Sunday, September 9, 2018

Looking at Edgewood History, Piece by Piece

We have a fairly young tradition at Edgewood School. On the first day of school, the non-classroom teachers for Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Spanish, and Technology coordinate a large multi-grade activity (read more about last year's event here). It's a high energy event that often feels like it's running alongside the edge of chaos, while managing to stay intact and on target with our objectives. This year's program focused on the Edgewood Centennial. Students collected cutouts from posterized photos, depicting small moments in our school's history. They had to match their color coded pieces with those found by other students and together, reassemble the images. Students used their bodies and minds to meet the challenge. It was a noisy, fun day and sent a message that learning about the history of our great school was about to begin.
-- Paul Tomizawa

Students dash into the circle to collect puzzle pieces.

Students reassemble their historic images.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Every Four Years

Every four years, since 2002, the students and staff of Edgewood School have participated in our own Winter Olympics. And like the actual International Olympic Games that "coincide" with our event, we also compete. But through these "competitive" games we internalize the values of the five Edgewood Olympic rings -- Caring, Kindness, Respect, Friendship, and Acceptance. During our Opening and Closing Ceremonies this year we recognized the importance of living in a global community and we saluted the nearly 80 national flags that represent who we are at Edgewood.

The event kicked off with an inspiring video featuring student coaches urging Dr. Houseknecht and Mr. Yang to get "back into shape." As a school we met the challenge of running a total of 1827 miles, the distance from the United States Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs to Edgewood. And as a school we also met Mrs. Turner's challenge of reading 1827 books. A goal that we shattered by reading 4,129 books.

We met every Olympic challenge as a team. During this two week event, students partnered with their "buddy" classes -- older and younger classes working together in a shared activity. The type of activities that former students tell us remind them of the importance of having the Edgewood School community in their lives. As Dorothy Bench wrote in our school song, we belong to "the finest place to be." It's a line that resonates with students long after they leave the Edgewood classrooms and playground. And it's a line we remember, long after the Edgewood Olympic flame is extinguished and just after we light it again, every four years.

Nearly 80 National Flags Displayed

The Five Edgewood Olympics are about Caring, Respect,
Acceptance, Friendship, and Kindness

The Olympic Games included activities led by the teachers
of Art, Music, Library, Spanish, Physical Education, and Technology

Olympic Flame is Extinguished

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Backstage Talent

Edgewood produces three lunchtime talent shows each year. Needless to say, the staff and students involved put a premium on production value. It's one thing for students to invest time and creative energy into their performances, as former student Caroline Cavalier once reported. Or to host the shows as our student emcees do with fearlessness, humor, and style. But behind each performance is a highly coordinated team of students and teachers working as Balcony and Backstage crew. They balance music and microphone sound levels. They accentuate moods with stage lighting and lighting effects. They photograph and videotape performances. They coach performers. They open and close curtains. They coordinate and distribute wireless handheld and body microphones. They make sure that performers are patiently waiting in the "on deck" position. They interview performers backstage. They assemble and break down production sets. And this is the short list of our job responsibilities.

If the audience only notices the performers, then for us in the Balcony and Backstage, our job has been well done. If the audience and the emcees aren't forced to wait uncomfortably as the backstage crew sets up the next act, then our job has been well done. Let's take a peak behind the curtains at our final February talent show this year, as the backstage crew (and performers) take about 40 seconds to set up for the next act. And notice how the adults, purposely step aside, so that students pursue and achieve a shared objective. Go team! -- Paul Tomizawa

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Remembering "My Little Enemy"

Young Carl Schorske arrived at Edgewood Elementary School, shortly after it opened its doors on January 6, 1919. He was enrolled in kindergarten, but didn't last there long. He got in trouble with his teacher, who marched him to the office of Principal Mary Piedalue.

As Professor Carl Schorske recalled, during his visit to Edgewood in 2007, his kindergarten teacher was offended when he sang a German song, about a German soldier. After all, World War I had just ended. So she turned him in to Miss Piedalue and declared him "My little enemy."

Miss Piedalue, evaluated the situation and understood what needed to be done. She took Young Carl to Mrs. Beyer's first grade classroom and introduced him as her new student. He had been promoted.

Carl Schorske would go on to teach history at Princeton University and earn a Pulitzer for his book Fin de Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture. He was also among the first winners of a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called Genius Award.  Professor Schorske died in 2015. To watch the complete video of his visit to Edgewood School in 2007, click here.

Carl Schorske recalls his sudden
promotion to first grade.

Carl Schorske sings the German
song that earned him the promotion.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Don't Open 'Til January 6 2019

Twenty-four years ago, Edgewood School celebrated its 75th anniversary. Dr. Houseknecht, along with staff and students, compiled a time capsule that year. It was then tucked under the stairs, between Mrs. Lamonaca's and Mr. Fitzpatrick's room, not to be opened until Edgewood turns 100.

There doesn't seem to be a record of the exact contents of the time capsule, but rest assured, on January 6, 2019, we'll all find out!

But if you're reading this and you were there that day (perhaps you're one of the students who signed the outer shell of the time capsule), please respond to this blog post. We'd love to hear from you!

The time capsule has been tucked under these
stairs by the first grade exit.

Staff and students assembled the time capsule
to mark Edgewood's 75th in 1994.

The time capsule was signed, sealed, and stored in 1994,
not to be opened until 2019.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Frosty Unveiled

Yet another wild surprise at the annual Edgewood Winter Assembly. This year's mystery Frosty the Snowman turned out to be Mrs. Pagel. But for days, students had wondered aloud and in online voting "Who will be this year's Frosty?" Since 2008, a member of the Edgewood School community has snuck into the Frosty costume and danced to "Let It Snow" after coming alive when the magical hat was placed on its head.

During the assembly, the build-up to the Frosty reveal typically features a nutty... circa 1980s madcap, sitcom storyline that draws out the mystery. Dr. Houseknecht is the ringleader, sending teachers off the Gym floor, one by one, to provide assistance to some strange backstage incident. And as each teacher disappears backstage, the suspense builds. After all, in the mind of a K-5 student, one of those teachers is bound to be this year's Frosty...right? Right?!

This year's Frosty was accompanied by the Frosty Dance Troupe featuring Mrs. Ross, Ms. Rosado, Ms. Benitez, Ms. Peterson, and Ms. Marques. Happy Holidays Edgewood!
 -- Paul Tomizawa

Frosty is flanked by the Frosty Dance Troupe.

This year's Frosty is revealed!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Edgewood Toy Drive

Edgewood students delivered a bounty of toys to Cardinal McCloskey Community Services during our annual drive. But fourth graders Charles Rich and Chase Timberger can do a better job of telling this story. Here's how they experienced it, as reposted from Edgewood News.

This year we went on a field trip to deliver toys from our school’s annual Toy Drive to Cardinal McCloskey Community Services in Valhalla. Our toys and clothes will go to more than 5000 kids and adults. Usually when we donate a toy, we don't know where it goes and we just forget about it forever.
But this year we went with lucky Ms. Mangani’s class on a field trip to Cardinal McCloskey to deliver all the toys that Edgewood families donated. Last year Cardinal McCloskey collected about 70,000 items and they are hoping to get even more this year.

Before Ms. Mangani’s class went on the trip, the whole second grade passed all the toys down a line and loaded them onto the bus
(see video below). When we arrived at Cardinal McCloskey we were met by their event planner, Kerry Gutenkunst.
When we first entered the Cardinal McCloskey Community Services, the second grade started to sort all of the toys onto tables. The categories were Stuffed Animals, Board Games, Arts and Crafts, Puzzles and Games, and even Clothes. Ms. Gutenkunst reminded us of the important thing we were doing. It’s not just about getting presents, it’s about giving too.

“When you wake up Christmas morning or another holiday you celebrate and you’re opening up a present, remember that there’s going to be another kid opening up one because of what you did,” says Ms. Gutenkunst.

We are definitely thankful for what we have. Thank you Edgewood School for your donations!

Team Edgewood delivers our donated toys
to Cardinal McCloskey Community Services.

Edgewood students deliver toy donations
to Cardinal McCloskey Community Services

-- Paul Tomizawa