Julia R. Masterman Public School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
>> CLASS OF 2012 <<

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

They paid me big money & promised to give me Cameron Diaz's home phone number if I agreed to write:

Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School is the most highly ranked school in the School District of Philadelphia and scores at the highest level on the Pennsylvania System of Statewide Assessment. Masterman combines the best aspects of a small, selective school with the more diverse curriculum and activities of a larger school. Our college preparatory high school program offers students the opportunity to become part of a challenging community of learners while offering a variety of co-curricular activities.

9th Grade Geometry teacher Chris Taranta says:

"As part of our study of geometry, my students learned about tessellations and then were assigned to create two tessellations. Many students drew one by hand and did the other using computer graphics. They used as the primary web resource for their research. A main component of the assignment involved beginning with a shape that could be tessellated, such as a triangle or parallelogram, and then manipulating the lines to create a design that could then be filled with a recognizable object such as an animal...a neurotic hamster...or in Phoebe's case, a fried egg. Seriously. :) Some students went beyond the basics of the assignment and showed the steps they used in that process."

A note from the Webmaster: This is our first "repeat offender" school and class. In 2011, Mr. Taranta's class first appeared on Now the next generation is here to make trrrrouble again! Welcome, class of 2012!

alfred the hamster
Alfred the class pet
on his way to Hawaii
The problem with telling kids they're in a "demonstration" school is, they're always demonstrating about something. This week, it's about Alfred the Hamster. In the "Occupy Mr. Taranta's geometry class" movement, Alfred the class pet has been.. ummm... "horribly mistreated". The students just aren't going to take it any more, so they tied Mr. Taranta to a chair and covered him with camouflage tessellations and a little bit of Alfred's fur, which was falling out anyway, so Alfred didn't mind. Mr. Taranta didn't mind either, until he was told there would be no bathroom breaks until Alfred was permitted to go to his ancestral home during Spring vacation next year.

Alfred claims his "ancestral home" is a set of comfy sun chairs around the pool at the Waikiki Hilton hotel. Mr. Taranta is skeptical.

Mr. Taranta is a little skeptical that Alfred's ancestors are Hawaiian, since Al has a South Philly accent. ...Which is why in years past Al has been denied tickets to Hawaii (and one of those blue icy slushy tropical drinks with the little colorful little paper umbrellas in them. And sunscreen.)

Al's school counselor and fur coiffure consultant, Tatyanah, is the organizer behind the "Occupy Mr. Taranta's geometry class" movement. She says she's doing it for extra credit, and for mistreated Hawaiian hamsters everywhere. The National Association for the Advancement of Cuddly Classroom Pets agrees. Mr. Taranta is skeptical. He says it just looked like a fun project...if you're not the one without bathroom breaks and superglued to a chair.

Mr. Taranta still defends his position, though he has relented and bought Alfred a ticket to Hawaii. And a cool slushy blue drink. Mr. Taranta says that he has proof that Alfred was assembled from square parts in the J. R. Masterman Experimental Physics and Geometry lab.

When reached for comment aboard a 747 headed for Hawaii, Alfred the Class Pet / Hawaiian Hamster put down his cool slushy blue drink and said: "Muuuhahahahaaaaa! I'll be back in 2013!!!" It would have sounded sinister if he hadn't said it in a squeaky little hamster voice.