Friday, May 28, 2010

TMA Celebrates Seniors!

With heavy hearts the TMA community - faculty, staff, and students - must soon say goodbye to the wise elders among us. But as the seniors go we hope to celebrate their accomplishments and the indelible stamps that each of them has left on TMA.

As part of the effort to recognize our seniors, we held a college acceptance assembly in the gym. The names of the seniors were read aloud, and they were recognized by their fellow classmates, teachers, and staff with boisterous applause (see below). Each student was presented with a t-shirt from the college that she or he will be attending in the fall of 2010. Additionally, two seniors, Abdisomial Hashi and Parris Roberston were presented with NEW laptops and backpacks from Google in recognition of their exceptionally high SAT math scores!

TMA is working hard to achieve its mission of preparing students to succeed in college and to actively engage in our democratic society, and we couldn't be more proud of the TMA class of 2010! Congrats!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TMA students get healthy (and TMA staff members get dunked on)

This Saturday members of Kena Allison's health class and Sam Ullery's environmental science class joined together to host our second community-wide health fair of the year.  Students led workshops in progressive relaxation, gave tours of the garden, took blood pressure, and presented at booths covering topics ranging from sexual health, soil quality, risks associated with alcohol, and good eating habits.

The Health Fair was a tremendous success, thanks to the students' efforts, the guidance of Ms. Allison and Mr. Ullery, and outside organizations such as Metro Teen AIDS, Women's Coalition, Anacostia Watershed Society, and the National Audubon Society.

Oh.  And there was a little student v. faculty basketball game.  Everybody had fun and got some exercise.  The score is irrelevant.

Hey!  Look!  More pictures!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shining Star Gala - 2010

This past Thursday, TMA hosted its annual Shining Star Gala. The Gala, which for the first time was hosted in both the school and the gym, showcased some of the students' best work. During the cocktail hour, attendees were free to meander through various classrooms to see student projects on display or to bid on the many silent auction items.  And our students (pictured above, non-alcoholic beverages in hand) were featured at every turn, explaining their work and being liaisons for the school.

As the evening progressed and the main program commenced, students took to the stage to sing, speak about the evening's honorees, and even deliver some spoken word. All in all, the evening was a huge success, showing off our students' amazing accomplishments and raising money to help fund our great programs such as Law Day, Law Firm Tutoring and Job Shadow Day. A special thanks to Jenny Crawford, Jess Sher, and everyone else who had a hand in putting together this great event.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Law Day Wrap-Up

Can you believe it? It's already been 8 months. Just like that, this year's installment of Law Day has come and gone. We've learned about discrimination, advocacy, criminal and civil trials. We've gotten a better understanding of our rights and the limits of our legal system. Lastly, we've gotten a look into the daily lives of lawyers and the skills and thought processes that are needed to advocate effectively.

Students have wowed me month after month with their deep intrigue and engagement in the program, always eager to know about how they performed in the previous Law Day as well as the topic for the upcoming lessons. Some students even expressed their disappointment in the program's ending, though they know that this indicates their moving closer to the Tenth Grade.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Other 17 Hours Turns 100!

About 12 months ago the Programs Office had a vision for a blog and a few calm summer weeks to plan. And we spent most of that time trying to figure out how to get a yellow legal pad background and then scrapping that idea and starting back at square one. But we've built and we've studied and we're working toward a respectability.

This post marks our 100th, and we'd like to take a moment to celebrate. To get an idea of what we've been writing about, we've created a Wordle representation of the blog. Click on the image that leads this post to examine it more closely. And below, a veritable linkfest highlighting some of our favorite posts. Click on every single word. Well, not every.

LiveBlogging Halloween

Green Club! Green Club! Green Club!

Sonya Sotomayor is mentioned, briefly

A whole year of athletic prowess

Student writers take over the blog...and student readers take over the comment section!

Videos, slideshows, and interviews!

Did you click on all of them? Me, too. We can only hope that the next 100 are just as good get a lot better.

Who knew that work could be so much fun?

Last Friday,  95 tenth graders (and one ninth grader!) tied their ties, ironed their blouses, had a cup of coffee while they read the paper, and then headed out for the day. Where were they going? To work, that's where. Each student spent the day with a professional in the D.C. metro area exploring a career that was of interest to them.

Here are a few glimpses of Job Shadow Day:

The Motley Fool: As featured in an earlier post, Malek Latney along with three other students, spent the day at financial services company the Motley Fool. Marquise Williams said his highlight of the day was schoolin' everyone at the free throw challenge in the game room.

From the Motley Fool website: "We've got pool, foos, ping-pong, pop-n-shot, Playstation, Atari, Ms. Pacman and satellite TV. We play at all hours."

Venable LLP: A group of students got to spend the day being schooled by the folks at Venable LLP, an area lawfirm and consistent Job Shadow Day participant.   In addition to learning about topics that I would imagine would include argumentation, tort law, and the monumental complexity of tax law, they also got to try their hand at Bocce on Venables' amazing rooftop court.

How do they get any work done? I have a hard enough time getting work done with mid-day dunk contests distracting me.

Not all students got to break up their busy days with trips to rooftop Bocce courts:

The picture that kicked off this post is of 8 students who spent the day at Foley & Lardner another area law firm. The students got a tour of the firm and spoke with employees from virtually every department, learning that it takes more than just attorneys to run a successful law firm.  This is just part of what Raymond Waugh had to say about his experience: "I would like to visit the firm at least one more time. I cannot explain the amount of knowledge that I gained from visiting [Foley & Lardner]"

Ashia Downing had a great day while she learned what type of work goes on in the social services department at Bread for the City. She spent the day handing out benefits checks with the folks in the Representative Payee program. She left even more enthused at the prospect of a career in social service than when she arrived.

A group of students spent the day at the Depart of Housing and Urban Development in the communications office. They all underwent a media training in HUD's media studio and even made DVD's of their "interviews". Here's a screenshot from LaTrice Clayburn's video:

Below, you'll see a picture of Raynyl Cox, Rashad Hartridge, Dhannell White, Arlene Gibson and Daveania Jones. They spent the day at the Department of Veterans Affairs getting a look at the different departments of the VA. They got to make videos in the media department, took a tour of the VA broadcast offices and met with Alyce Dixon, America's oldest veteran at age 102.


I hope all the students had an awesome day and I'm looking forward to next year's Job Shadow Day. The 9th graders are already asking me about it!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TMA students and mentors work to protect the Anacostia Watershed

On Saturday the Mentor Program worked with Anacostia Watershed Society to build fences in the Anacostia River. These fences are an essential part of maintaining the health of the river. Soon, younger volunteers will trudge out to our fences and plant native species within them. Protected from Canadian Geese by the fencing, plants will grow, add species diversity to the watershed, and provide a natural filter for the river.

This work can only be done during low tide, and with almost 70 strong, the Mentor Program built three fences and repaired a fourth in one two-hour stretch. Oh. And we got real muddy and had some fun.

What? You want more pictures? Fine.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Text Alive! in action

While the 10th graders at TMA were busy rockin' the DC CASS, the 12th graders in Ms. Lyons' class were busy with Text Alive! Text Alive! is a program through the Shakespeare Theatre Company where:

  1. Students came together to perform Henry V onstage at the Shakespeare Theatre Company
  2. Students attended a professional performance of Henry V at the Shakespeare Theatre Company AND
  3. Teaching artists will return to the classroom to provide students the opportunity to give feedback on the production and the entire program.
Active participant Janay Jones stated, "My experience with Text Alive! was a good one. EVERYONE did a good job, their acting was great and so were their costumes."

Other students commented that reading, seeing, and acting out Henry V gave them a deeper understanding of the play than they would have received by only reading the play.

Thanks to Ms. Lyons, her students, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company for all of their hard work!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Job Shadow Day update: Malek Latney says, "Buy Mcdonald's"!

Today as part of the Job Shadow Day program, Malek Latney spent the day in the editorial department with the folks at The Motley Fool and they put him right to work. Click here to check it out. 17 people have already recommended his article!  Check back next week for more on Job Shadow Day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Amongst The Movers: Business Suits & Blackberries

On the morning of April 28, 2010, I as a 17 year old high school student had the great opportunity to do something that people in my age bracket seldom do. Thanks to my mentor I had the privilege of sitting in on a congressional hearing. During that time and the conversations that followed, I learned a lot about the flow and actions that take place in political hearings or in the government period. Here is my account depicted in a vivid storyline detail:

I entered the Russell Senate Office Building curious as to what the morning would hold. Alongside my mentor, Curtis Johnson, the Associate Director for Governmental Affairs at D.O.T by way of FMCSA, and a team of his skilled colleagues, I felt as if I belonged, though I had no clue of what the hearing even entailed! Walking through the signature marble hallways, passing many established politicos in the process, the "feel" of business happening around me was evident. And of course strolling past the offices of officials like John McCain and John Kerry, added to my notion that serious work was being done here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What's taking Ford so long to develop a solar powered car?

During a week-long celebration of Earth Day, the Green Club hosted a Solar Derby last Thursday.  Students built their own solar-powered cars, and challenged each other to a 15-meter sprint.  During the derby, students made minor adjustments to their vehicles, fine-tuned their solar engines, and tried to find out what variable made the most significant impact on speed.  For the record, it was standing in between the sun and an opponents car, a tactic that was outlawed for the final race.

In the championship race, freshman Veronica Davis (celebrating above) boasted the fastest vehicle, Darylquisha Hill made the most significant improvements, and everyone enjoyed Mr. Ullery's solar-cooked apple-turnover.  Enjoy these pictures, and stay tuned for video from the race.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Soul of the City Spring Break with India Young

Soul of the City, organized by the Humanities Council of DC, hosted a spring break program for youth in DC. The program invited students to take an incredible journey into the lives of three immigrant communities in Washington D.C. The final result of all of their hard work was a performance about the city's immigrant life. TMA senior, India Young (far left in photo above), participated and I had a chance to speak with her about her experience.

Ms. Gall: Why did you decide to apply for the Soul of the City Spring Break program?
India Young: I like theatre and I didn't have anything else planned. I also received a $100 stipend.

M.G. Tell me about the week.
I.Y. We talked about three different immigrant groups and then we had food that was part of those cultural groups. We did play bills of different stories they told us.

M.G. What was your favorite part of the week?
I.Y. The end performance on the 15th, a lot of people were there and we reviewed all we did during the week and did our final performance.

M.G. Would you recommend this program to future TMA students? Why or why not?
I.Y. Yes, because it gets you out of the house for spring break, you meet new people, you get experience acting, and it's fun!

Thanks to the Humanities Council of DC for hosting such a successful week, and to India Young for representing TMA!