Five-Minute Film Festival

photo 1 The annual Five-Minute Film Festival on June 12 celebrated original work produced by Ross School students in grades 2–6 in their Media and Technology classes. Working independently, in small groups, or as a class, the filmmakers first submitted a video proposal to Media Studies and Technology teacher Cortney Propper describing genre, setting, characters, and target audience.

Watch the five-minute films online.

Films this year included comedies, dramas, documentaries, and creative shorts showcasing techniques such as stop-motion animation. Students also demonstrated their understanding of the following media studies concepts:

  • Media productions are constructions, and individuals make conscious and unconscious choices about what to include, what to leave out and how to present the content.
  • Audiences negotiate meaning; it’s a collaboration between the producer and the audience.
  • Each medium has a unique, aesthetic form.

The festival itself was a fun event that mirrored happenings at the famous Oscars gala—including the red carpet experience, the hush that fell over the audience as the actors appeared on the big screen, and “Rosscars” for the stellar films.

The filmmakers said it was interesting to watch the crowd respond to their productions. The videos were a mixed treat that had the audience rooting for “Catzilla” during a battle with a fierce rabbit one minute and following a fairy through a whimsical forest in the next. Other films, such as the second grade’s Earth Systems film, were influenced by school Science studies.

“The level of professionalism and commitment by the students is on the same level with big-production film. It’s wonderful to watch the creative gears turn as they ponder future careers in the industry,” Cortney said.

Spring Concerts Celebrate Music and Dance

IMG_8847 Earlier this month, the talented performers in grades 3–8 and 9–12 performed their spring concerts for appreciative audiences of friends and family. The programs included a diverse mix of classical, jazz, and global music and dance.

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The grades 9–12 concert, held on June 3 in the Court Theater, kicked off with the Jazz Band’s renditions of songs by legends Hal McKusick, Horace Silver, and Victor Feldman and Miles Davis. The Chamber Ensemble changed the pace, performing Quartet No. 1 in C major, Little Fugue in G minor, and Csárdás. The Chorus then took the audience back to the Italian Renaissance with “Sicut cervus,” and returned them to the present with “Save the World/Don’t You Worry Child.”

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The second half of the concert included a modern dance solo by Tali Friedman ’18, who performed a routine to “Switchfoot”; “Word Dance Solos: Traditional Choreography from China’s Border” by Wenqian Ziang ’15; and Ballet elective dances to Coppelia. The Global Rhythms drummers closed the concert, bringing the crowd to their feet to dance to their calypso beat.

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A week later, students in grades 3–8 performed in the Great Hall. The Grade 3 Concert Band opened with “London Bridge,” “A Mozart Melody,” “OK Chorale,” and—just in time for summer—“Theme from Jaws.” The Grades 4–6 Recorders group followed with “Paw Paw Patch,” “Largo,” and “La Cucaracha.” The Grade 3 String Orchestra was next to impress with a number of pieces from Essential Elements, Book 1, including the “Can-Can” and “A Mozart Melody.”

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The program moved on to the Grades 4–6 Concert Band with “The Marching Machine” and “Celebration Overture,” followed by the Lower School Chorus with “Do-Re-Mi,” in honor of The Sound of Music’s 50th anniversary, and “Reflection.” The Grades 4–6 String Orchestra kept the audience rapt with “Over the Rainbow” and “Classic Sinfonia”; the Grades 7–8 Chorus performed “Anima mea,” “Angel in Eternal Flight,” “See You Again,” and “Riptide”; and Grades 7–8 String Orchestra shared Selections from Fireworks Music,” “Evening Prayer” from Hansel and Gretel, and Newfoundland folk song “Lumber Camp Song.”

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Singers from Grades 3–6 had the audiences thinking happy thoughts and tapping along to “What a Wonderful World” and “Wake Me Up!”; and the Grades 7–8 Concert Band brought the beautiful event to a close with a diverse selection including Hebrew Folk Song Suite No. 3, “Music from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” and Selections from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

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Bravo, Ross School performers, for a year filled with song and dance!

Seventh Grade Curates Art Exhibition

55_2015Ross_KSM7891Having the seventh grade students curate an annual art exhibition has been a tradition at Ross School for more than 15 years. The current show, The Illusion of Definition, opened in the Ross Gallery on June 5, and features professional East End artists Roisin Bateman, Don Christensen, and Anne Raymond.24_2015Ross_KSM7844 The seventh graders spent months preparing for the exhibition, learning about the intricate details that go on behind the scenes at renowned museums. They interviewed local artists, took photos, wrote biographies, selected works, installed the show, and hosted the opening celebration. Along the way, they were supported by Visual Arts teacher Jon Mulhern, Dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross, and seventh grade teacher Carol Crane.

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The three artists presented in the show create abstract artwork using a variety of media. Roisin Bateman expresses the metamorphic effects of weather on nature in her paintings, pastels, and monotypes. Don Christensen’s paintings use geometric shapes and bright vibrant colors inspired by nature and music. In addition to canvas, Christensen paints on distressed wood and found furniture. Anne Raymond’s paintings and prints are known for evoking an airy feel, with light brushstrokes juxtaposed with darker, bolder ones. She mixes warm, cool, and neutral colors to suggest the wild forces of nature.

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In the months before the opening, the students had an opportunity to work with each artist in their local studios to learn about their motivations and techniques. Students created their own art inspired by their visits, and their colorful stools and prints are also on display as part of the show.

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Summing up the experience with the pros, the students said, “Working with the artists and witnessing their studios was truly inspirational. They gave us incredible tips on what we should do when making prints and monotypes. We also were able to talk about their interests, and understand the true meaning of their art.”

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When it was time to install the show, the seventh graders, artists, and teachers discussed the best arrangement to showcase the beauty and detail of the abstract art. They moved gallery walls and experimented with placement, resulting in a 3D-like effect. For example, the students’ stools were arranged on varying sizes of display podiums in the middle of the gallery.

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The students say the project was a lot of work, but teamwork made the difference: “If one gear in the system was stuck, we worked together to fix it.” They also have a new appreciation for everything that goes into running a successful gallery, and now feel that they will experience art in a different way in the future.

Original Musical Takes Students “Over the River and Into the Woods”

IMG_9015 A sense of wonder was in the air at the recent Ross School Children’s Community Theater performances of Over the River and Into the Woods. The original play, written and directed by Performing Arts teacher Margaret Kestler*, follows adolescent boys Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer through encounters with fairy tale heroines and princesses.

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The play opens with Tom falling head over heels for Becky Thatcher, which prompts Huck to warn his friend that no good can come from love and marriage. As examples, he points to the fabled tales of charming princes and their valiant deeds performed in pursuit of their lady loves—though in his humorous versions, the tales end slightly short of happily ever after.

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The scenes draw the audience “into the woods” to the magical worlds of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, The Frog Prince, Pocahontas, and Beauty and the Beast, and the acting, scenery, and music were, in one word, “fabulous.” As the rousing applause subsided after the final act, the smiling crowd discussed the endearing tale of coming of age, with many recalling their own fond memories of adolescence and first brushes with love.

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Bravo to the cast and crew!

*Special thanks go to the play’s music director Loreen Enright, Ann and Bill Stewart for the beautiful set design, Laura Eisman and Sally Wang for costume design, and Tathiana Teixiera for choreography.

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Students Perform Music Prepped for NYSSMA Festivals

MPR2 Back in March and April, seven budding musicians from the Lower School participated in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo Festivals. On May 29, they shared their solos with their classmates in a recital in the Multi-Purpose Room.

The NYSSMA Festival provides music students with an opportunity to perform and receive a detailed evaluation based on certain criteria by certified NYSSMA judges. A few of the Ross Lower School students were reviewed at the festival in Westhampton on March 31, and the others were critiqued at the festival in Shirley, held April 17–18. They played or sang their prepared piece and an additional short sight-reading piece; instrumental students also performed scales. The judges gave them a score as well as helpful comments highlighting positive points and areas for improvement.

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Most of the students began practicing their pieces in December and January. Performing Arts teachers Robert Davies, Maureen Isbister, and Deanna Locascio worked with the students on their scales, posture, breathing, rhythms, and techniques to help them prepare. “It was great to see them commit and work hard on their solos, and their beautiful performances certainly reflected their efforts,” Deanna said.

The recent MPR assembly included soulful vocals and classical arrangements played on the piano, clarinet, violin, and cello. Afterward, the students answered questions from parents and schoolmates about the experience at the festivals, preparations, and why they chose to study their particular instrument.

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“NYSSMA can open up the doors to other pivotal experiences, including being a part of future Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association festivals, and we are thrilled to have Ross students involved,” Deanna added.

Chicago Brings Down the House

_MG_1714 Rave reviews and a full house: the cast and crew of Chicago, this year’s spring musical, definitely “had it coming.” Katie Morgan starred as Roxie Hart alongside Liza Marinokha as Velma Kelly, two Jazz Age female murderers in the vice-ridden city. JeongHo Ha played their slick defense attorney, while Big Kitty Xue and Yanni Giannakopoulos kept the crowd in stitches as prison matron “Mama” Morton and sob-story reporter Mary Sunshine, respectively. Malik Basnight rounded out the major cast as downtrodden Amos Hart, Roxie’s husband.

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The musical opened with a rousing rendition of “All That Jazz,” starting the audience on a journey through a variety of vaudeville-style musical numbers. Enhanced with Fosse-style choreography designed by teacher Sheryl Hastalis, and accompanied by an orchestra led by Dean of Performing Arts Adam Judd and including some faculty and students, the entire cast rose to the challenge of the solo, duet, and ensemble pieces that are part of the canon of Broadway musicals, including “Mr. Cellophane,” “Razzle Dazzle,” and “Cell Block Tango.”

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Director Gerard Doyle, Adam, and Sheryl all expressed their pleasure with the success with which the cast pulled off the three performances—and with the weeks of work that led up to the opening curtain. “I can honestly say Chicago was one of the best productions we have produced in my 11 years directing shows at Ross,” said Gerard. Adam added, “I was consistently impressed with how fully and often the cast and crew expressed their trust in each other.” This trust and commitment to perfecting performances was evident—Chicago was a smashing success!

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The crew behind the scenes also contributed to a fantastic experience. Everything from lighting to set construction and sound design was artfully executed. The production team extended a special thanks to teacher Jon Mulhern for his work on set construction and to Ross alum Adin Doyle ’14 for putting in hours on sound design.

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This year’s musical was one of grand proportions, and the time and talent put into Chicago was greatly appreciated by all that attended. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew for a job supremely well done!

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Lower School Students “Magnificent” in Beginnings

Beginnings5 Last week, Ross Lower School students in grades K–6 presented to the extended Ross community an original play titled Beginnings, a dramatic narrative of the School’s Cultural History curriculum for the lower grades. Performance Arts teacher Margaret Kestler, who wrote the play with input from the teachers and students about their specific grade’s studies, describes Beginnings as “a manifestation of intellect and imagination—a living work of art, integrating theater, dance, music, visual arts, and cultural history.”

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Through interpretive performance, each class unfolds and moves their part of the story forward, offering a curricular gift to the next grade. The students did a masterful job of sharing with their audience the evolution of human consciousness and the advent of spiritual thought and wonderment.

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The production’s colorful costumes and sets added to the magical experience. After a performance last week at Grandparents and Special Friends Day, family and friends said they were “in awe” of the students’ talents and ability to tell the story of humanity’s wonderful and complex history.

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A special thanks goes to the dedicated members of the Ross community who helped with the production, including Deanna Locascio, who worked closely with Margaret Kestler to develop the music that accompanied the storyline; Margaret Bodkin for her musical talents; Nancy Baxter, who helped prepare the kindergartners; Adam Judd for developing the sound; Sy Abramowitz for lighting; Ross parents Bill Stewart and Dan Meeks for creating the amazing canopy sculpture that stretched above the stage like the Sun and the heavens, and served as the screen for projections; Ben Sigua and staff who “went above and beyond” to transform the Field House into a theater; and Christopher Engel for his ongoing support!

Ross Community Children’s Theater Presents To Oz!

OZ1 On February 7 and 8, the Ross Community Children’s Theater presented To Oz!, an original adaptation by Lower School Performing Arts teacher Margaret Kestler that blends the story, characters, and music from MGM’s 1939 film The Wizard of Oz with characters from Frank L. Baum’s Oz series and Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The productions were staged in the Court Theater in the Center for Well-Being at Ross Upper School.

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To Oz! begins in the familiar Kansas of Dorothy who dreams of a land where there is no trouble—somewhere over the rainbow. The audience soon discovers that there is indeed a land beyond populated with magical and whimsical characters, royalty, witches, and a wizard. Carried by the winds of chance, these worlds move unsuspectingly toward each other—and in a world no more trouble free than ours, they meet at the crossroads of desires and dreams—and there are forever changed.

View photos of To Oz!

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The Ross Community Children’s Theater program creates theatrical adaptations of classic stories that offer young students the opportunity to participate in fully staged productions.Surrounded by professionals who support and respect the work of quality children’s theater, the numerous and hopeful youngsters are offered roles that challenge them to bring to life characters and story, to sing, to dance, and to explore the complexities of human interactions.

Lower School Presents Camelot and the Legend of King Arthur

LS_play-14 The Ross Lower School Children’s Community Theatre presented the play Camelot and the Legend of King Arthur to a packed house on June 13 and 15 in the Multi-Purpose Room. Directed by Lower School Performance Arts teacher Margaret Kestler, the production included songs from famed musical Camelot and Disney’s movie Sword in the Stone. The show garnered praise from the audience for the “superb” acting and dancing, moving music, and for giving beautiful new life to an oft-told tale of favorite tragic characters.

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From the first scene, set in a battlefield encampment outside Lancelot’s castle, to the last, set outside Joyous Card, the crowd was drawn to the magic and wonder of the adventures of Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot. It was a powerful and touching experience for everyone involved.

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Margaret Kestler offered the following words about the story and the sentiment the students’ performance evoked: “Our road to Camelot has been much like the legend itself—mysterious, full of complexities, symbols, and ideas, meandering pathways that lead yet to others, enshrouded in a mist and fraught with challenges. And yet, there is that whisper of hope that our vision and efforts have not been in vain, that somehow the dream and path we set off upon together will be realized ‘for one brief, shining moment’ and will live on in the hearts and memories of the young."

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Seventh Graders Present Art Expo “Metamorphosis: Mutations of the Imagination”

DSC_6095 Ross seventh grade students are proud to present “Metamorphosis: Mutations of the Imagination,” an exhibition featuring East End artists Claire Watson, Lucy Winton, and Christian Little. The show opened on May 30 and will run through June 12.

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Each of the three artists selected for the show created hybrid works that morph human, animal, and mechanical forms. Lucy Winton, for example, gives human characteristics to animals in her narrative drawings “Critter on Back” and “Run Bunny.” Christian Little’s work includes “Observation Deck” and “Multitasking,” which juxtapose various organic and mechanical images. Claire Watson created poetic sculptures titled “Fingerling” and “Real and Pretend” that make use of gloves to suggest disembodied hands.

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Inspired by the work of the three artists, the students’ own 3-D assemblages of found objects and collaborative exquisite corpse drawings are also be on display.

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Curating an exhibition is a seventh grade tradition at Ross. For the project, students explore a theme and present the works of different professional artists each year. Previous shows have focused on Long Island landscape, sculpture, and portraits and have included artists Eric Fischl, John Alexander, Joan Semmel, and John Chamberlain.

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Taking on all the roles necessary to organize a professional show, students meet and interview professional local artists, take photos, write biographies, select work, install the show, produce a catalog, and host the opening. Supporting the students this year are their art teacher Jon Mulhern, dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross, and World Languages and Literature teacher and seventh grade team leader Carol Crane.

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Ross Students Nominated for Teeny Awards

MalikDaniYanniMedianMalik Basnight, Daniela Herman, and Yanni Giannakopoulos in Median East End Arts recognized the theatrical talents of nine Ross students, nominating them for Teeny Awards, a high school student program patterned after the Tony Awards. The 12th annual awards gala will be held on Sunday, June 8, at 3pm at Longwood High School in Middle Island.

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“It is a testament to the student’s hard work and commitment that they received eleven nominations in the face of very, very stiff competition,” said Performing Arts teacher Gerard Doyle.

KatieStreetlampsKatie Morgan and King Sun in The Individuality of Streetlamps

The following students were nominated for their work in the 2013 Fall One-Act Plays:

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Freshman Daniela Herman as "Hays" in Median Sophomore Katie Morgan as "Melissa" in The Individuality of Streetlamps Junior Amili Targownik as The One-and-a-Half-Year Silent Girl

AmiliGirlAmili Targownik in The One-and-a-Half-Year Silent Girl

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Sophomore Malik Basnight as "Danny" in Median Sophomore Yanni Giannakopoulos as "Scotty" in Median

NaomiDaniSchemeNaomi Tankel and Daniela Herman in The Grand Scheme

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Freshman Daniela Herman as "Bethel" in The Grand Scheme Senior Kate Mandrukevica as "Raya" in Under Lubianka Square Senior Naomi Tankel as "Clarice" in The Grand Scheme

KateLubiankaKate Mandrukevica in Under Lubianka Square

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Yanni Giannakopoulos as "Arnold" in No Skronking Sophomore Jin Zhang as "Dex" in Gave Her the Eye

YanniSkronkingYanni Giannakopoulos and Sara Kay Stewart in No Skronking

Stage Management, One-Act Plays
 Junior Inga Cordts-Gorcoff

Congratulations to all!

Students Shine in Spring Concert

DSC_4906 On May 9, faculty, staff, and families gathered in the Lower School Field House to watch students in pre-nursery through second grade perform their Spring Concert. Each class treated their guests to charming melodies such as the “Sun, Moon, and Stars Medley,” “The Tree Song,” and “If I Had a Hammer.” Highlights also included “Peace Like a River,” an African American spiritual, and “De Colores,” a traditional Spanish folk song. Attendees were impressed that students learned American Sign Language to add to the performance. Finally, the audience, encouraged to sing along, happily joined the students as they closed the wonderful event with “This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie.

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Art Exhibition, Curated by Ross Seventh Grade

Metamorphosis: Mutations of the Imagination An Exhibition of the Work of Three Local Artists Opens May 30 at Ross Gallery Curated by Ross Seventh Grade Students

Featuring: Claire Watson Lucy Winton Christian Little

Ross School Gallery 18 Goodfriend Drive East Hampton, NY

Ross seventh grade students are proud to present Metamorphosis: Mutations of the Imagination, an exhibition featuring East End artists Claire Watson, Lucy Winton, and Christian Little. The show will open with a reception on May 30th at 4pm at the Ross Gallery.

Each of the three artists selected for the show create hybrid works that morph human, animal and mechanical forms. Lucy Winton, for example, gives human characteristics to animals in her narrative drawings. Christian Little makes paintings and drawings that juxtapose various organic and mechanical images. Claire Watson creates poetic sculptures that make use of gloves to suggest disembodied hands. Inspired by the work of the three artists, the students' made their own 3-D assemblages and collaborative exquisite corpse drawings which will also be on view in the show.

Curating an exhibition is a seventh grade tradition at Ross School. For this project students explore a new theme and present different professional artists each year. Previous shows have focused on themes such as Long Island landscape, sculpture and portraits and have included artists Eric Fischl, John Alexander, Joan Semmel, and John Chamberlain. Taking on all the roles necessary to organize a professional show, students meet and interview professional local artists, take photos, write biographies, select work, install the show, produce a catalog and host the opening. Supporting the students this year are their art teacher Jon Mulhern, dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross, and their core teacher Carol Crane.

The opening reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served. The exhibition will remain on view through June 12, 2014.

Fourth Grade Archaeologists Present Settlement Projects

IMG_8122 On March 31 at the Lower School, teams of fourth grade archaeologists presented their research on the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution to schoolmates, parents, teachers, and a panel of “experts” from the “hiStory Channel.” Each group discussed a particular ancient settlement, describing its geography and impact on society and providing a digital 3D model of the community site and short video documentary trailer as part of a pitch to the “network executives.”

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“The students approached their studies in the roles of expert archeologists, discovering how these ancient people lived and became thriving communities with a lasting impact on future generations. Often, it was their attention to the small details that led to big revelations,” said Lower School teacher Colette Wilson.

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Students researched Mehrgarh in Pakistan, one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia; Skara Brae, or the “Heart of the Neolithic Orkney,” one of the best preserved ancient villages in Northern Europe; and Banpo, located in the Yellow River Valley in China and likely one of the first settlements to dig defensive moats.

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Fourth graders organized their presentations to both answer the question of what it means to settle and convince the experts to produce their documentary for the channel’s Neolithic Week.

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The experts asked students to identify unique qualities about their archeological site and to define a settlement, as well as general questions about their experiences “in the field.” In response, students pointed to signs of advanced farming, weaponry, and tools—drilled teeth in Mehrgar, matristic societies, domestication of dogs, and craftsmanship such as using flint rocks to sharpen spears and axes.

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“The Neolithic unit introduces a wealth of information about cultures, people, geography, and the evolution of civilization, and the students were able to focus on the big picture to understand the importance of the lasting societal impact of these ancient settlements. We were truly impressed,” said Lower School teacher Alicia Schordine.

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Eighth Grade’s Medieval Expo Portrays Rise of Craft Guilds

DSC_2581 At the Medieval Exposition on March 26 in the Center for Well-Being, the Ross School eighth grade displayed the products that arose from learning about this pivotal time period that saw the rise of the merchant class and craft guilds. As part of their studies, students were “apprenticed” to professional East End masters for two days to create mosaics, ceramics, stained glass, and gold leaf artwork.

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The expo showcased the students’ interpretations of their studies including gothic architecture, gargoyles, viking ships, rose windows, and tile mosaics with images of warriors, weaponry, tools, and sometimes modern objects, to communicate the intense diversity, creativity, and growth of the Middle Ages.

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The masters were Mary Jaffe, who taught ceramics; Sue Lichtenstein, who specializes in stained glass; Haley MacKeil, an expert in gold leafing; and David Slater, who focused on mosaics.

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“Working with stained glass was definitely quite something. Sue taught us procedures for cutting the glass and putting the pieces together, and with her help I created two masterpieces,” said eighth grader Peter Byung Jin Kim. “I'll never see stained glass in the same way. Next time I will appreciate the people who devoted their time to making a beautiful piece.”

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Cultural History teacher and eighth grade team leader Mark Tompkins explained that the guild projects are the result of students immersing themselves in the Middle Ages. “From learning about Charlemagne in history class to reading Eaters of the Dead in English literature to ship building in art class, this unit had a deep impact on the students, and the detail and craftsmanship of the exhibits reflect their new knowledge.”

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“Stained glass was a great experience for me, and I really enjoyed getting into details on how to craft such a beautiful piece of art,” said eighth grader Tristan Griffin, who created a glass sword with Asian and European imagery. “I thought having a samurai’s sword and a knight’s shield could clash together in a really interesting way.”

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Grade 8 to Perform Original Plays at Stony Brook’s Avram Theater

DSC_2694 On April 4–5, Ross School eighth graders will perform three original plays at Stony Brook University’s (SBU’s) Avram Theater in Southampton. The students studied the art of playwriting, acting, and directing during English class as part of the Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP). The project, sponsored by Stony Brook’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, mentors middle and high school students in the development of creative expression and critical thinking through the craft of writing.

Eighth graders were tasked with developing an original short play, and YAWP members from SBU were often on site to help the young writers move their ideas from paper to the stage. “It was an inspiring process for the students and the teachers. I’m not surprised at the talents that emerged, but it was a pleasure to watch the creative process and see the works evolve into impressive performances,” said Mark Tompkins, Cultural History teacher and eighth grade team leader.

The following plays will be performed at the Avram on Friday, April 4, at 11am and Saturday, April 5, at 7pm:

I Solemnly Swear I'm up to No Good by Nina Damiecki Actors: Emily Austopchuk and Georgia Briere Assistant Director: Nina Damiecki

Ant and the Grasshopper by Tristan Griffin Actors: Mael Oujaddou and Tristan Griffin Assistant Director: Sharon Kim

Wonderwall by Emily Costello Actors: Hannah Baker, Tristan Griffin Assistant Director: Emily Costello.

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The eighth grade actors also took to the stage on March 28 in the Senior Building Lecture Hall before an audience of faculty, staff, and seventh graders. In opening remarks, Mark congratulated his class on achieving their playwright status and welcomed their younger schoolmates to observe the culmination of the studies they will experience next year. Performances included The Exorcism of Tina by Nick Swanson, This Paper by Emily Austopchuk, and All Dogs Go to Hell by India Attias.

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Fourth Grade Presents Migration Studies in Artwork and Video

migration10 On March 21 at the Lower School, parents, teachers, and schoolmates gathered in the Multi-Purpose Room to see the culmination of the fourth grade’s migration studies. The classes spent many weeks learning about the anatomy, life cycles, and migration patterns of animals found in local habitats, and they shared their experiences in oral presentations, artwork, projects, and a video documentary. “Migration is an important part of our studies because it teaches insightful lessons about our ecosystem and adds to the children’s interactions with our local wildlife,“ said Lower School teacher Shannon Timoney.

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Students studied monarch butterflies, horseshoe crabs, and various marine animals that migrate to and from our coastline. Each student then created a research poster and a migration board game to teach others about their explorations and findings. The projects showed maps of where each species migrate, the time of year they migrate, possible predators, and many more fun facts. “Spring and summer are prime migration seasons for many local animals, and the students are looking forward to observing what they have learned at the beach and in their own backyards,” said Michele Passarella, Lower School mathematics and science teacher.

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The fourth graders’ artwork was compiled into an “accordion book” that showed the sandy beach community, a natural habitat for many of the animals studied. Portfolios of the migration information used by each research team were also on display. During the presentation, the audience watched a mini video documentary the students made as part of their integrated media studies. “The film highlights their project research, game-making process, and reflections on the project as a whole. It was a great experience for everyone, and really brought home the wonder of nature and migration,” said Cortney Propper, media studies and instructional technology teacher at the Lower School.

Student Artwork on Display at Guild Hall Through April 20

DSC_2217 Artwork by Ross School students in grades 9–12 is currently on display at Part II of the annual Student Art Festival at Guild Hall in East Hampton. “The exhibition is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their talents as members of the local and international art communities,” said Jennifer Cross, dean of Visual Arts at Ross School.

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Featured works include Amber Kuo’s Day-Glo rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night”; Brenna Leaver’s couture dress, inspired by Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis; and woodcuts by Teague Costello and Evelyn Liang in the style of German Expressionism. Cubist artworks and Surrealist collages by grade 11 Integrated Art classes are also on display, as are portraits and handmade books of drawings by Advanced Art students.

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The Student Art Festival presents student artwork in a museum context. The show is on view at Guild Hall through April 20.

Grade 6 Explores the Golden Age of Greece

DSC_2272 The characters of ancient Greece were brought to life by the sixth grade class on March 7 at Ross Lower School. Before an audience of schoolmates and parents, the students put on two plays: Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis.

View photos

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The plays were directed by Gerard Doyle and Margaret Kestler, theater teachers at the Upper and Lower Schools, respectively. The students had worked hard over several weeks memorizing and practicing their lines, pulling together costumes, and decorating the Multi-Purpose Room by covering over the structural support poles with paper designed to simulate real Greek columns.

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Performing the tragedies has long been an integral part of the grade 6 cultural history curriculum, which focuses on prophecy and cultural transformation during the period 1450–356 BCE. Some of the other interdisciplinary projects undertaken by the students during this unit included drawing amphora, or Grecian urns (which were also on display in the MPR); studying classical architectural column decorations and recreating them using clay; and retelling stories involving Greek mythological figures of their own choosing.

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The culminating plays highlighted the understanding of culture and political history the class acquired as they explored the themes of familial responsibility and wartime mores. Antigone centers around the title character, the daughter of Oedipus, and her sister, and the ordeals they face when they carry out traditional funeral rites for their brother in defiance of the edicts of King Creon. In Iphigenia in Aulis, which is set in the time of the Trojan War, Agamemnon determines to sacrifice his eldest daughter, Iphigenia, in order to appease the goddess Artemis so that she will assist the Greek fleet in sailing to Troy. In roles ranging from lowly servants to royals, the boys and girls of the sixth grade turned in sophisticated performances that conveyed the tragedy or each story to the audience.

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Afterward, the class invited their families to join them in their classroom for a reception featuring not only croissants and quiche, but also the beloved Greek pastry treat, baklava, as they celebrated a successful show.

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