Posts filed under ‘Full’

Full House Puts Students in Charge

Colton Layman

Hello.   My name is Colton and I was the student director of the Full House production of the play titled The Fearsome Pirate Frank.  Many of the WCS students saw this presentation which was about Frank, an actor in the time of William Shakespeare.  Frank was considered a star at that time, topping Shakespeare by a mile, even though he could not remember his lines for the life of him.   One night, while performing in the Fearsome Pirate Frank Show with the world famous Esmerelda Effington, Frank and his band of pirates were kidnapped by the real Pirate Frank, who of all people is a woman!   They are taken aboard her ship and are put to work.  While aboard the ship they learn about a zombie pirate ship, The Black Mark, that is haunting Captain Frank.  At then helm of the The Black Mark is none other than Ben Davies, Captain Frank’s old captain, who is out to get revenge for the “black deed” Captain Frank has done.  The play ends with an epic battle between Frank, the underdog, and Captain Ben Davies.Jan%20and%20Feb%202013%20004[2]

Directing a middle school play meant that I had to be able to work with students with varied abilities.  Some students had little to no acting or stage crew experience while others had been involved in plays before.  Going into this project, I knew I needed a plan.  I pictured the play like a puzzle, each character being a puzzle piece.  For me, when I put together a puzzle, I start with the corners.  Once the “corners” are in place, I build around them filling in the gaps.  The lead or main roles became the “corners” and the remaining characters filled in the gaps.  In all plays, there are always those actors that need help.  The “corners” of the cast were strong actors so I had them work with the kids that were less experienced or having a hard time.  I know that this helped because I saw improvement in the cast as a whole and I think because I involved everyone they were more invested in the production.

I am a perfectionist so knowing that the production would not be perfect was stressful for me.  To alleviate the stress, I tried to think about it from the perspective that if nothing can be perfect, then that means there is always room for improvement. When someone didn’t have anything to do, I would have them run lines or practice with a sword, because practicing would help them get better. I also tried to teach others to “pick up” their fellow actors when they make a mistake and move on rather than dwell on it and berate them. In watching the final production, I saw that we skipped parts of scene and lines hphoto 4ere and there, but…the actors moved the play along perfectly just the way we trained, making the play look fine to the audience.

Overall, directing the play was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In the end, my cast came together and produced a wonderful show. There is something addicting about directing…once you direct one, you want to do it again. I would definitely enjoy directing another show if the opportunity presents itself. I would also encourage anyone who likes acting to give it a try. It will give you a different perspective and possibly make you a better actor.

March 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm 4 comments

Perspectives on the Penguin Plunge

Ben TownleyWilliston Central School Penguin Plunge Team

Have you ever thought about jumping into an ice cold lake in the winter?  27 students and parents from our school jumped into frozen Lake Champlain on February 2, 2013.  We raised $10,221 for Special Olympics Vermont and also raised $600 for our Unified Sports Programs (Bocce and Snowshoeing.) There were new plungers and many who returned from prior years to take the plunge.

My first time doing the Penguin Plunge was in 2011 on my 13th birthday.  I had a great time turning into an icicle!  The first year I wore a black mullet wig into the lake because I thought it would keep my ears warm. After plunging, I asked my Mom this really weird question, “Can I do this every single day?”  Mom said, “No, but you can plunge again next year.”  I’ve plunged every year since then and hope to for many more years.

Now try to imagine what jumping into a frozen lake would feel like!  It takes about 10 seconds from the Staging tent to getting into the lake. When I went under I felt like I just suffered a non-electrical stun right through my body!  I could walk, but I felt like my legs were made out of cement!  It takes a little longer getting back to the changing tent, which is heated.  For the last 3 years, I was the 3rd to last person out.  I love the feeling of the ice cold water!!

I’m hoping more WCS staff and students will consider joining the Williston Central School Plunge Team next year!!  Congratulations to this year’s Williston Central School Plunge team!! Great job!!

Meghan Eustace

Brutal wind, freezing weather, ice everywhere, snow. This sounds like the Arctic right? Well actually, it’s the Burlington Waterfront in the beginning of February. Imagine running in the 30 degree water during the winter.  Sounds crazy, right? Well about 1,000 people or more decided it would be a fun idea to run into the water, me being one of them. I was a part of the Williston Central School Penguin Plunge team. We raised money for our Unified Sports team. This experience is one I am sure not to forget.  I only went into the water a little above my knees, but it still was the coldest I have ever been. Right when you run into the water you cannot feel your body, it’s very very cold. No matter how cold the water was, I still had a really great time. The experience is breathtaking; it’s a rush of nerves and excitement. Most people have no problem running right in, and even dive into the ice water; I was a little different going in. I hesitated at first, and then ran in! Remember, think again when you you don’t go into a cold pool, because trust me, there is colder water you could be swimming in!

penguin plunge

Maggie Warren

Every year in February in Burlington, more than 1,000 people jump into Lake Champlain to raise money for the Special Olympics.  I am proud to say that I am one of them.  The Penguin Plunge is basically a lot people jumping into freezing water trying to raise money for the Special Olympics.  This past Penguin Plunge was my third year doing it and I can’t wait to do it again next year!  The day of the Penguin Plunge is crazy; everybody who signed up is there plus watchers, friends and family, so the place is packed.  You have to wait about two hours before actually going in the water.  First, you go to the sign-in tent where you  sign in and get your free hat and gift bag, there’s also hot chocolate and bagels. Then you go to the changing tent where you get into whatever you are wearing into the water.  After that, you and your group walk (or run) to the staging tent where you wait for your number to be called.  The staging tent is really small and it has a lot of excited and anxious people in it, so it feels like the tent is shaking.  Everybody is really excited and nervous to go out because you are about to jump into frozen water!  It takes a lot of courage to do the Penguin Plunge and everybody gets nervous. “At this point I don’t want to do it anymore.”  said team member Cassidy right before jumping in!  After that it is pretty much how everyone explains it: wet and really cold.   Then you are running out you grab a towel and heading in the direction everyone else is going – back to the changing tent. Unfortunately,  most of the people on the WCS team are boys, so on my first year I found myself in the boys changing tent! I have learned my lesson and luckily that has never happened since then. The Penguin Plunge is a great way to raise money for the Special Olympics and have a really fun time!  I can’t wait until next year!

March 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm 5 comments

Physical Education in the Schools

Logan Cody

Is there a perfect class in school, and what would make it so awesome? The perfect class would teach students to take care of themselves, so that they would be in shape and feel happy.  A perfect class would also allow and encourage kids to practice doing the things they need to do to maintain good health.  School is sometimes tiring and boring for active kids, and they need to have time each day to exercise and socialize.  Physical education class does this for kids, but it is also a class that is optional at different grade levels.  There are three main reasons why physical education should be mandatory in school including fun, fitness, and overall health.

Having fun is important to students because if they do not have a good time, they will lose interest in school.  First of all, students may think that gym is a place to run and might be fearful of getting hurt.  For example, a kid may not be a very good runner, and he or she might be afraid of having a hard rubber ball hit his or her face during a game of dodge ball.  In contrast, one of the games that kids like is colony ball, a form of kick ball using a foam ball, where there is little chance of anyone getting hurt while playing.  Another favorite is basketball medic where people throw foam balls.  The goal of this game is to have the most players standing at the end.  When kids are having fun during the games, they don’t realize they are learning new skills like throwing, communicating, and teamwork. Sacrificing is one way to have good teamwork by getting “out” and saving the medic on the team in basketball medic.  Finally, through playing games in gym and having fun, kids develop friendships with others in their class and keep their interest in school.

Students who are having fun in gym can also work on overall fitness.  Kids like to stay trim because they are self-conscious about their looks, and they like to feel noticed.  Sometimes kids who are not noticed as much as more slender students are not as happy because they don’t get any positive attention.  Instead they receive negative attention from other kids who pick on them.  Obesity appears more common in the unfit students, and if they want to improve their weight and social situation, they can take gym.  Attending gym class will help the more portly students build endurance, strength, and speed as they lose unwanted fat.  Any activities students have to do during gym would be helpful.

In addition to having fun and working on overall fitness, attending gym class can also improve a person’s overall health.  One important factor is the immune system.  A healthy immune system fights diseases and common viruses that can make someone very ill and miss school.  Daily fitness helps a person’s immune system stay strong in addition to washing hands and eating healthy foods.  This leads to better focus in school as healthy students do not feel so tired and sick that they cannot do their work.  With better focus and productivity, kids will learn more and do their best work in school.  This will cause good self-esteem for the kids because they are staying healthy, doing good work, and feeling good about themselves.

In conclusion, physical education should be mandatory in school because it is fun and keeps kids entertained, provides a time for them to work on overall fitness, and improves overall health.  Never be a lazy couch potato.  Gym class will teach life lessons and skills in maintaining health and well-being.  I still have two more years of middle school, yet I look forward to gym class because it is a special time for me to see my friends and work on sports skills.  It makes school more fun for everyone.

March 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm 1 comment

Full House’s Play: Tune Into Murder

Laura Durkee & Jenna Caminiti

Full House put on a production of the play “Tune Into Murder” in March. As student directors, Jenna and Laura took the whole production into their hands. They had some help from teachers along the way, but the play was run by the students of Full House. Being the directors was not as easy as it seemed for Jenna and Laura. Jenna said, “The kids were very cooperative, but I found it hard to bring the students out of their comfort zones.” Laura stated, “I was expecting everyone to go through the scenes in a snap, but I realized that I would have to put a lot of work in to make the production happen.”

The plot of the story was not simple. There were many unexpected encounters and cliff hangers. In the play, there is a wide variety of guests staying at the restful resort, Four Seasons Lodge. The owner of the resort, Nora Scott, is being pestered by her neighbour, Sid Templeton, to sell her half of the island. Meanwhile, Nora’s niece, Diane, is having relationship problems with her boyfriend who hosts a radio show called Night W.R.A.P. with Clay Davis. With all of the hubbub going on, a guest unexpectedly dies causing the guests to believe there is a murders at Four Season Lodge. Next, another guest goes missing, the Countess, leaving behind a blood stained scarf. After being inaccurately accused, the handyman is taken for investigation. Meanwhile the maid, Elizabeth, is missing and the medium who is staying at the lodge holds a seance to contact the Countess. The Countess says that if the guests do not find Elizabeth soon, she sees the handyman “plunge a knife into her”. In the end, the medium and Countess were working for a criminal who had hired them to kill Elizabeth and the handyman was an FBI agent protecting the maid. Diane and Clay look to have a bright future ahead of them and Mr. Templeton sold his half of the island to a zoo. It is a happy ending.

In the play, many students took on large responsibilities besides the directors and stage managers. One was Loran Stearns. Loran was part of Laura’s cast and this is what Laura said about the responsibility Loran took on, “Loran was a big help. She had one of the main roles and was definitely a leader. She was a role model for the younger student. When I needed to do something, I left her in charge because I knew she would stay on task and benefit the whole cast.” In Jenna’s cast, Colton Layman took on a large role. Even though his part was small, that did not stop him. Jenna mentioned this, “Colton was a big help. He was only in about two scenes, so he had a lot of time on his hands. Instead of waiting in the crowd like most of the students, he took this open opportunity and helped stage crew.”

Overall, the students told the teachers that they had a wonderful time producing the play. Loran Stearns said, “That having new experiences with new people from Full House broadened her outlook on her eighth grade year.” Another student who was a stage manager, Tashia Pashby-Rockwood said, “The production night was definitely the best part. It showed that a group of determined kids can get something done.” Kyle Burns who played a famous medium and brought the play alive said, “My favorite part was being able to act like a goofball on stage.”

Overall, the play positively impacted the house. It created new bonds, brought confidence out in people, and made a very nice production.

June 14, 2012 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

Enrichment Garden Science Class

A group of 5th and 6th graders from across the school has been working with Andrew the Gardener, Mrs. Gigliotti and Mrs. Milks to understand our school garden, management of this and all gardens,  and how the vegetation around the garden has developed over time.  As part of the class, students completed research for and produced the following blog entries.  Service was also a major component of the course and the students participated in service sessions in which they put the school gardens to bed, turned, spread and stacked the compost, and assisted 3rd and 4th grade art classes in a soap making project.

Plants vs. Weeds    

Angela Tarracciano, Shayla Lawrence, and Nick Petrunich       




A plant is something that you plant!                 Some plants that you would find in the garden here at school are mint, broccoli, kale, and Brussel sprouts. Weeds are plants that naturally grow on their own.  Some weeds you would find in our garden is dandelion and grass.



The WCS Medicinal Plant Bed

Sierra Polley

The following plants can be found in our WCS Garden medicinal plant bed.  Please see the table for potential uses.

Information taken from: Bremness, Lesley. Herbs. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2002. Print.


Medicinal Uses



Stimulates the body’s defenses against disease.  It is antibiotic, antiviral and restores inflamed connective tissue, treats fevers and may reduce allergies.



Stimulate digestion and reduce flatulence.  Helps get rid of colds and can relieve headaches and other pain.  If you inhale the essential oil, you can treat nausea.



The volatile oils in sage kill bacteria, making the herb useful for all types of bacterial infections.




The seeds can be used to treat coughs and kidney inflammation.  The root is a laxative and treats stomach pain.

Wild Strawberry


Used to relieve kidney and liver issues.  Can be made into juice that may relieve fevers.  Soothes sunburn and lightens freckles.  Makes a common herbal tea and can be used as an oily skin tone


November 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm 16 comments

Enrichment Garden Class Looks at Succession


The Enrichment Garden Class learned about succession and the development of the WCS property over time.

The Concept of Succession

Nathan VanBuren and Abby Rosenthal

In our garden class we talked about what happens when there is disaster that brings plant life in that area to ground zero. This is the beginning of the process called succession. The stages of succession are annual plants, perennial plants and grasses; shrubs; young forest; mature forest and finally, climax forest . You’re probably thinking, “What do these words mean”! Well this handy table should help.

Name of stage

Years in that stage

Plants in that stage

What’s Happening

Annual plants. First 5 years Grasses, wild flowers Pioneer plants like grasses and wild flowers flourish
Perennial plants and grasses. 6 to 25 years Tree seedlings, Large shrubs Tree seedlings and shrubs take root.
Young forest  26 to 50 years Deciduous trees, Evergreens Deciduous trees develop and shade the forest
Mature forest 51 to 150 years Evergreen trees Evergreen trees take over the forest which opens holes in the canopy for annual plants
Climax forest 150 to 300 years Oak or maple, or fewer larger evergreens Larger trees dominate the forest


Succession in Williston

Nate Cuttitta and Zach Hark

 Williston Central School in 2007 (taken by Jessie Fleischer), and below in 1970

 For many years this area was forested.  In the 1700s, signs of industry started to appear.  The forest was chopped down for agriculture, especially in the northern part of town because it is close to the Winooski River.  In the early to mid-1800s, farmers grew a variety of crops and kept sheep.  The railroad was built along the Winooski River at this time.  Development, including a gristmill, train station and other important businesses along the railroad tracks in North Williston happened at this time.  The development of the railroad and farm land development in the mid-west led to the growth of dairy farming in North Eastern towns like Williston.  In the 1900s, dairy farming continued, but fluid milk replaced butter and cheese as dairy product that were produced.  During the time from Williston’s settlement until the 1940’s, several one room school houses were scattered around Williston.  Before Williston Central School was built, several buildings and farmland were where the School now stands.

Some information taken from Allen, Richard H, (1987) Our Town: Williston, Vermont, Williston Central School.  Photographs and maps supplied by Richard Allen.

For more information, see


Williston Village in the days of early settlement (left).  Topographic map from 1948 that shows vegitation in yellow (below).

November 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm 9 comments

Enrichment Garden Class works to Put The WCS Garden To Bed

How to Put a Garden to Bed

Evan Turner and Nick Durieux

It’s the end of the season and you have all this good and nutritious stuff going to waste. All these useful ideas could be used to make sure you are making the most of your garden this year and preparing it for a great growing season next year.

 How to put a garden to bed:

  1. Play “Dead or Alive”.  We pulled out lots of dead plants from the garden clean out service session.
  2. Dead goes to compost.
  3. Choose what you want to eat and eat it.  We ate cale and broccoli.
  4. See if we can harvest seeds from anything.  In our medicinal plant garden we kept the big aster, strawberries, and Echinacea plant.  We also kept the sage and some mint.  We cut and dried echinacea flowers and sunflowers so that we can plant the seeds later.
  5. Turn the soil and add compost.


Tools that will help you put a garden to bed:

  • snippers-make sure to secure the lock when you are not using these
  • spading fork- get weeds out by roots
  • rake- for raking and smoothing
  • forked hoe- to rip open the ground (loosens soil in long line, and then you can take out the weeds
  • Grabby fork- like rake, only grabber
  • Wheelbarrow- for carting stuff

 NO More wasted plants and a happy garden for the future!


November 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm 6 comments

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