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Grey Matters, May 11, 2015; Volume 3, Number 33

posted May 10, 2015, 12:05 PM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:40 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day to any and all of you who plays that role to one (or more) of our students, or to anyone else.  With the gift of wonderful weather on Sunday, hopefully many of you took the opportunity to do something outside (perhaps even made a pilgrimage to a beach).  For those of you whose children have not yet developed the habits that lead to a clean bedroom and/or clothes and books strewn all over your home, my Mother’s Day present to you is this photo that I took last Friday afternoon to reassure all of you that your child’s penchant for, and comfort with, total chaos, is not reserved just for your home.  IMG_1874.JPG

In fairness to the students, the lockers at RJ Grey aren’t exactly the widest nor the friendliest in terms of fitting everything one might need into its limited square footage.  So having books and binders spilling into the hallways is somewhat understandable and forgivable; and while I myself have developed some strategies that allow me to maintain a fairly clean and neat office, I am notoriously bad at keeping the inside of my car clean, so I suppose I should be grateful that no one has photographed the backseat of my car and sent it out for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

We have now completed MCAS testing for the year (hallelujah).  If your child missed any of his/her testing days last week, we will be holding make-up sessions during the first part of this week.  If you have any questions, please contact Jim Marcotte at  Our students deserve a lot of credit and applause for their effort during our MCAS sessions, and we appreciate their approach to what can be a cumbersome and lengthy process.   

Last week I mentioned plans to take the annual 8th grade class picture.  We had to re-schedule it, and our plan is to now take the photo this Wednesday.  Order forms will be distributed to 8th grade students at the start of this week, and collected from everyone when we gather for the photo.  If you have any questions, or if the cost of the photo is a hardship for your family, please contact Jim Marcotte (clearly, I’m keeping him busy) and he can address those questions or requests.  

Two events that I want to highlight right now is, first, our Spring band concert, which will be this Tuesday, May 12 at 7:00pm (in the RJ Grey auditorium).  Secondly, on Tuesday, May 19, the Spring chorus concert will be held, also at 7pm in the auditorium.  We hope to see many of you at each/both events.  For any questions regarding the events, please contact Mr. Hickey (Band) at, or Mr. Charig (Chorus) at  

I also want to encourage families to circle Thursday, May 21 on their respective calendars.  Later on this week, we’ll be sharing some of our plans to hold a fundraiser after school to support relief efforts in Nepal.  A number of teachers and students are working hard on developing some plans for that event, and rumor has it some of those plans may involve throwing pies at the Principal.  Not sure how accurate those rumors are, but I say “bring it on”.  Later that evening, our Drama Club will be performing its “Springs Series Showcase”, starting at 7pm in the RJ Grey auditorium (Dragonfly Theatre), so we hope many of you also consider attending that performance, which has recently become a wonderful annual tradition.  You can print out this flyer, and post it in your kitchen as a reminder.  

In last week’s Grey Matters, I incorrectly listed the date of the upcoming 7th grade dance as being Friday, May 29 (sorry about that).  It’s actually being held on Friday, June 12.  More info will come regarding volunteer help that might be needed, and when/how to purchase tickets.  I also provided last week a “save the date” for the 8th grade End of Year Dance/Celebration, which will be on June 19th.  Again, the success of this event is only possible because of the willingness of our parents and guardians to offer their help and support. Parents or guardians of 7th and 8th graders are needed for the following jobs:

  • Set Up after school on June 19th (20 people needed)

  • Clean Up (15-20 people needed)

  • Drink Donations (2 liter bottles of soda and jugs of water)

  • Food Donations (Desserts and Appetizers)

Please contact Judy Nolan at  if you can help with any of the jobs. Thank you, and continued thanks to Judy for her coordination of this event.  

Even though the 8th grade Dance/Celebration is a little over a month away, I want to re-share some information at this time about the event - and do my best not to oversell or undersell the atmosphere that exists at this great end-of-year activity.  Every year, I mention the below thoughts because sometimes, during some bouts of excitement about the event, a few expectations get generated within our student population that may be a bit on the unrealistic/ambitious/fantasy-ish side-- and then they occasionally get re-articulated to parents as school guidelines. So below is my annual “We’re really excited for this event, but this is not an episode of MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen” plea.  

We definitely make an effort (and with the help of parent volunteers, are always successful) to make this more than a “typical” or casual dance/celebration in terms of atmosphere -- we’ve got great decorations, a photo booth, and an impressive spread of food (and it’s at night).  At the same time, we are not trying to create our own version of a Prom.  We want students to come excited and eager to spend an evening with their friends and classmates, and somewhat dressed up for the event.  They don’t, however, need to think about “coming with a date” (the overwhelming majority do not, and is not even on their radar), hair appointments, or special transportation.  We ask students who attend this event to dress a bit more formally than most would for a regular school day -- be it a dress or nice slacks, collared shirts (some choose to wear ties), and some form of khakis (in other words, not wearing jeans).  I’d try and get into more detail about clothing options, but then you’d discover how out of touch I am with current youth fashion trends.   Finally, if dancing is not your son/daughter’s “thing”, please assure them that it’s not a required activity for the evening, and many simply come and socialize with their peers.  

Finally, I’d like to quickly recognize the Origami Club, one of the new student clubs that has been meeting this school year.  I came across a few articles about how origami can help develop certain student skills, and some of the more recent developments in the origami world, and thought I’d pass them along as a form of advertisement for our own Origami Club, which I am fairly sure will be active next year, and would welcome students who have any level of interest in this craft.  First, here is an article on “Why Origami Improves Student Skills”; and here’s a widely-viewed TED talk on the “Math and Magic of Origami”.  

Have a great week, everyone.