Lake Accotink Cardboard Boat Regatta

The GWCS Honors Physics class fielded two teams for this year’s Lake Accotink Cardboard Boat Regatta.  Both teams built excellent, sturdy boats that could have survived multiple races.  Building a full-size boat that can carry two or more passengers requires planning, problem-solving, and many hours of work.  The boats are built based on physics principles that we learn in class, but the design choices and craftsmanship are entirely the work of the student teams. 

In an initial in-class design workshop, the students used a simple computer model implemented in Microsoft Excel to try out different boat designs within the size constraints of the race rules and the buoyancy required for the planned crews.  Small paper models made from a single sheet of card stock then allowed students to visualize how their design could be constructed.  After that, all construction was completed outside of class.  

Congratulations to both teams:  Gabe, Ben, Luke, and Nick and their boat, the U.S.S. Are (red), and Jack, Conner, Edward and Lizzie and their boat, the Unombigiguous (purple).  Both teams took a “slow and steady” approach to their heat at Lake Accotink, coming in 2nd and 3rd in their heat. 

Thanks to all who came out and howled for both of our coyote teams. Good times!

GW Community School
Honors Physics Class
Lake Accotink
Cardboard Boat Regatta
Dr. Caroline Cox, Teacher
June 2, 2019

Oedipus Gets the Jerry Springer Treatment


Here's a quick question for you: what’s your first association when hear the word “Oedipus?” A) an ancient Greek drama, B) Freudian theory, C) an epic family tragedy, or D) Jerry Springer?  Most people will likely choose options A, B, or C.  Oedipus the King is, after all, a tragic Greek drama about a man who fulfills his fate by attempting to avoid his fate. Much later, Sigmund Freud co-opted the main character (Oedipus) for one of his more ridiculous theories of psycho-social development (the Oedipus Complex – don’t get me started). So why is Jerry Springer among the list of options?  Well, what better way to bring Oedipus’s tragic story to life than to publicly humiliate him on The Jerry Springer Show?


That’s exactly what Honors World Literature students did this year after reading the play.  Students were cast in the major roles:  Oedipus, Creon, Tiresias, Jocasta, the Messenger from Corinth, the Shepherd, and...Jerry Springer, of course!  Together, the class developed questions for Jerry to ask each character so each could prepare responses based on the text of the play and answer them in character.  Additionally, “Jerry” secretly prepared a couple of plot-or-character-surprise questions to “spring” on each character that would force each to improvise an accurate response based on the play. 

World Literature students performed the Jerry Springer Show and revealed Oedipus’s (and his wife-mother’s) dirty secrets before a live audience of other students from other classes, who played their part with shouts of “Jerry!” and groans of disgust.  It was memorable performance that made Oedipus all the more memorable.

GW Community School
Honors World Literature
Oedipus the King
Dr. Steve Garon, Teacher
April 10, 2019

I Hate Shakespeare! (We don’t really, of course.)

GWCS’s Bit Off More Than We Could Chew Players’ winter production of I Hate Shakespeare! was a sold-out success for its late December two-night run.

Hamlet served as our narrator and led us through an evening of side-splitting skits and spoofs. Thanks to the B.O.M.T.W.C.C.P. for closing out 2018 with two nights of highbrow hilarity.

We are currently holding readings for our soon-to-be-announced spring production.  

GW Community School
Spring Theatre Production
I Hate Shakespeare
December 19 & 20, 2018

Wreaths Across America

wreaths across america.JPG

Community Service Event

This past Saturday, some very determined GWCS Coyotes braved the torrential rain, to participate in ‘National Wreaths Across America Day’ by laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.  Despite the weather, the mood was positive!  It was truly spectacular to lay a wreath, and then turn around to see the field of wreaths that had populated the cemetery.  Truly breathtaking!  While tough to coordinate, we did it, and considered it a major victory that we were all able to link-up, considering the thousands of volunteers that had shown up to participate.  Jonathan and his dad, Emily (Betsy) and Laurie, Connor, EmmaGrace and eventually Ethan, all braved the elements to show true Coyote spirit with this volunteer opportunity.  The rain was very small price to pay for the men and women who have served our Country!  We look forward to better weather next year, so that more Coyotes can participate!  Happy Holidays to everyone!

GW Community School
Wreaths Across America
Community Service Event
Andrea Comes McAleese
GWCS Parent Volunteer
December 15, 2018

Coyotes Captivated by Gettysburg History

After watching the really, really, really long “Gettysburg” movie at school Tuesday evening, the juniors were back at GWCS at 6:00 am Wednesday morning for the annual junior class field trip to the Gettysburg National Military Park.  After arriving at Gettysburg, we visited the National Military Cemetery where the remains of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers, most unknown, are interred.  The dedication of this cemetery was the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”.  Cemetery Hill was also a central location of the Union lines, and the area is full of cannons and memorials dedicated to those who fought there. 

Our next stop was to the Visitor Center, where we watched a moving film called “A New Birth of Freedom”, viewed the amazing Gettysburg Cyclorama, and toured through the museum.  (Not enough time – need to return!)  We then piled back into the school van and Mr. Wallace’s car to tour the battlefield directed by an audio tour guide.  With an open call between Mr. Goldie’s and Mr. Wallace’s phones, Mr. Lindner holding Mr. Goldie’s phone against the car speaker, and Mr. Wallace’s phone plugged into his car’s audio system, we all listened to descriptions of the battle as we drove around the battlefield.  We stopped at get out at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, the State of Virginia Monument, and Little Round Top

From the Virginia Memorial, we repeated the annual GWCS Pickett’s Charge, walking the mile from where General Lee observed mounted on his horse to the Bloody Angle on Cemetery Hill where the Confederacy reached its “High Water Mark”.  And back!   

Following the car tour, we retired to General Li’s Buffet for a yummy, filling and fun meal before driving back to GWCS.  We had fun, learned a lot, and returned with a greater respect for the courage and commitment of those who fought there.

GW Community School
Junior Gettysburg Trip
Mr. Goldie, History Teacher
November 14, 2018

Rover Ruckus Robotics

GWCS Coyote Robotics Teams Gear-Up for the first competition of the 2018-2019 season

GWCS, in conjunction with Coyote Robotics, Inc., sponsors two FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams.  This season we have three GWCS students and eight kids from neighboring schools participating on our two teams: FTC 965 “League of Incompetent Gentlemen” and FTC 3749 “Bionic Penguins.” GWCS robotics participants (both students and parents) met September 8 to learn about Rover Ruckus ™, the new robotics game challenge for the forthcoming competition season.  Immediately following the meeting, participants began brainstorming how to design robots that will compete successfully in the challenge game.

Michael E assembles while Mark uses the scroll saw.jpg

For the past two months our teams have met at least three times a week to strategize, design, build and test our two robots.  Many possible designs were considered, prototyped and tested before reaching our current state with Team 965’s robot just about ready and Team 3749’s not far behind.  We under a lot of pressure since the first of three qualifying tournaments takes place November 17 at Orange County High School in Orange, Virginia.  We’ll report on our showing following the tournament.  Go Coyotes!  Go Gentlemen!  Go Penguins!

GW Community School
Rover Ruckus Robotics
Gary Lindner, Math Teacher, Robotics Coach
September 8, 2018

Ending Stigma Through Art

A New Club at GWCS


The GWCS ESTA (Ending Stigma Through Art) Club, newly founded this year, recently completed its first unit on poverty. After introducing the idea of stigma generally, and the negative impacts it has on vulnerable populations and society overall, we educated ourselves about poverty by engaging in discussions, taking quizzes, and learning about related statistics. After discussing and developing an understanding of stigma and poverty, we then spent a number of meetings focused on art that helped to break down or remove stigma about people who are challenged by poverty. We focused on a variety of different kinds of art, including: poetry (by Langston Hughes, Robert Flanagan and Julie Dinsmore), paintings (by Marc Clamage), editorial cartoons (by Jimmy Margulies, Barry Deutsch, and Angelo Lopez), and a TED talk (by Rutger Bregman).

The poverty unit culminated in our group going to the “Evicted” exhibit at the National Building Museum. This exhibit powerfully portrayed the prevalence of the practice of eviction across America, a practice whereby people are removed from their home by court order against their will. This exhibit, through info-graphics, cardboard installations, photographs, and audio interviews, also demonstrated the many hardships that poor people endure due to unstable housing, including hardships related to family life, mental and physical health, jobs, school, and personal relationships.

Additionally, the exhibit emphasized that eviction can happen to anyone from any background. However, the exhibit also noted, based on years of collected data, that eviction disproportionately affects African American single mothers in cities. Finally, this art exhibit left us with a feeling that eviction, and its related hardships, is a problem that can be solved, and that each of us can play a part in the solution. 

GW Community School
Ending Stigma Through Art
Lizzie W.
ESTA Club Student Coordinator
November 3, 2018

A Spooktacular Celebration


In classic GWCS fashion, this year’s Halloween celebration was a blast! The school was replete with t-t-t-terrifying decorations and hauntingly delicious snacks, including make-your-own candied apples. Students came to campus dressed in a variety of outstanding costumes. Following lunch, the whole school participated in “68 Minutes of Fun,” a staple of the annual GWCS celebration of All Hallows’ Eve that this year included an eyeball hunt, a donut-eating contest, and a fashion show/costume contest. Elizabeth the Elf took home the award for Best Overall Costume, Luke and Emma Grace snagged the Best Group Costume award in their Care Bear onesies, Anne won Best Pun for her “Post Mallonee” costume, and Olivia’s Asylum Escapee character won her Scariest Costume. The next morning found a school clear of cobwebs and ghouls, but some students say that in quiet moments around the building, if you listen close, you can still hear people having a howling good time!

Dangling Donuts Eating Contest

Dangling Donuts Winner on the Right

Dangling Donuts Winner on the Right

Costume Contest Winners

Eyeball Scavenger Hunt Winners

To view even more spooktacular photos - click the Facebook ‘f’ logo below.


GW Community School
A Spooktacular Celebration
Ms. Kohler & Mr. Wallace
October 31, 2018



As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is critical for our students to be more culturally aware and globally-minded. For this and many other reasons, GWCS organizes an international trip each year to enable students to experience the global classroom first-hand and see with their own eyes what they have been studying in their classes. These trips have the potential to be life-changing for students – they return home with new perspectives, not only about themselves but about the world around them.

This year, GWCS students and parents are invited to join Mr. Torres on a wonderful educational tour of Panama during Spring Break 2019. The tour will include:

Panama Viejo Ruins

Panama Viejo Ruins

  • Visiting the Panama Viejo ruins/museum and a local pineapple farm

  • Hiking in El Valle de Anton

  • Taking a boat tour of Gatun Lake and Monkey Island

  • A snorkeling adventure, canoe ride, and plenty of other experiences where students can have a lot of fun and learn at the same time.

Discover Panama includes visits to well-known local sites; however, at its core it is much more than that – it is a cross-cultural immersion experience. Immersing oneself in the local culture and becoming better acquainted with another country’s people, food and language, creates inspirational moments of cross-cultural connection that can’t be listed in itineraries. They only can be experienced.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s Discover Panama!

Questions? Contact:

Mr. Torres
Interest Meeting: October 18, 2018

GW Community School
Discover Panama
Alejandro Torres, Spanish
Spring Break 2019

The Dome Experience


dome experience - web image - not gwcs students.jpg

GWCS Anatomy & Physiology students had the unique opportunity to witness a live open-heart surgery as part of “The Dome Experience,” an educational program offered by the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute at the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus.

The students arrived at the Inova Medical Campus early, where they began the day with a healthy-heart pre-test as well as a lesson from the surgical nurse on healthy lifestyle choices that can help you avoid heart surgery. Then the heart surgeon arrived to explain how the day’s scheduled surgery was going to be performed.

Next, GWCS students entered the Dome, named as such for its location above the operating room and for its central windows which provide a view of the surgery a mere ten feet below. The surgical nurse remained in the Dome with the students over the course of the four-hour procedure to explain the surgery and answer questions (and there were a lot of questions!). She had with her a model of the human heart and surgical tools, all of which she encouraged the students to examine.  The surgeon continued to play the role of educator, too, pausing to reinforce points he made before the surgery, and even holding up a layer of fat that he removed from the patient’s heart for the students to see.

Inova Fieldtrip Group.jpg

Charlie, GWCS class of ’19, remarked, “When the heart stopped beating, it was so strange, yet interesting, how [the patient] was still alive due to the fact that he was hooked up to machines.” Elizabeth, another Junior, added that it was “fascinating how many people help out in the surgery.” For Sophomore Emma Grace, to see a heart stop and get revived was “definitely one of the coolest medical experiences one could witness.”

The day ended with a post-test for the students. The nurse and the surgeon again emphasized the importance of healthy lifestyles and good nutrition. Notably, the surgeon was vehement that the students should cut soda from their diets, since the sugar in soda creates fatty tissue which leads to heart problems. In all, the day was a roaring success that had students excited and talking for weeks afterward!

GW Community School
The Dome Experience
Anatomy & Physiology Class Trip
Ms. Kohler, Science Teacher
October 15, 2018

Senior College Essay Writing Retreat

Photo Oct 10, 5 41 37 PM.jpg

Senior College Essay Writing Retreat

Like lemmings to the sea, GWCS seniors make a final, fateful fall pilgrimage…

Wait, wait, that’s not right. Not even close to correct.

We explained to the students in advance they had nothing to fear; we were very clear about this.  We said they might experience a bit of disorientation at first and would likely feel “different” afterwards – a lightening of the spirit, a peacefulness, a satori-like epiphany – but that those were normal, in fact predictable, reactions.  It’s true that there was a storm of biblical proportions, but that just added to the mystique, although it did douse the possibility of a campfire replete with ritual incantations and such.

Just to be clear, there were neither lemmings nor cliffs involved…

Rather, the senior class, Dr. G, Mr. Wallace, and Ms. Warden ventured to Lake Anna State Park October 10 – 12 for the annual Senior College Essay Writing Retreat.  And what did we do there? In addition to conversing, breaking bread together, and enjoying off-campus life, students drafted, edited, received guidance from the faculty writing team, revised, lathered, rinsed, and repeated their way to finished or nearly finished college admission essays. Pointless sentences were made pointy and dull passive voice was made active until students authentically expressed themselves and revealed their personalities and aspirations in coherent and compelling written form.

And it was fun, too.


GW Community School
Senior College Essay Writing Retreat
October 12, 2018
Dr. Garon, English

Coyotes Walk for Paws


On October 6th 2018, GW Community School participated, once again, in the Bully Paws: Walk for Paws 5K. It was a great event that supported homeless dogs and promoted breed awareness. Bully Paws was able to raise a substantial amount of money to save the lives of shelter dogs throughout the VA/DC/MD area. This walk would not have happened without the generosity and dedication of the families at GWCS.


GW Community School
Walk for Paws 5K
Mr. Connelly, History Teacher
October 6, 2018