Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pulsating Pep Rally Electrifies TMA

Students from all grades gathered in the gym on Tuesday for the first pep rally of the year. The event showcased our fall sports teams: girls’ volleyball and flag football. Senior athletes were also honored by their coaches and peers. Later, the bleachers were rocking as the TMA Cheerleaders energized the crowd with a spectacular dance routine.

The Pep Rally also included speeches by 10 students running for school-wide Student Government positions. Students heard from 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders hoping to bring new ideas and change to the school. Those students running for a Class Representative position spoke today at their grade-level lunches. Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 2. As the rest of DC votes for its Mayor, the TMA student body will select its leaders for the school year.

Above, Taylor Middleton tells the audience why she should be Treasurer.

Each grade has shown incredible spirit this week, and we are excited to keep it going into November.

An Evening Honouring Peter Rohrbach

On the evening of October 21st, Thurgood Marshall Academy was packed with visitors. People came from near and far to honor the memory of Peter Rohrbach, a partner at Hogan Lovells LLP and a huge supporter of our Law Day program. Last fall, Mr. Rohrbach passed away. With the support of his family, the Law Day program has expanded to include six lessons and is partnered with two additional firms.

As our visitors arrived, they were greeted by TMA students. Students were also stationed in a variety of classrooms. They explained to visitors the different educational and extra-curricular opportunities available at TMA. Senior Mignon Hemsley displayed her art work to guests and engaged them in a conversation about the visual arts program at TMA. A number of students represented the green club including newly elected club president Keith Jenkins. In Ms. Yaun’s Spanish classroom, students showed off their videos about illegal immigration. Lastly, in Ms. Scogin’s English classroom, the classroom that will be named in honor of Mr. Rohrbach, sophomore Kijon James told guests about the World Literature course. He highlighted his own experience reading ‘The Kite Runner’.

After visitors toured the classrooms, everyone moved down to the cafeteria. Our students opened the event with music, playing instruments and singing beautifully. Amidst the speeches, two of our very own students spoke; Christopher Ridout and MarKysha Dickens discussed their own law day experiences. MarKysha spoke to her personal experience with Mr. Rohrbach and remember his words of wisdom. In her speech she said, “I learned from his words; I put my best foot forward, knowing that 10 times out of 10, applying to better educate myself is better than not applying at all”.

The evening was a great success and Mr. Rohrbach’s legacy will definitely continue to live on, in the halls of TMA. We were so proud of our students for their essential contributions in making this event as meaningful as it was.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spirit Week at TMA!

Today marked the kick-off of Spirit Week at TMA! There are numerous fun and exciting events going on throughout the week. Today, many students got creative when dressing up for Mismatch Day by wearing clothes inside out, pairing opposite colors, and sporting wacky accessories. Each day this week students will have the opportunity to dress-up for spirit days, here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Warrior Pride Day

Wednesday: Decade Day

Thursday: Costume Day

In addition to these dress-up days, today marks the last home game for the Volleyball team while Flag Football plays its final home game on Friday at 4:30 pm. At the school wide pep rally tomorrow, students will deliver speeches for student government in preparation for TMA’s student elections next Tuesday and the Cheerleaders will perform to cap off the day. The week finishes with a cook-out during student lunches on Thursday! Be sure to check back for more photos and posts about Spirit Week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

AP US Visits Mt. Vernon

Last Wednesday, students from Mr. Rohal’s AP US History class visited George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon. With the second major test of the course looming later in the week, the trip served as a concrete review of the events preceding and surrounding the American Revolution.

Students came equipped with information concerning Washington’s life and shared their expertise with other visitors. Mr. Rohal was impressed with his group. “Students ‘met’ Dr. James Craik, George Washington's personal physician, and asked him about how Washington treated his slaves,” he explained, “they really pressed him about why Washington didn't free the slaves himself.”

Above, a video of Dr. Craik answering students' questions.

The class also had a chance to see all aspects of Washington’s plantation, including slave cabins, blacksmiths at work, gardens (complete with cotton plants), playful animals, and the home itself, with its wondrous views over the Potomac.

Junior Courtney Jones said her favorite part of the trip was “the museum. Everywhere I looked I saw something I remembered learning in class. The trip made everything easier to understand. I also liked seeing the slave memorial but I was surprised by how many slaves Washington owned.” Courtney also liked the sheep: “I had never seen any before. Their little baaa noise was cute.”

Mr. Rohal said the group received a number of compliments from the guides and other visitors at Mount Vernon about how knowledgeable and impressive TMA's students were on the trip.

Below, George Washington poses with students.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TMA Election Day Approaches

Campaign frenzy has swept through the halls of TMA!

As District residents over the age of 18 prepare to vote in the midterm elections on November 2, Thurgood Marshall Academy students will be gearing up for a vote of their own. Election Day will feature 34 students hoping to secure a position in the Student Government as School President, School Vice-President, School Treasurer, School Secretary, or Class Representative.

Students elected to represent the student body are expected to be strong leaders, with a commitment to public service and unwavering convictions concerning TMA’s efforts to become a more effective institution.

Candidates will give speeches next week during class lunches and the school wide pep rally in a final attempt to secure votes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TMA & Savoy’s Great Garden Of Anacostia

Thanks to Ms. Shannon for the great pictures!

The Thurgood Marshall Academy & Savoy Gym was packed on Tuesday, October 12th, with D.C chefs, parents, students and visitors! They were all here to celebrate the beginning of D.C. Farm to School Week and D.C. School Garden Week. TMA was honoured to be chosen to host the event, which celebrates the District’s commitment to use local food in healthy school meals! The event included 200 visitors, including special guests Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.

TMA’s green club members were essential in the facilitation of the event. Their personalities shined through as they led guests around the garden, and their artistic abilities were obvious as they made signs, posters, and murals for the TMA and Savoy Organic Garden.

The main attraction for the day was a ‘Top-Chef’ cook-off. Chefs competed to create the tastiest dish using local apples. The chefs that participated in the competition were Chef Tee, Lauren Von Der Pool, Oliver and Will Artley. The chefs were assisted by TMA students: Malachi McCaskill, T’Asia Capiers, Akasha Rodgers, and Darvel Suggs. Others students served as the masters of ceremony for this event. TMA and Savoy students sampled each dish and voted for their favorite. The winners, Chef Tee and Malachi, will have their apple-cranberry crisp distributed in every DC public school one day in October.

TMA showed incredible heart and spirit throughout the afternoon. We were very proud of our students for doing a great job. A heart felt congratulations to Mr. Ullery who coordinated this incredible event and opportunity for our students.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

After School Tutoring Up and Running

Even after a full day of classes, many Thurgood Marshall Academy students stay after school to work one-on-one with tutors who help them with homework and projects. TMA is lucky to have tutors come from all over the D.C. area. Volunteers from local universities such as Howard, George Washington, American, Georgetown and Georgetown Law make their way to TMA to meet with students and talk about difficult classes, college choices, and career goals. Students also have the privilege of working with tutors employed by Health and Human Services, K&L Gates, and NASA.

Precocious ninth grader Darnell Hudson works with Georgetown Law student Joel Fineman for two hours after school on Tuesdays. Darnell has enjoyed the sessions so far, explaining, “It’s like having a mentor who helps me go above and beyond what we do in class. Joel is really easy to talk to and very knowledgeable so we’re able to go over a lot of work.”

With prospective tutor applications flowing into the TMA offices each week, we are working to build upon the 20 pairings we currently have.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our First Law Day of the Year!

Friday, October 8th, marked the beginning of this year’s Law Day program! This year we have a record number of participating firms. Two buses of ninth graders went to Hogan Lovells, one bus went to Latham & Watkins, and another bus went to Foley & Lardner. Students were given the option of wearing their uniform or professional dress attire, and many students took the chance to dress like the lawyers leading their sessions.

Students left TMA around 12:30 and once they arrived at the law firms, the students were separated into groups and participated in discussions about discrimination. The purpose of Law Day is for our students to engage with the material, think critically and have fun! The ninth graders discussed how discrimination can be bad but also how it can also be used so that society can function effectively. Students, for example, debated whether girls should be allowed to try out for positions on the boys’ baseball team at a public high school. Our students were articulate and argued with passion. After the conversations, they refueled with a snack, provided by the firms. Surprisingly, the yogurt and fruit were just as popular as the cookies.

After the break, students broke into three groups and were given a scenario in which discrimination was a major factor. They discussed their scenario and then presented it in the form of a talk show to the rest of the group. The student’s acting talents were out in full force.

At the end of the day, it was an amazing success! All of the students and volunteers had a great time. A special thanks to the chaperones and volunteers at the firms of Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins and Foley & Lardner!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An afternoon at Crowell and Moring

Last Tuesday, 14 students traveled to Crowell and Moring for their third Law Firm Tutoring session. The students seemed well adjusted to the routine as they headed up the elevators to the firm's 13th floor and assembled in the long conference room where the tutoring is held. Shortly after arriving at the firm, students served themselves dinner, filling their plates with chicken wings and salad.

After dinner, the students pulled out their school work as the tutors filtered into the room. Students and tutors spread themselves throughout the room, working on subjects ranging from Advanced Algebra to US History to Spanish. Students thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Howard, the Crowell and Moring coordinator for the program, who entertained the crowd with his witty remarks. Stay-tuned for more inside looks into Law Firm Tutoring in the future!