All posts by Owen Cheung

Ready…Set…Time Warp!

Ready…Set…Time Warp! The audience on the crowded risers shouts at the top of their lungs. Lights flash and the contestant is pulled through the “Time Warper”, a time traveling machine. This is the eighth grade musical.
Warp back 2 months now; it all started in a choir room in the Main Building. It was the first rehearsal and our first day of the 8th Grade Musical project time. We all knew what it was, a mandatory several months of working on a musical. We remembered the past years performances, would we be able to do as well? We also knew it would take some work and we didn’t know if all of us would be able to focus on it. Our first day we met the directors; Anne, Heath, Teri, Carla. It was they who introduced us to the idea of time changing.
Over the next few weeks, we worked every Wednesday for two periods (1 hour, 30 minutes), learning and practicing a variety of different songs from all different times of history. Some people went to singing auditions to get singing roles. Eventually, we moved to the Poley and started to practice there. It was on this rather large (at least it seemed so) stage where we would actually be performing. This is when we started to really get going. We worked harder in rehearsals, worked on the solo parts, planned costumes, stage position and lighting. Later on we even started to rehearse after school (snacks provided).
And before we knew it, it was the week of the performance, performances to be more specific. It was possibly the most hectic week of the school year. On the Monday before the performances, we spent half of the school day working on the musical. This was our dress rehearsal. Although we managed to get through everything, there was quite of bit of disruption, most likely due to the fact that we are all 13-14 and were focusing on rehearsing for the past few hours.
This brings us back to the performance. We are five minutes in and the first contestant has time warped to the great ship Titanic. Complete with funny amusing dialogue and well sung songs, the 2012 8th Grade Musical was a success. We had gotten through all of the long practices and hard work. Parents congratulated us, complimented us and took lots of pictures. Most of us would say we felt proud.
If there was any advice I would give to the current 7th grade, it would be to take a risk, take a chance, try out for a solo, give your ideas, and make the musical yours. Good luck.

Dick Wade Retires

As many of you know, Richard L. Wade, commonly known as Dick Wade, the head of school, is retiring in two years. He has been in position for twenty years. Dick has been part of the GFS community in many levels, including welcoming new students and their families, assisting with big decisions and helping everyone in the school. He also spent time teaching 7th grade history last school year. Dick is has been a wonderful part of the GFS community and an amazing head of school. He will continue to be until he retires.

Why are you leaving GFS?
What motivated this decision?
Because the 7th grade history class is off the wall.
Because it’s time in my life. I’m turning 65, my wife and I have been talking about it for a number of years.
20 years is a long time for the school to have one head, one set of eyes.What do you plan to do with all this free time?
Travel. Spend time in Philadelphia, volunteering and helping out. Going to Virginia to visit family.How do you plan to stay a part of the community?
Read and pay attention. Visit if invited. Keep up with the faculty and stay in touch from a distance, but not be visibly present to respect the new head.How long have you known you were going to leave?
A number of years, vaguely that idea. Formally a year ago with the school committee.

What do you do as head of school?
Represent the school to the outside world, to alumni, new families and to the neighbors. Spokesperson for the school, a cheerleader for the school, for the students and faculty. Offer advice and support to other leaders in the school. Make the students feel valued. And raise money. The school takes a lot of money to run.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Best: See a variety of people doing a variety of things, from kindergarten to A Capella fests to sports events. A variety of issues I get to deal with, from what kind of roof for the Sharpless building, to Owen in class. A wonderful range.
Worst: Tedious, routine things. Things I gotta do, that are part of the job but that I don’t always want to do. When there is sadness in the school, the death of a family member, it is hard.

What is the most special part of GFS?
In a simple sense, Meeting for Worship. The community is gathered. GFS flies, it’s busy. It’s like when you’re on a trip going so fast that you forget to look at the scenery. Meeting for Worship makes you stop and look around, you look around and see everyone.

Is there anything else?
Owen and Elizabeth are great.
Last year, teaching history, was one of the best things I’ve done.

Dick Wade has made too many contributions to count. He has led our school unbelievably well and has been an amazing representer of our school. He has made GFS look positive in all ways. That is why we are all so thankful.

Dick Wade, we at the Corner thank you for a great 20 years as our head of school.

The New GFS Website

by Owen Cheung

As many of you know, the GFS website was updated Wednesday, October 12. Members of the GFS community felt that the old website was, for lack of better words, “old”. It was the same design as it had been for many years and the product used lacked the power to make the site better. Last year, an anonymous donation was given towards the new website, which sparked the start of it.

The website was created in different phases, starting with picking the vendor to build the website. After searching for a group, the faculty chose Silverpoint, a company from Baltimore. The company came to our campus and interviewed students to get a feel for the community. Many students met at meetings and discussed the plans. I participated in some of them, along with other students in the Middle School. We talked about different features of the website, how we felt about the old one and how we reacted to it. Many of us felt that the website would be one’s first impression of the school, and of course we want a good first impression. Silverpoint took our views into account so they could create a good design.

Next the design was created and content from the old website was moved over. The website team has worked since the contract was signed in January, 2011 until the website was launched.

One of the most significant features include the Virtual Tour, which is a page of the website in which Bob Reinhardt (MS Art) created a beautiful map of the GFS campus. Each location of the campus has a special message saying something about it and it truly connects the website to the community.

My personal thoughts of the new website are about how the design captures the school. First off, it demonstrates the SPICES (the Quaker testimonies, simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship). The site is simple, yet beautiful. It has great pictures of people in the community and it covers everything the school is about. I also believe that it does a good job of feeling alive. A recent Alum told Sarah Detwiler that the new site makes her feel like she is still a part of the community, even though she no longer goes to the school. The site gives a great, bold impact that I really like.

The website was a collaboration of the “Website Committee” (including Sarah Detwiler, Rhonda Levy, Dana Griffin, and Steve Kushner), the Silverpoint crew, and many other faculty members. I am sure I am not the only one thanking and congratulation these people for their hard work and dedication. And a very special thanks to Rhonda and Sarah.

Overall, the website is a great success. Everyone I have talked to has enjoyed the change. It represent the school very well and leaves a great impression.

Check out the New GFS Website now!