November 9, 2018 | Vol 12, Iss 13, No 409



We have had a fabulous week and it was filled with lots of great stuff! Monday was a Teacher Work Day so all of us attended our annual Georgia Independent School Association meeting to learn some new things. Besides the two keynote speakers, I sat in three sessions, one about Design Thinking, another about implementing a Style Guide, and the last one about setting up an English elective class about Advertising and Media. Then we came back to campus on Election Day (regardless of the outcome, I hope everyone voted). We had an open house on Wednesday. Thursday our spring musical cast and their parents gathered for a dinner. Now here we are at Friday and it is MUSTANG MANIA! I look forward to this each year so I can get my annual cotton candy.


You must be wondering why I have a picture of the black vulture. I am sure you have noticed them around campus, they are pretty impressive in size, not to mention quantity. We have been trying to prevent them from sitting on the buildings because of the damage they cause. But there was an interesting interaction. KK was out on the track earlier this week doing laps and noticed that a vulture was caught up in a soccer net out there. He was flapping away getting himself more tangled, Katy was anxious, but concerned for him. She got a little bit closer to see if she could do anything, and he went totally still. She thought he had died. Looking around for something to help untangle him, she moved away and realized he started flapping again. She found a stick of sorts and approached him cautiously, he went still again. She was able to eventually free him, and he flew away. So this week we discovered that vultures will "play dead" when they feel cornered or threatened - who knew?!?


Have a great weekend and thank you to our Veterans for their service.


Fine Artist of the Week

Meet Jack Buckley, Upper School 11th grader! Jack is part of our mighty Clarinet section. He was the sole Clarinet player to represent MSA Bands at our Open House performance this week, and he completely rocked it! His attention to detail while playing music, his hard work, and his super awesome positive attitude have earned him Fine Artist of the Week! Way to go, French Fry! :)


Thank You Parents!

Thank you to all the parents that helped out with the Halloween Party - especially Beth Hellriegel, Presley's mom, who spearheaded the party, decorating, and clean up.


We would also like to thank Monica Stokes, Isa's mom, for bringing in coffee and donuts, it was a welcome surprise. Thank you also for the Halloween goodies that you brought for EVERYONE: students, faculty, and staff!


We appreciate both of you very much!

PreUpper Staff and Faculty



Congratulations go out to Jack Hurtsellers who has been accepted to Toccoa Falls College! Way to go!


Make a Note - CHANGE in Early Dismissal Times

There is a change in the times for Early Dismissal transportation. So for those of you that use the spiral-bound, paper calendar you received at the start of the year, make this change to it:

12:15pm - Carpool for all

12:30pm - Bus Departs

That means the bus will leave 15 minutes EARLIER than posted, which also means you will need to arrive 15 minutes EARLIER than you have in the past. Listed below are the dates that will be effected:

  • Friday, November 16 - NEXT WEEK
  • Wednesday, December 19
  • Friday, March 29
  • Thursday, April 18

The school's calendar has been updated to reflect those changes as well. Early Dismissal on May 24th will not be effected, that will remain as posted. 


Skeleton Says...

The fourth graders have been learning about a creepy subject in science, bones! For Halloween the students put together skeletons and displayed them on their lockers. To better learn about the major bones, we played a game called," Skeleton says" (like Simon says) and learned the song, 'Dem Bones'. Before we started to learn about bones, Lower School Instructor, Jodi asked students to guess how many bones were in the human body. Ethan Cohn (pictured with his personal skeleton) was the closest guess in the class at 200. He was 6 bones away from the correct answer!


The Game Plan

The fall of 2018 was one of adjustment and perseverance.  With our Gym Floor under construction, PE was held outside a majority of the semester.  Never the less, the Mustang Community rallied and produced one of their most successful terms.  Sticking to the Game Plan of Having Fun, Exercise, Team Building, and Fellowship, the students participated in various two week activities such as running, gym games, basketball, kickball, softball, football, pickle ball, Frisbee, team handball, and  the introduction of our new strength and conditioning class.  Game basics, fundamentals, rules, and strategies were taught. 

As we head towards Grandparent's Day, Thanksgiving, and final exams, the students will revisit past units and prepare for our Class Final Mile Run.  We, Katy Kane - Director, James Sampson, Phil Hanson, and John Hanrahan, truly appreciate our students flexibility and willingness to learn throughout the Semester.  With our beautiful new gym floor intact, we look forward eclipsing our efforts in 2019.  We the PE Department wish you a very happy and prosperous Holiday Season.  See you next semester!


Learning Comes to Life

In US History students have been discussing slavery. Students have learned where in Africa slavery actually began, items that were traded for slaves, and how advanced the civilizations of Africa were prior to the slave trade. We have also discussed the experiences that slaves had on slave ships and what life was like on a plantation. Students have had the opportunity to compare the lives of slaves to the lives of slave masters. Slaves lived in small one-room cabins made from logs that were not well built and slept on rags or straw. However, slave owners lived in large plantation homes with many rooms and beautiful furniture. On a recent field trip to Stone Mountain students were able to have what they have been learning come to life as they were able to see slave cabins and tour a plantation home. In the photo Jack Wallace is in front of the parlor of the Davis House. The parlor room of a plantation house was used for daytime guests and/or small parties.

--LaToyia Armstead, Middle School Instructor


 Simply a Math Teacher

At our annual GISA Conference held on Monday, November 5th I was pleased to attend the workshop, "High School Mathematics: Engaging Students through Technology", led by our own Judy Norris. I must say, this literature teacher knew absolutely nothing about the subject. However, I was familiar with many of the resources and tools that Judy presented to the packed room of Mathematicians. Yes, these were some Math Wizards. And Judy was phenomenal with her Smartboard Pointer, that acted like a Wand from Harry Potter. As usual as the attendees entered the room that Judy had prepped seven hours earlier, they were greeted with a variety of assorted candies – in dishes to remind us of the upcoming Thanksgiving season. I later learned that these real-looking dishes were made of plastic materials.

Judy first engaged us in a game of KAHOOT. I even played under an assumed name. As we played this fun game, Judy recited various terms and phrases that were only familiar to the Math Wizards...READ MORE. Judy is pictured giving the presentation.

--Nellie Jackson, Upper Literature Instructor


Announcing the Cast of Shrek!

Shrek - Henry Wallace

Fiona - Addison Monette

Donkey - Jack Buckley

Lord Farquaad - Warner Jones

Gingy/Knight - Nick Tate

Captain of the Guards - Anthony Papasidero

Pinocchio/Knight/Duloc Performer - Collins Losson

Big Bad Wolf - Robert Papasidero

Mama Bear - Camryn Padgett (pictured with her mom and dad at the Cast Party)

Ugly Duckling - John Hartrampf

Papa & Baby Bear/Duloc Performer/Knight - Jack Hurtsellers

Peter Pan/ Pied Piper - Cameron Carr

Wicked Witch/Mama Ogre/Duloc Performer - Rayna Doniparthi

Three Pigs - Ella Parsons, Olivia Wallace, & Isa Stokes (also Duloc Performer)

Dragon - Lilliana Coco

Young Fiona - Maggie Erlacher

Teen Fiona/Duloc Performer - Steele Ross

Papa Ogre/Knight/Duloc Performer - Liam Couch

Young Shrek/Dwarf - Sammy Lesser

Bishop/Guard - Chris Carey

Puss In Boots - Nick Pucciarelli

Mad Hatter - Connor Doyle


Congratulations to everyone! It is going to be awesome! Watch for ticketing to become available in April.


Plethora of Algebraic Vocabulary

This week in PreAlgebra class, via the Saxon math program, we have continued working with converting fractions to decimals. We have also explored calculating percents. In addition, we've applied the real world functionality of percents when it comes to tipping at a restaurant or figuring out how much a discounted price is. Also, this week in PreAlgebra we have been brushing up on our math vocabulary. The students used BrainPOP, the internet, and their glossary in order to define a plethora of algebraic vocabulary. Once the kids defined their terms they created a Quizlet or a Kahoot! (their choice) in order to help them prepare for their upcoming quiz next week. Wish them luck!

Pictured is Isabel Stokes working on her Quizlet for the PreAlgebra Vocabulary quiz Tuesday.

--Nina King, PreUpper Asst. Principal and Instructor


Who is Rube Goldberg?

In Communication Arts, students began working on their Rube Goldberg project in preparation for the technology festival. In the project, students have been researching the cartoonist Rube Goldberg and Rube Goldberg machines. This week, the students began constructing their Rube Goldberg machines from their blue print/drawing. Who will create the most complicated way to ring a bell? Pictured are Chris Carey and Lilliana Coco testing the first three energy transfers of their Rube Goldberg machine.

--Michael Adams, CommArts Instructor


Grandparents' Day

Friday, November 16th

9:00am - Gym


We are very excited to be able to host all of our grandparents next week. This special event includes a terrific full breakfast, some entertainment by our Fine Arts department, and an opportunity for our Grandparents to visit with their student and take a keepsake photo of the event with them after breakfast.


We are looking forward to a wonderful day! If you have any questions contact Leila Smith at  Also, we have parent volunteers to help us with the breakfast at this event.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Mary Ramirez at


Many Parts to a Body

Guest Journalist - Avery Terpstra, 10th Grade, Upper School Student

If you're interested in the body and the many parts of it, then you should think about taking anatomy with Vaidehi. You will learn so much and have many hands-on experiences. October was cancer month and it just so happened that we learned all about cells and cancer cells. We learned how cells form and that tumor cells grow at a rapid rate, which is why cancer spreads. We just got done with the integumentary (skin) unit. It was a lot of fun; we learned about the different parts of the skin and what makes it up. We made 3-D models of the skin to show the different parts and pieces that make up the skin. When you get a third degree burn, you lose feeling and cannot feel the pain because the nerves get damaged. Did you know that there are three parts to a single piece of hair, the cortex, the cuticle, and the medulla? READ MORE...  Avery is pictured third from the left with her classmates and their 3D skin models.


Are YOU Stuck?

If so, GREAT! Wait, what? Great? Yes that is great! If you are not STUCK, then let me help you get STUCK. I have lots of stickers (pictured above) in the closet that are just waiting to be STUCK to the window of your car, truck, mini van, bus, whatever you drive. If you don't have a sticker STUCK to the window of your car, come on by and I will be glad to give you one for every car you have. I'd love to see your car in front of me on the road one day! Come get STUCK!

--Cheri Harwood, Director of Communications


It's Time for the Annual MSA Can-a-thon!

Let's get together to feed those in need! Please join MSA and the Atlanta Community Food Bank to take a bite out of hunger in Metro Atlanta. We have big goals this year, so we hope you will participate (and maybe bug a neighbor or two). Many hands make light work and big differences!

Deadline: November 26, 2018

*Please do NOT bring glass items or perishables



  • Whole grain goods: whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain cereal, whole wheat flour, whole grain crackers, plain oatmeal
  • Shelf stable milk (cow, soy, rice, etc.)
  • Fruit, dried or canned in light syrup or juice 
  • Low-sodium, no salt added vegetables
  • Low-sodium pasta sauce in plastic container
  • Foods high in protein: Natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated oil), dried beans, dried peas, dried lentils, canned tuna (canned in water, not oil), canned salmon (canned in water, not oil), canned chicken (canned in water, not oil), unsalted nuts
  • 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice
  • Cooking oil (olive oil, canola oil)


Families and individuals who struggle to put food on the table also have a tough time with the household essentials many of us take for granted. In addition to food, these non-food items are greatly needed and appreciated:

  • Paper products
  • Diapers
  • Toiletries

Community Cares & Concerns

The Allen Family
The Buckley Family
The Simmons Family
The Smith Family

If there is ever a care or concern you would like to share with the community, please just email me at any time, I will be glad to include either names or situations. For privacy, I will only list names and claim ignorance if anyone asks me for details. Cheri 

Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

 --George Washington Carver





Saturday, November 10

  • 8:00am HamJam 2018


Sunday, November 11

  • Veterans Day


Monday, November 12

  • 8:00am Coffee after Carpool Starbucks, 12330 Crabapple Road
  • Book Fair Week Begins
  • Chick-fil-A Day
  • 7:00pm Board Meeting


Tuesday, November 13

  • 4:00pm Varsity Girls Basketball @ Atlanta Area School for the Deaf
  • 5:30pm Varsity Boys Basketball @Atlanta Area School for the Deaf


Wednesday, November 14

  • Thanksgiving Feast - All Schools
  • 3:30pm Middle Boys Basketball vs. Cumberland Academy


Thursday, November 15

  • 9:00am Student Workshop: Life After the 8th Grade, Upper Great Rm
  • 12:30pm All Band Rehearsal, Theater
  • 1:15pm JTF/Chorus Rehearsal, Theater


Friday, November 16

  • 9:00am Grandparents' Day, Gym
  • EARLY DISMISSAL - 12:15pm Carpool, 12:30pm Bus Departs
  • 1:00pm Book Fair Ends


November 19 - 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Holiday - SCHOOL CLOSED


Monday, November 26

  • Canned Food Drive Ends




13660 New Providence Road • Alpharetta, GA 30004 • (770) 360-1336

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