...

When ‘The Exorcist’ Came to Town

During October 1972, “The Exorcist” filmed on location at Georgetown University for a week, part of a stay of about 20 days in and around Washington, D.C. William Peter Blatty, author of the 1971 novel on which he based the screenplay, and a 1950 graduate of the college, who heard of a possessed boy from Mt. Rainier, Md., and of attempts at exorcism at Georgetown University Hospital and in St. Louis, Mo., that occurred in the late 1940s. For the film, Georgetown students were recruited for various crowd scenes. Nuns in traditional habit were seen walking along 37th Street (not a common sight then as well as now) and Jesuit priests and professors were used as extras. Neighbors also got some bit parts. One 35th Street resident, Emerson Duncan, who routinely walked his two Scottish terriers nearby, was asked if his dogs could be used as extras. He himself was ruled out; he looked too much like an actor. Along with director William Friedkin, actors and crew worked inside and in front of Healy Building, where a student protest was part of the film within a film. Other campus locations included Healy Circle, the Quadrangle, the facade of Dahlgren Chapel, Kehoe Field and the Lauinger Library steps, which one of the priest walked down in the fog during a spooky scene. Elsewhere, the Mule Bridge over the C&O Canal was used, as was the courtyard of Christ Church on O Street. Other shots showed actress Ellen Burstyn walking along 36th Street to her home across from 1789 Restaurant. That famous house at 3600 Prospect St. NW was given a fake addition extending east towards the now-famed Exorcist Steps so that the window from which the priest jumped would be close enough for his fatal fall. When the shoot was being set up for the fatal tumble down the steps, between the possessed girl's house and the Car Barn, enterprising students monitored the gate to the Car Barn rooftop and charged admission for anyone who wanted to enter and watch from above. "The Exorcist" premiered the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, 1973 — and, yes, all hell broke out. Some moviegoers fainted, vomited or ran from the theater. Some religious leaders proclaimed that the novel and film conjured up demonic forces. A few years later, Rev. Robert Henle, S.J., president of Georgetown University during the 1972 filming, told editors of the student newspaper, the Georgetown Voice, that he regretted allowing the production on campus. While Henle may have disliked any negative image the film might have given of the university, the steps are now a Georgetown must-see attraction — and a favorite of walkers and runners. For those so inclined, they are also the perfect spot to meditate upon the deeper meaning of "The Exorcist."

Halloween Reigns in Our Town

It’s official, or it will be Oct. 30. That’s when a coven, you might say, of notables will assemble to honor the “Exorcist Steps” at 36th Street and Prospect Street with speeches and a commemorative plaque. The plaque marks the site where a horrific, violent scene from one of the most horrific, violent, scary and controversial films ever made was filmed in 1972. It was a scene from “The Exorcist,” adapted from the hugely successful novel of the same name by Georgetown University graduate William Peter Blatty and directed by Hollywood hotshot William Friedkin. In the scene, a disturbed young priest, participating in a particularly gruesome exorcism of a young girl in a Georgetown house, throws himself out a Prospect Street window and down the steps — a sacrificial act to save the girl from demonic possession. Ever since, of course, the steps have been known as the Exorcist Steps, and G.U. students, tourists and visitors from around the world flock to them. Built around 1896 as part of the massive and iconic Car Barn building and next to a retaining wall, the steps connect Prospect and M Streets. The ritual — and it is a ritual, if not quite as potent as an actual exorcism — is a year-round phenomenon, even more popular in this age of selfies, no doubt. The commemoration is being coordinated by Andrew Huff, together with the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Dupont Festival, as well as the office of Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, where Huff once worked as an aide. He will be joined by Friedkin at the top of the steps at 4 p.m. The plaque dedication — with William Peter Blatty on hand — will be held at 6 p.m. at the bottom of the steps, followed by an invitation-only screening of “The Exorcist” at the AMC Loews Georgetown. Presumably, there will be no reenactment of Father Damien Karras’s demise. The event, it should be noted, is being held one day before Oct. 31, also known as Halloween. Which is just about the biggest thing in the whole world, especially in Georgetown, where dark hordes and hosts of young adults — and people of all ages who like to dress up — will descend into the streets, funneling through Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in full regalia. Georgetown is not the only place where Halloween celebrations — costume walks, partying and daytime and evening trick-or-treating with kids — is a big deal in the city, what with an annual High Heels Drag Queen Race in Dupont Circle, events at cemeteries and festivities in many neighborhoods (see calendar). Halloween is an inexplicably huge boost to the economy nationwide, in good times and bad. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $7 billion on Halloween gizmos and goods of all kinds: $2.5 billion on costumes — including $900 million on costumes for pets — and nearly $4 billion on candy and decorations. Be that as it may, you can trace the origins of Georgetown’s spooktacular in the streets to the 1970s, both to “The Exorcist” and its attendant steps and to restaurant and club entrepreneur Michael O’Harro, who began throwing costume and Halloween-themed parties at his pioneering disco establishment Tramps and then at Champions Sports Bar. This is Halloween for grown-ups, something singles bar king O’Harro said he learned going to parties at the Playboy Mansion. One Halloween crowd in 1985 reportedly totaled 150,000 in and around Wisconsin & M. It’s equally fair to say that the residual fame from the “Exorcist” film shoot in Georgetown, complete with movie stars, movie folks and scenes shot around the university, may have spurred a trend toward the embrace of Halloween as an occasion to socialize and party — big time — as opposed to trick-or-treating. Certainly, the huge success of the film made Georgetown a cool place to be on Oct. 31. Whatever the reason, there came a time when young adults in costume started streaming in en masse, dressed up in line with popular movies, shows and music, from “Thriller” to “Star Wars” to “Gremlins.” People took notice. Georgetown at Halloween had become, in today’s parlance, a thing, much to the consternation of older local residents who viewed the development with disdain. The practice persists today, if in a somewhat more controlled and organized fashion. What also persists is the local impact of “The Exorcist.” Many Georgetowners — including the editor-in-chief of The Georgetowner — remember the October 1972 filming (see sidebar). The movie itself was a high-end, Hollywood production for which Blatty — until then known more as a screenwriter of comedies (“The Pink Panther”) — penned the screenplay. With “The Exorcist,” Friedkin became one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, having preceded it with “The French Connection,” which had won him an Oscar. The cast was an eclectic crew. Ellen Burstyn, as the actress whose daughter (Linda Blair) undergoes an exorcism, was rising as a serious actress, culminating in an Oscar for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Blair would do a sequel (“The Heretic” with Richard Burton), but never became a big star. Max von Sydow, an alumnus of high-minded Ingmar Bergman movies, played Father Merrin, the frail priest who first encounters the demon in Iraq. Jason Miller, also a gifted playwright (“That Championship Season”) was the troubled Father Karras. The great and aging actor Lee J. Cobb (“Death of a Salesman,” “On The Waterfront”) took on the role of a classic, gruff police detective. Oh, and there was Mercedes McCambridge (“All the King’s Men,” “Johnny Guitar,” “Giant”), supplying the voice of the demon. On its most serious level, “The Exorcist” was about a crisis in faith, believing in God and the devil (or not). But, in the end, it was its more thrilling and scary — if unappetizing — aspects like spinning heads, green bile, a sexual act with a crucifix and an unrelenting intensity that made it a blockbuster. We don’t even want to mention which sex act your mother was supposed to be doing in hell. For Blatty, now in his eighties, there were other books, but none as financially or critically rewarding. “Legion” was the basis for “The Exorcist III,” starring George C. Scott, also partially filmed in Georgetown. Friedkin’s career from that point was a mixed bag (“Cruising” and “To Live and Die in L.A.,” for example). He did marry well: Jeanne Moreau and former 20th Century Fox studio head Sherry Lansing, among others. On Oct. 30, the 75 steps will become an official Georgetown icon. The next night, there will be the usual thousands of suspects, a goblin here, a Trump there, the Kardashians and maybe all the Avengers and their nemeses. But the ghosts of the book and the movie are clearly in Georgetown for keeps. No need to say boo.

Get Ready for Kids Euro Festival Oct. 24

They’re back. Kids. And clowns, and puppets, and dancers and musicians from over 28 European nations. It’s time once again for the eighth annual Kids Euro Festival—Oct. 24 to Nov. 8—described as a kind of local trip to Europe without the need for a passport. It means some 125 free events at venues throughout the Washington, D.C., area, with public performances, school shows (at school or with partnering venues), films, library activities, artist workshops, performances for hospitalized children, a full day of activities for children with special needs and professional development opps for teachers. “Kids Euro Festival continues to offer children and their families a unique opportunity to experience some of Europe’s best performers right here in Washington, D.C.,” said David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States. “As a joint cultural diplomacy initiative of the European Union embassies in the nation’s capital, it is also a wonderful celebration of European cultural diversity. It is my hope that every child and parent that participates in this festival will have a lasting fond memory of their European cultural experience.” Susan Lehrman, vice-president of the European-American Cultural Foundation, said, “Culture is a powerful force for bringing together people, families and nations. As the organizer of Kids Euro Festival, the E-ACF knows that the arts are more than just entertainment—they are a way to share cultures, create understanding and unite people from around the world.” Embassies participating in the festival are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany , Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,  Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

General Assembly: Education for the 21st Century

What is deemed to be the conventional education route may not be for everyone, and adults are following a growing number of alternative paths. General Assembly is the latest innovation, bridging the gap for those seeking a convenient yet challenging way to continue their education and thrive in booming industries. The school, which launched in 2011, specializes in the fields of business, technology and design. Headquartered in New York City, General Assembly has fourteen different campuses spread across four continents, including a Washington, D.C., location at 1133 15th St. NW. “There’s a major gap when people graduate with really interesting degrees but without the course skillset to enter the professional workforce,” said Paul Gleger, regional director of the D.C. campus. General Assembly provides several programs to help students at all levels acquire a greater knowledge of the skills necessary to succeed in today’s world. Whether it be through full-time or part-time courses, topic-specific workshop sessions or special events, a General Assembly education creates a modern learning experience around the skills for advancing one’s career. “It’s 100 percent hands-on,” said Gleger of the teaching method. “The lecture component is very minimal.” For those without convenient access to a classroom, General Assembly’s online programs offer the same invaluable training, allowing students to take away an understanding of topics such as marketing, financial modeling and computer design. As for kickstarting a new career, there is a global network of organizations — Apple, Buzzfeed, Google and Spotify to name a few — that have hired alumni and continue to look for graduates. According to General Assembly, 99 percent of graduates from its Immersive programs — 8-to-12-week, full-time programs focusing on web development, user experience design and product management — are hired within six months of graduation. Beyond classes, the campuses hold information sessions and events that cater to many interests. “Any given night, there could be seven different events going on,” Gleger noted. “There’s a lot of opportunities.” General Assembly is a 21st-century creation that focuses on just that: the 21st century. With constant technological evolution, General Assembly is prepared to adapt and expand its course offerings to provide the vital skills that the professionals of today and tomorrow require. Summing up the school’s philosophy, Gleger said: “It’s all about understanding and analyzing the demand for certain skills. It’s very market-driven.”

Projects and Passion: 4 D.C. Principals Usher in the School Year

The waning days of summer have an intriguing ability to unearth youthful memories. This time of year reminds many of their childhoods, of long sun-soaked days and back-to-school shopping. It’s a time when slates are scrubbed clean and a feeling of anticipation (new friends, new challenges, new opportunities) floats buoyantly in the air. As school begins this month, four local principals shared their enthusiasm for what’s ahead in their respective schools, from new playgrounds and outdoor classrooms to growing enrollment numbers. Patricia Pride, principal at Hardy Middle School on 35th Street, is excited to see the Hawks return to the nest. “There are great opportunities in store for our Hardy Middle School students,” said Pride. She added that the support the school is receiving from its feeder schools is stronger every year. Following boundary changes, John Eaton Elementary will become a full feeder school for Hardy. One of the school’s newest additions is a homeroom class period for every student on Wednesdays, an initiative meant to foster students’ emotional growth. “Homeroom will be a place where students can connect with teachers, where they won't owe a grade,” said Pride, adding that it’s also a safe place to discuss issues that may be worrying them. Additionally, the school is breaking ground on an outdoor classroom in September, and teachers will be implementing new District-led "Cornerstone Shared Experience" assignments. Meanwhile, at Hyde-Addison Elementary School, planning is underway for a new gym, media center/library and cafeteria, plus new music and classroom space. Excavation is expected to begin between late spring and the end of the school year. The project comes at a good time given the school’s growth, particularly in its fifth-grade numbers. While the school has two fifth-grade classes, enrollment continues to increase as families prepare their students for the middle-school world ahead. The 2015-2016 school year will also see the introduction of the school’s first Pre-K 3 class. “We’re excited to have 16 three-year-olds this year,” said Principal Elizabeth Namba, who’s going into her second year as principal of Hyde-Addison. Originally from Connecticut, Namba seeks to nurture a supportive, yet rigorous and caring environment. Furthermore, she diligently works with the school’s staff to ensure that students have the best possible academic experience while meeting their social and emotional potential. At Stoddert Elementary School, Principal Donald Bryant was upbeat about the campus’s playground renovation. The project, to be completed by late August, includes an outdoor classroom, a new climbing structure, a jogging track and a hard walking surface, not to mention a new artificial-turf surface. Stoddert’s hallways will brighten this year after some new faces are welcomed to the leadership team, including Ibis Villegas, assistant principal, and Clinton Turner, the new resident principal and a Mary Jane Patterson Fellow. As at Hyde-Addison, fifth-grade enrollment at Stoddert has increased, actually doubling since the past year. This rise has led to the addition of another classroom. While some schools are just finishing additions and renovations, others have quite a bit longer to go. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is undergoing a major renovation expected to last until spring 2017. In the meantime, students are being bussed between two different buildings for their academic and arts curricula, considered only a slight inconvenience given what’s to come. Desepe de Vargas, head of school at Duke Ellington, believes that the building and the tools therein are of ultimate importance to the overall experience at a school of the arts. “The building will be a learning tool as much as our textbooks are,” she said, adding that a state-of-the-art facility with the equipment to train aspiring artists is fundamental to the school’s mission. “The challenge we have now is making magic with very little.” The renovation will provide new band studios, visual arts rooms, computer labs for graphic and media design and specialty spaces, such as a black box theater. The theater, said de Vargas, will give students enormous flexibility to transform the performance space, telling the story in creative ways. After the renovation and campus expansion is completed, enrollment at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts will rise from approximately 530 to 630 students — that’s 100 more kids to grow and learn at this inspiring institution. De Vargas, who is from Liberia, has good reason to be proud of her student body, which is consistently one of the highest performing in the public high school sector. “Our graduation rate is 98 percent,” she said. “We continue to be proud of that.” Just last year, the students at Duke Ellington were awarded $3.5 million in scholarships, with one young dance major named a Gates Millennium Scholar by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Stories like these inspire young minds to dream big and follow their passion. And there could not be a better time than right now, at the advent of a new school year, to do so. [gallery ids="102288,127688,127691,127697" nav="thumbs"]

Make Your Plans Now for Summer Camp

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, we are all looking to get out and about. It’s time to start planning for your kids’ summer. Make sure to check out The Georgetowner’s summer camp guide to take your mind off the snow days. Adventure Theatre MTC Camp Adventure Theatre’s summer camps is a full-day musical theater program. Campers work with D.C. theater professionals and finish up their summer by performing in a main stage show. The adventure also offers a three week program for teenagers. Ages 5 to 18. $800-$1,200. June 15 - Aug 21. Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. (301) 634-2270, adventuretheatre-mtc.org. Beauvoir Summer Camp Beauvoir Summer Camp is a day camp for elementary school students that mixes outdoor exploration with science, sports and art. Ages 3 to 10. $285-$875. June 22 - Aug 7. Beauvoir School, 3500 Woodley Road NW. (703) 945-0408, summer.beauvoirschool.org. Camp Arena Stage Camp Arena Stage is a D.C. day camp dedicated to theatre, music, visual arts and dance. Campers choose their own activities, as well as attend a daily show featuring the work of faculty, guest artists and fellow campers. Ages 8 to 15. $950-$2,500. June 22 - July 31. Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 1524 34th St. NW. (202) 554-9066, arenastage.org. Camp Imagination Stage Camp Imagination offers a range of day camp programs in drama, musical theatre, dance and filmmaking. Ages 1 to 18. $249-$1,195. June 8 - Aug 28. Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda. (301) 280-1660, imaginationstage.org. Passport to summer Washington International School’s Passport to Summer is a co-ed multicultural day camp. The camp offers language immersion; art, science and music workshops; and counselor-in-training program. Ages 3 to 15. $165-$890. June 22 - Aug 7. Washington International School, 1690 36th St. NW. (202) 243-1727, wis.edu. Strathmore Fine Arts Camp The Strathmore will offer two separate fine arts day camps for kids and teens this summer. Older campers will improve their technique in a program focused on form and color. Ages 6 to 17. $382,50-$425. July 27 - Aug 14. Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, Rockville. (301) 581-5100, strathmore.org. Writopia Lab Writopia Lab offers full-day and half-day summer camps for budding writers. Campers will participate in workshops with published authors and have an opportunity to read and publish their original work at the end of the program. Ages 8 to 18. $180-$560. July 6 - July 31. Writopia Lab, 4000 Albermarle St. NW, Suite 308. (202) 629-9510, writopia.org. [gallery ids="101994,135313" nav="thumbs"]

EverFi: Leading the Charge in Education Innovation from Georgetown

EverFi’s office is out of place in traditionally buttoned-up Washington. The space is an open floor plan inhabited by young, dressed down employees who have unlimited access to food and beverages in the loft kitchen and don’t hesitate to chat up their amiable CEO Tom Davidson. Unlike most D.C. offices, EverFi has no official vacation policy, no time off policy and no dress code. To top it all off, the company’s focus is on “innovation” and the walls are covered with photos of smiling EverFi team members traveling the world with their bright orange company sweatbands. EverFi would be more at home in Silicon Valley if not for its mission to overhaul the education system by infusing underfunded public schools with private sector funding. That mission starts with EverFi’s education programs, designed to teach students from fourth grade to their senior year in college about life skills ranging from managing personal finances to drinking alcohol responsibly to developing computer code to preventing cyberbullying and sexual assault. In Davidson’s eyes, learning these skills is essential to students’, and therefore, the country’s future. However, tightly stretched school budgets and days dedicated to teaching to common core standards leave little time and funding for these topics that are essential to post-school life. When one takes into account the difficulty of teaching kids these topics and add to that a lack of topical expertise in public schools, the deck is stacked against post-graduate success for students in underfunded schools. EverFi approaches the education system with software solutions that teach students how to maneuver around issues that their lives will revolve around in the real world. The idea sprung from Davidson’s work as a state legislator in Maine in the early 1990s. In that role, he “focused on how technology can change the classroom,” spearheading initiatives to equip students with laptops and wire schools and libraries. After talking extensively with teachers, administrators, students and parents across the country, Davidson found that underfunded schools were not teaching in areas of paramount importance – personal finances, how to get loans, computer coding and engineering. He created EverFi to bring important life lessons to underprivileged schools in an effort to take on some of the country’s “most intractable problems.” The ambitious Davidson jokes that EverFi has established a “political infrastructure” in Iowa and New Hampshire, but when asked about a return to politics, explains that “no one in their right mind would vote for me.” Like executives at other big education technology companies headquartered in D.C., Davidson was drawn to the District. for its pool of bright young talent. He chose to headquarter in Georgetown from a recruitment standpoint, arguing that setting up home base in a “cultural center” is important to 21st-century workers. It doesn’t hurt that the office is a short commute from his Foxhall home. And while some may complain about the lack of public transit in Georgetown, Davidson argues that Capitol Bike Share and the Circulator have changed the game for his workforce and explained that the company reimburses employees to utilize these options. So, how does EverFi’s programming make issues like financial literacy and civic engagement immediate to students who are spending seven or more hours a day at their desks? Simple. EverFi’s programs teach students “in a way that is very connected to how they learn outside the classroom.” The software combines components of gaming with elements of social media to pique students’ interest and keep them working towards in-program badges and rewards. Teachers track student progress through EverFi’s system, allowing them to give more personalized attentions to students that are falling behind on certain topics. Davidson’s kids are too young for EverFi’s programs, but he assures me that once they come of EverFi age, “they’ll be using the programs through college, whether they like it or not.” At colleges and universities all over the country, EverFi’s programs are teaching millions of students about alcohol responsibility and sexual assault prevention during freshman orientation, before many upperclassmen even step foot back on campus. Discussions on these topics, Davidson explains, used to be handled by “RAs [resident assistants] at bad pizza parties, with no way to know whether a student learned about the subject or was even present.” EverFi’s college programs are based on information and data provided to the company by experts at the forefront of these issues. Furthermore, they create accountability by showing administrators exactly who has participated and what they have learned. While news has been abuzz of late about tech companies breaching the privacy of their consumers, Davidson assures me that only teachers have access to the identifying aspects of student data. EverFi makes improvements and updates to its programming based on data that has been stripped of identifying factors automatically by the software. Like many companies dealing in public-private partnerships, EverFi has overcome a number of barriers in bringing their programs to schools across the country. Davidson says that the biggest barrier to EverFi’s entry in certain schools is a “crowded day for teachers who have been asked to do more than they could ever bear” in terms of institutionalized assessments and the reinforcement of the emotional state of kids. “It’s hard to go in and ask them to do one more thing,” Davidson added, arguing that EverFi provides a supplemental netting under public schools’ students without displacing their curriculum. He emphasized that his company’s software is aimed at “empowering teachers” and touted EverFi’s new partnership with the National Education Association Foundation as proof. EverFi has overcome the financial restraints of public schools by reaching out to and partnering with the private sector. The funding model brings companies, foundations and people “with the deepest pockets,” like Tiger Woods, pop singer Pharrell Williams, JPMorgan the NBA, to the table to fund EverFi’s programs for schools and districts they care about. These individuals and entities purchase the software from EverFi and work with the company to deploy the product in a predetermined school or district. However, there is no corporate or other outside involvement in the creation of EverFi’s products. Davidson says that EverFi has and always will be a “consumer-focused company.” He envisions building the model out to erase the disparities in learning that occur between poorer and more well off schools. EverFi has far-reaching partnerships in the area, operating its alcohol responsibility program at Georgetown University, and running its other programs in Fairfax, Arlington, Prince George’s and Montgomery County public schools. Despite being headquartered in the District, EverFi has had trouble making inroads with D.C. City Public Schools. Davidson attributes this to the fact that some “big city districts are like aircraft carriers – they are difficult to turn and engage with sometimes.” However, EverFi’s programs have been deployed at Wilson High, Anacostia Senior High School, Eaton Elementary and a number of area charter schools. EverFi’s programs aren’t just for kids though. In recent years, the company has partnered with banks and groups like the Mortgage Bankers Association to get their financial literacy programs into the hands of adults who need them. Davidson says the company believes in the concept of “education currency,” or the idea that companies and organizations should reward people who take time to gain better information about their finances and learn how to protect themselves from predatory lending. Some companies are already rewarding consumers with lower rates, better terms and lower closing costs because they have completed EverFi’s programs and measurably learned how to be more fiscally responsible. The end game, Davidson explains, is to build out a “very large, international company that is in the business of alleviating big social issues.” He does not want EverFi to be seen as a “socially responsible” or “double bottom line business,” but rather a company that is celebrated for bringing capital to solve the country and world’s biggest problems with education. Private capital has revolutionized industry in America with innovation, so why can’t a similar model work to bring classrooms to the 21st century? That’s the question EverFi is in the process of answering. [gallery ids="101833,139152,139173,139157,139160,139166,139170" nav="thumbs"]

Tech Gadgets for Back to School

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker -- $199 This portable speaker is perfect for the new school year. Bose products are known for their great sound quality, and this speaker lives up to expectations, packing a punch while easily fitting in your bag. Bluetooth lets you or friends pick the tunes from your phone without the hassle of wires. Spotify -- $10 per month While Spotify Premium may not be a gadget technically speaking, the service and app that come with it are a must-have for college students. Spotify’s deep library is not unique to the music streaming service, but the company’s social features blow competitors Beats, Pandora and Rdio out of the water. Users have the option of linking their account to their Facebook page, which allows them to send music to friends, check out playlists made by other users and tune into classmates’ listening tastes to discover new songs. The $10 per month price tag may seem expensive up front but with all of your friends’ and the world’s music at your fingertips, the price is worth it. Panasonic RPTCM125K Headphones -- $15 These in-ear headphones have all of the features a student could need, including high quality sound, an ergonomic fit and a connected microphone with a remote. They are also easy to replace if broken or lost in the whirlwind of student life. If you’re looking for more high-end in-ear or over-ear headphones, avoid flashy brand Beats and get a pair of Audio-Technica, Sennheiser or Klipsch headphones. Google Chromecast -- $35 Google released the Chromecast last summer as a cheap alternative to the Apple TV. The device is incredibly easy to set up and allows users to watch content from their Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu and ESPN accounts on their television. Users can also stream anything from their computer or mobile device to their TV in seconds through the Chrome browser. MacBook Air 13-inch with $100 dollar Apple Store gift card (before Sept. 9) -- $999 The MacBook Air is a great computer for students. It fits nicely into any bag or backpack, weighing only three pounds. With a battery that lasts up to 12 hours, students can leave their chargers in their dorm room and know that they’ll have enough battery life for class, the library and anything else they may need their computer for later on. Be sure to show your college ID for a discount and take advantage of Apple’s back-to-school deal, which gives away a $100 dollar Apple gift card with every MacBook purchased. GoPro Hero3+ -- $400 GoPro’s latest iteration brings a high-end HD video camera to the palm of your hand. The “smaller, lighter, mightier” camera is perfect for weekend trips, outdoor adventures on the Potomac, urban exploring and filming college hijinks. The GoPro app makes sharing videos with family and friends easy. The app can also be used as a remote controller for the camera. Kodak PixPro Smart Lens SL10 -- $230 Kodak’s PixPro Smart Lens system is a powerful camera that easily clips on to your Apple or Android smartphone. While other products attempt to enhance your smartphone’s camera, the Kodak PixPro is a standalone that sends high quality photos to users’ phones using Bluetooth technology. The PixPro Smart Lens is available in a 10x and 25x zoom and is a great product for amateur and more serious photographers. (Exclusive deals at Radio Shack for both lenses.) Kindle Paperwhite without Special Offers -- $139 Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is the most advanced and easiest to use e-reader on the market right now. The touch screen device does a handy job of replicating the feeling of reading a paper book and is conveniently backlit for nighttime reading. In addition, the Kindle allows readers access to Amazon’s vast collection of reasonably priced e-books, which includes free classics that are covered in class but not by copyright laws. Fitbit Flex -- $100 Fitbit is leading the pack in wearable health technology with its subtle, comfortable wristbands. The company sells a variety of band products enhanced with hardware that tracks physical activity, calories burned and even how well you sleep. The band transmits this data to the fitbit app, which helps you set fitness goals and set your alarm to optimize your sleep schedule. [gallery ids="101836,139051,139075,139055,139060,139064,139068,139073" nav="thumbs"]

Seams Bursting, Hyde-Addison Moves Forward

Welcome to Georgetown, Hyde-Addison Elementary School – even though you’ve been here since 1907. Hyde-Addison, on the west side of Georgetown between P and O Streets, is growing too big for its buildings: Hyde for pre-kindergarteners through 2nd graders and Addison for 3rd through 5th graders. The school needs basic work to keep up with the latest ideas in teaching and learning. The first part of the project will retrofit the Hyde building to make it more accessible and enable it to accommodate more students. The second part of the project is the construction of a media center, a gym, a cafeteria and a walkway connecting the two buildings. Dana Nerenberg, Hyde-Addison’s principal, who will be leaving at the end of the school year to be with her fiance in Oregon said, “The most important part of the renovation is to improve learning conditions for our students. We will enjoy new lighting, flooring and furnishings in every space. We are also excited to have bathrooms adjacent to every classroom. This will be convenient and preserve learning time.” Hyde is bursting at the seams with children. Some of them are products of the general baby boom in Georgetown. (Visit any local park – they’re all swarming with little ones and their nannies.) And some of the pressure on Hyde comes from the expansion of the school’s in-boundary population and the possibility that Burleith’s kids will be added to the Hyde pool in the near future. For some time now, Hyde-Addison has been moving, slowly, through all the layers of bureaucracy that embrace – or encumber – the D.C. school system, the city itself and, perhaps most onerous of all, Georgetown. One of the reasons Georgetown looks like, well, Georgetown, is because there are many fierce guardians keeping it that way. The one that strikes the most trepidation into the hearts of the legions of architects, engineers, planners, shopkeepers and plain ol’ rich people who populate the neighborhood is the Old Georgetown Board, whose message is simple: “My name is OGB, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” (Sorry, Percy Bysshe Shelley.) Coming before the OGB for the fifth time in April, Hyde-Addison got preliminary approval to proceed, which is a great step forward. As Hyde parent and former ANC commissioner John Lever diplomatically noted, “As with all large public efforts in Georgetown, it must go through several different review bodies.” The OGB is not the last stop for Hyde. After the project gets OGB and Commission of Fine Arts approval, the school will coordinate with the District’s Department of General Services to begin work next school year or as soon as all the permits are in place. Architectural rendering of Hyde-Addison Elementary School

Summer Camps of the Day

Ahhh, summer. My boys would spend the best time of the year playing “gear grinding game,” which isn’t its name but is what it sounds like. Bloody and stupid, to give into gear grinding game would be to raise a serial killer. But, if you parents have the cash, you won’t have to visit your darlings in San Quentin. Instead, you can raise basketball-playing public advocates with crocheting skills, all with the help of your local summer camp. For the little ones, of course, there are sports and crafts and, well, “the whimsy and joy of summer.” St. John’s Episcopal Preschool promises to foster “links between the natural world and aesthetic experiences. Utilizing indoor and outdoor classrooms and studios, children express their own observations and theories using multiple media.” By multi-media, they do not mean computer games. But when they get a little bigger, camp does sometimes mean computer games; making them, not playing them. Georgetown Day offers a set of classes called 21Innovate. The programming part introduces `’tweens to Linux, HTML and something called Ruby & Dynamic Web Pages (I don’t even know if they go together and the ampersand is part of the name or not.) For high schoolers “eager to experience and explore the relationship between social justice and policy,” GDS will help students “take action by engaging in the development and execution of policy and advocacy work.” Wow. I’m already scared. Hardy Middle School offers camps under the D.C. Department of Parks and Rec. There’s one called “Three Pointers and Prose Camp,” which is a “high energy basketball camp, which incorporates on-court skill development and game play, with the writings of some of history’s luminary African-American poets. Campers will spend time each day reading a daily selection, before hitting the court for more hoops.” Poetry would go a long way toward improving the NBA, if you ask me. Basketball is big all over D.C. Georgetown University, not surprisingly, offers up basketball camp, ostensibly led by the school’s own coach, John Thompson. Heat stroke appears to be a major concern, as the boys (only boys, 8-18) live in air-conditioned dorms and play on air-conditioned courts. Best of all, though, they get all-you-can-eat meals and a FREE Nike t-shirt. That might entice my boys. The only thing they care about more than shooting monsters online is Nike swag. No matter what your kid wants to do, there’s a camp to match. Sports camps are everywhere--no curling, but pretty much everything else, from fencing to diving, baseball to tennis. The DC YMCA wants to know if you’ve “got a yen for lunar learning?” If so, buckle up for air and space camp (I could swear my sister enrolled years ago). “Appetizing Art” camp lets you bake and eat things that “not only look great but taste great, too!” Sidwell has a knitting camp. “Imagine your child spending her day in the care of warm and loving counselors knitting, crocheting, hand and machine sewing the day away making the most adorable creations.” Anything I could think of, I could find. Except, finally, I was thwarted. The only Dungeons and Dragons camp I could find—there is one, though—is in Indianapolis. [gallery ids="101683,144128" nav="thumbs"]

The News hasn't changed...the delivery has.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -