Upper School Highlights from November 2017

The month of November feels short, but my peers and I remain fully immersed in our physical and intellectual endeavors at Sandy Spring Friends School:

Winter Varsity Sports
Winter sports kicked off this month, and teams are gearing up for their upcoming challenges in the season. Women’s Varsity Basketball, captained by Noa Brown (’18) and Erica Fenton (’18), kicked off the season with scrimmage games against the Model School, Jewish Day School, and Washington International, and the team won all of the scrimmages. They also competed against GDS on Tuesday, Nov. 28, and it was a close game, but they lost by 6. They are excited for their next home game on Friday, Dec. 1 against Barrie School. Men’s Varsity Basketball, meanwhile, captained by Mikey Parker (’18) and Cheick-Oumar Toure (’19), played a competitive scrimmage game against Grace Brethren and an official game against Jewish Day School. They successfully gained victories in both. The Coed Rock Climbing team, captained by Seth Gorton (’19), Sam Schwartz (’20), Colleen Cooper (’18), and Anna Goodman (’18), has begun practicing. They are looking forward to their first meet away next Tuesday, Dec. 5. Alan Burd (’19), Jimmy Hu (’19), and Quinn Bittenger-Esser (’19) are the three SSFS athletes playing ice hockey for the Blake-Poolesville Griffins co-op team in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League made up of five schools (SSFS, Northwest, Kennedy, Blake, and Poolesville). They have tied one game and are looking forward to the upcoming one on Friday night, Dec. 1, against Wilson High School.

Best of luck to all the teams in the winter season!

ISL Recognition: Congratulations to SSFS Women’s Varsity Soccer Team Captain Alex Polón for being named to the Fall 2017 ISL A Conference All-League 1st Team. She was one of this season’s top 11 players as voted by the division’s head coaches. This is her second recognition after last season’s stellar performance, closing her varsity soccer career with 92 points on 25 goals and 42 assists in 52 games. Best luck to you and your athletic endeavors in college, Alex!

SSFS Quiz Bowl #It’sAcademic: Our academic Quiz Bowl teams continued to show Sandy Spring’s academic excellence. Under Eduardo Polón’s stellar guidance, the SSFS “A” Team, led by Captain Asa Kienitz-Kincade (’18), went undefeated (5-0-0). Our “B” Team had its own excellent showing, led by Captain Justis Dixon (’19). In the end, Sandy Spring finished with a combined record of 7-3-0, undefeated (6-0-0) in the Montgomery Academic Beltway league (MABL). Congratulations!

WC Annual Speaker Series: SSFS Writing Center again hosted their annual writer’s panel discussion; this year’s panel focused on “Writing in the Sciences.” As a tutor under the guidance of my English teacher Ariel Voorhees, I was proud of our accomplishment. We invited Nell Greenfieldboyce, a NPR correspondent; Dave Goodrich, a venerated climate scientist retired from NOAA and the UN; and Steven Gimbel, Gettysburg College Philosophy Department Chair, for a platform of sharing writing experience in the field of science to younger generations. Everyone who attended was fascinated by the topic and gained insights into the progression of science in our recent era. It was a great experience exposing Upper School students to our society and world.

The Arts: During a school day on November 16th, we enjoyed this year’s Upper School play, “The Outsiders,” produced by a professional student tech crew, several talented student actors, and faculty director Julie Borsetti. With the special effects of flashing lights and smoke, the play portrayed S. E. Hinton’s story authentically. Actor Jackson Key said that “the play touched on a lot of different themes, including socio-economic divides, the pain of coming of age, and the conflicts that each brings to one’s life.” After the play ended, there was time for Q&A between the audience and the actors. Overall, we as audience were impressed by the stellar performance and the thought-provoking story presented. Both the actors and the audience gained new insights and knowledge outside the classroom. Personally, I think having this play presented to all upper school students reflected Sandy Spring’s value of experiential learning. Learning through reflections and actions is what makes Sandy Spring unique and special. See photos from the play here.

I look forward to more arts events next month, including the Winter Dance Concert, which brings three classes (Modern Dance, Advanced Modern Dance, and Stagecraft) together to assemble a fascinating production. The production will occur on Dec. 7th, 8th, and 9th at 7:15 pm in the PAC Theater. I am excited to see our dancers letting their lives speak through beautiful moves.

Student Life: November marked the beginning of another college admission cycle for high school seniors. Most of the seniors submitted their early applications to where they aspire to attend. As one of them, I sensed the stress and pressure in the process, but our counselors and teachers continued to support us. My English teacher Miriam Rock patiently worked with me as a proofreader, and my counselor Jerome Cole kept encouraging me. They alleviated some of my anxiety, and I am thankful for their time and mentorship.

S.O.M.E. Shoebox Gift Project is back again! The Junior class is coordinating an all-school, community-wide service project that donates shoebox gifts including personal items useful to a homeless man, woman, or child to So Others Might Eat (SOME), an interfaith organization based in D.C. that provides meals, clothing, shelter, rehabilitation, counseling, and more to those in need. The Sandy Spring community is one filled with the spirit of stewardship, an element of Quaker SPICES, that extends and collaborates with other communities.

Alumni Soccer Games & Turkey Trot 5K: Alumni, family members, students, and faculty and staff all took part in a day of joy and bonding. This year marked the second Turkey Trot, a 5k race on the day after Thanksgiving. Sandy Spring’s race course was beautiful. The 5K race burned off some of the calories of Thanksgiving dinner. Following it, we tasted Bim’s amazing grilled steak with the Dragon sauce. In the afternoon, alumni soccer games kicked off. Both triggered smiles and hugs on the field and in the bleachers.

With winter break coming up, the month of December will be shorter, but the variety of activities in the Upper School will continue. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is fully recharged to finish off the wonderful year of 2017.

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