Coyote Robotics Battle it Out at the FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament

At the FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Haymarket, VA, GWCS Robotics Team 3749 Bionic Penguins had a tough day with a robot that did not really do the job.  Team 965 started slow and in last place of 24 teams after losing their first two matches but finished strong ranked 8th.  The were asked to join the 4th seed in the elimination round but fell to the 1st seed (and eventual champion).  Team 965 was the recipient of the Rockwell Collins Innovation award.  The team's fine explanation of the Relic lifting mechanism, and the success they had in using it, impressed the judges.

Thanks to all who came out to support us.  We still had a fun time, including line dancing to YMCA during down-time!  Our next competition is January 6, 2018 in Newport News, VA.

Want to learn more about Coyote Robotics?  Contact:

Gary Lindner
GWCS Coyote Robotics Coach & Math Teacher

GW Community School - Coyote Robotics
FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament
December 2, 2017

It's the 7th Annual... Heritage Feast!


We, at GWCS, are truly thankful for all of our coyote parents, grandparents, students, siblings, teachers and alumni.  Everyone in our community plays an integral part in creating an upbeat,  safe and challenging environment in order for learning, exploration, and growth to take place every single day.   We lean on each other, we learn from each other, we smash with each other, and today... we feast together!  

We are particularly thankful for the 75+ GWCS parents, grandparents, students, siblings, teachers and the 25+ alumni who attended our 7th Annual GWCS Heritage Feast!  Best Heritage Feast yet!  Why was it the best?  Because sooooo many people came, and ate, and visited, and hugged, and reminisced.  The hum of voices and the spark of laughter in the cafe was the perfect way to start our holiday break.    

An extra loud shout out to all of the coyote families who contributed the never-ending variety of delicious foods, desserts and drinks and for the parent volunteers who set up before and cleaned up after.

Click Here to read an earlier post about how the Annual GWCS Heritage Feast was started.


GW Community School
Annual Heritage Feast
November 21, 2017

GWCS Spirit Week, Homecoming Basketball Game & Dance 2017

We may be small, but we've got spirit and nothing shows our spirit better than lots of photos!


Students and teachers showed their school spirit all week simply by being awake enough each morning to look through their closets and choose an outfit according to each day's school spirit theme!


Boys Varsity Basketball Game...

GWCS vs. The Lab School:  The Coyotes took on the Dragons in their annual Homecoming game.  The lead changed hands several times but in the end, the Coyotes came up three points short.


Homecoming Dance...

Dancing in the Streets

Approximately 40 students and teachers danced and ate the night away to DJ Muntu's smashing club mix and energizing light show.

Special Thanks...

A round of applause for the following parent volunteers who spent hours setting up and decorating for the Homecoming Dance!  Our volunteers brought Ms. Warden's neon vision to life and electrified the students with an atmosphere of FUN!  

  • Linda Campbell
  • Kathy Mohs
  • Nancy Lawton Cronin
  • Jennifer Schulman
  • Barbara Katz
  • Kim Dwyer
  • Melissa Morgan
  • Julia O'Grady

Huge hug for Mr. Muntu - our DJ extroidinaire and part-time French teacher!  Muntu's music, energy and lights kept the party going all night long!

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GW Community School
School Spirit Week & Homecoming
November 13-17, 2017

The American Shakespeare Center Marathon

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GWCS’s 6th annual fall trip to Staunton, VA was a rip-roaring success! Students saw not one, not two, but four plays performed by the actors with the American Shakespeare Center at the stunning, and historically accurate, Blackfriars Playhouse. Three Shakespeare plays (The Fall of King Henry, Love’s Labour Lost, and Much Ado About Nothing) and one musical (Peter and the Starcatcher) were separated by shopping sprees in downtown Staunton, delicious meals from local restaurants, a tour of the Blackfriars Playhouse, an acting workshop with the students, and restful nights at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

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But wonderful as Staunton was for a backdrop, most impressive of all was the ASC’s remarkable marathon of plays. And as if masterpieces of theater performed virtuosically in an intimate setting was not enough, the actors also played acoustic covers of modern pop songs prior to each show and during intermissions.

In all, the weekend was rich, educational, and thoroughly entertaining for fifteen GWCS students and six teachers.  

GW Community School
Annual Shakespeare Trip to Staunton
November 3-5, 2017

Coyote Howl-O-Ween

Coyotes came out in full force to show their spirit on Halloween. Creative, crafty, and sometimes cryptic costumes were worn by students and teachers alike. As has been the case for many years now, Ms. Warden’s costume perplexed; but Kian, Nick, Delia and Olivia confounded us too with their witty and unique costumes. Mattie, Noah, and Zach were easily identified as a very true to life Daphne, Fred, and Shaggy; and Ethan and Evelyn were both very well turned out as the chef from Ratatouille and a minion. Too many great costumes to name!

A new tradition was set with our 68 minutes of fun schedule, and of course it wouldn’t be a Coyote Halloween without the always awkward and sometimes downright disturbing donut eating contest. Delia can now add Donut Eating Winner to her title of Lettuce Lord.

We regrouped the party after school and screened It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Mr. Goldie’s favorite The Mothman Prophecies. Yup, one heck of a Howl-O-Ween.

GW Community School
Halloween Party
October 31, 2017



Yes, every fall at GWCS, the freshmen and sophomores get to go camping.  Yes, the seniors get to sleep in cabins on the writing retreat.  But nobody lives higher-on-the-hog than the juniors during the Gettysburg Trip.

Every fall, since 2009, the junior class heads north to Gettysburg.  It is not truly analogous to General Lee’s March on Gettysburg in 1863, but we mention it.  Of course we ride on highways through rolling hills and arrive in good condition and good spirits in less than three hours, and Lee’s troops arrived after a forty day March, but still, the similarities are undeniable.  


The Battle of Gettysburg is a seminal moment in the history of the Unite States.  Some argue that there might not even be a United States today had the outcome of this battle gone differently.  Many soldiers from many states arrived and participated in the three day battle.  From a safe distance (like the twenty-first century) it is a spectacle to behold.  From Culps Hill to the North to Little Round Top in the south, the Union and Confederate sides fought in the largest, bloodiest battle on North American soil.


Together we spend the first day visiting the Memorial Graveyard, where Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.  Then we spend several hours investigating the battlefield museum followed by the awe-inspiring Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Phillipoteaux.  In the evening we usually gather together at a conference room of the luxury hotel (Motel 6) and watched the movie, “Gettysburg,” which lasts about four and a half hours (contrary to the kid’s assertions that the movie is longer than the battle).  With the basics covered, we are ready for day two.


Although the soldiers at the battle of Gettysburg fought on July 1-3 in hundred degree heat, we go out to the battlefield at dawn, with frost on the ground.  We start at McPherson’s Ridge, go to the Eternal Flame, walked along Seminary Ridge, Pickett’s Charge, The Wheat Field, Little Round Top, and more.  We stand where they stood.  We look out where they looked out, and we charged where they charged (albeit without guns, backpacks, heavy jackets, ammunition, and in the absence of hostile fire continuously raining-down on us) and wonder what it must have been like to have been there.


Morality?  Philosophy?  Loyalty?  Duty?  There are so many ways to consider a soldier’s life, and a soldier’s role in the grand scheme of things.  More than 50,000 men (and one woman) were killed, wounded, or captured during this battle.  The Tide of the war was turned in the favor of the union, once and for all.  As Lincoln so aptly said, “The world…can never forget what they did here,” the results of their efforts so permanently ingrained in the DNA of the country that stands today. 

~Richard Goldie

GW Community School
Junior Gettysburg Trip
October 21, 2017

Scrambling at Sportrock

It's raining out so the planned outdoor community service event is awash.  What to do?  After scrambling to explore a number of different options it was decided... indoor rock climbing!  Ms. Kohler and Senor Torres took five GWCS underclassman to Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria, VA for a morning of indoor active thrills!  Why Sportrock?  If we can't do something to improve our community we will do something to improve ourselves!  Indoor rock climbing allows us to move outside of our comfort zone in a safe and controlled environment and helps to build confidence, promote self esteem, and teach us that overcoming fear is a healthy part of life. 

Students and teachers challenged their bodies to go the limit. We practiced climbing techniques as instructed by the faculty on site on a variety of boulder rock designs. Marius and Elizabeth were natural climbers, who surely out shined the adults! We also embraced the gym that was on site. Emily showed off her jump-roping skills, while Justin and Charlie pumped some iron. Everybody had an awesome time, got a great workout and left feeling challenged and successful!

~Ms. Kohler & Senor Torres

GW Community School
Sportrock Climbing Center
October 11, 2017

Senior College Essay Writing Retreat

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The more things stay the same, the more they change; for the past 12 years, GWCS seniors and teachers have traveled to Lake Anna to clear their heads, disconnect from their devices, and write their college essays. But even though we're always in the same place, no two retreats are the same; the unique strengths and experiences that each student brings to the retreat, and the ways they support, encourage, and sometimes challenge each other make every essay writing retreat special. This year for the first time we stayed in brand new lodges that had just been constructed with magnificent views and large, luxurious common areas for hardworking writers to put their feet up on the furniture and get their thoughts down on paper. Highlights included a ghost story, Frisbee, the most delicious salad of all time and most importantly, thirteen fully finished, polished, brilliant essays. Special thanks to Carol Hearle for helping us out with the supplies!

~ Mr. Pereira

GW Community School Class of 2018
Lake Anna State Park
October 4-6, 2017

We Walked for a Cause Called BULLY PAWS!

On Saturday, September 30th, 40 GWCS students, teachers, parents, siblings and dogs gathered at Burke Lake Park for the 6th annual Bully Paws  5K Fundraiser.  Bully Paws is a non-profit organization that works with shelters in the MD/DC/VA area, placing pit bull type dogs in foster homes. There, they are cared for by dedicated volunteers until they are adopted.  Everything was perfect for this year's 5K - the sun was bright, the air was crisp and the dozens of dogs mingled peacefully demonstrating unconditional kindness, joy and curiosity.  They were an example to us all. 

Thanks to all the GWCS Coyotes who got up early on this Saturday morning to support a good cause.  

~ Mr. Connelly

Photos/You Tube Video by Gwen Jennifer

Erase the Trace - Accotink Creek Trail

We, here at GWCS, are so dedicated to the "leave no trace" ethic that we go out of our way to erase the trace left behind by other, less considerate, park users.  On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, we had our first community service clean-up event of the year! This is a ritual that will happen once a month or so in order to help preserve our local  forests. Eight students joined the fun and hard work to help clean the Accotink Creek Trail. All students received one hour of community service! Many hands make for light work and a better/cleaner tomorrow. 

Dr. Garon

A Hot and Hilly Hike in Harpers Ferry

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It was a little warm (it was the last day of summer, after all) and a bit steep (we were hiking uphill to an overlook, after all).  Nevertheless, seven students, Senor Torres and Dr. G completed (and enjoyed...mostly) a five mile hike from Harpers Ferry, WV, to the top of Maryland Heights that combined a bit of history, river play, and an uphill challenge.  All were rewarded with an excellent view, a great shared experience, the satisfaction of persistence, and some ice cream.   ~Dr. Garon

2017 Spring Break - ITALY!


Vacanze di Primavera:  April 8-15, 2017

Sforza Castle, Milan, Italy

Each year, GWCS organizes an optional international educational tour to visit places we’ve learned about in school. Immersing our students in new cultures – surrounded by the people, the language, the food, and the way of life - creates inspirational moments that can’t be listed in an itinerary, they can only be experienced.  GWCS students embrace these incredible opportunities and they come back changed; more worldly.

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is critical for our students to become more culturally aware and globally-minded.  To be able to experience the global classroom first-hand and see subjects they have been studying in their classes come alive is life-changing. These trips offer students new perspectives, not only of themselves, but also of the world around them. 

Spring Break in Italy was an absolute blast. We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon in Milan before heading out to our first official stop, Venice. In Milan, we visited the Castello Sforzesco built by the Visconti family (which was “huuuge” according to the students.) We wandered the streets of this cosmopolitan and stylish city and ended up taking pictures in front of the Gothic Duomo, Milan’s Cathedral, one of the largest Gothic churches in the world. One of this building’s most interesting features is its extraordinary roof, with 135 spires and innumerable statues and gargoyles. We learned a lot about Milan, and its history as the center of fashion, business, and finance in Italy.


Venice, Italy

Venice provided ample educational rewards for us.  Being able to see the canals in person was quite something. Visiting the “Piazza San Marco”, The Campanile, and the Basilica de San Marco was amazing. We toured Palazzo Ducale where we let ourselves get lost in its beautiful architecture and art. To look out at the city from high atop the Palazzo was one of the best experiences. This vantage point allowed us to see just how fragile the whole city was: just a collection of tiny islands with thousands of people in buildings that were nearly a thousand years old. Seeing it this way made the whole place feel more special and vulnerable, and we realized what a priceless treasure it was to be there in person.   

In Venice, we also saw a glassblowing demonstration. It was magical to see an artist make beautiful shapes in just a few seconds with the hot glass. An added benefit from this stop was the opportunity to take home some beautiful souvenirs made with the famous Murano glass.


Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

In Florence, GWCS students learned that this remarkable city was the birthplace of the Italian language, opera, and the Renaissance; a place where famous works of art like Michelangelo’s statue of David still reside today.

Florence gave the impression of being like a puzzle composed of thousands of pieces: so many streets, alleys, nooks and crannies to explore! We saw the huge Duomo, which was bigger in person than anyone expected.  We walked across the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge where many of Florence’s famed leather and gold artisans keep shop. We saw a leather-making demonstration and we realized how soft leather could be. Also, we learned how to tell the difference between real leather versus synthetic leather.


The Piazza dei Miracoli  in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

In Pisa, we toured the leaning tower, cathedral and Baptistery. Luke and Max decided to take a glimpse from the top of the Pisa Tower. Seeing somebody sing inside the Baptistery in order to showcase its powerful echo was one of the most moving experiences we had in this city. The look on Luke’s face after witnessing this demonstration summed up nicely how impressed we all were.


In Rome, we were accompanied by excellent tour guides to take us through the ancient sites at the Forum, and the Vatican, both to understand everything we were seeing, as well as to allow us to skip long tourist lines. The ancient sites were pretty spectacular and it was impressive to contemplate the various historical time periods they had been through, in comparison to our own short lifespans. It was hard to wrap our heads around the idea of how a building that was completed 1900 years ago had managed to survive massive political, social, cultural, and even atmospheric changes. Pantheon and Piazza Navona were big hits for us. We loved their architecture and art.

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

We walked through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and we saw St. Peter’s Basilica. The art was amazing and the massive cathedral was extraordinarily impressive.

In Rome, we also visited the Colosseum. Listening to our tour guide, we could picture ourselves among 70,000 yelling spectators watching exotic animal fights or gladiators struggling for their lives.  We also had an extra tour of Rome at night, where the world-famous Trevi Fountain and other buildings were even more mesmerizing lit up with lights.

On the long and exhausting flight back home, I overheard Charlie say that he was already missing Italy. I think we were all sharing that same feeling. This experience, all that we learned, and the memories of the people we met will stay with us forever, and hopefully, soon, we’ll have the opportunity for a new adventure.   

Come expand your horizons with us and join us for next spring’s trip, destination TBD! 

Alejandro Torres
GWCS Spanish Teacher