With binge-watching at an all-time high due to current quarantine restrictions, Hamden Hall families are tuning in weekly to view the new series, The Turtle King
Starring our own Spencer Chase of the Facilities Department, the series features three action-packed episodes and one trailer thus far as filmed live from the Bayer Family Lower School Science Center. Supporting cast includes three hungry turtles sometimes known as Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker.
“They sure do like these pellets,” Spencer stated as he tapped turtle food from a small cannister into the turtle tank during an episode on a recent Friday afternoon.
Dubbed the “Turtle King” by his colleagues due to all of the attention he was getting as a result of the videotaping, Spencer has embraced the role and sought both costume and set design advice from the Theatre Department. Current episodes feature Spencer decked out in a purple robe and an embellished crown with a nearby red velvet throne on which he sits during each video’s introduction.
According to Director of Facilities Jim Hunter, his department has helped care for and maintain the school’s various marine life over winter and spring breaks, but with the quarantine, that limited guardianship turned into full-time caregiver status. Besides the three turtles in the Lower School Science Center, Hamden Hall is also home to an eel and various fish and sea creatures in biology classrooms.
“When school was shut down and only the facilities people and the Head of School were here during the spring break, we needed to find out not only how to feed the animals but how to make salt water and clean the tanks. This was a first for us,” maintained Jim.
Once it was determined that the facilities staff would be the caretakers for the foreseeable future, it was imperative that supplies such as food be secured.
“We felt with the state beginning to shut down that we needed more supplies for a longer duration than the school had on hand so the facilities workers chipped in, and Mark Guarino went to the pet store to purchase enough food and filters for the long run,” said Jim.
After the first week of feeding the turtles, Jim and Spencer decided to make a video to show students that their aquatic friends were being taken care of and doing well. While Spencer became the talent, Jim preferred to take a behind-the-scenes role as the videotaper.
“During lunch breaks we discussed filming a weekly video to entertain the kids and give them something to look forward to at the end of the week,” said Jim. “The video went out to the whole school and Spencer received so many replies and ‘likes’ that we all started to call him the Turtle King.”
The “hatching” of the Turtle King has also produced a live video of Spencer reading a children’s book as part of the Lower School’s Mystery Reader series in addition to weekly student shoutouts. From the senior class to those with birthdays, the Turtle King is seemingly ever present these days. In fact, rumor has it that he’ll be making an appearance at MayFest 2020.
Click here to view three episodes and one trailer of The Turtle King