US Blazer Buzz 5 May

This week's highlight: Spanish Skype Pals

With AP exams fast approaching, the AP Spanish Language students are diving in and practicing for their exam. What better way is there to practice speaking in Spanish than to...speak in Spanish? Using connections that teacher Mrs. Hayden made during her time as a high school exchange student, each AP Language student had the opportunity to video chat one-on-one with an Ecuadorian via Skype. Each student was truly able to put his or her Spanish-speaking skills to the test, chatting with new friends about everything from movies and music to the current social and political tensions in Venezuela.

As our students learn about other cultures and languages they start to truly become world citizens. They create meaningful connections between themselves and people thousands of miles away. Having a pen pal, whether written or virtual, is a uniquely authentic way to learn about the world outside of one's immediate surroundings. The AP Spanish Language students will have the opportunity to continue speaking with their new friends during the remainder of the school year. As C.S. Lewis once said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" Now imagine having that moment with someone on the other side of the planet. Welcome to the world of virtual pen pals!

Contributed by Hahna Hayden

US Blazer Buzz 28 April

This week's highlight:Wizard of Oz

Students in grades 6-12 blew audiences away over the weekend with their production of The Wizard of Oz, and original adaptation of the novel by L. Frank Baum. The production boasted thirty-five actors and singers, along with a three-person tech crew, and featured new interpretations of some familiar tunes to accompany this new spin on an even more familiar tale.

Baum's story was relocated from Kansas to the coast of North Carolina, and Oz was reimagined as a mysterious uncharted island somewhere in the Atlantic. Rehearsals got under way in early March, with students arriving daily after school to work through the script scene by scene, song by song. Along the way, Woodlawn alumna Serena Barringer joined the team to to assist with choreography. The cast was led by sixth grader Lily Klett as Dorothy, and anchored by seniors Thomas Tyson as Toto, Zach Felts as the Tin Man, and Jules Winkle as the Scarecrow. Senior Mary Rood Cunningham lent support as Glinda the Good Sea Witch, with freshman Amelia Woodall as her sister and foil, Belinda. Sixth grade student Campbell Lindquist stepped up with amazing energy and professionalism at the last minute to take over for a cast mate sidelined by illness, and rounded out the cast of travelers as the cowardly "Leona."
Inhabitants on the island of Oz -- the Pocket Pirates, the Winkies, as well as sophomore Spencer Gazzaway's Wizard and junior Emily Dyckman's Wicked Witch -- paid homage in small ways to the music of the Oz we all remember. But the bulk of this musical was decidedly more modern, with the likes of Katy Perry, Iggy Pop, Coldplay, and Bob Dylan lending songs to the soundtrack. One knows it's a play of a different breed when a bluegrass version of "What Does the Fox Say?" serves as one of the big showstoppers.

Oz was only the second musical in Woodlawn's history, but it seems as though the Red Barn Players are topping themselves year by year. The stage hadn't even been struck yet when the students began asking what show we were doing next spring. If wonderfully talented and committed students with overwhelming enthusiasm make the foundation for a stellar performing arts program, then Woodlawn is looking forward to being the next big thing.

Contributed by Jeff Donnelly

US Blazer Buzz 21 April

This week's highlight: Visual Journaling for Upper School

“Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.” -- Duane Hanson

What is a visual journal? A few ways to describe a visual journal are: part sketchbook, part diary, part notebook, part found junk drawer, part dream journal, part planner, part to-do list, part doodle pad, part collection holder… and the list goes on. The visual journal combines visual with the written, the image with the word. Using an old book, students create "pages" using different art techniques including collage, watercoloring, creative lettering, and photo transfers.

Junior Elia R. said, "I take this class to keep a sane piece of mind." Visual journaling helps young artists to create a sense of style, build self-discipline, and develop a safe place for exploring the unknown. Freshman Janae G. says "I have become more creative by taking journaling. It gives me wider mindset." Visual journaling is a unique art form; there is no one way to journal and no right or wrong way. When the pressure to do something right is removed, the act of creating itself is meaningful.

Contributed by Jackie Royce

US Blazer Buzz 7 April

This week's highlight: Varsity Girls Soccer

The girls varsity soccer team heads into spring break with a record of 2-1-3. The team is in mid-season form and playing its best soccer of the year. The Blazers got the season started with a bang, earning a 2-2 tie against Davidson Day and a 3-2 win against Pine Lake Prep in the first two games. The team then traveled to Charlotte Latin and fought valiantly in a 3-0 loss to the No. 2-ranked 4A team in the state. Latin is averaging nine goals per game, and Woodlawn held the group scoreless for the first 60 minutes of the match, riding some superb goaltending from senior Christen Zammit. Woodlawn has since returned to its winning ways, with a convincing 3-0 win against Covenant Day School on Thursday, April 3. Captains Christen Zammit, Maisie Wills, and Clare Robinson have set the tone for the team, exemplifying the three principles of Woodlawn soccer: have fun, work hard, play smart.

Contributed by Tim Helfrich

US Blazer Buzz 31 March

This week's highlight: DNA

This month, the ninth grade biology students were tasked with investigating a crime scene staged by the AP Biology students on the Woodlawn cross country trails. The AP Bio students developed a story line and acted it out, enlisting Woodlawn Admissions Director Callie Donnelly to help with theater make-up for the victim of the crime. The ninth grade students visited the crime scene, collected various types of evidence, and interrogated the suspects who were played by enthusiastic AP Bio students.
After learning how to make DNA fingerprints in class, the ninth graders amplified the DNA samples from the scene and suspects and created DNA fingerprints for each sample. They were able to show that the DNA sample from the crime scene matched one of their prime suspects in the case.

AP Biology and ninth grade biology students collaborated on this biotechnology simulation using equipment purchased with a grant award from North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Contributed by Adah Fitzgerald