Sports Exemptions at GFS

By Andreas Bezahler

Sketch by Sammy Randall

At Germantown Friends Middle School you are required to take one sport per season. In some cases though, you can get exempt for a season or in some cases even the whole year . There are many different sports or various activities that can qualify you for a sports exemption.  It may surprise you to know that at GFS there are currently about 25 exempt students.

Some of the outside sports which are exemption approved include horseback riding, ballet, ice-hockey, swimming, martial arts, Irish dancing, cheerleading, fencing, tennis, table tennis, travel soccer and hiking. I decided to interview some people who are exempted from sports.  One person with an exemption who I interviewed is a current 7th grader named Alexandra Rhoads.

Me: Hi Alex

Alex: Hey

M: What sport are you exempt for?

A: I swim indoors at Cheltenham High School

M: Is there a reason why you didn’t choose a sport at GFS?

A: Because, I really wanted to swim and it wasn’t an option for middle schoolers at GFS

M: Do you think that GFS should broaden their sports to include swimming?

A: Yes, but I think it would cost a lot of money and there may not be enough people to make a team.

M: Do you think that GFS should make it a priority?

A: Yes, I think it would also make GFS a more attractive school.

M: Well, thanks for your opinion and I enjoyed talking with you.

A: You’re welcome

In conclusion you can see that a lot of children are exempt because they want to play various sports not in the GFS middle school athletics program.  The majority of children though love and enjoy playing for our school, and think our athletics program is a great asset for a school.

Homework Tastes Like Chicken!

By Elizabeth Wallace

An overabundance of seemingly pointless homework (also known as “busy-work”) is a problem for many middle-schoolers. No one wants to do homework, especially the assignments that seem useless. So, how do we get rid of it? One answer: give it to the dog. Although almost any young dog, puppy, energetic or excitable dog will gladly scarf down any piece of paper in their sight, some dogs will not. Take my dog, BlackBear, a five year old Westie/Havanese mix, for example. I wouldn’t say she’s terribly well trained, and she loves eating little bits of smashed-up who-knows-what off the sidewalk, but when presented with a perfectly repulsive homework assignment, she’ll barely even stop to sniff it. So, here’s what I’ve come up with to get any dog to eat a homework paper. (Don’t have a dog? You can borrow someone else’s.)

FOOD. For most dogs, this seems to be their one favorite thing. To get a dog to eat a piece of paper, try smothering it in peanut butter or cream cheese. Dogs love both of these. If you have a small dog, you might have to cut up the paper so they don’t just lick the peanut butter or cream cheese off, although this does kind of defeat the purpose of having the dog eat the homework, because you have just destroyed it yourself.

Another solution is to use the homework sheet like wrapping paper and wrap up a tasty, strong-smelling piece of food in it. If you’ve ever given your dog a present, you probably know how this works. The dog tears through the paper to get to the food, and in the process, the paper is destroyed. In my opinion, (and my dog’s) this gets better results and is more fun than just putting peanut butter on your homework.

Black Bear with the final product of Operation Eat Homework

Here are just a few extra tips:
1. Do not do this too often, or your dog could get sick, and that would be hard to explain.
2. Do not bring the remnants of your homework to school to show your teacher, because that is weird and disgusting. A picture of it is okay, but no slobbery paper pieces.
Although this does get rid of some homework assignments, most are also online these days, and it’s going to take more than a little peanut butter to get a dog to eat a computer.

Note: Please do not actually try these techniques unless you have so much pointless seeming homework that you think you might go on a rant and run into the wall. When you tell a teacher your dog ate your homework, you know who will probably get in trouble? No, not your dog. YOU, for letting your dog eat your homework and not doing anything about it, and I might get in trouble too, purely for writing this article. Also, even though an assignment may seem pointless, it is probably not.

There’s More to Chocolate than Hersheys

by Jessica Lu
Food Critic

Almost everyone thinks that Hershey chocolate is great, but it’s not very nice tasting in my opinion. Most of us only know of big companies like Hershey and Lindt. I think Lindt is better than Hershey, but it is still mediocre compared to some European chocolates. In the best chocolates, the taste dissolves quickly. This is because the chocolates that dissolve faster have smoother textures.

In this author’s opinion, Hershey chocolate is barely chocolate. If you tried melting a Hershey kiss in the oven it wouldn’t work, and it would just become dry and crumbly. If you tried just leaving it in your mouth to melt, without chewing it, it will not melt for a while. Good chocolate melts in your mouth within a minute.  You shouldn’t chew it unless there are nuts or caramel. Hershey mostly sells milk chocolate. So, if it is milk chocolate, dark chocolate from other companies should melt slower than their milk chocolate because it has milk and cream in it, but it doesn’t. Also Hershey’s “special dark” isn’t even dark chocolate, it’s just looks dark. Their “special dark” is sweeter than their milk chocolate. Good dark chocolate has just enough sugar and milk so that it’s not bitter, but not sweet. Hershey just makes all their chocolate so that they will please kids, who like sweetness. While doing this they stopped creating good, genuine chocolate.

Also, everyone says that chocolate is made of cocoa beans, when actually it comes from cacao beans. Cocoa is the powder used to make hot chocolate. Chocolate is made from Chocolate liqueur, chocolate butter, sugar, and milk. There are several types of chocolate unsweetened, semi-sweet, bittersweet, sweetened, milk, and white. White chocolate is technically not chocolate, because there isn’t any chocolate in it.

Here’s a table of well-known chocolate makers and how I rate their chocolate.

Hershey 3
Lindt 5.75
Dove 4.5
Ferrero Rocher 7
Ghirardelli 7

On the table above I rated Lindt as 5.75 because it’s a good  basic chocolate, but it doesn’t have the smooth texture of the finest chocolate. I put Dove as 4.5 because it doesn’t taste bad, but doesn’t melt well. Ferrero Rocher and Ghirardelli( both Italian chocolates) were even because Ferrero Rocher has good texture, and Ghirardelli melts quickly and tastes good.

Some ways that you can judge chocolate is by:
1. How quickly it melts
– In the oven
– In your mouth

2. How smooth it is
– Does the taste go away quickly, or just stay there

Now that you know a bit more about chocolate, go get a taste of chocolate and don’t chew.

A Wonderful Winter Break Survey

I decided to take a survey on what people did over their Winter Break- 2 weeks of no school to do what they want. Most of the results did not surprise me, only a few stuck out of the crowd. I surveyed 20 people and my results are below:

  1. Traveled: 9
  2. Lazed Around: 7
  3. Family & Friends: 6
  4. Skiing: 3
  5. Other: 2

Some people did a couple things, while most only did one. For some people, Winter Break was full of exciting times. For example, Rhonda had watched the whole first season of Dexter. Last time we spoke, she was up to season 5. Others did things such as visiting exotic countries, meeting new family, and even trips to the hospital.

It is disappointing how many people lazed around. Let’s try to do something more active this spring break. Then we can see how many people were able to do it!

Editorial: iPods in Study Halls

Whose study hall is it? Why can’t students listen to iPods in their study halls? Study halls are a time to work independently. There are different ways of working just like different ways of learning.  This should be recognized like we recognize different ways of learning. Some students work with a pen, some with a pencil, some fast, some slow, just like some work listening to music, some without listening to music. If students listen to music quietly without disturbing others then aren’t they still working independently? Working quietly and productively is the only rule of a study hall. Some students feel that listening to music is relaxing and allows them relieve stress.  In some instances music is helpful in memorizing school related studies.  iPods in study hall can be useful or preferred.  If people use the them while obliging with the study hall rules there is no reason one should not be able to use them.

~ The Corner Editorial Board 2010-11

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

Festival of lights review

The Festival of Lights, a Middle School Tradition

By Gabe Buyske

When one hears the expression “festival of lights” it conjures up pictures of well…. festivals. But the Festival of lights here at GFS was so much more. Whether it was “Let it Be” performed on stage or “Lean on Me” or even the simple beauty of the decoration  that pulled it together. I for one enjoyed the speeches about the holidays and the many wonderful musical numbers. I would also like to point out that it seemed everyone performed. And they performed so well it made small mess ups funny. I literally laughed out loud when such comedies occurred like the pronunciation of Sleipnir (slap-ner).  Or when the cape of the eight dancing woman fell off in 12 days of Christmas. When I talk it sounds like there was only music but there was something for everyone. There were speeches, interpretive dances, and a magnificent finale of “this little light of mine”. I sincerely hope you agree with me on how wondrous this performance was. If you did see it you will definitely understand me and if you didn’t then you have missed a once-in-a-lifetime event….until next year that is!


by Elizabeth Wallace

One of the Quaker testimonies that GFS follows is simplicity. Simplicity is the state of being simple, or uncomplicated. In the book Faith and Practice of GFS it says, “We are encouraged to balance our work and school lives with our family, community, and religious lives, not letting busy-ness overcome us.” So is our school actually simple? Is GFS encouraging the teachers and students to live simply?

These days, what I consider a “simple” week is one where everything is normal. On a simple week I have the classes on the days my schedule says, and sports after that. Then I come home and do homework. On a day when I have a game for sports after school, another activity not school related, or even just an unusually large amount of homework, I feel overwhelmed. Usually, I feel overwhelmed about getting schoolwork done, because GFS is such an academically demanding school. Often times when I get home late and have homework to do, I don’t get time to do things with my family, or do anything else that I would like to do. In Faith and Practice of GFS the definition of simplicity is that “activities and possessions should not overwhelm us.” Another definition is that we shouldn’t let our academic and extracurricular activities interfere with the more important things in life, one of which is family.

Look at November, for example. The first week we had no school on Friday, and Wednesday was a Friday schedule. The second week was a full week, but we had open-house day on Thursday. On top of that, Thursday was a Friday schedule. But Friday was also a Thursday schedule. (Note to whoever scheduled that week: It makes no sense and it seems that the only point was to confuse us more.)  In the third week of November there was no middle-school on Friday for parent-teacher conferences, but the rest of the school didn’t have the day off. That makes it more complicated for parents, too. One parent reported that they “sometimes drive to GFS four or five times a day” because of their children’s schedules.

One thing to consider, though, is that one reason the school schedules are so complicated and often overwhelming is that at GFS students have a lot of freedom to choose what they do and don’t want to participate in. Different activities require different amounts of time, which makes scheduling more complicated.

A student or teacher’s life at GFS is often not very simple, but why is this? I think this is because GFS has a high academic standard that requires a large amount of homework. Also, because GFS offers so many extracurricular activities for students to participate in that require more time. Another reason could be that instead of having longer core classes to get more done, at GFS we get to participate in other activities, including art and music classes, gym class, Meeting for Worship (which, by the way, is meant to help simplify and un-clutter our lives), and project time activities.

A simpler life sounds nice, but is it really what we want? What do we sacrifice for simplicity?

Tom and Rhonda

Rhonda and Tom
Two Generations at GFS

Rhonda and her son Tom have been a part of GFS for years. Starting at school together, Rhonda taught as a fourth grade assistant teacher for Diana Corliss, and Tom was a student in kindergarten. Rhonda was inspired to be a teacher by the fact that her son was  going to this school; she came because of her children and has stayed ever since.  Rhonda loves technology but is also very creative “if I wasn’t a computer teacher I would like to teach graphic design or art” she dishes to bridge reporter when they ask her favorite subject. Tom, a “lifer” began GFS at age five in kindergarten. Five years later when he started sixth grade in Jeff Fetterman’s class, he had his mom as a computer teacher. Now he works alongside her as a colleague and he says it’s “much less awkward”. When asked why he started teaching Tom says “when an opportunity came for me to come and teach, I jumped at it.” Tom hasn’t totally decided that he is going to be a teacher but he likes working with the middle-school age group and he enjoys their fun and energetic way of approaching things. He graduated from The George Washington University where he majored in history and since then he says that it is “great getting to work side by side with such a brilliant educator” (Rhonda) and learning from his teaching experience. Rhonda, when asked if she has fun working alongside Tom, says “definitely! This way I get to see Tom everyday!”