School News

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For a fifth consecutive season, St. Michael’s hosted Girls on the Run. They had an awesome season with an amazing group of girls and coaches! Through games, conversations, and challenges, they made new friends, learned to embrace their differences and find strength in their connectedness.
 We are so proud of them for becoming an important part of the community by creating a “Human Needs Drive” to benefit Big Brother Big Sisters of RI. Little by little they trained throughout the season and in the end, they ALL reached their goal of running a 5k with the support of special running buddies and their teammates!
As coaches to this amazing group of girls we could not be more proud! Watching these girls absorb the lessons and naturally start using their tools in everyday life is incredibly gratifying. Way to go girls!
Thank you to our St. Michael’s parents, Joannah Portman-Daly, Antena David and Catie Benzak for volunteering and making it possible for this great program to come our school!
To find out more about Girls on the Run or to volunteer as a coach, please follow the link below.

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The second grade welcomed a special visiting teacher, Mrs. Loren Spears,  from  The Tomaquag Museum.  The Tomaquag Museum was established over 50 years ago by Eva Butler, an anthropologist, with the guidance of the late Princess Red Wing (Narragansett/ Wampanoag), and is Rhode Island’s only museum entirely dedicated to telling the story of the state’s Indigenous Peoples.  

In 2016, they were the recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library services.  Mrs. Loren Spears was born and raised in the traditions of the Narragansett People and shared many aspects of her culture with the children.  We learned the traditional circle dance and greeting which is commonly done at a Pow Wow and tried the Mosquito dance with a partner. 

Mrs. Spears brought many interesting objects for the children to see and touch, such as a turtle shell pouch, basket weaving, drums, wampum, deerskin and a beaver pelt.   Bridging traditional and modern Native American life was a common theme-Mrs. Spears sometimes used her turtle pouch to carry her cellphone! 

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A View of St. Michael’s from Guatemala


img_7995Pamela A. recently completed her six week visit to our eighth grade at St. Michael’s.  Pamela’s parents are both doctors in Guatemala.  I sat down with her before she left and asked her a few questions about her experience at St. Michael’s.

What are some of the differences you noticed between your school in Guatemala and St. Michael’s?

“The computers here help so much!  In Guatemala, we only have a few computers in school and we use them mostly for learning to type.  At St. Michael’s, we use the computers during classes for research and to make presentations.

“I loved Art!  In Guatemala, art classes happen mostly outside of school and you must bring your own materials.  Here we have all the materials at school!


“In science class, we made many experiments with Mr. Drayton.  He explains everything in a really funny way”.

This must have been a new experience for you to travel to a new country and spend six weeks with a family.  Were you nervous when you arrived?

“Yes, but I loved staying with Mrs. Holden and she did so many fun things with me.  The teachers here made me feel so welcome from the beginning.   In speech class, I learned how to talk in front of a crowd.  My last speech was really good!”

dsc_0022What do you want to do when you graduate from school?

“I want to be a doctor.  There are so many sick people.  If I have the opportunity to help, why not do it?”

Do you feel that you were a good ambassador for your country?

“Yes.  I had a chance to work with the youngest students in the school.  I talked to them about my country and we made a Quetzal out of construction paper and Styrofoam.  A quetzal is our national bird.  I love kids and I loved sharing my country with them.”

How do you feel about St. Michael’s now that you have spent six weeks here?

“I love St. Michael’s!  It is a very modern school and the teachers make it easy to learn.  They give you feedback all the time and that is so helpful.   You can have your own opinion here and have lots of chances to express yourself.  I would love to come back next year!”


img_7518I also spoke with eighth graders, Darcy W. and Margo M., and preschool teacher, Mrs. Griffin, about Pamela’s visit.   

Darcy W.-  “Our grade did such a good job of making Pamela feel welcome….. but then she also just fit in so well.  I would recommend that we do this again.  It was great way to really learn about a different culture.  We cried when she left.”

Margo M.: “Pamela tutored me in Spanish class and it really made a difference.  It was great way to meet new people from different parts of the world.  I am hoping she will visit again next year”.

Mrs. Griffin: “Pamela came in often during her eighth grade Spanish class to work with our preschool children.  She was fantastic with them.  We threw her a party when she left”.

And last but not least, Mrs. Holden, St. Michael’s English teacher who generously hosted Pamela for six weeks, had one comment:

“Pamela was a hoot!”

I strongly suspect that a visit to Guatemala will be on a few Christmas wishlists this year.

                                                                                                        John Zurn

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On Monday, December 5th Lower School teachers, Lorie Loughborough, Linda Spinney, Lisa Pritchard and Jean Cross presented at the annual AINSE teacher conference in Norwood, MA. This year’s conference called “The Connected Teacher: Partnering for Progress,” featured approximately 25 different breakout sessions and a keynote speaker all designed to “highlight the innovative approaches teachers are taking to break down curricular and grade-level silos, promote global connections, and empower partnerships among internal and external communities.”

Lorie, Linda, Lisa and Jean’s presentation was entitled From a Beetle to a Bill: Third Graders Take on the Rhode Island State Legislature and Discover the Power of Project Based Learning. During their 75 minute presentation, the four teachers outlined the steps that they took to collaborate and implement a Project-Based Learning unit which led to the adoption of the American burying beetle as the Rhode Island state insect. First, Jean defined Project Based Learning, identified its essential elements and talked with audience members about how they could begin to incorporate Project-Based Learning into their own classrooms.

Then Linda, Lorie and Lisa discussed a student-generated iMovie in which they outlined the year-long process they and their 3rd grade students went through to complete this amazing project. Audience members then participated in an activity in which they learned the difference between traditional research projects and Project Based Learning. The presentation concluded with a question and answer session.

The experience of presenting at a teacher conference was a career first for some of these teachers. It was humbling and rewarding for all of them to be recognized as experts by their peers. All four teachers enjoyed working together to make their presentation happen. Go Team Beetle!

 

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The Hour of Code, started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. 

This week grades prekindergarten through eighth participated in the Hour of Code, joined the global movement which reached tens of millions of students in over 180 countries.

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In third grade, students worked individually using coding blocks to program a Star Wars game. As the levels got more challenging many of the students assisted their classmates on levels they themselves had already passed. It was great to see them so ready to help their neighbor! Awesome paired programming Rowan & Serenity!

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Students in prekindergarten through first grade participated by doing “unplugged activities” on paper that introduced them to step-by-step procedures or algorithms.   More photos above

More advanced activities in lower school incorporated movies into coding.  The second grade was excited to work on a coding activity based on the Disney film currently in theaters, Moana.

Many had seen the film & were familiar with the characters! The tutorial has you guide Moana, the protagonist in the film — through the ocean, accomplishing tasks and battling pirates as you make your way. This was done by building small programs, using drag and drop coding commands.

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In technology class, Middle School students created interactive holiday ecards for a teacher or administrator using Scratch, a coding language that teacher students how to make interactive stories, games, and animations online.

Students first watched various ecards online, and then brainstormed what kind of code they would need to create & email a festive, musical card to brighten a teacher’s day!  Click Here to view the ecard coded by 6th grader Tony B for Mr. Foehr.

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~ School Happenings ~

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From the Desk of Mr. Zurn

December is Generosity Month at St. Michael’s. Generosity is a quality that distinguishes truly successful people from their peers. The successful person understands how to engage others and finds fulfillment not just in the material trappings of success but also in the camaraderie and teamwork of success. Successful people know how to give of themselves to others and, in return, reap the profits of others who give back.

 

 

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Wheres Waldo presented by the third grade geography lessonWhere’s Waldo?

Remember the “Where’s Waldo? book series? To go along with their study of the States the Third Graders are doing a “Where in the U.S.A. is Waldo?” project. They are creating an interactive bulletin board with “Waldo” hidden in images and landmarks from each of the States they’ve studied. Students from every grade can look for Waldo and try to identify which State he is visiting.

To get the Lower School excited about this project the third graders are also hiding a “Waldo” around the school for everyone to try and find!  This fun and educational project was introduced to the Lower School students by Waldo himself (aka. Mrs. Loughborough) at their Morning Meeting on Tuesday.

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Mannequin Challenge

Lights, Camera, Freeze! Movie Making Club took on the Mannequin Challenge and they did a fantastic job. Take a look!

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A Plastic Ocean

Last week, our 7th grade took part in newportFILM’s Youth Program, where 1,100 students from Aquidneck Island viewed the powerful environmental documentary, A Plastic Ocean.  The screening was held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Casino Theatre and included an information session where students could ask the question “what can I do?”

Read More and learn how we can #saveourseas and take part!  Join the next Clean Ocean Access beach cleanup on December 3 in Hull Cove, Jamestown from 12-2 pm.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manville Photography

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The Mitten Tree

Our annual Mitten Tree fundraiser is underway!  Students are encouraged to bring in new hats, gloves, scarves, or mittens as a donation for Lucy’s Hearth.  The donated items will go to children who are supported by the program, with the intention of keeping them warm during the cold winter months.
There are two holiday trees, one is located in the Lower School main entrance and the other is on the second floor of the Middle School.  When students bring in hats, gloves, scarves or mittens they can “decorate” the tree with their donation.  All items need to be brought in by Friday, December 9.
Let’s get these trees looking full!

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Raising money for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center

As part of their science curriculum, the third grade has been actively involved with the St. Michael’s Teachers’ Farmer’s Market, working in our community garden, tending to the beds, and harvesting the crops.  So far, they raised $157.25 for the MLK Food Pantry by selling the vegetables they grew in the garden.  The class goal is $200 and when the students observed how the cooler weather was affecting the slower growth in the garden and they knew they needed another idea to raise the last of the monies needed.  They’ve been discussing how they could accomplish this goal using the remaining plants and one large plant stood out: SAGE! Fourth grade student Eva suggested we create wreaths from the sage as a way of reaching their funding goal.

Alyson Novick, Director of Development for the MLK Center, visited the third graders’ science class and spoke about how the center acts as a community resource, how they distribute food to those in need, and how this donation can benefit the center. The class presented Mrs. Novick with a (giant!) check for $200.  Way to go 3rd grade!

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Special Visit to the PreKindergarten

Today James Hackbarth’s dad, Col. Jim Hackbarth, visited our class as part of our “Community Helpers” unit.  He talked to the prekindergarten about flying the C-130, explained the parts of the plane, and the many jobs that it does.

He showed several videos of some of it’s capabilities, including firefighting, landing in Antarctica on skis, as well as charity missions helping Santa drop gifts by parachute to Micronesia.  The visit concluded with everyone getting C-130 pins!  << More Photos in gallery. 

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~ School News & Events~

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grinch-logo-bHoliday Performance: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The St. Michael’s Acting Workshop students invite you to come see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on Friday, December 9th at 7:00 pm and Saturday December 10 at 2:00 pm.  The production is directed by Christina Johnston, designed by Ellyn Eaves-Hileman, performed by members of the Acting Workshop class, and tech support is given by the Stagecraft class.

Performances are in the Hill House Arts and Athletics Center, and open to the public.  Refreshments will be offered, and donations are appreciated.  We hope to see you there!

Questions, contact Mrs. Johnston at cjohnston@smcds.org, 401-849-5970 ext 330

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Spring Performance: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Rehearsals have begun and the cast list is set!  St. Michael’s annual Spring Performance will be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

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Parent Information Meeting

When: Wednesday, December 7, 8:15 – 9:00 pm
Where: The Betsy Wylie Conference Room, in the Rose Canepari Library.
What: Join us for a conversation about the school’s Campus Master Plan initiative, Strategic Planning, expansion of our InnovationLab, curriculum directions, and an open discussion about issues important to you!

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Campus Plan Meeting for Parents

When: Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm

Over the next three months, we will be working with the architecture firm, designLab Architects, to create a campus master plan for the school campus.  The plan will eventually demonstrate how campus buildings and functions (present and future) might be best integrated on the existing site plan here at St. Michael’s.

Members of the firm will be listening for your ideas about how to thoughtfully separate dual function spaces (like Art and Gym), how to best manage potential uses of the Cottage, how to design parking and drop off/pick queues, classrooms and areas that we need to keep in mind for future uses, etc..  The end result will be a bird’s eye view of the campus as it might look in twenty years.

In order to create the plan, members of the designLab team will be meeting with various school groups to discuss space needs and compile a list of things to consider in their design process.  The designLab team will also be meeting with interested parents on Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm.  Please mark the date in your calendar.  It is very important that we get broad participation from our parents.  Thank you!

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December is Generosity Month

Generosity is a quality that distinguishes truly successful people from their peers. The successful person understands how to engage others and finds fulfillment not just in the material trappings of success but also in the camaraderie and teamwork of success. Successful people know how to give of themselves to others and, in return, reap the profits of others who give back.

From the earliest of ages, parents teach generosity to their children. We ask our children to share their toys, to be polite and considerate, and to show gratitude for their blessings. At times, generosity can seem such a mundane and everyday kind of expectation. But generosity is at the core of critical skills that will open the doors for your child’s future.

The gift of a small classroom and a school where everyone knows everyone else provides daily opportunity for teaching generosity. There are no impersonal relationships in a school like St. Michael’s. Our children must learn to work with everyone and though this is not always an easy task, the closeness of St. Michael’s provides the strength and the confidence to manage the complexity of relationships in the larger world outside.

Our teachers this month will be engaging our students in thoughtful discussion about the ways we reach out to others. Our student government will be choosing service outreach projects and will ask each child to support them in small, but significant ways.

During this month of religious, cultural, and community celebration, find time to talk to your children about the importance of generosity. Elevate it to the level of critical qualities for your child’s and your family’s future. Think about the most successful people you know and ask yourself the question, “Are they truly generous people?” I am very confident that the answer will affirm what our habits and predispositions as parents have already informed us. We celebrate, admire, and respect generosity. It is a skill that will drive our children to future success.

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~ School Happenings ~

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From the Desk of Mr. Zurn

December is Generosity Month at St. Michael’s. Generosity is a quality that distinguishes truly successful people from their peers. The successful person understands how to engage others and finds fulfillment not just in the material trappings of success but also in the camaraderie and teamwork of success. Successful people know how to give of themselves to others and, in return, reap the profits of others who give back.

 

 

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Wheres Waldo presented by the third grade geography lessonWhere’s Waldo?

Remember the “Where’s Waldo? book series? To go along with their study of the States the Third Graders are doing a “Where in the U.S.A. is Waldo?” project. They are creating an interactive bulletin board with “Waldo” hidden in images and landmarks from each of the States they’ve studied. Students from every grade can look for Waldo and try to identify which State he is visiting.

To get the Lower School excited about this project the third graders are also hiding a “Waldo” around the school for everyone to try and find!  This fun and educational project was introduced to the Lower School students by Waldo himself (aka. Mrs. Loughborough) at their Morning Meeting on Tuesday.

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Mannequin Challenge

Lights, Camera, Freeze! Movie Making Club took on the Mannequin Challenge and they did a fantastic job. Take a look!

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A Plastic Ocean

Last week, our 7th grade took part in newportFILM’s Youth Program, where 1,100 students from Aquidneck Island viewed the powerful environmental documentary, A Plastic Ocean.  The screening was held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Casino Theatre and included an information session where students could ask the question “what can I do?”

Read More and learn how we can #saveourseas and take part!  Join the next Clean Ocean Access beach cleanup on December 3 in Hull Cove, Jamestown from 12-2 pm.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manville Photography

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The Mitten Tree

Our annual Mitten Tree fundraiser is underway!  Students are encouraged to bring in new hats, gloves, scarves, or mittens as a donation for Lucy’s Hearth.  The donated items will go to children who are supported by the program, with the intention of keeping them warm during the cold winter months.
There are two holiday trees, one is located in the Lower School main entrance and the other is on the second floor of the Middle School.  When students bring in hats, gloves, scarves or mittens they can “decorate” the tree with their donation.  All items need to be brought in by Friday, December 9.
Let’s get these trees looking full!

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Raising money for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center

As part of their science curriculum, the third grade has been actively involved with the St. Michael’s Teachers’ Farmer’s Market, working in our community garden, tending to the beds, and harvesting the crops.  So far, they raised $157.25 for the MLK Food Pantry by selling the vegetables they grew in the garden.  The class goal is $200 and when the students observed how the cooler weather was affecting the slower growth in the garden and they knew they needed another idea to raise the last of the monies needed.  They’ve been discussing how they could accomplish this goal using the remaining plants and one large plant stood out: SAGE! Fourth grade student Eva suggested we create wreaths from the sage as a way of reaching their funding goal.

Alyson Novick, Director of Development for the MLK Center, visited the third graders’ science class and spoke about how the center acts as a community resource, how they distribute food to those in need, and how this donation can benefit the center. The class presented Mrs. Novick with a (giant!) check for $200.  Way to go 3rd grade!

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Special Visit to the PreKindergarten

Today James Hackbarth’s dad, Col. Jim Hackbarth, visited our class as part of our “Community Helpers” unit.  He talked to the prekindergarten about flying the C-130, explained the parts of the plane, and the many jobs that it does.

He showed several videos of some of it’s capabilities, including firefighting, landing in Antarctica on skis, as well as charity missions helping Santa drop gifts by parachute to Micronesia.  The visit concluded with everyone getting C-130 pins!  << More Photos in gallery. 

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~ School News & Events~

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grinch-logo-bHoliday Performance: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The St. Michael’s Acting Workshop students invite you to come see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on Friday, December 9th at 7:00 pm and Saturday December 10 at 2:00 pm.  The production is directed by Christina Johnston, designed by Ellyn Eaves-Hileman, performed by members of the Acting Workshop class, and tech support is given by the Stagecraft class.

Performances are in the Hill House Arts and Athletics Center, and open to the public.  Refreshments will be offered, and donations are appreciated.  We hope to see you there!

Questions, contact Mrs. Johnston at cjohnston@smcds.org, 401-849-5970 ext 330

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Spring Performance: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Rehearsals have begun and the cast list is set!  St. Michael’s annual Spring Performance will be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

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Parent Information Meeting

When: Wednesday, December 7, 8:15 – 9:00 pm
Where: The Betsy Wylie Conference Room, in the Rose Canepari Library.
What: Join us for a conversation about the school’s Campus Master Plan initiative, Strategic Planning, expansion of our InnovationLab, curriculum directions, and an open discussion about issues important to you!

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Campus Plan Meeting for Parents

When: Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm

Over the next three months, we will be working with the architecture firm, designLab Architects, to create a campus master plan for the school campus.  The plan will eventually demonstrate how campus buildings and functions (present and future) might be best integrated on the existing site plan here at St. Michael’s.

Members of the firm will be listening for your ideas about how to thoughtfully separate dual function spaces (like Art and Gym), how to best manage potential uses of the Cottage, how to design parking and drop off/pick queues, classrooms and areas that we need to keep in mind for future uses, etc..  The end result will be a bird’s eye view of the campus as it might look in twenty years.

In order to create the plan, members of the designLab team will be meeting with various school groups to discuss space needs and compile a list of things to consider in their design process.  The designLab team will also be meeting with interested parents on Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm.  Please mark the date in your calendar.  It is very important that we get broad participation from our parents.  Thank you!

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Parent Information Meeting

When: Wednesday, December 7, 8:15 – 9:00 pm
Where: The Betsy Wylie Conference Room, in the Rose Canepari Library.
What: Join us for a conversation about the school’s Campus Master Plan initiative (see below), Strategic Planning, expansion of our InnovationLab, curriculum directions, and an open discussion about issues important to you!

Campus Master Plan Meeting

When: Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm

What is the Campus Master Plan?

Over the next three months, we will be working with the architecture firm, designLab Architects, to create a Campus Master Plan for the school campus.  The plan will demonstrate how campus buildings and functions (present and future) might be best integrated on the existing site plan here at St. Michael’s.  Members of the firm will be listening for your ideas, including

  • How to thoughtfully separate dual function spaces (like the Arts and Gym)
  • How to best manage potential uses of The Cottage
  • How to redesign parking and drop off/pick queues
  • Any classrooms and areas that we may need to keep in mind for future uses

The end result will be a bird’s eye view of the campus as it might look in twenty years.

In order to create the plan, members of the designLab team will be meeting with various school groups to discuss space needs and compile a list of things to consider in their design process.  The designLab team will also be meeting with interested parents on Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm.  Please mark the date in your calendar.  It is very important that we get broad participation from our parents.  Thank you!

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Lights, Camera, Freeze! Movie Making Club took on the Mannequin Challenge and they did a fantastic job. Take a look!

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