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Middle School Actors to Perform “Once Upon a Mattress”

The 2013 Middle School Winter Musical, Once Upon a Mattress, is a twist on the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea.  The company consists of students in grades six through eight in lead roles, the ensemble and the stage crew.  The cast rehearses three times each week, working hard to make their acting, singing and choreography a success.  The musical will be performed over the final weekend of the first trimester. In the play, the overprotective Queen will only allow a “real” princess to marry the Prince, and she gives every potential princess courting for his hand tests that are impossible to pass.  She finds herself facing a new and much more difficult situation when fun-loving Princess Winnifred arrives from her home in the swamps, setting off a stream of energetic musical numbers and comical scenes as the Queen does everything in her power to keep Winnifred from passing…


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Cure for Tasmanian Devil Cancer On the Way

Did you know that Tasmanian devils are getting cancer? Unlike cancer in humans, cancer among Tasmanian devils is contagious. The cancer is in the form of a face tumor, and it spreads when they fight over food. Scientists have found that the tumors hide from the immune system by switching off important molecules that are on the surface of cells. So when a Tasmanian devil gets the cancer, the immune system doesn’t know it and the Tasmanian devil is unable to fight back. Tasmanian devil populations have dropped 80-90% since scientists first noticed the cancer in 1996. The discovery of the cell-surface MHC molecules was a breakthrough, however, in research for a cure. Scientists believe that there will be a cure within a few years, according to the BBC and Radio Australia. Upon learning of this epidemic, however, seventh grader Naim Saleem said, “The Tasmanian devils should be kept apart…


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A Step Back in Time to the Renaissance Faire

At 7:30 a.m. on October 17, 2013, the sixth grade gathered in front of Shallcross Hall to depart on a journey to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. In Social Studies, the sixth graders have been learning about the Middle Ages, so visiting the faire provided them with further knowledge about medieval times. There were many shops and attractions for them to visit that were both informing and entertaining. The sixth graders split into seven groups, and these groups had two chaperones each. There were a number of activities in which each group could participate, including mudbegging, jousts, chess, melee battles, and magic shows. At mudbegging, actors pretending to be homeless serfs performed a comedy act in the mud pit, as they would have in medieval times. Sixth grader Emma Gordon said, “I really liked all of the Renaissance Faire, but I really enjoyed watching the comedy knife throwing. It was really…


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Does Newspaper Serve?

At Friends’ Central Middle School, there has been some question as to whether Newspaper should be a club, a specials class or an after-school activity instead of a Service group.  A look at our mission statement offers readers a clear idea of why we are here: to serve the community. The Phoenix Inquirer, a source of information and entertainment available to all students, faculty and community members, is a service to the school. While many Service groups strive to improve the community by spending time with disabled or older people, cleaning up the nearby stream, or organizing in the Admissions Department, The Phoenix Inquirer is published to report on recent events and relevant issues in the Middle School and beyond.  Like students in Service-Thru-Art and Students of Culture, we are working hard to make FCS an interesting and educated community.  The Phoenix Inquirer staff spends every minute of our meetings…


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Working for a Healthy Stream

In eighth grade science classes, students visit the East Branch of Indian Creek weekly to conduct calculations, including tests of the turbidity, phosphate, nitrate and pH levels of the water. They take detailed notes on the overall health of the creek and, thanks to the Streamwatch Committee, the stream’s conditions have greatly improved. Test results have been fairly strong this year. The chemical levels, including phosphate levels, have sloped toward the norm. Once drastically out of control, the levels are closer to what is considered healthy. This is an incredibly impressive feat given the circumstances at the start. “There was a rusted shopping cart. There was a rusted boiler. There was plaster and there were bricks. It was covered in invasive plants. And I remember going down there to pick up trash and one of my students said, ‘Mr. Ross, we could do this every week and it would never…


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Welcome Violet Riley Tozer

On October 8, 2013, math teacher and sixth grade advisor Ryan Tozer and his wife, Natalie, celebrated the birth of their first child, Violet Riley Tozer. A few staff writers asked Mr. Tozer to give us insight on his first experiences with his new daughter. Interviewers: What is the most exciting part about being a dad? Mr. Tozer: Having a beautiful daughter to love and take care of has been a great joy.  It is hard to articulate. Being a dad is awesome and I am looking forward to the ride. Interviewers: Did you feel relieved or more stressed when Violet was born? Mr. Tozer: I was relieved that my wife and Violet were okay. The lack of sleep the last several weeks has been a bit stressful but I wouldn’t change it for the world.


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“The Book Thief”: Stealing Hearts and Minds

This is the inaugural post in The Turn of the Page, a regular column in which eighth grader Anjali Gupta reviews books for the Middle School community. Markus Zusak astonishes readers with this brilliantly plotted story set in Nazi Germany. The Book Thief is narrated by Death, a sympathetic, overworked being that tirelessly collects souls from bodies. Liesel Meminger, a simple orphan adopted by loving foster parents, is growing up in the dilapidated town of Molching. She is surrounded by signs of struggle, war, and–at times–hope. When her family hides a Jewish fugitive named Max, Liesel forms an unbreakable bond with the damaged young man and she and Max become close friends. After transforming the horrible Mein Kampf into a blank book, Max writes the story of his life in it,  forging a magnificent connection with Liesel in the process. Liesel also becomes friends with her next door neighbor, Rudy Steiner, a…


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Friends’ Central Celebrates Peace Day

In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously voted to create a day of peace on which there would be a military ceasefire, and the world would be without war for that day. On September 21, 2013, our school community celebrated International Peace Day. Since it fell on a Saturday this year, FCS celebrated it on Friday, carrying the spirit of peace all through the day. In the morning, we held an assembly for the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.  The combined choruses sang three songs, each representing a vision of peace. In addition to the beautiful singing, we heard a beautiful peace poem written and read aloud by students in Mr. Terrell’s eighth grade Language Arts class.  We also heard Mrs. Crowley speak about the CTC, which was created in the memory of Chris T. Campbell, an FCS lifer.  He loved soccer, and played it both at Friends’ Central…



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How to Draw a Manga Head

Step 1: Lightly draw a circle . If you can’t draw a circle, simply trace around a circular object. Step 2: Draw a spade-like shape along the two sides of the circle. The point of the spade-like shape will be your character’s chin. Don’t make it too pointy.


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