Last Saturday, a group of twelve female Italian students arrived at Dulles International Airport to begin their exchange experience with George Mason. Host students were at Mason that night to greet the grinning Italians and formally meet them for the first time. The Italians spent the weekend with their host families, and attended school on Monday. From visiting school, touring D.C., and being immersed in a new culture, the Italians have a big week ahead of them.
The exchange program between Mason and the Italian high school was put together by science teacher Mrs. Maggie Wiseman. The Italian government gives grant money for exchange programs that are centered around a subject and Italian science teacher Elizabeth George saw this as a great cultural and educational experience for her students.
She knew of George Mason through the IB Program, so she contacted them about the opportunity and soon enough the deal was set. Unlike the French or Chilean exchange, the Italian exchange is going to be a one time thing. However, there is also the possibility for Mason students to go to Italy to make it a full circle exchange, which will be decided this year later based on interest.
This exchange program has proved to be very exciting thus far, for both Italians and Americans.
Host student Jordan Cheney said, "The Italian exchange is amazing. It's really interesting mixing two cultures- you learn so much."
Italian student Micky Sartori has had a similar feeling of excitement thus far. "Here it's all different, much bigger than in Italy," she said. "I dreamed of going to California or Miami, but the exchange took us to D.C. instead, which is still very exciting."
It's been a great experience thus far with the intertwining of Italian and American students at George Mason, and there is still far more to come.
This past Tuesday, the annual George Mason Club Fair took place in the cafeteria right after block one. Squeezing into the lunchroom, Gr8s, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors all made their way over to tables to learn about different school clubs and sign up for the ones they were interested in.
The enthusiasm of all the students filled the air and could be seen by going around to each club and looking at how extensive the sign-up sheets had become. Many people were pushing through the crowd eager to make sure they got their name and email down on paper as the collective energy flowed through the room.
Some leaders of the clubs as well as students were asked questions to discover more of what the club fair is all about.
Katie Buenneke, senior, is one of the leaders of the Model United Nations club. The purpose of Model UN, she said, is to "foster knowledge about current events." She also added that their first conference will be hosted here at George Mason, on October 17. "It's a lot of fun!" said Buenneke.
According to junior Rachel Hasaan, Future Educators of America is "a club to inspire people to become teachers when they grow up." What's the best part about FEA? "You get to hear stories from teachers and you also have the opportunity to work with little kids," said Hasaan.
Amanda Rolander, junior, was one of the students who was walking from table to table looking at the different clubs. She had signed up for Environmental Club because she was "interested in becoming more environmentally conscious." When asked about what she thought of the new clubs, such as Scrabble Club, she replied, "It's exciting!"
Whether signing up for one or five clubs, the club fair was a great way for students to find something they enjoyed and to get involved in their community.
Achieving academically, athletically, and socially is said to be what makes George Mason High School a great place, and to ensure that all students can achieve at high levels whether it's in these categories or not, Principal Ty Byrd came up with a program called Iron Mustangs.
"The Iron Mustangs came to me one day when I was thinking about ways to engage more students into what makes Mason a great place to be. My thoughts rarely stray far away from sports, so I thought of a way to connect students, goal setting, and sports." The Iron Mustangs is a program that tests students' abilities and helps them to set goals constructively.
The ultimate goal of the program is for students to learn about setting goals and following through with accomplishing them. "I think that Iron Mustangs is a great way for kids who don't do sports or weight training to get in shape through eating and hard exercise," said Araba Ankuma.
Iron Mustangs is not a mandatory program, students can choose to participate for themselves. Participants were tested Monday, September 21 on the football field, after school in four athletic tests that include a nine minute walk/run, pull-ups, shuttle run, and sprint. They were also given the task of developing and maintaining a diet journal. Then in October (date is still to be determined) students will meet again to assess their progress and re-test. Any student that missed the meeting on Monday, and would still like to participate, can talk to Byrd or Coach Galliher to get started.
At the end of year, those students who successfully accomplish three out of five of their goals will be recognized at the awards ceremony and will receive a t-shirt. These students will be dubbed Iron Mustangs.
After two audition-packed days, the callback list for the fall musical Little Shop of Horrors was posted in front of the library this morning. People swarmed around the single piece of paper during nutrition break to see if they were called back for the roles of their choice. Out of roughly fifty people who auditioned, about twenty were called back. To be "called back" means that the director is seriously considering placing that actor in a role based on their music skills, and will have them read from the script today directly after school. The final cast list should be posted later this week on Lasso Online, so check back by Friday.
Callback List - Little Shop of Horrors
Read carefully - you may be called for more than one part. Callbacks will be at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday (this afternoon) in the theater room. Don't be late!
If you are not on this list, that does NOT mean you are not part of the show! Check back later in the week for the complete Cast List.
Audrey II (the plant)
Doo-Wop Girls (Chiffon, Ronnette, and Crystal)
This past July, Sports Illustrated named George Mason High School as the top athletic program in Virginia. SI comprised this list of exceptional schools around the country, which includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on how the athletic program was run, the overall success of the program, and the ability to produce star athletes and compete on the national level.
So what makes George Mason so special to deserve this honor, beating out powerhouse AAA schools like Robinson and Westfield?
Well, George Mason clearly displayed athletic excellence last year with the first ever state championship awarded to the girls' cross country team and a state championship for girls' soccer, their second in two years. Mason also earned well deserved state championships last year from the boys' soccer team and the girls' basketball team.
Besides the abundance of championship trophies, basketball superstar senior Nicole Mitchell attributes George Mason's honor to "the fantastic coaches determined to make everyone improve both in athletics and in the classroom."
Along with fantastic coaches, the athletic program as a whole is really run remarkably, and has progressively gotten better every year. George Mason is truly blessed to have caring coaches and trainers with extraordinary experience.
Vicki Galliher, the school's athletic trainer, got her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of North Carolina, and since then has worked at various institutions, ranging from the National Basketball Association (NBA) to Federal Law Enforcement Training, which trains FBI and Secret Service agents.
Along with her unique background and experience, Galliher has brought many new philosophies to our athletic program since coming here seven years ago, working hand in hand with Tom Horn, the athletic director.
According to Galliher, "It's the totality of everything in the athletic program, from making sure the athletes are eating well and staying healthy, to making sure they're doing well in the classroom- that's why we've gotten this honor."
Galliher expressed her true emotion for the program saying that, "we do things with real class and integrity here- we pride ourselves on not taking short cuts, and doing things the right way."
With the combination of successful teams supported by a caring, dedicated and experienced athletic department, George Mason has truly proven that you don't need to be a huge powerhouse school to have quality athletics and be recognized by the best for your efforts.
Parents of the students attending George Mason High School gathered this past Thursday night for the 2009 "Back to School Night," on the mission of navigating through the school to meet and experience their students' teachers and school day.
"I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet my child's teachers, and getting the feel of a school day," said Mr. Eldred, a father of one of Mason's sophomore students.
Teachers put in extra hours to either stay or come back out Thursday at 7 p.m. to meet and answer any questions parents had concerning the classes their children were taking.
Teachers also gave a breakdown of their classes, giving parents insightful information on upcoming major assignments, tests, etc. Parents were also privileged enough to get inside secrets on how to check up on their students.
Previous to getting to meet the teachers, parents had to first get their student's schedule and make their way to each individual class, which presented itself as quite the struggle. Halls were hectic with confused and turned around parents attempting to get to class before the bells rang and "class" began.
Of course us Mustangs could not leave our parents to be bewildered and at a loss. Thankfully the "omnipresent" football and cheerleading team, and a few other volunteers, were there to give a helping hand to confused parents. Some parents made their way to their desired class with ease-- others not so much, which resulted in senior Yates Jordan making the announcement to parents that "cutting class was not acceptable," stirring up laughter and the few guilty smiles.
"It would have been impossible for me to find my way to classes without the help of the guides," said Mrs. Dinsdale, a mother of a sophomore.
Overall, the night went very smoothly, and was enjoyable. Parents and teachers both enjoyed the few hours they had together. The night ended with great ease and a few ending remarks from Mr. Byrd. It was truly a perfect way to start off the school year between parent and teacher.