It's Opening Day and Grier Summer is so excited to welcome our first batch of campers who are joining us for Session One. Our counselors have been here at Grier Summer training and preparing for the campers' arrival. We are so happy to see so many familiar faces and so many new faces, too!
We can't wait for our campers to have a great Grier Summer experience! The Camp Director and Grier Summer staff are here to help everybody learn and have lots of fun together.
For Grier teachers, learning never stops! For example, four teachers from Grier's Modern Language Department attended a program at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The IUP Annual Spring Methodology Conference on Foreign Language Teaching provides professional development to Grier's language teachers, keeping their classroom approaches and philosophies aligned with current best practices. They apply this knowledge to their Grier classrooms, providing premier language instruction in French and Spanish.
Attention all Grier alumnae, the latest issue of the Grier Alumnae Bulletin is available now! This issue includes updates from alumnae worldwide, full-color photo-spreads of the 2018 Commencement Ceremony and feature stories about Grier’s amazing alumnae. The bulletin also includes photos and descriptions of the Grier Store and IT Corridor facility updates, the latest news from Grier alumnae, faculty, and retirees.
Classes for seniors ended one week before they did for the rest of the student body, giving the seniors a bit of time to relax and enjoy the moment before the rush of rehearsals and preparation for Graduation events.
During a special end-of-the-year celebration, Grier honored three retiring faculty members. Mrs. Neumuller, Mr. Neumuller, and Mrs. Silverman are all retiring in 2019. Mrs. Borst and the entire Grier community honored the retirees by presenting them with flowers and parting gifts. Buntings bearing photos, both recent and from long in the past, festooned the Borst residence porch, along with a message of "Congrats!" After some words of gratitude and farewell, Mrs. Borst presented the retirees with bouquets and books filled with messages from their Grier colleagues.
Following dinner the evening before Grier's Commencement Ceremony, parents and families gathered in Grier's Dance Building for an evening of performances. Mrs. Barbara Neumuller, Grier's retiring Music Department Chair, opened the show by conducting her last concert at Grier. Next, Grier's choirs performed, with some of the senior singers performing solos. The Dance Department closed out the night with several performances featuring Grier's Pre-Professional Dancers and senior dancer solos.
The Friday night before Grier’s Commencement Ceremony, seniors, their families, junior servers, and Grier faculty gathered for an evening of dinner, performances, and Candlelight Ceremony in the Courtyard. Senior musicians and dancers performed in the Dance Building. Finally, the group of seniors and their junior servers gathered in a circle in the Courtyard for a special tradition: the Candlelight Ceremony.
Grier is pleased to report that Tuck Everlasting took home three wins the Altoona Community Theatre's (ACT) 14th Annual Isaacs Awards. The awards recognize excellence in high school musical theatre. For the spring musical Tuck Everlasting, Grier received nine nominations across seven different categories and received wins for Best Featured Dance, Best Actor or Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor or Actress in a Supporting Role, and Achievement in Choreography.
The seniors set the celebratory tone for the last day of classes by surprising the faculty and student body with a memorable senior prank. Seniors removed teachers' chairs from their classrooms and wrapped them in plastic. They even blocked the doors to some classrooms with plastic wrap. They covered the halls in balloons and sticky notes with messages stating, "The class of 2019 is sticking around!" Following the half day of classes, students and faculty gathered in front of Mrs. Borst’s house for an end of the year celebration. While rain kept the actual picnic lunch indoors in the dining room, the skies cleared just in time for the special end of the year celebration.
On Tuesday, May 21st, while registered voters across the USA voted in primary elections, students at Grier voted for Student Council Officers. The elected winners will lead the students during the 2019-2020 year.
After days of special events and celebrations for Seniors, things culminated with Grier’s 166th Commencement Ceremony. Families, friends, teachers, and staff gathered on Lodge Lawn on a beatiful, sunny Saturday morning to witness the graduation. Junior class servers attended the graduating seniors who proceeded down the Colonnade in their long white gowns. Director Dr. Douglas Grier welcomed everyone. Senior members of the National Honor Society gave speeches, along with the valedictorian and Salutatorian. Head of School, Mrs. Gina Borst presented senior awards and, along with Dr. Grier and Ms. Cari Crago, the diplomas. Mr. Andrew Grier welcomed the new Alumnae and Student Council President led the closing prayer before everyone sang Grier's Alma Mater.
Grier’s Select Singers Choir sang before a huge audience when they performed the National Anthem at a baseball game in Altoona this month. The choir performed on the field, singing before the first pitch of the minor league game where the Altoona Curve faced the Erie Seawolves. The choir members stayed to enjoy the game along with their director Mrs. Ginger Reinhardt and her family. The game ended with a 2-1 win for the home team.
during a special all-school assembly on Monday, May 20th, Department Heads from Modern Languages, English, Math, Science, and History presented class awards to students in grades 7-11. These awards are presented to students who have demonstrated a winning combination of academic excellence, dedication to learning, and a genuine interest in the subject matter. Congrats, girls!
Last week, student musicians and vocalists gave individual music recitals in the Music Building. While the performances were not mandatory, many music students opted to participate, much to the delight of the Grier community audience who enjoyed the shows. Working towards a performance goal can be a great motivation to persevere through difficult practice sessions and performing before an audience if often a rewarding learning experience as well.
In a special all-school assembly on Monday, May 20th, the Grier chapter of the National Honor Society inducted twenty new members. These individuals exemplified the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.
On Saturday, May 18th, Grier girls attended Grier's "English Garden" themed prom at The Casino in Lakemont Park. While some brought dates from other schools, many attendees enjoyed a fun night of dinner and dancing with friends and a group of Kiski School guys who joined in the fun. Fairy lights filled the ceiling, like an elegant garden party. Teacups overflowing with English ivy and vases of delicate pink roses adorned the tables. After a delicious dinner, the guests enjoyed a dessert buffet featuring colorful cake pops, petite fours, and more! A DJ provided the best music and lights for the group to dance the night away! Prom organizer, Mrs. Lawler, took a moment to honor the seniors attending the prom by presenting each with a memento. What a fantastic night!
Students and teachers purchased handmade ceramic soup bowls at the 7th Annual Bowl-n-Soup sale on May 16th during lunch to raise money for the Grier Community Fund. Ceramics teacher Mrs. Heidi Zimbler organized the event, which featured not only her own pieces, but also the works of her students.
Grier's Advanced Placement program provides students with competitive courses that prepare students for university and college studies. These courses are taught by teachers guided by the AP Course Descriptions, which outlines the course content, describes the curricular goals of the subject, and provides sample examination questions. While teachers have the flexibility to determine how this content is presented.
Grier students are helping to keep local waters clean by building and maintaining a local rain garden. A group of Grier volunteers spent part of Saturday clearing the garden clear of litter, mulching, adding new plants, and watering them with nearby river water.
Grier students have been lending a hand to this endeavor for over nearly three years. In the fall of 2016, the Blair Conservation District reached out to Grier asking for volunteers to help create and maintain a rain garden in Tyrone. In the fall of 2016, Grier students established a low-lying garden between a parking lot and the Little Juniata River. Since then, the students have returned to tend the garden every fall and spring. Learning Skills teacher Mrs. Shelly Davis, who leads the team of Grier volunteers, cares for the garden during the summer.
On Friday evening, Grier’s Art Department hosted a show of select Grier student artwork. Students in grades 7-12 created the pieces in art classes offered at Grier. Guests to the show enjoyed refreshments as they browsed the works of art organized by class. Students, teachers, resident advisors, and friends and family attended the special event, the first of its kind in recent memory. Those involved with the show promoted it during the week with posters and announcements. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing talent of Grier artists and to speak with many of the artists in attendance.
The extended class period time of Lab Days allowed the French language students of Madame Pope and Madame Shaffer to create the French culinary delight: crêpes. Cardinal Cottage, one of the residential cottages on Grier’s campus, provided a fully-equipped kitchen for the students to prepare and enjoy their custom-topped crêpes.
On April 29, 2019, Grier School’s Life Science class and their teacher, Mrs. Christine Fernandes, participated in Trout Release Day events as part of their participation in the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom program (TIC). This is the school’s 6th year participating in the program. The class released 36 brook trout fingerlings that they raised from eggs that they received from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Trout Unlimited. Grier School partnered with local resident Bill Anderson, president of the Little Juniata River Association, to raise their trout. They were released in McClain Run at the Camp Greene Hills site in Barree, PA. The site is managed by Charlie Renner.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12! To help Grier students make a thoughtful and unique gift for their moms or mother-figures, Bridge Club organized a crafting event. For $10, students create a Mother’s Day card and a handmade gift. The gift options include a miniature canvas and easel, a tote-bag, and a journal. Students transform the plain objects into one-of-a-kind gifts for their mom using an array of colorful art supplies. Bridge Club is donating proceeds from the Mother’s Day Gift event to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Congratulations to the Grier School Equestrian Team on their fantastic showing at IEA Hunt Seat Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania! Ninth grade rider Sophia O was named 2019 National Champion in Intermediate Equitation on the Flat. Plus, Grier School Equestrian Team won the Team Spirit award for the 2nd year in a row! Look for Grier and Sophie O in the upcoming United States Hunter Jumper Association magazine. Grier School Dressage also performed a successful dressage demonstration at Hunt Seat Nationals featuring 2019 Dressage Nationals High Point Rider Lindsay S. Well done, ladies!
Grier's Art Department invites everyone to enjoy an art show featuring works from students in all of the art classes, including pieces by Grier's AP Art Portfolio students. This will be a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see, discuss, and enjoy artwork. The Grier Art Exhibit is free of charge and includes hors d'oeuvres and beverages. It takes place Friday, May 10th from 5:00pm-6:30pm in the Auditorium. This is the first event of its kind at Grier in over a decade and the artists and their teachers are very excited!
In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, enjoy this slide-show of Grier teachers at their finest and funniest during the past school year. Grier teachers uphold the school's mission to give each student the opportunity to achieve her individual potential. Grier's goal is to provide a warm, residential, home-like atmosphere where students from many nations and academic backgrounds gain knowledge, creative expression, responsibility, self-esteem, and leadership skills.
Grier wished riders good luck as they traveled to Ohio this for two competitions. Several riders traveled to Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the IEA Dressage National Finals, while others competed in the IEA Western Semi-Finals at the Ohio Expo Center. Both the high school and the middle school teams qualified for IEA Western National Finals in Oklahoma and the High School team won the IEA Dressage National Finals for the 2nd year in a row, with a final score of 31-18!
Earlier this week, Grier’ s French and Spanish Language Honor Societies welcomed new members in an induction ceremony held in the Living Room after lunch.
New members to La Société Honoraire de Français included French students Zai D, Isabelle F, Yasmin G, Celine J, Lizzie P, and Ann S. Spanish students Maggie A, Lenox B, Rhianna E, Clare E, Cynthia J, Annie L, Amy L, Selina L, Payton M, Abby S, Carina S, Amy T, and Judy W joined La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica.
Last Friday, Grier hosted a special guest speaker during Extra Help. Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for a Boston-area corporation, Mary E. Porter spoke about women inventors, scientists, lawyers, and executives to an audience of Grier girls gathered in the library. Her message was not only to showcase the inspirational women of the past and present, but to also reveal how their often varied educational backgrounds, personal life experiences, and job opportunities often coalesced into unique and fulfilling careers.
Grier presented a fantastic two-night run of Tuck Everlasting: the Musical. The show included a talented cast, numerous dancers, live orchestra, and fabulous costumes and sets. Based on the classic children's novel, Tuck Everlasting is the story of eleven-year-old Winnie Foster who wishes for adventure, but gets more than she anticipates when she meets the Tuck Family and learns of the magic of their never-ending youth. The musical asks the question, "What would you do if you had all eternity?"
Grier students completed an entry into this year’s online Rube-Goldberg Machine Contest. The 2019 contest challenge was to put a coin into a piggy bank in 20-75 steps. This is Grier’s third year participating in the program, but this year’s machine is notably different. First, the contest no longer has a size restriction, so the floor-to-ceiling machine spanned the classroom instead of one plywood panel. Secondly, Grier’s 2019 machine had more steps than previous entries. Finally, and most incredibly, the machine’s two runs were completely clean! That means that the machine performed exactly how it was designed to perform without any intervention from the team members.
The Varsity Hunt Seat team traveled to the Prince George Equestrian Center in Maryland this past weekend for an AA-rated Hunter Jumper show. Sophie K placed 2nd in the Maclay, earning her enough points to qualify for Maclay Regionals in September. Jimena Pand Lilly F placed 10th out 64 in the Pairs Hunter Derby. Sydney R was reserve champion in the Schooling Jumpers. Grace W won the Joesy Mohler Medal, while Sophia O was second. Cassidy R had successful hunter trips and earned points in the THIS medal. Sarah L also had successful rounds in the .90 schooling jumpers. Congratulations, Grier Equestrians!
Earlier this month, several students and Mrs. Kelley joined forces with the Little Juniata River Association to (LJRA) help in their annual spring time Riverbank Cleanup efforts. The Little Juniata River flows alongside the road below Grier School. It is a popular river for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The collection and removal of trash, especially plastic, helps keep the river ecosystem healthy.
Congratulations to Grier senior Sophie K. of Grier's Equestrian Team. With her riding coach by her side, Sophie signed with Sweet Briar College where she will compete on their NCAA Hunt Seat Riding Team. Grier is so excited for Sophie who will join Grier alumna Maggie F. '18 in Virginia at Sweet Briar this fall. Grier's Varsity riding program enables competitive riders like Sophie and others to pursue competitive riding in college. Way to go, Sophie!
One person can help save hundreds of lives just by donating blood, which is why blood drives are a critical part of the American Red Cross’s mission. Grier has been partnering with the organization by hosting an annual blood drive for over a decade. The Grier Blood Drive is an excellent way for students to contribute to life-saving efforts. Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria can be involved in the effort by volunteering during the event.
The Grier Equestrian Team traveled to Gettysburg for Zone 11 Finals. Congratulations to Sophie K and Sophia O on qualifying for Nationals in Varsity Open and Varsity Intermediate Flat! Sophie K was also the Reserve High Point Upper School Rider for the weekend! Lilly F placed 5th in Open Flat and 8th in Open Fences. Courtney M got 5th in Novice Fences, Marcella B placed 6th in the Beginner Flat, Lindsay S received 4th in Open Flat. Grace W was 3rd in Intermediate Flat and 7th in Intermediate Fences and Sarah L received 4th in Novice Fences. Congratulations, Grier Equestrians!
Congratulations to Grier senior Kristen L. who, with her parents at her side, signed her letter of intent to play NCAA Division I tennis at Saint Francis University. Kristen has been Grier’s number one starter player during each of her four years at Grier and has a long list of accolades that include being undefeated in singles for the past two years, two-time membership on the Altoona Mirror’s all-star first team, and eighth ranked by the Middle States U-16 US Tennis Association!
Kristen excels on the tennis court, as well as, in the classroom where she takes high level courses offered in Grier’s Elite Scholars Program. She is a member of the National Honor Society, French Language Honor Society, and welcomes new students through her service as a Grier Ambassador. Kristen would like to become a doctor one day, so she plans to major in pre-med biology and minor in business analytics.
Students in Grier’s AP Art Portfolio class took a weekend trip to Pittsburgh where they visited several museums and enjoyed some of the city’s attractions. The group visited the Andy Warhol museum, which is home to the largest collection of Warhol art in the world. While on the North Side of Pittsburgh, they also visited the Mattress Factory, which is a contemporary art museum featuring room-sized installations by in-residence artists. Plus, the group made a stop at the colorful folk art house called Randyland.
Near the University of Pittsburgh in the Oakland neighborhood, the group visited the Carnegie Museum of Art, home to a variety of fine art, and the Phipps Conservatory where American Artist Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures are integrated into the garden exhibits. These students and their teachers also enjoyed ascending Mount Washington on the incline for a scenic nighttime view of the city.
Grier’s Music Department organized a special mini-concert on Sunday, April 7th in the Instrumental Music Building. The concert included three pieces that featured soloists accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra of student and faculty musicians.
Michelle S., Anna S., Melissa K. formed a string quartet with music teacher Mark Minnich to perform Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K521, mov.1 “Allegro.”
Next, Grier senior Michelle S. performed a violin solo of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, Mov. 2 “Canzonetta,” while accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra.
For the final piece, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op.15, Mov.1 “Allegro co brio,” Clara G. performed a piano solo accompanied by the orchestra.
Grier students who participated in varsity sports during the spring season enjoyed a banquet in their honor held at the Blairmont Country Club in Altoona. Sports represented during this banquet included: Archery, Basketball, Cross-Country, Fencing, Hunt Seat and Western Riding, Soccer, Tennis, and Volleyball. During the banquet, coaches from each team presented awards to students. Grier Athletic Director Cherie Gates thanked the coaches for their hard work and the athletes for a great season. Ms. Cherie was responsible for organizing the event, including the decorations and producing a slide show of highlights featuring the athletes at their best.
Grier wishes to congratulate senior Lauren S. who was on the Grier Europe Spring Break trip when she learned the happy news that Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, had awarded her the Eagles Abroad Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to students like Lauren who “recognize the value of being a citizen of the world.”
With this scholarship, Lauren will have the opportunity to study abroad during her undergraduate college career at Juniata. While attending Grier, Lauren has taken upper level Spanish from Señorita Leen. Lauren plans to study abroad in a Hispanic country yet to be decided; however, while in Barcelona, Spain, she did drink from the Font de Canaletes, so legend has it that she’s bound to return to Barcelona one day. Enhorabuena, Lauren!
On Friday, April 5th, the Grier community gathered to watch Grier dancers in their Spring Performances.The show was a stunnning exhibit of twenty-two pieces reflecting the variety of dance styles taught at Grier. Dancers of all abilities participated in hip-hop, jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary, and tap. Several numbers featured choreography developed by guest instructors and choreographers like Melissa Rector, Mike Esperanza, Kiesha Lalama, Jason McDole, Joshua Manchulich, and Rob Priore, along with our Grier dance instructors Jocelyn Hrzic, Danielle Bower, and Emmalee Hallinan, and the Pre-Professional class.
Dance Director Joci Hrzic opened the performance with special words of praise for her dancers, especially how they were able to step up and fill in when key pre-professional dancer Alexa sprained her ankle just days earlier. Although certainly disappointed at not being able to dance in the Spring show, Alexa offered support and encouragement to her fellow dancers. We look forward to seeing Alexa and the other senior dancers perform again for graduation in May.
Grier students and faculty attended a presentation by regional broadcast media professional Carolyn Donaldson on Tuesday afternoon in the Library. The presentation was the culmination of the Library’s One School, One Story, a program that invites all members of the Grier community to read the same book and participate in a series of discussions and related events. This school year, Grier read I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai.
Grier invited Carolyn Donaldson, Community Engagement Manager for WPSU Penn State and former WTAJ-TV news anchor, to visit Grier and talk about how media is a means to spread ideas and advocate for change, the way Malala did and continues to do through blogs, interviews on radio and television, streaming media, and printed publications. Donaldson tied Malala’s message and mission to US First Amendment rights and how public media entities like WPSU give diverse voices a place to be heard. She cited the WPSU program “This I Believe” as a way for anyone – Grier students included – to tell their own story.
Grier musicians and vocalists took to the Auditorium stage Friday evening for Grier's wildest music concert of the year: Rock Fest! The student-faculty Rock Band performed new and classic pop and rock songs. The musicians thank everyone who came out to Rock Fest and partied down the with Rock Band! The students did great and there was a great energy. Thanks also to everyone who helped put it together behind the scenes. Rock on!
Performers from Grier's upcoming musical Tuck Everlasting, took time out of their busy rehearsal schedules to visit the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library and give the local community a sneak peek.
Based on the classic children's novel, Tuck Everlasting is the story of eleven-year-old Winnie Foster who wishes for adventure, but gets more than she anticipates when she meets the Tuck Family and learns of the magic of their neverending youth. The musical asks the question, "What would you do if you had all eternity?"
Congratulations to the Western Team on a successful spring break of showing! At the beginning of the week, the team traveled to Saddlebrook. The upper school team was champion both days and lots of riders qualified for Regionals. Regional qualifiers were Camilla F, Sophia K, Courtney M, Grace W, Yazmin W, Mary T, Marcella B, and Kayla M.
Sunday, the team traveled to West Virginia for Regionals and both the upper school and middle school team were champions and advanced to semi-finals. Sophie K and Mary T will be riding for the upper school team and Briana K and Marcella B will be representing the middle school team in Columbus. Individual qualifiers include Grace W, Mary T, and Marcella B. Congratulations,riders!
Cas C., a student at the prestigious University of Chicago, returned to her alma mater recently to share her personal experience and offer some advice about getting accepted into the nation’s top colleges.
Cas is a 2018 Grier graduate. In addition to the University of Chicago, she was also accepted to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During an informal meeting in Grier's College Counseling Suite, eager Grier students asked Cas a number of questions about how she prepared for competitive colleges, as well as, what her first year at the University of Chicago was like. Grier is so appreciative of our generous alumnae like Cas who are happy to give back to the school. Much thanks, Cas!
Grier loves to share the wonderful experiences of talented faculty members. During Grier's Spring Break, Modern Language teacher Mr. Tristan Wilson had the incredible opportunity to join the Juniata College Concert Choir on a tour to Morocco as an alumni.
For nine days, Mr. Wilson and the choir visited and performed in cities, including: Casablanca, Tangier, and Fes. The choir sang 17 different works ranging from classical to very contemporary, and in a multitude of languages that included: English, Latin, Xhosa, Tamil, Spanish, and Krao. It was extremely rewarding to sing with such a dynamic group of students under the direction of Dr. Russell K. Shelley.
Many Grier students had their first opportunity to see real pieces of the Moon when they viewed specimens collected from Apollo missions 14, 15, 16, and 17. Grier eighth graders learnied about the science of the moon rocks during their Earth Science class time. Additionally, their teacehr Mrs. Fernandes coordinated with the local Tyrone Area Elementary School to create a terrific volunteer opportunitie for seventeen Grier girls. Following her presentation to second grade classes, Mrs. Fernandes and the student volunteers led lunar-themed rocket experiments.
Grier School has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Grier is one of only 685 to accomplish this.
A small group of students accompanied two Grier science teachers on a Spring Break trip to Costa Rica. The trip included lots of educational opportunities, adventures, and even community service!
The tour began with a bus ride through a cloud forest to the Atlantic coastline and a boat trip to the hotel. The group enjoyed the warm weather and the vast array of plants and animals. One morning, the group took a river cruise and saw many animals including spider monkeys, howler monkeys, birds, and reptiles before visiting a school and a tiny town named Tortugueros. Later in the journey, the group visited some hot springs followed by kayaking and swimming on Lake Arenal. They walked along the suspension bridges, went horseback riding, and even enjoyed a nighttime jungle tour to see amazing creatures like the red-eyed tree frog and scorpion spider. The group saw Monteverdi, Jaco Beach, and Drake Bay where they snorkeled and performed volunteer work cleaning up the beach. During the last day, the group took a crocodile tour and then went white water rafting and jumped into the river. What an adventure!
The Coffee Barn on Grier's campus is like the cozy corner cafe where friends can gather over a mug of warm chai lattes, compare notes while munching on a delightful imported snack, or get smoothies and watch a movie. This year, the Coffee Barn got a bit of a make-over with new product displays and labels. Amanda Morningstar is the main operator of the Coffee Barn, which also currently employees three Grier student baristas. The charming cafe space fills the lower floor of an old log cabin and features cushy sofas and chairs as well as high-top tables and stools. The menu of drinks and snacks offers a wide variety and the shop frequently runs feature drink specials. The space is sometimes used to host open mic nights, board game events, and other fun social gatherings on the weekends.
Twenty-nine Grier girls accompanied five Grier teachers on a spring break trip of a lifetime. The group traveled to Europe where they spent time in London, Paris, southern France, Barcelona, and Madrid and the surrounding areas of Spain. French teacher Madame Pope and Spanish teacher Señorita Leen designed the tour to provide students with ample opportunities to experience the art, culture, music, food, and languages of France and Spain. While in Paris, France, the group was able to catch up with Grier alumna Tess M.'18 who is studying at Science Po in Rennes, France. During the group's last day in Spain, four Grier girls had the opportunity to learn some flamenco dance steps from a professional.
The adventure abroad was quite a whirlwind and though they enjoyed their time abroad, the girls were enthusiastic to return to Grier for the last leg of the school year. What lucky girls!
Students in Advanced Ecosystem Design class presented information about Styrofoam to their peers. Advanced Ecosystem Design is a science elective open to students in grades ten through twelve. In the class, students explore topics involving ecosystems within the Grier greenhouse and our earth. This includes timely topics such as the energy balance of the earth, greenhouse gases, carbon capturing, carbon footprints, composting, soils, and growing our own food. For this assignment, the class divided into two groups to produce two variations on poster presentations about Styrofoam and its impact on the environment and on human health. Each board provided alternatives to polystyrene foam, such as biodegradable packing materials and food and beverage containers that are more earth-friendly.
Congratulations to the Grier School Equestrian team on a successful Regional Finals on Saturday, March 2nd. Grier’s Equestrian Team competed in the 2019 IEA Zone 11 Region 4 Finals hosted by The Grier School and the Upper School Team was Champion and will be moving on to Zone Finals at the end of the month!
Dance is one of the most popular programs at Grier School—and justifiably so. Nearly half of all students take dance classes at the beginner, intermediate, and pre-professional levels in styles including ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, tap, and hip hop. Regardless of the level, dancers at Grier learn from our talented faculty and guest artists and enjoy outstanding facilities. Students perform four new shows each year and attend special events such as the annual Grier School Dance Gala, choreography showcases, and national dance conventions.
Throughout the year, guest artists join Grier's faculty to provide opportunities for dancers to work with internationally renowned teachers, dancers, and choreographers. Guests to our Performing Arts Center teach master classes, which are open to students at all levels. Guest master teachers educate dancers in various forms and expose Grier students to the eclectic repertoires found in dance companies today. Each year, guest artists-in-residence work with groups of dancers over extended stays to teach, set choreography, and develop professional relationships that extend beyond Grier's campus.
Congratulations to the students who participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) regional competition. Nodoka M, Rachel S, and Amber L received second place awards, while Gia S, Celine J, Yasmin G, Judi L, Betsi D, and Vivian Y took first place awards. Isabelle F received a first place award with a perfect score and Cindy W received a first place award with a special judge’s award. Great job, ladies!
Grier's Varsity Basketball Team bravely challenged the Faculty to a game. With their honor at stake, the faculty members dominated the students, winning 54 to 34. Coach Wyland scored 24 points, while Coach Wilson had 18, and Mr. Lang had 15 assists. Ashley L led the students in scoring 15 points, and Jenna P had 7. The faculty team was made up of only six teachers who all played excellent defense; however, by the third quarter, the students had started to wear down those teachers. The girls played great defensively, did great as a team, and took many good shots. The gym was full of students and teachers cheering for everyone. It was an amazing atmosphere!
Students in Mrs. Fernandes' 8th grade Earth Science class joined her for a field trip to Lincoln Caverns. The trip included a one-hour tour of two crystal caverns: Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. As they learned about cave geology and local lore associated with the caves, students observed a variety of cave formations, including crystals, stalactites, and stalagmites. The trip to Lincoln Caverns was a fun time and educational, as well!
Sophomore Liza E and seniors Lauren S and Rachel S competed in a state-qualifying NASP tournament at Bishop Carroll High School in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. Grier archers appreciate the sport for how it develops focus and concentration skills. Their confidence grows as they improve and outperform their personal best. In this tournament, Liza E had the highest score in her grade level and made twelve ten-point shots. Great job, Liza, and the rest of the archers!
A group of Grier science students took a field trip to Penn State to visit the University’s Sustainability Center where the students took a look at the center’s Eco-machine and Morningstar House. The students observed how humans can take advantage of the nitrogen cycle in a very unique ecosystem of plants, snails, bacteria, macro-invertebrates, waste water, rocks, and bio film. They learned about the power of duckweed. It can be consumed by animals and humans as a source of protein. It is a hyper-accumulator, pulling massive amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen from waste water, but it is still edible. Additionally, it can be crushed for use as a plant fertilizer or be used as a biofuel! It is basically the super-plant of the future. At the Morningstar House, students observed some practical applications of concepts they have been learning about in class. The house itself was the result of a collaboration of 800 PSU students and its design took fourth place in a nation-wide contest.
Grier students, faculty, and students' families gathered in the Dance Building to enjoy the Music Department's Spring Concert on Thursday, February 28th. The concert included pieces performed by the String Orchestra, Orchestra, Flute Choir, Select Singers, and Concert Choir. About 40 Grier student musicians and nearly 60 Grier vocalists took part in the concert.
String Orchestra performed Mock Morris and a challenging Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, 1st movement. The Orchestra performed Sherzo Colombine, Beethoven's 5th Symphony, 3rd movement, and the Wonder Woman theme. Flute choir performed Queen of the Night from Mozart's Magic Flute, Fille aux Cheveau de Lin by Debussy, and Bartok's Maruntel from his Romanian Folk Dances. Select Singers performed Ave Generoso with solos by Annie L and Alex H, No Time, and Sit Still, Look Pretty with solos from Kirin C and Erzsi M. The Concert Choir concluded the show with Count the Stars and Dance With Me.
After weeks of planning and preparation, the whole school united for an amazing celebration of global awareness. Grier’s 3rd Annual International Day featured fourteen different student groups, representing the nationalities among Grier’s student body. Every group was responsible for serving a dish, decorating their tables, wearing costumes, and giving a performance.
The Equestrian Team traveled to Harrisburg in February to show in the Winter Diamond Show and Heritage Winter IV Show. First place finishers include: Lilly F, Sophie K, Lareina Y, Jimena P, Sarah L, Sydney R, Marcella B, and Courtney M. Champion and Reserve Champion winners were: Marcella B, Courtney M, Sarah L, and Lareina Y. Good job ladies!
Grier Seniors organized an evening of fun beginning with a guest hypnotist and wrapping up with a Beach-themed dance party in the gym. The hypnotist called volunteers on stage where he successfully hypnotized several Grier girls, much to the enjoyment of the audience of peers. After this hilarious show, many of the girls enjoyed dancing to the DJ's music while sipping on some tropical punch.
Recording Technology students performed a little experiment using eight different microphones to record the sound from a baby grand piano in the Instrumental Music Building. With just a little assistance from their teacher, the students set up all eight microphones, pairing them up to get stereo sound. Then, the students configured the four pairs in three different ways (one method was duplicated).
Grier NHS members worked as a team to celebrate everyone’s individual beauty. They spread the message in a number of ways, including an high-impact mural of black and white photos in the shape of a heart and a smiley face. Additionally, representatives distributed “Hello, I am…” name tags to homeroom classes. Students wrote down positive qualities about themselves. Other NHS representatives peppered the bathroom mirrors with affirming messages and inserted similar quotations into the display windows of the napkin holders in the dining room. Every student received a surprise gift in their mailboxes of a sticker featuring the beautiful watercolor art of senior Grier student Abi T. “I am Beautiful Day” has become a wonderful, heart-warming tradition at Grier thanks to the phenomenal leadership of NHS members.
Congratulations are due to Grier’s Model UN Club members who competed at the 47th Model UN Conference held at Penn State Harrisburg this month. During this two-day event, the students discussed and developed ideas to solve global issues while also strengthening their understanding of United Nations operations. Grier girls competed in debates on the topics of nuclear disarmament, landmines, and the crisis in Yemen.
Diana N received an award for Best Position Paper for her work on Disarmament. Molly J was awarded Outstanding Delegate in a Crisis and Julia G won Best Delegate for her work in the Game of Thrones Crisis committee. Model UN club advisor and history teacher Mr. Steven Packnick applauds the students for their great work.
The Grier Foxes Fencing team dueled against rival team Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School on their home turf at Grier and then again at Bishop Guilfoyle in Altoona. Stuart Crocker coaches the Grier fencing team and moderates fencing matches between Grier School and Bishop Guilfoyle. Grier's Fencing Team Captains are: senior Michelle S and junior Lucy W.
Last month, members of Grier's elite choir, Select Singers, performed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Altoona. The performance was part of the church's concert series that showcases the inaugural year of a newly acquired pipe organ.
Tuesday, a graduate student Shannon DeHoff from Penn State University joined Grier via Skype video chat to describe her work with the University Park campus’s Gender Equity Center. Librarian Mrs. Woolfrey arranged for this presentation in conjunction with the schoolwide read I Am Malala by equal education activist Malala Yousafzai. The presenter addressed the biggest obstacles to higher education access for women in the United States today. Among the students who attended the program, many were members of the Grier Bridge club, which seeks to promote the welfare of girls and women worldwide. The Grier students in attendance engaged with the speaker, asking questions about her role and the challenges facing women on college campuses. After the presentation concluded, the students continued to discuss how they might apply some of the Gender Equity Center’s advocacy and education strategies to prepare Grier students for college life.
On Presidents’ Day, Grier Dining Services surprised the students with a treat of hot chocolate for their after school snack. Students lined up in droves to get a mug full of the steaming rich chocolaty goodness. What a great way to brighten up a chilly winter Monday!
Students at Grier come from all over the world and often delight in learning about each other's cultures and traditions. In honor of Lunar New Year, a group of students arranged a special treat for the whole school to enjoy. Some of Grier's Asian students helped decorate the living room with festive red and gold decorations, symbolizing prosperity, good luck, joy, and beauty.
For her Advanced Video Editing class, senior Kirin Cao also produced a fantastic video in honor of the occassion. See it on Grier's Facebook page!
The Grier Basketball Team honored their senior players during a special ceremony preceding the game versus Johnstown Christian. Seniors Amy T, Noah L, and Sherry X received special gifts and mementos celebrating their contributions to the team.
In another recent game versus DuBois Christian, the Grier girls played a good game. They never gave up and played hard until the end. Amy T had an awesome game, she had 13 points. Abby S also had 8 points. Jenna P got her first points of the season by hitting a three pointer. After honoring the Seniors the team faced off against Johnstown Christian. The Grier girls had a great start by scoring 23 points in the first quarter! Maiia had a game high 16 points and Amy produced 12 points. They played hard until the end and only lost by 2 points! Congrats, players!
Grier students, faculty, and staff enjoyed some sweet treats this Valentine's Day thanks to the bake sale organized by the 7th and 8th grade classes. The students solicited donations of baked goods from teachers, housemoms, and parents, then sold the goods in the Auditorium during Extra Help. The bake sale raised over $650 for the Grier Fund, which helps support the Grier community in times of need.
Congratulations to Grier Equestrian Team for their stellar performance in two recent competitions.
Earlier in February, the Hunt Seat riders did great work during the two-day IEA Hunt Seat Competition at Grier. The Upper School team was Champion on both days and the Middle School Team was Champion on Saturday. Grace W was the Upper School High Point Rider on Saturday and Sunday. Maci I was High Point Middle School Rider on Saturday and Sophie K was Reserve High Point High School Rider on Sunday. First place winners included: Grace W, Sophia O, Sydney R, Courtney M, Lucy H, Maci I, Lareina Y, Marcella B, Sophie K, Cassidy R, Yazmin W, Sarah L, Judy W, and Claudia G.
The Grier School Dressage team had a great performance at the IEA Dressage show at Bethany College on Sunday! The upper school team brought home Reserve Champion of the AM show! First place finishers include: Royce M, Courtney M, and Marcella B. Congratulations to our Grier riders and their proud coaches!
Students in European History pitched in to purchase cakes in honor of Marie-Antoinette and Charles V, both of whom the students learned about in class and can link to cakes. According to popular folklore, Queen Marie-Antoinette of France famously declared, "Let them eat cake!" in response to the hungry, breadless peasants revolting outside Versailles Palace. While modern scholars do not believe the Queen acutally said these words nor expressed their sentiment, the European History students were happy to use the legend as justification to have cake! They also celebrated Charles V Holy Roman Emperor who profitted from the Columbian Exchange. This introduction of New World agriculture to Europe included cocoa to make chocolate, which eventually found its way into cakes such as these. Students wore plastic crowns to represent royalty as they dined on sugary confections bearing the likeness of these two European monarchs.
On Thursday, February 7th, the entire Grier Junior class attended an NACAC College Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the fair, juniors had the opportunity to meet with representatives from hundreds of colleges and to attend workshops on various college selection and preparation topics. Members of Grier's College Counseling department and some 11th grade teachers accompanied the students as they traveled by bus to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Last weekend, fourteen Grier girls trekked out to the country to do a little winter camping. They played games, watched movies, snacked, stargazed for constellations, and created a digital composite images showing star-trails as the stars appeared to move across the night sky. Thanks to their chaperone and to Camp Anderson for providing Grier girls with such a cool opportunity! The Grier campers were grateful for the warmth of the fireplace and hearty breakfast the next morning.
Grier students and faculty gathered in the Library for Discussion & Donuts where they talked about the school’s One School, One Story book selection I Am Malala by the young global education activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai. The students participated in discussion sessions before school and during the afternoon Extra Help period. Students shared what they were most surprised to learn about Malala’s story after reading the book, their thoughts on the role of Malala’s parents, and Malala’s resilience and current mission.
On Friday, February 1st, guest performers from Key Arts Productions treated Grier students to a special music program. Titled “Soul Sounds,” the trio of musicians took Grier students on a journey through the rich history of African-American music in the United States. The program began with slave call-and-response style songs and progressed through the decades with ragtime, jazz, blues, funk, hip-hop, and more.
Grier girls gathered at the Coffee Barn for a classic American Superbowl Party. Whether it's the competition of the game, the snacks, the clever commercials, or the camaraderie, this annual sporting event always draws a crowd. As the New England Patriots faced the Los Angeles Rams for the NFL Championship Vince Lombardi Trophy in Superbowl LIII, the Grier girls enjoyed a delicious selection of sandwiches and snacks while they rooted for their favorite team.
Following auditions, Grier Musical Theatre Director Mrs. Ginger Reinhardt announced the cast of the upcoming musical production Tuck Everlasting. Congrats to all principles and those who will participate in dance and ensemble! The show is sure to be spectacular!
Astronomy club ventured to Penn State last week to tour the NASA Swift mission headquarters! Swift's original purpose was to search the universe for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Since then, the Swift mission has branched out to study all sorts of space phenomena and has greatly increased our understanding of the early universe, where heavy elements came from, when stars began to form, and much more.
Winter weather means that experienced skiiers and newcomers alike have the chance to hit the regional ski slopes. In the winter months, Grier offers skiing as a winter sport. Chaperones escort students to Tussey Mountain Ski Resort for afterschool skiing. Winter weekends frequently provide opportunities for Grier skiiers to venture further, to resorts like Blue Knob and Seven Springs.
Congratulations to the Grier Equestrian Team on a chilly but successful show at the Mcdonogh Winter Classic in Maryland! Sophie K brought home blue ribbons in the 3’6 Open Equitation, 3’6 USEF Medal, and Junior Hunters. Grace W placed in all of her Children’s Hunter and Medal classes. Sophia O made the call-back and placed in the Taylor Harris Medal. Cassidy R was Reserve Champion in the Pre-Children’s Hunters.
During Lab Days each Marking Period, Science classes often make use of the extended periods to conduct interesting labs. Whether it's through soil analysis, a study in respiration, interactive dragonfly evolution, viscosity experiements, modeling electricity, understanding density, or reactions to hot and cold, Grier Science classes immerse and engage students in learning about themselves, the world, and beyond.
Grier Varsity Basketball is in the thick of its season. The team battled Northumberland Christian on January 17th, ultimately losing 31 to 44. Coach Wyland says that despite the loss, the girls played well. "Everyone was passing the ball and playing strong defense," says coach. Senior Noah L and 8th grader Arden S each scored 8 points and Senior Amy T added 7. Earlier this week, the team earned a win against Grace Prep. It was, in fact, the highest scoring game of the season! Coach Wyland says,"The girls dominated in every aspect of the game." Senior Amy T had a game high 14 points and 7 steals. Fellow senior Noah L added 12 points and 5 steals. Very exciting! The team is looking forward to an aggresive away game against Glendale High School tonight! The team will be playing at home again on February 4th when they face DuBois Christian School.
Last week, a choreographer visited Grier and spent time working with Grier's Pre-Professional Dancers. The guest, Nancy Lushington, is an Associate Professor of Dance at Marymount Manhattan College in New York. While at Grier, she shared her talents with the Grier dancers while doing a bit of scouting for Marymount.
Last, week, several Grier students wore shirts emblazoned with the words “CE MOMENT WHEN YOU START PENSER EN DEUX LANGUES AT THE SAME TEMPS,” a clever mix of French and English to illustrate the sentiment felt by many a second-language learner: that moment when you start thinking in two languages at the same time. Not only did the shirts serve to visually unify the French language learners at Grier, proceeds from the sales of the shirts benefitted the 415 school children of the Bainet Parish of Haiti.
As students pass through the Grier library or take a break from homework, they can participate in a collaborative project by adding some of the nearly 4,000 half-inch, colorful sticker squares to a color-coded poster. The students are working together to create a sticker mosaic. The subject of the mosaic is a mystery at the start, but will be revealed slowly as students make progress. The mosaic unites the student body of Grier and promotes a great message: Stick Together!
Grier was honored to have artist Susan Nicholas visit last for a week-long pastel workshop. Nicholas is an award-winning landscape artist who shares her mastery and love of plein air pastels and oil paints with others through workshops and retreats. She demonstrated how artists can create completely different looks with pastels by using different colored papers and by choosing a smooth or rough textured paper. Grier students had the opportunity to try out the different pastels and explore the play of colors. Then, students used photographs of landscapes and skyscapes as inspiration for finished pieces. The students and art faculty alike were delighted to have Nicholas visit!
Archery is a popular recreational sport option at Grier and coach Ms. Barr provides the participants opportunities to participate in competitive tournaments. Senior Lauren S and sophomores Liza E, Nodoka M, and Gia S traveled to Tower City, Pennsylvania, where they represented Grier School in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) State Qualifier tournament hosted by Williams Valley High School on Saturday, January 12th. The tournament was open to girls and boys in middle and high school, each hoping to do their personal best and competing for points that could earn them a place in the state competition. What a great experience!
Congratulations to the Grier School Equestrian Team on a great dressage show this weekend! The upper school team was crowned Champion on both days, and the middle school was named Reserve Champion on Saturday!
Grier's Varsity Basketball Team got a taste of competition before the Winter Break when they defeated Blair County Christian School with a score of 30-26. Noah L scored ten points, Amy T scored eight, Abby S, Maia M, and Arden S each scored four points in this season opener. Now, the players look forward to taking on Northumberland Christian School on Thursday, January 17th at 5:00pm in the Grier Gymnasium. Come out and cheer for Grier!
After a mild December, students returning to Grier for their first week of classes following winter break experienced snowfall typical to the region. The gentle snow coated the branches of the pine trees found throughout campus. This light dusting was not quite enough for sledding, but Mother Nature may have more snow in store before the season is over!
To demonstrate their comprehension of the novel Gathering Blue, students in English 7 class created dioramas of the novel’s world. Gathering Blue is the sequel to her classic dystopian story The Giver. In Gathering Blue, Kira, a child who has a deformed leg, is orphaned in a savage society that shuns the weak. Using her magic-like talents, Kira manages to survive, learning how to dye thread, and discovers the truth of the world around her. The students constructed the models of Kira’s society using a variety of materials. Their teacher, Mrs. Smith, was so proud of them, she could not wait to share the photos of the girls and their projects with everyone. Great work!
Grier's Music Department is excited to announce the upcoming Musical Theatre production for Spring 2019: Tuck Everlasting! The musical is the story of eleven-year-old Winnie Foster who wishes for adventure, but gets more than she anticipates when she meets the Tuck Family and learns of the magic of their neverending youth. The musical asks the question, "What would you do if you had all eternity?" It is based on the classic children's novel by Natalie Babbitt and adapted for the stage by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle with music by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. Students interested in roles in the musical should listen to morning announcements for information about auditions.Grier will present Tuck Everlasting on Friday, April 26th and Saturday, April 27th at 7:00pm.
Senior Sherry X. and Junior Monica U. spent Grier’s Winter Break together in Monica’s homeland of Mexico. Sherry, a native of China, joined Monica and her family for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Sherry appreciates the hospitality of Monica’s family and calls them her “adopted Mexican family” and says the experience was absolutely amazing.
Congratulations to the Grier School Equestrian Team for another successful weekend of showing. While several Grier girls traveled to West Virginia for a Western show, the Hunt Seat team hosted a show at Grier.
Students in Mrs. Carol Deremer's Introduction to Computer Science class designed and built dancing robots. Over a course of nearly three weeks, students designed, constructed, and programmed the robots using Lego Mindstorm components and the Lego Mindstorming software.
Through this project, the students learned programming fundamentals that they will implement next semester as they begin coding. Enjoy watching the robots dance, spin, wobble, bounce, and sway!
Grier Admissions Director, Mrs. Jennifer Neely, visited the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. In addition to her service to Grier School, Mrs. Neely serves on the WPSU advisory board of representatives. WPSU is an extension of Penn state University’s School of Outreach and Online Education and provides public radio and television stations as local affiliates for NPR and PBS for a coverage area of 1.9 million people in Pennsylvania.