US Blazer Buzz 20 April

This week's highlight:Food Justice

The ninth and tenth graders are studying food justice this trimester in our Service class. Food Justice is the belief that all people should have access to healthy and chemical free food that is not only affordable but also near where they live or work. In service we have learned about food deserts and different organizations working to overcome the barrier that a food desert can be for people who reside in an area not within walking distance of a grocery store offering fresh and affordable food. Sow Much Good is one of these organizations working to bring local food to people in food deserts. They have a 4-acre farm in the city and a 5-acre farm in Huntersville called Hubbard Farm. The organization relies on volunteers to work in the fields and to help them bring the produce to the city where they sell it at an affordable rate. Last week the ninth and 10th graders spent their Friday morning hoeing the fields, picking weeds, pruning the vegetables, scything the fields and just having a good time outside. It was a wonderful opportunity to build a connection with this organization that is such a nice match for our study.

Blazer Buzz 13 April

This week's highlight: Spring Intermezzo

Adventure, mystery and magic were in the air as the upper school embarked on its Spring Intermezzo just before break. The theme? Amazingly enough, it took us nearly four years to finally tackle the world of Harry Potter. But with the help of some die-hard HP fans within our faculty (rhymes with "Rayden" and "San Vamburgh), Hogwarts came to Woodlawn in a quest modeled on the Tri-Wizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

After being divided into houses by the infamous sorting hat, students had to collaborate with their housemates solve a series of brain-twisting puzzles, and find their way to treasures hidden all over the Woodlawn campus. But solving the puzzle wasn't always enough...teams had to succeed in overcoming physical challenges before being able to leave a location with one of the treasure eggs. From choreographing a 6-second dance video to donning a frozen t-shirt, the journey to the final treasure egg was filled with daunting tasks and brushes with death. Along the way, houses came together to compete in tournament games to earn extra points. Some games, like Tanks, relied on a wizard's extra-sensory perception. Others, such as Quidditch, were not only a test of speed, agility, and strategy, but also called upon students to craft regulation brooms on which to compete. 

Another great Intermezzo in the books, and one that is bittersweet: our graduating seniors were freshmen when we held our very first intermezzo, and therefore have been a large and influential part of crafting this program since the beginning. Their creative and energetic contributions to the first four years of Woodlawn Intermezzo will be just one of the legacies they leave as they move on in June.

US Blazer Buzz 30 March

This week's highlight: Sophomore Seminar

The sophomore seminar class is one of personal development and self-reflection. Over the past few weeks we have been learning about mental health. The culmination of our work together was a mindfulness workshop led by Kelley Gardner. Kelley is the founder of The Bindu, a yoga studio in Cornelius. She still teaches at the Bindu and has been teaching yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years. During our time together, the 9th and 10th grade students learned about their individualize “Doshas” and a did a few mindfulness exercises to draw upon when they are stressed and need to clear their heads and open themselves up to learning. We also learned about Nadi Shonhana breathing which might be useful in preparation for an exam channeling the right side of the brain or sometimes the left side of the brain for a more creative endeavor. I think everyone enjoyed the opportunity to learn about themselves in new ways as well as to acquire different exercises to combat the challenges of the upper school years.

US Blazer Buzz 23 March

This week's highlight: Students install Ga-ga pit on campus

On the morning of March 12, the entire upper school gathered just south of Woods Hall for a special dedication.  For the past couple months, the Woodlawn Grounds Crew (a group of sophomore boys) had been working to build an install a ga-ga pit in a small clearing near the putting green.  A ga-ga pit is an octagonal enclosure made of wood, and the game played in the pit resembles a cross between dodge ball and four square.  Players use their hands to slap the ball at the legs of other players - if the ball touches your legs or feet, you exit the pit.  Any number of people can be in the pit to start the game, so it’s a easy to start up a series of games no matter how many players show up.

Our students brought all the supplies (recycled wood from a construction project, concrete mix, wood chips to fill the pit) to campus and spent several weekends and lunch periods working on it.  They officially christened it “Woods Ball” (they didn’t much care for the “ga-ga” name), and the pit immediately became a hit with students of all ages on campus,  A number of us had never heard of this game before, but it has been played on college campuses and at summer camps for years, and can now be found at several K-12 schools in our area.

A big thanks to the Grounds Crew for their ingenuity, hard work, and the willingness to “make their own fun” - this is a great addition to our campus!

US Blazer Buzz 16 March

This week's highlight: Upper School Students Produce The Smell of the Kill

Senioritis, take note!  Emily Dyckman '15 spent her final winter term at Woodlawn directing and producing a full-length play, with assistance from many of her classmates.  The Smell of the Kill, by Michelle Lowe, chronicles one evening in the lives of three women.  As Nicky (Ciara Conway '15), Debra (Clare MacDonald '15), and Molly (Elia Ramirez '15) gather for dinner with their husbands in the next room, they each come to frightening realizations about their marriages - and ultimately take matters into their own hands.  Produced in conjunction with the technical theatre elective, the show ran last Sunday at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center to a full and attentive audience of friends and family.  Packed with wry humor and dramatic irony, the production was as entertaining an undertaking as it was impressive.  Special thanks to Ms. Rosen, Mr. Donnelly, and Marla Brown of the Warehouse for their support and advising.

 Photo by Kelsie Milburn '17