Goodbye 2015–2016 School Year! It’s Been Great!

Well folks, another school year at The New Century School has just ended. Immersed finds this news bittersweet—grateful for all the good times, learning, friendships, and memories it gave us, but also wistful that it’s over. Sniff.

To cheer ourselves up, let’s take a look at all the special ways TNCS teachers and staff made the end of the school year one big, happy celebration. Overseeing each event with warmth and grace was Head of School Alicia Danyali.

Primary Field Day

Although the scheduled Elementary Field Day got rained out, TNCS Primary students dodged the weather a week before school let out and had a . . . “field day” in Patterson Park! Primary teachers Maria Mosby, Catherine Lawson, Lisa Reynolds, and Martellies Warren pulled out all the stops, with games, snacks, and even a special guest performance by former TNCS Primary teacher, Ms. Laz! (Read more about Ms. Lazarony’s alter ego as Planet Uptune songwriter and vocalist here!)

There were beads, balls, bubbles, balloons, badminton, and bats—and that’s just the b’s! Frisbees, kites, and even baby ducks were also on hand to make this event the perfect send-off for the 3- to 5-year old set. See for yourself in this slide show that will make you wish you were a kid again.

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All-School Picnic

Next up was the chance for parents to join their kids during the annual TNCS outdoor picnic lunch. Initially rained out, the weather cooperated beautifully on Monday, and the playground was full to capacity of happy TNCS community members. Mrs. Duprau brought along a special new guest (and future TNCS enrollee), and Mr. Warren once again got mauled by his adoring fans. (But seemed to be okay with that ;).)

Grade 5 Graduation Ceremony

The following day saw a truly momentous occasion unfolding, not to mention a huge TNCS first. The oldest cohort of TNCS students graduated out of the Elementary program. You can read on their faces the many emotions this inspired. From pensive to elated to quite somber, they are clearly aware of the significance of graduating. This event not only means that this group, whom we have watched grow and mature into fine young ladies and gentlemen over the years under the expert tutelage of Elementary teachers Dan McGonigal and Kiley Stasch, will embark on a whole new scholastic phase—Middle School—but also that TNCS itself has grown and will embark on its own Middle School journey. These are wonderful tidings . . . notwithstanding their undeniable poignancy. Such great things lie ahead.

Kindergarten/Grade 1 End-of-Year Celebration

On the penultimate day of school, another graduation ceremony of sorts transpired. What started as a low-key, in-classroom potluck brunch grew into a full-on TNCS event, courtesy of K/1st teachers Teresa Jacoby and Manuel Caceres. They even had the kids collaborate on a “quilt” of self-portraits that will grace the halls of TNCS in perpetuity.

The Kindergarteners were awarded diplomas to signal their imminent passage grade-school status.

And the first-graders passed on some pearls of wisdom to their junior counterparts to ease their transition to the Big Time.

So thanks for the memories TNCS . . . and for making school such a positive experience for students and their families. What a profound gift this is. Other than being able to share these memories, the only other thing that makes closing out the school year bearable is knowing we’ll be back for 2016–2017 to share more great times :)!


Planet Uptune Debuts CD at Dunfest 2015!


Angela Lazarony is founder and lead singer of kids’ band Planet Uptune.

Kids’ band Planet Uptune is the pet project of Angela Lazarony, who is otherwise known to The New Century School community as one of TNCS’s original primary Montessori teachers. She founded the band back in 2008 and uses a rotating roster of Baltimore’s finest musicians to lay down the original tunes she writes and sings.


Planet Uptune debuted their new CD Saturday, May 9th, at Dunfest in the Dundalk Heritage Park.

For example, in her latest show, which was a performance and CD release party at Dunfest in Dundalk’s Heritage Park, she was thrilled to have bassist Dave DeMarco of progressive rock band Crack the Sky, the Dave DeMarco Band, and others; world-renowned jazz saxophonist Paul Soroka, luthier and gutarist Mike Forrester, and John Davis, also of the Dave DeMarco Band. The CD is called “Welcome to Planet Uptune” and was recorded with additional special guest musicians at Invisible Sound Studios in Highlandtown (a.k.a., the Guitar and Amplifier Museum).

Although Baltimore native Ms. Lazarony did not have much formal training beyond piano lessons as a child, she says she has always been a musical person. Writing songs and singing and playing keyboards with area bands form most of her musical experience; she’s a natural. In 2008 during a stint at St. Joseph’s Hospital daycare center where she was offering math and Spanish enrichment classes, she felt inspired by the kids she taught, and her songwriting ramped up accordingly. “During that year, I heard rhymes and melodies almost constantly, so I wrote, wrote, wrote—and then wrote some more,” she said. And then the band name came to her in a further moment of inspiration. “I thought, I want to live on a planet that’s all about music, that’s really upbeat. Sometimes you need a mood tune-up, so you go to Planet Uptune!”

How children see a certain thing is sort of the make-up of each song, and, even for adults, revisiting this wonderful, fresh perspective on the world is not only fun but also rejuvenating. Take the song El Camino, for example, which Ms. Lazarony sings with a lively Spanish accent a là Carmen Miranda. “The headlights are like eyes; the taillights are like horns . . . My ’59 El Camino!” Can’t you just see it now? Very cleverly, each stanza ends not with an “olé!” but with a chorus of “Chevrolet!” Each song demonstrates a different musical style; her range is amazing. We go from the Latin beats of El Camino to blues in Haircut Blues to nursery rhyme turned rock song Dr. Foster—and lots more.

Ms. Lazarony’s onstage persona is equally fun. With lots of colorful scarves and other accessories in addition to a tailor-made galaxy-patterned dress, she is really out of this world. “I love to play live with other musicians—it’s a lot of fun!” she said. “And I like for children to see different kinds of music.” Videos from Dunfest are posted below, but do yourselves a favor and get the CD*; your kids will love it and so will you!

Planet Uptune Theme Song

This next one is well known to many TNCS primary students past and present, who have learned all about the life cycle of butterflies!


Downy Oshun

Paint a Rainbow

*To order “Welcome to Planet Uptune,” please email to purchase the CD for $10 and pick it up at TNCS. In a few weeks, it will also be available on iTunes CDBaby and other digital distribution sites.