you’d expect me to say she did anyway. I recorded all the songs from the event and took a bunch of pictures, as well. This one of Dorothy was taken during practice. Sadly, I can’t record video and take stills at the same time.
Kayte Grace In Concert
WCA alumna Kayte Grace came with her band to give us a concert at the school. I was particularly pleased because Dorothy was roped (I mean encouraged) into being one of the opening acts. She sang a song she wrote and, at the risk of sounding like the stereotypical dad, I think she did a pretty darn good job. Happily I recorded Dorothy but she’d kill me if I posted that here but fear not, because you get a picture of the lovely and extremely talented Kayte Grace. If you’d like to hear her music, you can start at http://www.kaytegracemusic.com/. Her music is also available on iTunes and Amazon.
“I Love Your Face”
Dorothy and some of her friends stayed a little while after school yesterday to decorate the art room with a few post-it notes. Each one says “I Love Your Face” on it. It was impossible to show all of them (there are over 2,000!) in one picture but this gives you a pretty good idea of what the entire room looked like. Well done, girls.
Cheaper By The Dozen
On the one hand, I’d love to post all my favorite pictures from the two Saturday performances of Cheaper By The Dozen, put on by the WCA King’s Players. On the other, it’s hard to narrow it down to few enough. So, I’m going to take the easy way out and post just one more photograph here. I enjoyed the show (four times) and this is the scene that touched me the most. Lillian (the mother) is telling Anne (the oldest of the twelve children) that Frank Sr. (the father) has heart problems. I don’t know that it would have affected me so much when I was younger. Experience makes things more real (because they are, I guess). Having a daughter somewhere about the age of Anne in the play probably has something to do with it. Anyway, the girls sold this scene and I thank them for it. Bravo.
After work I headed over to the theatre for the Friday evening performance of Cheaper By The Dozen. I took pictures of each of the performers as they got into make-up and costume and then we got them all together for a cast photo. We took some of just the “Gilbreth” family, then the full cast, and this of the full cast with their long-suffering director. The show went well and a good time was had by all. Two more performances tomorrow.
Final Dress Rehearsal
WCA’s King’s Players production of Cheaper By The Dozen had its final dress rehearsal this morning with an audience of private and home school students. They did a great job and we all look forward to their performances Friday evening and twice on Saturday.
One of my favorite things to do is visit the elementary school classes at Dorothy’s school and of all my visits, I think my favorite is when I come to the second grade class to demonstrate simple machines. We all pull nails out of a board with a crow-bar (lever) but the real fun is using a block and tackle (pulleys). With their brave teacher attached to the bottom end of the rig, each student hoists her up into the air. In this picture, an excited student is standing directly underneath her teacher while holding her up.
Collyn couldn’t rightly be described as large but she’s a lot bigger than the children in her class. For them, even the smallest of them, to lift her so easily is a real eye opener. As I was leaving, third and fourth grade students saw my rope and tools and got all excited on behalf of the current second grade class getting their chance to lift their teacher. They certainly remember it.
Of course, it’s a treat for me, as well. Then again, Cathy’s not sure what to make of me picking up younger women. ;)
The Music Guild had its first recording session today. I only went in long enough to see what the place looked like and to take a few pictures. This is Erin at the microphone.
No Script Concert and Party
Christy Danner had a concert and release party for her EP No Script (which you should buy) this evening. The Honey Bunches were there, as well as three of the McGoff clan and Matt Brown and others whose names I don’t remember. This is Amanda, Erin, Carrie, Josh, Ben, and Matt.
Let It Snow Disco
I think the title says it all.
Low Scoring Game
Here’s a basketball score you won’t often see—one to nothing. Of course it was only two and a half minutes into the first period, but still, one to nothing. We left at half time, when WCA was up 22 to 16, so I don’t know how it ended.
Dorothy’s classmate, Emily, had the class out for lunch for her birthday at Baronessa, a nice, little Italian restaurant near here. Not everyone came but this is about ⅔ of the class.
I sold cards and prints at the WCA Christmas Bazaar today. It was nice to be next to Jessica Buchtel’s table, although a LOT of people got to her table and didn’t feel they needed to go any further. :).
I went on a field trip with Dorothy’s class today, visiting Ford’s Theatre and the Lincoln Memorial. The class posed for a group picture as we left Lincoln.
I visited the first grade today, dressed in disguise as the Outlaw Sheriff, hunting those pesky outlaw words (that don’t obey phonetic spelling rules). I had a bandana over my face (riding so far on horseback there is a lot of dust) so the kids didn’t know who I was. It was a fun time and hopefully something the students will remember.
Ready To Dance
Dorothy and her friends, dressed and ready to leave for the dance at school. From left: Issy, Erin, Hannah, Toksie, Dorothy, Cat, Anna, and Grace.
The results of an interesting party game.
School starts on Wednesday and the sophomore and junior classes had a joint “back to school” party this afternoon. In this photo, Dorothy and some of her friends are… well, I’m not sure what they’re doing.
*I know, Hannah is a junior. Sorry.
Dorothy wanted to go watch some of her friends play volleyball this evening and I decided I’d take my camera. I got a few good pictures but I think I have a lot to learn about photographing this sport. Anyway, this is Alexia on WCA’s summer league team.
Did Someone Say Murder? (again)
After spending the morning editing pictures from last night, I spent the afternoon and evening at the Olney Theatre again. Here’s the cast and crew after today’s second and final performance.
Did Someone Say Murder?
Sorry for the delay in getting this up. Friday I went from the office to the Olney Theatre to take pictures before and after the WCA performance of Did Someone Say Murder? by David J. LeMaster.
It’s spirit week at school and today is Wacky Tacky Day (“Students should come to school dressed as crazily as possible”). This is Dorothy, all ready to go. She didn’t actually take the ukulele with her.
At last year’s WCA auction we bought, along with our good friends Janis and Greg, Krystal and Mike, and Diana and Tom, a gourmet dinner cooked by Jeanette and Barbara. After our gourmet dinner and wonderful desserts fixed by Amy, we enjoyed a movie on the big screen. Sadly, Diana and Tom couldn’t make it.