Category: Featured

MacDuffie’s New 3D Printers

Originally published on The Magnet by Mohammed Abbasi

This past summer The MacDuffie School obtained two new 3D Printers by Monoprice using a grant from GE Additive. This included features that improve the ease of use and quality of the printers making more opportunities available for students.

The Monoprice MP Voxel printers bring many new possibilities. The printers are equipped with a built-in camera that can be used for monitoring prints when Director of Information Technology Edward Gray or IT Specialist Andrew Perkins are not nearby. This is an improvement next to the custom camera and stand Gray and Perkins built for the previous printers.

According to Gray, the printers can maintain consistent temperatures with their enclosed cases which improves the plastic’s adhesion to the surface of the print bed. The new printers can also connect to WiFi, which allows prints to be initiated wirelessly by a computer in the IT Department. The size of the print beds and cases of the new printers are also noticeably larger than the previous printers.

Interested in the rewards involved, MacDuffie applied to the GE Additive Education Program which provides a grant to purchase 3D printers. It also provides a free extra plastic filament and software programs for schools involved in STEM teaching. When MacDuffie was selected, GE Additive gave one 3D Printer for free and offered a 50% discount on a second printer, which Gray said was a deal of “very good value.”

With these additional printers, there will be “a quicker turnaround time on projects” and at the same time, they will have “better quality.” The extra software from GE Additive known as Polar 3D Cloud allows someone “to upload models and then put in cues to the printers…so the workflow [can be managed] better.” Gray hopes that these features will encourage teachers to incorporate 3D printers with more projects in their classrooms.

Gray and Perkins were influenced to buy new printers when they saw that “3D printers were available for the education market, they were being more affordable, [and] more prevalent.” Gray also said that they provided a way for students to get exposure to STEM-related concepts such as engineering and prototyping. In the past, classes like Biology and BC Calculus have used 3D printers in their projects to do things such as model plant and animal cells.

If the “demand increases or if [the school adds] a 3D design print class,” then the school would consider getting more printers. As of now, Gray believes that they “are in a good spot,” as the school currently has a total of four 3D printers available for use by teachers and students.

Students Spreading Smiles

Originally published on The Magnet by Megan Jacques

The 2019-2020 school year is one month in, and the school is seeing a rise in positivity.

Students have already taken steps to help each other have a great school year where everyone can feel appreciated.

It began on the first day of school when a mystery writer began putting up inspirational and uplifting messages on the whiteboard next to Ms. Tomkiel’s room in the Computer lab. These messages, sometimes as simple as “Happy Monday,” have been a daily occurrence and serve to help lift everyone’s spirits.

When asked what inspired them to write the messages on the board, the mystery writer said that, “Well I’ve always thought that ever since I was younger, that my parents used to teach me that positivity was the answer for a lot of things. And that even if positivity couldn’t fix something, necessarily, it could at least help you on your way to fix it.”

This mystery writer, who wished to remain anonymous, hinted at more random acts of kindness to come. They said, “there are new people getting involved, and hopefully some exciting things that are coming up on the school, we will see more of an impact.”

The mystery writer also added that they “definitely hope that students see the messages and don’t see them as something sarcastic, or even other peoples’ positivity, that they take them as genuine acts of kindness and something that people can look at as a real thing, not something that would be just done because someone thought about it one day, just like a reminder.”

Along with the mystery writer, there have been three other students who have been spreading positivity in their own way. Seventh-grader Brooklyn Moore and eighth-grader Emily Parnicky, along with sophomore Angelika Osowiecki, organized and ran an inspirational quote day for the middle school.

After school one day, these students decided that they would write notes to put in their friends and classmates’ lockers to not only boost positivity but also cure their boredom.

Although they did not see a huge impact within the Middle School, Parnicky hopes that the school would embrace the fact that “it shows that you can do something, it can be a random act of kindness.”

These students hope that the school will continue to work to spread positivity which can be anything as simple as a smile. Moore said, “Especially when the high schoolers smile at me because I am just a little seventh grader, it makes my day.”

Head of the Middle School Tara Robinson said that “middle school has historically been a time thought of negative angst emotion roller coasters. It is really easy for kids to feel down because it is such an overwhelming time. And positive emotion at this time won’t be the default.”

In regards to Upper School involvement, Robinson added, “If we make them [The Middle Schoolers] stronger it will permeate to the rest of the MacDuffie community.”

These little reminders can not only raise positivity around the school in general but also help mental health overall.

School Counselor Deanne Klingensmith has been working at the school for seven years and has encountered many different aspects of mental health.

Klingensmith described what she does at the school saying, “I am available for any students to come to talk to me about various issues. It can be anything from serious home issues to past events to my boyfriend broke up with me to I’m stressed out over a test. Unfortunately, there are some kids who have suicidal ideation. Such a various array of different issues that kids will come in to talk to me about.”

When asked about how the spread of positivity impacts mental health, Klingensmith said, “positive reinforcement is a huge factor in changing behavior, changing thoughts. Even if something as simple as walking in the hallway and you see a friend and you say “Hey! How are you?” and give them a positive smile, it makes you feel better.”

A random act of kindness does not have to be a big project with lots of planning. Simply saying hello to someone and smiling at them in the hallway or holding open a door are ways that you can spread kindness and positivity.

Positivity is spreading around the school, but it cannot continue to foster without the small acts of kindness from everyone.

In the words of our mystery writer, Osoweicki, Parnicky and Moore, “Continue spreading positivity!”

If you need to talk to someone, do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Klingensmith. Her office is open for walk-ins or you can contact her at the email below.

For alternative resources or more immediate help,  do not hesitate to contact one of the hotlines below.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Other resources:

MacDuffie Middle School Excursion: Everyone has a Space and a Voice through Play

The Middle School had perfect weather for its annual Excursion Thursday, making up for a rainy cancelation last year. All 31 students and a number of MacDuffie teachers and faculty made their way to Dufrense Park for a full day of get-to-know-you activities, community building, cooperative learning, and good old-fashioned play. During the outing, students worked together to problem solve a number of challenges, showing out-of-the-box thinking and demonstrating the trust, respect, and communication that make the middle school community so special. Students battled in blindfolded landmines, untangled human knots, and made difficult choices like Fortnite or Minecraft, Harry Potter or Percy Jackson – all with a smile. At the center of it all was the idea that everyone in the community had a space and a voice, and students shared their unique personality with the creation of puzzle-pieces which will be on display in the Middle School Lounge. It was a great day for all involved!

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#TakeoverTuesday Creates Buzz On MacDuffie Instagram

Students file into assembly bright and early on Tuesday morning, phones in their pockets per the school’s “no phones during assembly” policy. All but one, a seventh-grader who holds up her phone to record the assembly singing happy birthday to her. She posts it, but not to her personal Instagram. She’s posting to the official school Instagram account. 

“Hello I’m Brooklynn and I am in the seventh grade! I am taking over the MacDuffie Instagram today!” wrote Brooklynn Moore of East Longmeadow, Mass. on the school’s Instagram Story (@themacduffieschool) alongside a photo of her in the play last year. 

Followers of the school’s Instagram and non-followers alike have noticed an uptick of student presence on the school’s official social media channels since the adoption of #TakeoverTuesday was implemented on the MacDuffie Instagram account. On Takeover Tuesdays, the school’s communication department hands over control of their Instagram page to a student to show a day in their life at the school, creating buzz and enthusiasm as the student body anticipates each post. 

Senior Megan Jacques of Granby, Mass. was the first student asked to take over Instagram two weeks ago.

Taking over the MacDuffie Instagram was a very weird yet interesting experience. Students and teachers who I was unfamiliar with would come up to me and ask me about the day and what it was like to take over Instagram. I felt like people were more engaged in the MacDuffie Instagram because of this takeover. Those who said that they didn’t really look at the Instagram were actively following my day and asking me questions along the way,” said Jacques.

Megan answered questions using the “ask me anything” button, such as: What plays do you have this year?

Arsenic and Old Lace is our fall play, Mamma Mia is our winter musical, and the Spring play hasn’t been announced yet!” Megan responded.

Megan also shared inspiring messages a mystery student has been leaving behind on the whiteboard: Let’s make today a great day!

And #TakeoverTuesday was a great day for each of the students, they said. 

“I had a great time taking over the MacDuffie Instagram!” said Moore at the conclusion of her takeover.

Overall, it was a great experience,” Jacques said.

September 17, Moore’s takeover day, coincided with her birthday. Moore shared pictures of her locker decorated with stickers by the head of middle school and documented morning assembly singing happy birthday for her birthday.

“It’s interesting to see the school from a student’s perspective as they take you through your day,” said Head of School Steve Griffin.

“It is great to see the awesome job that our students have been doing in coming up with some really creative content on Instagram.  I am looking forward to the upcoming #TakeoverTuesdays to see what is next!” said Director of Enrollment Management Jeff Quebec.

“Thanks for following my day at MacDuffie, have a great rest of your week!” Jacques signed off. 

Students are scheduled for #TakeoverTuesday on the Tuesday of each week. If you are a MacDuffie student interested into turning your Tuesday into a #TakeoverTuesday, please contact

The English Department Offers: “From Shakespeare to Harry Potter”

This eight-day trip, scheduled during our 2020 March break, is open to MacDuffie students, staff, alumni, and their friends and families. For more information, email Tour Leader Carol Tomkiel at:, or call CHA Tours at: 1-800-323-4466. Enroll by our deadline, October 31, 2019 to receive $100 off the cost. (Online enrollment is fast and easy; our access code is 2019S00720.) This is a great opportunity for reunions, new friendships, and new connections!