ABS Thursday Notes-April 21, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

April 21, 2022

How We Do It and Why

Mary Siebert

“It might take an hour of play to know a person, real person lurking behind the mask.” 

  • Pragya Tiwari

Did you experience a bit of a shock, when you first saw certain people without their Covid masks? People new to you, in particular, might have surprised you by presenting a face dramatically different from the one you had imagined. It takes some getting used to, but if you can work or play with them for a while, you forget the mask, and your imagined first impression fades.

We have an unusually large number of new 8th graders this year, and several new staff teaching them. Meeting and building relationships with about 120 new students would be challenging in any situation, for those new teachers. But getting to know hundreds of students whose voices are muffled and whose lower faces are obscured? Wow. We needed these restrictions and were grateful for the protection… but they brought additional hurdles with them, as everyone knows.

For new students, it’s scary to attend a new school. Imagine doing this when you’re in 8th grade - that awkward, shifting time of growth, when peers and their opinions or judgments are cringingly important. Imagine doing this masked and distanced. And now, imagine that your teachers and the other students expect you to dance, act, write, sing, play instruments, draw, and just generally express yourself openly… in front of and even with one another! In our school, students have done these things together for nine years, by the time they reach 8th grade. It’s second nature, because they’ve been incorporating the arts into learning, learning in small and large groups, performing, and making art together since they were five. The discomfort of “partner dancing,” or of speaking to a large group… these things have been folded into their learning for years. And now, as a new kid, you’re supposed to jump right in.

This year, we have eight new 8th graders. That’s more than a sixth of the grade, and it’s very unusual. These new kids arrived during distancing and masking restrictions. We wondered: could they get used to our culture? Even with a mask on, there is no hiding out, here. The arts team wondered aloud, back in September: “How on earth will we do an 8th grade show, with all of these restrictions and all of these newbies?” We decided to make the performance as late in the year as we possibly could, and hope for growth and recovery. Well, the end of the year approaches.

Yesterday, I watched 8th graders rehearse dances and scenes for Lion King, repeating lines, steps, and songs over and over. The floor of our theater filled with couples, fully focused and rehearsing gracefully in respectful cooperation. The waiting students, when they began to chat a little too much, were reminded by the dynamic Mr. Brown to be supportive of one another, and they quieted.

If anyone was initially self-conscious about singing or dancing, from romantic partner scenes to high-energy big chorus numbers, they seem to have left that worry far behind. They will be getting laughs, and they will bring tears. While many of our students prefer to rehearse in physical masks, the emotional ones seem to be dissolving. We have a show! Hakuna Matata! 

Disney’s The Lion King Jr. Will be performed NEXT THURSDAY, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. by the ABS 8th grade at First Presbyterian Worship Center, 200 N. Cherry Street. The show lasts about one-half hour. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help us cover production costs.


Literacy at Home

In order to provide continuing support for North Carolina’s youngest readers, The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Office of Early Learning has developed and released “Literacy at Home.” This digital resource provides literacy activities at each grade level, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Families and communities may access this resource for activities that specifically target the literacy skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and oral language. When children grow in each of these foundational areas they are well on their way to becoming proficient readers.

Daily Lunch Options are Here

In an effort to provide expanded daily lunch options for our families, we're launching a new online lunch ordering system (MyHotLunchbox) on a trial basis. 

If you would like to order lunch you will need to set up an account with MyHotLunchbox. Menus and prices are available to view within the system. 








Jason's Deli

Moe's Southwest

Firehouse Subs

ABS Pizza Friday


Chicken strips, sandwiches, and salads

Salads, potatoes, pasta, sliders, and more

Quesadillas, burritos, and guacamole

Salads and subs


If you have questions about ordering, the folks at MyHotLunchbox can help you: (888) 894-8295 or [email protected].  

Want to be the Assistant Principal?

We’re bringing back an old tradition! Time to purchase your raffle tickets to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day! Yes, your child (of any grade level) can serve as Principal Hollis' Assistant for an entire day! Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of "Principal Duties" for the day! Simply stop by either front office and purchase your raffle tickets today ($1/ticket, $5 for 6 tickets). You may also purchase tickets online, and we will fill out the physical tickets for you in our front office. (This form will close at noon on the day of Friday Sing.) All proceeds from the raffle support our Hospitality fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year.

Volunteers Still Needed!

We are looking for 4-6 volunteers to help with backstage make up and hair for The Lion King! Hair will be braided and make up is theatrical make up. You don’t need a ton of expertise to help with this… we will lead you through the process. 


  • Wednesday, April 27, 7:45-10:00 am
  • Thursday, April 28, 12:30-2:30 pm

We also need 4-6 volunteers to move sets and costumes into the theaters for both the 8th Grade production of Lion King and the 1st grade show. 


  • Friday, April 22, 3:15-4:15 pm - meet at MLK building theater
  • Monday, April 25, 8:15-9:15 am - meet at MLK building basement
  • Thursday, April 28, 8:30 pm (after show) meet backstage at 1st Pres Theater.

If you might be able to help with any of these, please sign up here or send us an email. Thank you! 

ABS Yearbook Update

Preordered yearbooks will be going home on Thursday and Friday of this week. If you forgot to order we will have a limited quantity for sale starting on Wednesday, April 27th. Please see Mrs. Brown in the 7th St. building to purchase one from 7:45-3:30.

Around Town

Earth Day Fair hosted by Piedmont Environmental Alliance

The 17th annual Earth Day Fair is this Saturday, April 23, from 10am-4pm at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. The fair is free to all and includes live music, food trucks, environmental education, and a full slate of exhibitors from around town. See you there!

Film Festival

The world-renowned RiverRun Film Festival is coming up right here in Winston-Salem and Greensboro! If you've never experienced it, this would be a great time to try it out. Fresh new movies and old favorites are played all over town, from April 21-April 30. Tickets sell out quickly.
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