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Grey Matters, December 15, 2014; Volume 3, Number 15

posted Dec 14, 2014, 8:10 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:55 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

On Saturday night, Melisa and I made our way to a few stores to try and make a dent in our holiday shopping list.  Along with a few thousand million other people in the area, we wove our way around some local shopping centers, and heard more than a few car horns blaring as shoppers got into the holiday spirit by fighting for open parking spaces, and laying on the horn when they disagreed with who had the right of way.  My plan to purchase one of the largest truffles ever found as a Christmas present was foiled last week when someone else bought it at auction, so I went to a bookstore instead and had some success finding things for a few people on my list.  I needed to feel at least a small sense of accomplishment that night, since earlier that day the Christmas tree that I set up in the living room came crashing down on its side for the second year in a row (farewell to another 4 ornaments).  It’s currently back up, albeit leaning at about a 15 degree angle, and secured by some string that we’ve attached between the tree and the closest wall. I am not ready to post a photo of the leaning tree for everyone’s enjoyment, hopefully last week’s posting of my 7th grade report card will tide you over for a few more weeks.  I should mention that within a typical Grey Matters, I might get 60 readers opening a link to an article/document that sounds interesting to them.  Last week, the link to my 7th grade report card generated 193 hits.

On the topic of report cards, they were definitely distributed to students on Wednesday.  If your child’s report cards was one of the few that were snatched by alien invaders before it reached your hands, let me know and we can help you get another copy.   

Our workshop on social media and cyberbullying with Meghan McCoy is taking place tonight at 6:30pm in the Library. During the school day, Meghan will have met with all of our 7th graders and so even if you can’t attend tonight, I’d encourage you to ask your 7th grader about the presentation and get any feedback (and pass it along to me if you think it might be useful to me).  

Round Two of this year’s Parent-Teacher Conferences (aka RJG Speed Dating) is slated for tomorrow, December 16.  That means that all students will be dismissed at 10:40am - so make sure you confirm after school plans with your kids.  For those whose conferences were scheduled for last Thursday, I hope you found those sessions to be helpful.  Before Thursday’s conferences began, the annual PTSO Teacher Appreciation Luncheon was held in our cafeteria. Once again, our parent community provided an incredible assortment of dishes that contributed to an event that nourished the body and the soul, and expanded my waistline.  To the parent who made the peanut butter and chocolate squares - I’ll be running 7 miles on the treadmill today because of you (or more specifically, because I ate more than my share of those desserts).  An event of this scale could only be achieved because of the commitment of parents like Jen Aufiero and Torri Horovitz, and the many parents who donated food and their time to this annual event.  

Thru this week, RJ Grey will be collecting toys this holiday season to donate to local families.  Our teachers and students have coordinated this Toy Drive as an annual holiday effort, and it’s always been a wonderful opportunity to offer some holiday cheer to children in and around our community.  Toys must be new, unused (and unopened) and may be dropped off in the collection box in the main lobby.  All toys will be donated to families in the Acton, Boxborough, and surrounding towns.  If you have any questions, you can email Gabrielle Berberian at  

Last Friday’s morning announcements included another installment of Poetry Fridays.  In this session, student Alex Pallozzi of 8 Green read a poem entitled, “Oranges” by Gary Soto.  Soto’s poems recreate the world of the barrio, the urban, Spanish-speaking neighborhood where he was raised.  This particular poem is about a 12-year old boy who does something nice for a friend.  Click here if you’d like to read the poem.  

Finally, I want to acknowledge and highlight our school’s Speech & Debate team, which hosted a tournament for their league this past Sunday.  I stopped by in the morning, a little before things really got underway, and it was great to see our students, along with participants from eight other area schools, preparing to recite, debate, and defend.  An event of this magnitude (over 200 students) couldn’t be offered without the commitment of our students and the guidance (and frenetic planning) of Mr. Spencer Harvey, 7 Orange Social Studies teacher.  Additionally, we appreciate (again) the volunteer work of our many parents and teachers who also spent their Sunday at the tournament.  

Have a great week, everyone.