— Chemistry with a Bang!

The 8th graders finished their unit on chemistry with a bang! Teams of students worked together to research, practice and present dramatic chemical reactions to an audience of 5th and 6th graders. They also had to show their understanding of the reactions by explaining them to their lower-school audiences. The 8th graders did a great job, showing off dramatic demos safely and informatively.

Middle School Science Middle School Science Middle School Science


 

— Nolan develops acting chops for ‘Coney’

Coastside kid about to make her center stage debut. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on November 22th, 2017.

The current Coastal Rep production Coney Island Christmas stars our Eighth Grade student, Sadie Nolan, as Shirley a Jewish girl cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas pageant. This Holiday show is fun for all the family and runs through December 17th.

Sadie Nolan has spent her childhood at the theater and is now set to make her center stage debut in “Coney Island Christmas.”

Nolan will play Jewish girl Shirley Abramowitz, who is cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas play. The story unfolds in flashback fashion as a much older Shirley, brilliantly portrayed by Darlene Batchelder, gleefully recalls the scenario.

“The show is about a girl, me. She’s Jewish and basically she gets cast in a Christmas play,” said Nolan. “Her parents are not OK with it because it’s just against their religion. They don’t think that she should do that. She basically goes behind their back.” 

It’s complicated, to say the least. Abramowitz’s parents are Jewish immigrants who fled their homeland to escape persecution. Now, with feet planted firmly in America, they struggle to keep their traditions alive in a new world awash with the Christmas spirit.

“I plan to bring a little sassiness, a little spunk to the role,” said Nolan. “Her parents are strict. I think they are a good strict, but that they are too strict. The people who play them, Kelly Gregg Rubingh and Eric Berglund, are wonderful.”

As she prepared for her big moment in the spotlight, Nolan reflected on those who have offered their support along the way.

“Sea Crest School has been wonderful with offering all the different acting electives,” said Nolan, who is in her eighth-grade year at Sea Crest Middle School. “The classes I’ve taken have helped me build my confidence in my theater skills. They’ve given me opportunities to actually act in front of an audience and really just do it.” 

Her father, Doug Nolan, is a fixture on the Coastside theater circuit. Coincidentally, it was Doug Nolan who starred in last year’s Christmas program, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” He is also one of the leading men of the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. whose most recent performances included roles in “Romeo y Julieta” as well as “Macbeth.”

“We run lines together,” she said. “I wouldn’t have done the Christmas show if it wasn’t for him. He’s always running lines with me, giving me pointers and helping me out.”

The younger Nolan is also a seasoned member of Coastal Repertory Theatre’s children’s program, an offshoot of the theater aimed at cultivating young talent.

“I started doing shows when I was in first grade,” remembers Nolan. “I got really serious about it when I was in fourth or fifth grade. I moved up to the older class and was ‘Wow, I’m really going to buckle down, work on my lines.’ I’m just very committed.” 

Her first performance was eight years ago, when she acted in Oklahoma. She was in first grade.

“‘Beauty and the Beast’ has to be my favorite performance,” said Nolan, who was in fifth grade at the time. “That was the first time I felt the bond of the cast, the way that the cast works together. That’s when I really started to get serious about acting.”

Nolan believes her time spent developing her craft in the children’s program has prepared her for her starring role.

She credits Coastal Repertory Theatre children’s program teachers Kimberly Krol and Sabina Perlsweig for giving her the tools necessary for success.

“Kimberly Krol is the choreographer for the children’s shows,” said Nolan. “She’s such a wonderful singer and actress and she’s such a huge influence. She’s always been there for me. She’s very supportive, but she’s very firm and she really pushes us, which is what we need.

“Sabina Perlsweig is the singing teacher for the children’s classes,” she continued. “She’s really helped me become a better singer.”

Donald Margulies’ “Coney Island Christmas” opens this Friday and is scheduled to run through Dec. 17. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit coastalrep.com.


 

— In the News: Boys Cross-Country Team finished first place in the Small Schools Intermediate League

Young runners reach finish line. Middle school cross-country SEASON comes to end. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on November 15th, 2017.

As the fall sports season comes to a close, Coastside middle school cross-country teams are finishing strong.

athletics, boys cross countryLast week, Sea Crest School’s middle school boys cross-country team finished first place in the Small Schools Intermediate League Cross- Country Championship.

The triumphant win capped off a rather unusual season in which many of the meets were canceled due to poor air quality triggered by regional fires.

“Our top runners were mostly our eighth-grade boys,” said coach Jennifer Dill. “They definitely worked as a team. There wasn’t one superstar that carried everybody.”

Dill, who is also the co-director of the Half Moon Bay International Marathon, credits the collective finish of the boys as reason for the championship win.

Eighth-grade students Connor Moore, Matthew Spink, Billy Ou and Sean Andrasick snagged the fourth- through seventh-place spots. Jay Alsadir, Cade Ford and Ethan Lucas also finished well, their collective scores contributing to the team win.

Dill and her husband, Franz, have deep ties to the Coastside running community. When asked if she drew from her experience as leader of the marathon, she replied that her main focus is instilling a love of the sport.

“My sole focus is I just want them to like running,” she said. “It’s really great when you win, but at this age running is really hard. People have pretty strong feelings about running one way or the other. I want to make it fun and for the kids to enjoy it.

 

— Seventh grade student got her first picture book published

Congratulations to our seventh-grade student, Isabella Murphy, on the launch of her first picture book, which features a pumpkin’s journey from seed to jack-o’-lantern!

Her book launch will be on Tuesday, October 10th at 6:00 p.m. at Ink Spell Books in Half Moon Bay. All proceeds will go to a children’s charity.

She will also present her book at Books, Inc. in Burlingame during Storytime on Sunday, October 15th at 11:00 a.m. Click here to visit her website.


 

— In the News: Coaches flag benefits of non-contact sport

Middle schools offer alternative to full-contact sports. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on September 6th, 2017.

The August sun warmed the quad at Sea Crest School as boys and girls donned blue practice jerseys in preparation for the first flag football practice of the season.

Flag football is offered at both Sea Crest and Cunha middle schools. The lessons learned on the field often can translate to stellar performances on the high school gridiron.

“It’s 9-on-9 here, regular football is 11- on-11,” said Sea Crest middle school flag football coach Craig Strong. “It’s two less linemen, that’s the big difference.

“You’re still blocking, passing, running the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball,” he continued. “On defense, you’re attacking, when you’re pulling the flag, that’s the equivalent of tackling. You’ve got to read offenses and move your body in such a way so that you’re heading where the ball is going.”

“The biggest difference between playing high school football and middle school flag football is the competition level and the intensity,” said Gabe Giacotto who played flag football for Sea Crest Middle School before joining the Junipero Serra High School football team.

“The coaches expect more from the players at a high school level and they rely on you to keep yourself and your fellow teammates in check,” he continued. “The other big difference was adjusting to both wearing and hitting with pads. It gives a whole different feel in running and movement. You also have to learn how to hit and tackle with them if you haven’t played tackle football before.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Kaiya Hanepen (7th grade) practices with athletic director Craig Strong watching during flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Full-contact youth football organizations have taken great care to ensure the health and wellness of their athletes. From capping the weight requirements of heavier players to ensuring all equipment is in excellent working order, athletes par ticipating in full contact football have never been safer or better prepared.

Still, some parents are hesitant to allow their children to play. For middle school-aged children, flag football may be just the ticket for those hoping to one day step foot on the high school field.

“Flag football gives athletes the opportunity to throw and catch the football on a regular basis and get a foundation for the game,” said Keith Holden, varsity head football coach at Half Moon Bay High School in an emailed statement. “Players learn a lot about angles, schemes and about how to move on the football field.”

“The players are learning the rules of the game as well as an understanding of the game,” said Strong. “Full contact is different in terms of some techniques, such as tackling techniques. We don’t tackle, we pull flags. However, we still block, without pads. Some of the techniques and skills developed in flag football absolutely translate to full contact football.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Coach Dan Halepen shows a diagram to the team at flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Strong stated that a big part of the flag football season includes teaching aspiring athletes intricacies of the game, including how to move and defend the ball.

“They are learning the actual skills, laying groundwork that, if the athlete didn’t have, might present more a of challenge if they played full-contact football without the foundation,” he said.

“I learned a lot on the flag football field that helped me to recognize plays when on defense, such as the difference between a deep pass, short pass and runs both outside and up the middle,” said Giacotto.

“It also helped me to pick up and pursue a quarterback when he is scrambling,” he continued. “Playing flag football helped me on offense when getting the hang of memorizing plays and adjusting to different defensive formations.”

As to how to bridge the gap between flag and full-contact football, Holden believes that the best supplemental training is playing other sports.

“Also, I believe that strength training is beneficial to any athlete, not just football players, for preventing injury,” he said.

“My advice for kids playing flag football, who aspire to play in college, would be to stick with it and to not give up,” added Giacotto. “At first, the sport is going to seem tough and brutal, especially in a program like Serra’s.

“Although, if you work hard and stick with it, you will be surprised at how fast you catch on and make the necessary adjustments,” he continued. “The other thing would be to always hustle and give your best effort because that is what the coaches are really looking for.”


 

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