Fall Fest Continues to Impress

The+MLWGS+Deadbeats+perform+%22Young%2C+Dumb%2C+and+Broke%22+by+Khalid.
The MLWGS Deadbeats perform

The MLWGS Deadbeats perform "Young, Dumb, and Broke" by Khalid.

Hui Lian

Hui Lian

The MLWGS Deadbeats perform "Young, Dumb, and Broke" by Khalid.

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Barbeque, classic rock. Stand-up comedy, Indian dance. Freshly grilled gyros, pumpkin-spice cake pops. Milkshakes, Shakespeare. Dragon face paint, giant stuffed gorillas. Songs sung in American Sign Language, songs sung barefoot with banjos. Altogether, an unforgettable night: Maggie Walker Fall Festival.

As usual, Maggie Walker students brought their A-game with Fall Fest food. With cuisine representing a variety of ethnicities and styles, there was no shortage of interesting eats to try. A student favorite was the Latin Club booth, which sold their infamous paninis. Mackenzie Shearer (‘19), a fan of the club, described their work., “The food at that booth is so good, and they work tirelessly and it turns out great every year.” Another perk: having your paninos skewered and grilled by Latin teacher Mr. Ross himself. “I love seeing Ross on the grill,” Shearer added.

However, not all the booths at Fall Fest decided to sell food this year. Hailey Hall (‘19), who has been a member of the Robotics Club since her freshmen year, stated that they chose not to sell anything this year. Instead, they put out pamphlets. “The main purpose of our booth is to  educate people about what we do as a Robotics Team, just as an outreach experience,” she explained. “We also have some information about our team and demographics and what we do in our community.”

While each booth at Fall Fest was both creative and unique, the preparation and planning that went into the setup, cooking, and selling beforehand was tremendous. Megan Bale (‘11), Vice President of the Spanish Club, recounted the challenges her club had to undergo in order to make their Cuban sandwiches a delicious reality. “We had lots of donations,”  Bale remarked, “like the pork from Kuba Kuba. A couple members, officials, and Spanish teachers brought in stuff too, like the rest of the food and the grill.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Fall Fest without stellar performances by Maggie Walker’s notoriously talented student body. This year, the repertoire represented a one-of-a-kind assortment of club demonstrations, musical ensembles, solo artists, and musical instruments.

The night began with medleys from Orchestra I and II and Jazz Band, followed by performances by ASL (American Sign Language) 3, Bhangra Club, and the MLWGS Dance team. The following time was filled with student performers, who were eager to share their music and expression.

Julia Ball (‘18) performed pieces including “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” by Ed Sheeran and an original mash-up titled “Moves Like Billie Jean” (a personal favorite of Ball) with Hunter Carlton (‘18). She was especially excited about her performance that night. “Considering that we had such a large audience, it was important to pick songs that cater to everyone… Ed Sheeran is for those acoustic fans, Halsey and the Chainsmokers is for pop music people, and ‘Moves Like Billie Jean’ was just for fun,” she explained.

Kate Gruber (‘19), an ASL 3 student, elaborated on her personal experience signing “Oops I Did It Again.” Explained Kate, “I’ve done dance classes and other classes with deaf people before high school, and I really wanted to be able to talk to them, so I decided to take ASL, so that I’d know how to talk to them and other deaf people, and to know more about the culture,” ASL Club performs each year to bring awareness to deaf culture.

Other groups challenged the norms of festival performance and incorporated unique instruments into their pieces. Paige Handy (‘20), Julia Ochsenhirt (‘20), and Grace Larmee (‘20) went above and beyond, forming an ensemble with Ochsenhirt on piano, Handy on vocals, and Larmee on the harp. Together, they played two classic pop ballads. Elaborates Handy concerning her song choice: “(We) wanted to perform the song ‘Vienna’ because it could relate to how, at Maggie Walker, everyone can be really overachieving, and sometimes at the expense of their happiness and health. I just thought it had a good message to it.”

Though often forgotten in the bustle of activity, Maggie Walker teachers were active participants in Fall Fest. Mrs. Jessica Bradley, who has sponsored the Richmond Friends of the Community for the past year, described how her experiences at Fall Festival were radically different from any other schools in which she has taught, including Virginia State University. “Sponsoring a club,” elaborated Bradley, “allowed me to see how this event was put together, and definitely gave me a new perspective on things.”

For the freshmen, Fall Festival was an experience unlike anything they had experienced before.  To Vivien Johns (‘21), the positivity of the atmosphere was incredible. “My Fall Fest experience was great. I thought it was very enthusiastic” exclaimed Johns, “and the variations of different people coming together was great!”

Even veteran students shared a similar perspective. Jack Honig (‘20) explained, “I thought this year’s Fall Festival was going to be similar to last year,” though he admits, “I was pleasantly surprised; my overall experience was very different.” Nathan Moore (‘18), agreed, “Your Fall Fest experience evolves from freshman to senior year, it never stays the same.

Every year, Fall Festival serves a milestone of sorts for students, as it represents the official beginning of a new year here at MLWGS. A year of beginnings, endings, friendships, and destinations to reach, but most importantly, memories. And, without a doubt, this year’s Fall Fest was one for the books.

 

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Fall Fest Continues to Impress