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Grey Matters, November 30, 2015; Volume 4, Number 13

posted Nov 29, 2015, 8:04 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:29 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back from what I hope was an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving vacation, and free from any school commitments.  Before everyone went their separate ways last week, we had a wonderful assembly on Wednesday that was led by our Student Council officers (Nithin Kavi, Derek Chang, Song Issah, and Vishnu Venkitasubramony), and featured heartfelt and touching speeches by Ray Tate (8 Green), Ira Testamarta (8 Gold), and Lily Zavolas (7 Red).  It also included performances by our band, chorus, and the cast of Bye Bye Birdie, who gave a preview of this week’s upcoming performances (see below for details).  Our family hosted a successful Thanksgiving dinner (translation: my in-laws left happy and full, and I loved the homemade gravy so much that I might have drank some of it straight from a mug).  The rest of our break was a mixture of some social activities, online holiday shopping, and reading.  We also squeezed in flu shots and annual physicals for the kids, and according to Melisa, Parker spent the entire time serenading his pediatrician with jingles from various television commercials.  This included, but was not limited to, interpretive dances in the exam room while singing “Nationwide is on your side…” and “877-241-LUNA…..”.

Like several million other people worldwide, I’ve spent the past week completely obsessed with Adele’s new album and her recent television appearances on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show.  Listening to, and watching, someone who loves performing and singing for an audience has gotten me even more excited for the opening of our school’s musical Bye Bye Birdie, which opens this week. The cast and crew have been hard at work, and it’s a performance that I know will not satisfy and impress all who attend.   If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, you can still get them at the RJ Grey Main Office, Donelan’s or Red, White & Brew.  Whatever tickets aren’t sold for any or the performances will be available for purchase at the door.  Opening night is this Thursday (7pm), and then there are performances on Friday (7pm), Saturday (2pm and 7pm), and Sunday (2pm).  I’ll probably be at the Friday evening performance, and looking forward to seeing many of you there.  

Tryouts for our Winter Sports get under way this week.  Please review the Athletics Website for each team’s specific tryout schedule.  Cheerleading is a “go” for this season, as we were able to find a coach, so please be sure to check the recently updated schedule that’s recently been posted for that program.  Please remember that the process for requesting a waiver for the athletics fee has changed this year, and requests and questions should be submitted to the Athletic Director’s office.  

This past Fall, we offered a new “Fit Club” program that introduced kids to various approaches to exercise and fitness.  Given the continued interest in the program, we are pleased to offer a 10-week Winter Session.  This club will continue to incorporate different modes of fitness training, using both cardio and resistance training.  Classes will be energetic but will be easily tailored to different fitness levels and experience.  Our instructor, Shane Lazar, is an RJ Grey parent, has a degree in both nutrition and fitness, and will continue offering it on Fridays, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm starting on December 11 and ending Friday, March 4.  There is no fee to participate, but there is a sign up process involved.  Space will need to be a bit more limited since we don’t have access to the gym during the winter.  Students and/or parents should contact Katy Frey ( to sign up or ask any questions.  

We are also bringing back our Yoga Club, which is something we offered last year, and excited that this will again be available to students this Winter.  Yoga will be on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30 to 3:30pm in Room 407.  This club will also run for 10 weeks, and begin on Tuesday, December 8 and ending Tuesday, March 1 (no session on December 15 because of the early release for Parent Conferences). The class will again be taught by Christine Fox, who has introduced yoga in several public schools, and has experience working with adolescents.  Space is limited so registration (and a commitment to attend each session) is required.  There is no fee to participate, and we have mats that students can borrow if needed. If your son/daughter is interested, he/she or you should email Katy Frey ( by the end of this week.  

On Wednesday, ImprovBoston, one of the region’s leading improvisational theaters, will be interacting with our 8th grade students, as they bring to us a unique workshop that addresses issues of bullying, and the importance of developing healthy peer relationships. ImprovBoston has visited us for the past three years, and we look forward to welcoming them back to RJ Grey. Using various improvisational techniques, and a healthy dose of humor, this troupe of actors looks to discuss the issue of bullying and model ways of defusing potentially difficult situations.  

A friendly reminder that our first round of Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for Thursday, December 10.  By this point, families who requested conferences should have heard back from Katy Frey or Anne Spalding with their conference schedule.  

Our most recent edition of Poetry Fridays was held on November 20th, the Friday previous to Thanksgiving Break.  Ms. Alyssa Bigay, who has been serving as the long-term substitute in English for 7 Red, selected and read the selection for that morning.  As a nod to the (then) upcoming Thanksgiving Break, Ms. Bigay read Max Coots, “A Garden Poem for Thanksgiving”, which you can view by clicking here.  Many thanks to Ms. Bigay for not only her contribution to Poetry Friday, but all of her work on 7 Red this Fall.  Ms. Christine Bryan is returning today from her maternity leave, and we’re also excited to be welcoming her back to 7 Red and RJ Grey.  

Finally, curious if any of you answered the call of Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis who told the Globe that he’d gladly take your turkey carcasses, lest they should go to waste.  According to his daughter’s Twitter feed, they have now filled three freezers with donated turkey carcasses.  Speaking of Twitter feeds, the RJ Grey Twitter feed is now at 397 followers.  Help us reach (or maybe surpass) 400!

Welcome back, everyone.  Have a great week.