Category Archives: Uncategorized

Goodbye Ken

For many, the first time they see Middle School Principal Ken Aldridge is at their sixth grade orientation. “Remember,” sixth grade teacher Janet Kalkstein says, “He’s your PrinciPAL. Hokey puns aside, Ken really is one of the most warmly regarded figures in the Middle School. Described as “the perfect balance between understanding and responsible,” Ken’s calm, friendly, manner makes him a great principal. Which is why it really stinks that he won’t be ours next year! Continue reading Goodbye Ken

Why Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is Such A Big Deal

140310150517-nr-quest-malaysia-airlines-flight-00022920-story-top“The satellite company released some data!”
“Does Malaysia Airlines know something that we don’t?”

Why has lost Malaysia flight 370 taking over every news feed in the world every time any new billionth of a clue to its whereabouts is found? The batteries on the data recorder sending out locator pings have certainly run out after months since the flight disappeared, yet every time a piece of debris, a new theory from a top aviation expert, or any debris on the seafloor from the plane is spotted it classified as “breaking news”. Continue reading Why Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is Such A Big Deal

Goodbye Gluten: Healthy or dangerous?

More and more grocery and health food stores stock gluten-free products. That’s good news for people with celiac disease, who in fear of small intestine damage should not eat wheat with gluten.

But most of the people who go for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat.  Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, stated. “The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.” Continue reading Goodbye Gluten: Healthy or dangerous?

Oink, Moo, Baa, Squeak, and Yum – A Day at The Farm Show

The guinea pigs and rabbits, the enormous farm machinery, lots of cows, and the fried food begin to describe the farm show. It was the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held on January 11, 2013 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some of the animals were a result of breeding with artificial selection, which created animals unlike any I’ve ever seen prior to this.  There were white turkeys, which we learned sell better than their brown cousins. I pet a suspiciously large rabbit, and later found out that they were meant for human consumption. There were even Teddy guinea pigs that had frizzy fur.

The poultry was a different story all together.  There were black chickens with fluffy white heads. Along with the extensive collection of livestock, there was a butter sculpture, a food court and a tractor square dance. The butter sculpture was made of 1,000 pounds of donated “LandOLakes” butter, then put into a temperture controlled room with glass walls. The food court included the famous Kennet square mushrooms, funnel cake, pie, and milkshakes.

The farm show complex was huge, and took immense effort to navigate.  The competitions included sheep of many different breeds, endless rows of cows, and draft horses. The food court smelled of a mix of manure and deep fried food, which resulted in a uniquely strange smell. Surprisingly, vegetables were scarce. There were prize pies, wine and honey, and gigantic farm machinery that made us all feel small.

All in all it was an interesting experience of Pennsylvania farm culture.

~ Illustration by Thea A-L

Mr. Stripes: An Advice Column


Dear Mr. Stripes,
My parents are driving me crazy. They are always nagging me about homework and grades and every night they want me to spend like an hour talking to them about how my day was. I need them to understand that I need some space.

Dear Really Crowded,
I think you should try to understand that your parents are really very interested in your life, and being now a middle schooler, you might be unintentionally not giving them as much attention as they would like (which is probably wayyy too much attention). What ever the circumstance, I think you should try to explain to them that you are a teen/pre teen and you just need your space. Maybe you could agree on a time once a day or once a week or whatever you can agree on for time to just talk to them. Parents can be suffocating sometimes!

Good luck! -Mr. Stripes

Winter Fashion: How to look great and not freeze!

As the temperature drops to the low forties, you may find yourself staring into your drawer or closet wondering “what will I wear today” or “how do I keep warm without buying woolen pants?” The first thing to recognize  winter fashion is that while personal style is important, not catching pneumonia takes precedence.

If you are of the feminine inclination, several pairs of non-distressed jeans are in order. Make sure they are the ones that have actual denim as opposed to ultra-thin jeggings (that are no doubt styling, but they will not keep you warm). Next, it is best to make sure you have sweaters and jackets that you will actually wear; maybe having about five in total, so you have one for every day of the school week. The new thing is over sized and baggy loose-knit sweaters that can be worn over leggings, or skinny jeans (usually paired with a pair of boots). Speaking of boots, the new over-the-knee boot has become incredibly popular in the last several months.

Pants are great, but if you want to mix it up with a couple skirts there are several things to keep in mind. Firstly, recycling summer skirts with a winter sweater is totally cool and adds a bright splash of color to your wardrobe. To make sure you do not catch the aforementioned pneumonia you should probably pair this skirt with some leggings or tights. During the winter, sweater-tights are a really valuable part of a wardrobe. Though not everybody likes them you can get them in all different knits, colors and designs. If you want to go a bit more formal with you tights you can go for a sheer tight with a design on the back, which spices up any outfit.

Since the fashion industry is really just a cycle, a flashback from the eighties, leg warmers, have reentered the scene. There are a million different kinds to choose from, but the most traditional are the thick-knit and slouchy, as well as, the thick but tight leg warmers to be worn under boots.

If you are of the masculine inclination, several pairs of good jeans are in order as well. Also, layers are critical – do not go to a cold place with a down coat layered over a cotton t shirt; that is a recipe for a cold. A good jacket is in order and (possibly) a sweater, though I hesitate to say that because good men’s sweaters can be hard to find. Also, no matter what gender you are a good pair of corduroy pants are always warm and fashion-forward during the winter. Leather jackets have dominated the runway for both males and females this season. But the design for men’s jackets has become more tailored over the years and less like the slouchy bad-boy version we are all used to. Finally, winter shoes should be whatever style you like just with enough support to walk on icy places and thick enough that your toes will not get frostbite (and fall off).

Hopefully this has been somewhat helpful and you will go into winter warm, cozy and fashionable.

The Winter Season

We are all experiencing the painful chills of winter at the moment. The students want snow. Everyone is coming into school wearing many, MANY layers. I for one am an extremist. When its gets slightly cold, I’m bringing out the hats, coats and gloves for 50 degree weather. I wear sweatpants over my jeans and old college sweatshirts that are surprisingly warm. Every time I go outside I come in with red cheeks and a red nose, my friends used to kid me that I would turn into Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer when I went outside. When the sun does come out, if I’m outside, I find a patch of it and lay there. Sadly, laying there only makes me colder though.

The winter sun’s a grumpy guy.
He scarcely gets to see the sky.
He doesn’t speak. His rays are weak.
His disposition’s grim and bleak.
He hovers near the naked trees,
His blanket from the sky’s big freeze,
And barely dares to lift his head
Before he’s ordered back to bed.

-Douglas Florian (Winter Sun)

Worst Case Scenario for this Winter season? Imagine going on a “ski” trip and there isn’t any snow. That is what happened to my family over winter break. My grandmother has a house near a small mountain, so my family packed all our ski equipment in the car and went on a four-hour drive. Getting out of the car, it felt like it was 10 degrees outside. The house my grandmother owned was a barn converted to a house, so the walls are thin, meaning that the cold comes in faster. Then my parents couldn’t find the heat in the house, so I froze every night. When you go skiing, you have to get up early for two reasons. One, if you buy an expensive ski ticket, you want to get the maximum amount of skiing in before the day is over and two, you have to get a good table in the lodge. So my family wakes up at 6:30 and we reach the mountain at 7:45 am. We got there and found out they haven’t had any snow and can barely cover EIGHT out of TWENTY FIVE trails. This means that it was exceedingly icy. Also when I was trying to avoid the ice I was skiing in grass and mud. I skied the eight trails within the first four hours out on the mountain. The next day it was supposed to rain, but it didn’t and my family had woken up too late to ski.

So when you go to a ski resort/area, check the weather and/or mountain ahead of time to see how much snow they have received and make sure that you turn on the heat in the lodging you are staying in, also don’t attempt to ski through mud and grass, it doesn’t work.


Natural gas is a fossil fuel that we have a lot of here in the USA, twice as much as Saudi Arabia has oil. Natural gas is found in shale which is found two miles underground.

To get to the natural gas you have to drill wells on empty farmland. You could get millions of dollars selling your land to the gas companies; you could become a millionaire overnight.

Since farmers and land owners get so much money for their land, sometimes they don’t really think about the fact that the chemicals that companies use to get the natural gas out of the land, using a process called fracking, could contaminate the drinking water in the area

Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) is a process used to get natural gas out of the ground. How it is done is that water is mixed with sand and chemicals and then pumped down into the well, creating an enormous pressure which cracks the shale open and the natural gas floats to the top of the well so companies can sell it.

Fracking has already started production or exploration in over thirty states, and has already started production in Pennsylvania. Even though fracking may not seem like a big issue to people who live near a big city, like Philadelphia, in other parts of Pennsylvania it really is a big deal. People are really worried that the Susquehanna is going to get contaminated and then that cuts off some peoples drinking supplies.

My personal opinion is that we should find a safer way to retrieve natural gas than fracking, but that’s just my opinion. Lots of people think fracking is great because we can now provide our own gas in the USA and become a more independent country.

Here is where I got my information. There is a great video at the first site that teaches you a lot about fracking here in the USA.


Secrets of ASP

What You Didn’t Know About the After School Program

By Alex Mirage and Layah Taylor

Since several kids attend A.S.P., we decided to get the scoop on whether or not the After School Program is good or not.  First, of course, we interviewed the After School Program’s director, Candi Root.  We asked her several questions relating to After School, and the children in it. She told us “A.S.P. is a safe and fun environment for kids at G.F.S.”

Question: “Is anything new happening to A.S.P.?”

Answer: “We’re thinking about having activities for middle schoolers so then you guys won’t have to sit in the gym. We also have gotten new equipment such as balls, sidewalk chalk, and blocks.”

Question: “Are you thinking about getting any pets?”

Answer: “We thought about getting a fish, but we’ve taken into consideration that if the fish dies the smaller kids could possibly be upset.  That’s out of the question so far as animals with fur are concerned; we can’t have any because some kids are allergic to its fur. Also, reptiles can get too big and we don’t want it getting out of its cage so there’s that problem.”

After that we went to ask the little kids what they thought of after school and how would they rate it on a scale of one to ten.

Nattily: “I like A.S.P. but I wish we could get ice cream on really hot days not just Friday.”

Rating: 5

Luke: “I don’t really like A.S.P. that much.  It’s just okay and I wish we had a bigger gym.”

Rating: 3

Elias: “I love A.S.P.!!  I wouldn’t change one single thing about it! It’s perfect!!”

Rating: 10

So, over all, we think after school is pretty cool.  You get to do activities; they let you do your homework in the library and if you have any you’re able to cook second snack and tons of other stuff too.  The most important thing is that they let you hang out with your friends and basically be your own person while having fun and doing what you want to do all in a safe and happy environment. No matter what the kids at A.S.P. say badly about it technically you still have to go so as I always say might as well make the best out of it and as long as you do that you can have a really good time there.

A Love Story

A Love Story…

It is Wednesday, 12:47 PM, April 27th, 2011, activity period in the middle school. The 8th graders on the newspaper staff are in a total frenzy. Science night looms over their heads.  To say that they are struggling mightily to muster the necessary enthusiasm and focus required to turn out the last issue of the newspaper would be a grave understatement. Jesse, our editor in chief, is literally drawing squares in Photoshop in an attempt to finish an art project, Schuyler, our usually dependable managing editor, seems to have lost all sense of priorities abandoning her staff mates to make up a math test. Joanna and Jane, film critic and fashion editor respectively, have been caught up in an impenetrable torrent of giggles for at least 20 minutes, poor Joe, our tech guy, is trying in vane to keep things together while newbie reporter Hannah is still under the illusion that something will actually be accomplished in the next half an hour.  When I glance over and see Olenka lying on the floor and Magda upside down in her chair, whirling around face covered by her spinning hair, I’m certain that all hope is lost. In one final act of pure desperation, they ask me to write an article.

So, I stop my high-pitched vocalizations (otherwise referred to as screaming) and look at them.  Just for a moment, I  sit helplessly and just look.  Just five more weeks. In five short weeks, I will attend a Meeting and watch as they move on to their upper school selves. Then they will be gone.  Again.  Not just the newspaper staff.  They will all be gone: the ones I watched peck and claw their way out of their lower school shells, the ones I watched tentatively dip their big toes into the river of 7th grade before diving in head first, the ones I nagged relentlessly about late homework and poor focus, the ones who messed with the system settings on the lab computers and yes, even the ones whose sole criminal act was their very presence during one of my migraines.

Some will leave GFS, but even those who stay on will be gone. The most I can reasonably expect is a smile and brief exchange of greetings when we pass on campus or, perhaps, an unannounced return to the computer lab to use the color printer.

As a middle school teacher, I have often wondered if I have ever done anything that actually mattered in a student’s life or contributed to the person he or she will eventually become.  I’m not talking about making a huge impression on their life, just a tiny dent, a little educational fender bender, if you will, would be just fine with me.  I’m not proud to admit that I have often fantasized that while watching the Oscars, I would be amazed to watch a former student emerge from the crowd, clutch the podium and in a voice crackling with gratitude, thank me for changing the course of his or her life. Of course, I haven’t quite worked out the part about how such a well earned accolade relates back to my oft repeated instructions on how to save to the server with a greater than 50/50 chance of actually being able to retrieve a document sometime in the not so distant future.

More than occasionally, I’ve felt that teaching in the middle school is a lot like dating someone on the rebound, after you have been traumatically dumped by your first love and before you actually meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Somehow, for most, those interim memories of middle school life quickly fade away in a torrent of hormones and chaos forever wandering in the murkiness of lost adolescence.

It doesn’t really matter though.  Whether they remember me is not the point.  I am confident that on some future occasion, I will be lucky enough to catch a peripheral glimpse of their exact whereabouts on life’s path. Then I will remember. Again.

So go, why don’t you all!  Just hurry up and go and don’t look back kids.  You won’t get me again. I have absolutely no more room for memories. Wait just a minute. I forgot to mention something. I love you. Now get out of here!

The Secrets of GFS

By Jesse Overholser

Throughout GFS there are many places that are hidden to the student body; Places that are restricted to students. I ventured into these places, peered around, planning to make them public. These are the many fascinating secrets I uncovered.

First, the Alumni Building used to be a YMCA. On the second floor, through the double doors was an open gym, there were no inside walls. In the basement there was a bowling alley. The lanes and bowling balls still remain. The paint on the lanes also remains. Today, it is used as a storage facility, but the bowling alley aspects are still noticeable. On the third floor there are tiled floors indicating locker rooms. The third floor is no longer used for classes so students are not allowed up there. There are also rumors of a ghost in the alumni building, which may have been made up for a movie, and also a snake in the basement. Next to the alumni building where the science building is now there was an abandoned post office. Next to the post office, where the Hargroves Building is now, there was a cafe, Duva’s ,where students with off campus privileges used to smoke.

One of the stories told here at GFS involves a snake and Cheryl Pinkus, or as many call her, Mrs. P. Mrs. P. is one of the first grade teachers. One day a snake from Geoffrey, one of the lower school science teachers, escaped from his room. It eventually found itself in the Cary building, undetected, who knows how. Then when it entered the building it must have smelled food in Mrs. P’s closet because it ended up there. One day Mrs. P opened her closet , looked up, saw the snake and screamed for Mrs. Shechtman. Another version of this story is Mrs. Shechtman was with Mrs. P. when she opened the closet.

The Little and Smith gyms, and the middle nursery building and the big nursery building, all are connected. The Little Gym used to be called “The Gym” because it was the first and only gym. The Little Gym turned into the girls’ gym and the Smith Gym used to be the boys’ gym. The middle nursery building used to be the boys’ locker room with lockers floor to ceiling. The big nursery was also a locker room, but for girls. It also had lockers floor to ceiling. Outside the little gym there is a circular metal object in the cement. It is believed that is where we store the oil for the heating. The boiler tanks are under the library and the giant steam pipes that transfer the heat stretch all across campus.

The name S-9 might sound very secretive and intriguing, but it’s not. Sorry to break it to you. Well here’s the story of it anyway.  Do you think that the Sharpless building was designed to only have one bathroom? If you said yes, then you are wrong.  S-9 was supposed to be a boys’ bathroom on the first floor of the Sharpless building across the hall from the 8th grade english room. It was decommissioned and used by Will Terry as a dark room for a couple of years. then Bob Miller claimed it as a graveyard for computers before they are recycled. That is what it is used for today.

There are many secrets at GFS, but it is no secret that there are many GFS teachers that graduated from here . Here are a few; Tom Levy, Dorothy Cary, and Kate Hanssen. All three have mothers working at GFS. Others include Jenny Stetzer Goldberg, the former 7th grade history teacher, and Ian Van Wert. Brandon Jones, and Michael Boorse from athletics also attended. Sally West Williams, Meg Cohen Ragas, Diane Mallery, and Stacey Minyard from development attended GFS.  Finally Kathy Paulmier attended GFS.

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Where do you go?

By Emily Beiser
With help from Owen Chung and Elizabeth Wallace.

When you have to go, you have to go. But where? At GFS, not only do we have diversity in students and faculty, but we also have a diverse selection of bathrooms. Some are good, some bad, and some ugly, but don’t fear venturing into new and unexplored loos! We’ve done that, so read on for reviews of both the Ladies’ and Mens’

The rating is  done in rolls of toilet paper, out of five.
1- Awful
2- Quite Bad
3- Good enough
4- Nice
5- Great

Sharpless Building

Home sweet home. This bathroom, convenient for most middle schoolers, is functional and well-used. The soap dispenser is sometimes out, and the automatic paper towel dispenser is hard to use (which can be embarrassing). The facilities work well, though, and toilets are rarely clogged, if ever. The dark grout and lack of windows detract from the environment, but overall is fine.

Cleanliness: 4.5
Accessibility: 5
Overall Average:4.125

Not new, but works fine. No windows, ugly mustard yellow walls. Counter gets wet often.

Cleanliness: 2
Accessibility: 4.5
Facilities: 4
Environment: 2
Overall Average: 3.125

Alumni Building

This potty is not used much, so it is quite clean, and in a good location if  you are in the Alumni Building. It has nice, natural light from the window. The only drawbacks are the paper towels on the floor by the garbage can and the lock on one of the stall doors being fidgety.

Cleanliness: 4.5
Accessibility: 3.5
Overall Average: 4.5

Beware of the steps by the door of this bathroom. When you enter the room, you have to walk down two steps, which, according to Owen, he almost fell down. Overall nice and clean.

Cleanliness: 4
Accessibility: 4
Facilities: 4.5
Environment: 3.5
Overall Average:4

Main Building-By the Cafeteria

This restroom is a big improvement on what it used to be. The walls are freshly painted (last year the walls sported yellow wallpaper with giant pink and purple flowers), and the bathroom is clean. The floor dark red linoleum, so you can’t quite tell if it is dirty or not, but the bathroom overall is nice and well-kept.

Cleanliness: 3
Accessibility: 4
Facilities: 3
Overall Average: 3.125

Far away from the cafeteria, down a few hallways, so if you don’t know where it is, you had better ask someone, because you won’t find it on your own.

Cleanliness: 4.5
Accessibility: 1.5
Facilities: 4.5
Overall Average: 3.875

Field House Gym

Everything is new and clean in this loo. It’s well lit and nicely laid out so you don’t feel cramped or trapped. (It’s also easy to take a good photo of it.) If you’re in the Field House already, the bathroom is easy to get to, and it’s not a puzzle to find it.

Cleanliness: 5
Accessibility: 4
Facilities: 5
Environment: 4
Overall Average: 4.5

All right bathroom, the facilities are new and work. No windows and trash are drawbacks, but everything is clean and bright.

Cleanliness: 3
Accessibility: 5
Facilities: 4
Overall Average: 3.75

Smith Gym
This bathroom is Unisex.
The bathroom in the basement of the Smith Gym smells like sweat, probably because it is right next to the wrestling room. Even though it says Ladies’ on the door, nobody cares if boys use it, and most people don’t even know the sign is there. It’s a single-toilet bathroom, but is smaller than most, so don’t go here if you’re claustrophobic.  The yellow walls make the experience more unpleasant, and Owen claims he once saw a cockroach in it, even if it was dead. The bathroom also has a leaky faucet.

Cleanliness: 2
Accessibility: 3.5
Facilities: 3.25
Environment: 2
Overall Average: 2.6875

Loeb Lobby

This bathroom is used on certain occasions (like intermission of plays) by a lot of people, but is not used much, or at all, for long periods of time. The bathroom is clean and works well, but it has a bad smell of human feces. The venting is not great.

Cleanliness: 3
Accessibility: 3
Facilities: 3
Environment: 4
Overall Average:3.25

Loeb Basement
This Bathroom is Unisex

This is the scariest lavatory on campus. It’s probably where Myrtle spends most of her time. The lavatory, though only used by actors during  plays, is dirty and badly kept. The majority of the toilets are clogged most of the time, and the stall doors are western-style, so they lock in the middle. Some of the doors don’t even lock, so you have to have somebody hold the doors closed for you. The lavatory is also unisex, so it can be a bit awkward during intermission of upper school theater productions. Lisa Burns, the theatrical director, once broke her nose down there, so be careful. Since the lavatory is in the basement, the floor is concrete, and the lavatory is damp despite the fan. Nobody is actually supposed to go in the basement lavatory except for during productions, so thankfully, most middle schoolers won’t be going there any time soon.

This is probably Myrtle's stall. Best to stay away from here...

Cleanliness: 2
Accessibility: 2
Facilities: 1
Environment: 2
Overall Average:1.75